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Monday, May 2, 2011

10 reasons US businesses should invest in Cape Verde

There are very good arguments that can be made to US small businesses as to the potential benefits of investing in Cape Verde. Here are some of them:

  1. Opportunity. There are a range of potential opportunities in the following sectors: Tourism, Energy and Water Utilities, Health Services, Construction, Investment Banking and possibly Manufacturing and Exports driven by the US government's African Growth and Oppotunity (AGOA) trade and development incentive program. These opportunities are identified due to the demands in Cape Verde and the infrastructure available to support such ventures.
  2. Political and Social Stability. Cape Verde has one of the most stable, democratic governments in all of Africa and is ranked high on the world scale. There are no extremists to be found in the country. The population prides itself on its morabezza or hospitality. It is a very welcoming and safe nation.
  3. Financial and Tax Incentives. The government provides significant fiscal and tax incentives for a period of many years to encourage foreign investors. US business investors are missing out on a unique opportunity in this regard.
  4. Human Resources. The level of literacy in Cape Verde is relatively high around 80%. The average worker is well educated. There is not an excessive demand for labor so labor costs are relatively low (except in the islands of Sal and Boa Vista where the population is relatively small and tourism and real estate development are extensive).
  5. Economic Diversification. US small businesses tend to heavily concentrate their business assets in US markets. This strategy exposes the US business investor to the economic risks of the US economy. Creating investments in an international context allows business investors to spread their sovereign risks.
  6. Economic Freedom. Cape Verde is an excellent international market in which to conduct business. It ranked number 65 on the Heritage Foundation's 2011Index of Economic Freedom. This is above the world average, and significantly higher than average for the African region. In fact, Cape Verde ranks 3rd among African nations for its economic freedoms.
  7. Economic Growth. Cape Verde's government has been recognized for its sound macroeconomic policies. The country has experienced robust economic growth averaging around 6% over the past ten years with relatively low inflation. Cape Verde's economy also weathered the global economic crisis, with GDP growth falling to the 3-4% range, but still growth nevertheless. The long-termstrong performance reflects a transition towards a service-based economy led by tourism which accounted for 20% of GDP and is expected to continue to rise.
  8. Currency Diversification. The Cape Verde currency, the escudo (ECV), is pegged to the euro at a rate of 110.3 ECV. Engaging in a business in Cape Verde will provide a US business investor the opportunity to earn euros and thus diversify earnings away from solely US dollars.
  9. Access to Capital. The Cape Verde financial exchanges, Bolsa de Valores, are modern, well developed and well managed. While the markets are not large, they are fairly liquid and provide access to capital from local corporations, banks and the government sector, as well as foreign investors.
  10. Proximity. Cape Verde is much closer to the USA than the US public generally perceives Africa to be. In fact, it is as close as many parts of western Europe and much closer than eastern Europe and Southeast Asian destinations that Americans venture to for vacation and business travel. This may represent an opportunity to tap tourism projects that attract not only Europeans, but Americans as well.

For further information, US investors may find the following contact information helpful:

In the United States

Embassy of Cape Verde
3415 Massachusetts Avenue NW 
Washington, DC 20007
Phone: 202-965-6820
Email: ambacvus@sysnet.net, cvesemedo@sysnet.net

Consulate of Cape Verde
607 Boylston St. 4th. Floor 
Boston , MA 02110
Phone: 617-353-0014
Email: Veronica Martins (vcmartins@cvconsulateb.org)

In Cape Verde

United States Embassy
Rua Abilio Macedo 6 
Caixa Postal 201 
Praia, Ilha de Santiago
Phone: 238-260-8900 

Cabo Verde Investimentos
Av. OUA-Largo AN-Box 89-C
Praia, Ilha de Santiago

Ministry of Economics, Growth and Competitiveness
AV. Amilcar Cabral
Praia, Ilha de Santiago
Phone: 238-260-7611

Bolsa de Valores
Achada de Santo António n.º 16
Praia, Ilha de Santiago
C.P. 115/A
Email: bvc@bvc.cv
Phone: 238-260-3030/31/32/38
Website: http://www.bvc.cv


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