Children in Vila do Maio, Maio Island

maio children

Children on the island of Maio are happy and playful. They have few, if any of the elaborate toys that many European children have, but they have lovely beaches, quiet streets and lovely weather. In Maio they are particularly friendly and even though many visitors may have a language barrier, it is still possible to communicate in some limited way. These four in Vila do Maio (Porto Inglês) enjoyed being photographed.

Ecology on the agenda in Maio meetings

ecology

There is currently a Cape Verdean Parliamentary Delegation visiting the island of Maio for three days of meetings and visits. A number of subjects will be covered including ecology. The delegation will also be entertained with musical events on both Monday and Tuesday evenings. The entertainment being provided by local bands and also Tibau Tavares.

On Wednesday there will be a meeting looking at matters of ecology within Cape Verde. This meeting will consider issues surrounding water and agriculture together with other environmental issues. This could be an important initiative in a country that already has grand plans in terms of green energy. If Cape Verde can address other issues such as recycling and dealing with waste, it would be a good move.

Cape Verde Economic Growth

cape verde economic growth

Three of the smallest African countries – Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau and São Tomé & Príncipe – are on target to witness growth in their economies in 2018 that well exceeds the average for sub-Saharan Africa. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has published these findings.

Of these three countries São Tomé & Príncipe is expected to see an increase to about 5%. Guinea Bissau is expected to match the same growth as last year, namely 5.5%. Cape Verde is looking at 4.3% this year, although it may slow down slightly next year.

The common language of Portuguese connects these three small countries.

Of the other Portuguese speaking African countries, Angola is likely to show the lowest growth of only 2.2%. Overall the World Bank considers that the recovery in sub-Saharan Africa is too slow. So it is good to learn that amongst the best achievers is Cape Verde.

Maio to be a UNESCO Biosphere reserve?

turtles on maio

A recent report has identified the island of Maio as having the necessary conditions to be considered as part of the UNESCO Biosphere. Biosphere reserves are ‘areas comprising terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems’.

Consultants identified Maio as having the potential to be an excellent reserve, given its size and the quality of the natural environment as well as being part of Macaronesia (islands in the North Atlantic, belonging to Portugal, Spain and Cape Verde). It is hoped that the formalities will be submitted to UNESCO by September and then the proposal is considered with a decision due in July 2019. Some aspects may not be completed in time for that deadline and may have to be considered for next year. Submissions always have to be made by September.

Designating the island of Maio in this way could bring some advantages for the island, including recognition world wide, and it will bring to the island organisations and individuals interested in research. It will also provide support in the management of the natural resources on the island.

Residency permits for foreign nationals

cape verde residency permits

The parliament in Cape Verde has passed a act of parliament that will enable the granting of permanent residency permits to foreign owners of homes in the country. These permits will mean that owners will be given priority at the offices of the Foreign and Borders Service. Such priorities will also include a spouse and children aged under 14.

These Residency Permits will apply to properties costing over €80,000 in towns where the Gross Domestic Product is below the national average. In towns where the GDP is higher than the national average, it will apply to properties costing over €120,000.

The same bill also gives some exemptions from the Single Property Tax on the relevant properties. Retired people living in Cape Verde, but with income from elsewhere, will also receive some tax exemptions.

Saharan sand over Cape Verde

saharan sand

In winter, winds known as the Harmatten blow west over the Sahara Desert. In the process the winds pick up sand and dust from the Sahara and blow it over the Atlantic. This year, at the end of January, NASA’s satellites picked up images of the Saharan sand over the ocean and over the Cape Verde islands.

The mountainous islands, such as Santiago, São Nicolau and Santo Antão block some of the sand. As a result there is less dust on the west side of the archipelago. The sand blows across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. The sand fertilises the sea with nutrients, which can promote the growth of plankton, but can also bring about damage to coral reefs, because of micro-organisms it contains.

Visa update

cape verde visa update

The government of Cape Verde is planning to remove the requirement to purchase a visa for visitors from the USA, Canada and the non-Schengen counties of Europe (which includes the UK). The relaxation of visa requirements for visitors from the European Union, which was agreed last year, comes into force in May of this year. The aim of this extension to the visa waiver is intended to encourage more investment, more employment opportunities and more visitors from further afield.