The Cape Verde government is seeking Chinese investment and assistance from Macau to fund major development projects including casinos in the West African Island. Prime Minister José Maria Neves recently finalised an economic relationship-building visit to China and Macau.
At a meeting with the Macau government on Monday, Neves announced one of the topics on his agenda is to “bring more investment from Macau to Cape Verde”, as well as indicating that his recent visit to China “exceeded all expectations.”
An important meeting was held between Neves and China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in Beijing, where the Cape Verde Prime Minister managed to secure us$8.5 million donation and us$12.5m interest-free loan.
But Neves said the generous $21m donation does not scratch the surface of the planned development projects that are estimated to cost upwards of $500m and would fund “areas such as higher education, professional training, construction of some cultural facilities and in the administration sector.”
The island nation is consequently seeking further investment from China in the context of the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation. Some of Cape Verde’s priorities include more harbours on Maio and St. Nicolau islands. China’s President Hu Jintao has pledged African governments us$20 billion in credit over the next three years.
“Cape Verde is now an emerging, middle income nation,” stated Neves, “We want to speed up the rate of growth of our economy and we have needs in terms of infrastructure and need resources to finance them.” He explained the country wants to develop tourism, air transport, renewable energy and information technology.
The Prime Minister confirmed, “Cape Verde is open for the construction of casinos. The legislation is ready.”
Previous interest in developing casinos in Cape Verde was withdrawn as investors complained the legislation was too restrictive. Deregulation of casino gaming laws and the establishment of gaming zones in Cape Verde were implemented last year, in an attempt to drive foreign investment to the island nation.
Under the legislative changes, licenses are granted by the Tourism board, instead of the current Finance Minister. The premium payable by concession-holders was also amended under the new law, with a fixed payment of between us$250,000 and $3m, as well as a variable payment to be paid throughout the concessions lifetime.
Humerto Brito, Minister for Tourism, Industry and Energy, said, “Over the last few years there have been many requests by those interested in setting themselves up in Cape Verde to establish businesses related to gaming and gambling.”