The Governments of the United States and Cabo Verde held their third bilateral Partnership Dialogue on March 30, 2021. With interagency participation from both countries, U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State Robert Godec and Cabo Verde Minister of Foreign Affairs and Communities Abroad and of Defense Rui Figueiredo Soares launched the Dialogue.
Economic Growth and Prosperity: The two sides affirmed that Cabo Verde and the United States share a common interest in strengthening economic and commercial ties. Participants discussed Cabo Verde’s plans to privatize state-owned enterprises, its sustainable development plan for 2017-2021, and Cabo Verde Ambition 2030, which offers mutually beneficial trade and investment opportunities. Participants underscored promoting trade, investment, engagement with the Cabo Verdean diaspora, and increasing opportunities for women entrepreneurs as keys to further strengthening and diversifying economic ties. They identified possibilities for collaboration to enhance cybersecurity and support Cabo Verde’s growth as an ICT hub in West Africa. The United States and Cabo Verde share ambitious goals to address climate change and increase clean energy development by continuing to focus on reducing greenhouse gases and achieving net zero global emissions by 2050 or before, which participants concurred held promise for possible future technical cooperation and job creation in the renewable energy, tourism, and agriculture sectors, as well as the maritime economy. They welcomed the formal signing of a Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) agreement that will strengthen financial ties and pledged to continue pursuing other mechanisms to build a more solid and mutually beneficial regulatory environment to boost two-way trade and investment.
Education and University Partnerships: Participants recognized the indispensable value of longstanding people-to-people ties to the bilateral relationship. They discussed the importance of prioritizing English language education, research, and coding, as well as enhancing educational partnerships between U.S. and Cabo Verdean universities and institutions. They welcomed a new U.S.-funded partnership between the University of Cabo Verde and Pennsylvania State University to improve sustainable fishing practices. Participants noted that forthcoming U.S. programs in Cabo Verde, such as the English Access Micro-scholarship and Fulbright Specialist Programs, are important steps for facilitating greater access to the global marketplace. The two countries discussed Cabo Verde’s interest in exploring its potential to become a higher education platform for specialized and higher education courses in West Africa.
Defense and Security: Cabo Verde and the United States reaffirmed their desire to further enhance their strategic defense and security partnership, which greatly contributes to the security of both nations. Both sides committed to pursue an MOU aimed at furthering common defense and security interests based on shared democratic values. They looked forward to supporting Cabo Verde’s efforts to reform the security sector and the Armed Forces, among others, through Cabo Verde’s pairing with a U.S. state National Guard under the U.S. Department of Defense’s State Partnership Program. Participants underscored their commitment to fighting transnational organized crime and illicit trafficking by enhancing cooperation, building capacity, and sharing information. They committed to assisting Cabo Verde’s agencies such as the Judiciary Police, to better prevent, investigate, and dismantle international criminal networks engaged in illicit trafficking and terrorism in the region. Joint maritime law enforcement operations will continue to protect Cabo Verde’s maritime and territorial integrity and bolster shared efforts to strengthen security in the Atlantic. Both sides welcomed future engagement between each nation’s Coast Guards in training; countering illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; and promoting a rules-based maritime order. Participants also highlighted U.S. support for strengthening Cabo Verde’s capabilities to counter organized crime, such as money laundering and terrorist financing, and welcomed Cabo Verde’s joining the G7 24/7 Cybercrime Network, which will facilitate cooperation with other nations to preserve digital evidence in cyber investigations. They noted the Boston Police Department’s continuing relationship with Cabo Verde’s National Police as a concrete means to cooperate and share best practices on law enforcement matters.
Information Sharing and Securing the Border: Participants highlighted ongoing cooperation on port and airport security between relevant U.S. and Cabo Verdean authorities. The U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security have committed resources to assist in safeguarding Cabo Verde’s borders and enhance information sharing that better secures travel and trade. Cabo Verde’s booming tourism industry and commercial traffic, including direct flights with the United States, have made cooperation in information sharing and border security a natural partnership for the two countries. Both sides pledged to work to identify other ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation on transportation and border security and to execute appropriate Memoranda of Cooperation for operationalizing such programs in the coming year. Through this collaboration, the United States and Cabo Verde seek to develop a model of information sharing and border security cooperation for the wider region.
U.S. and Cabo Verdean participants expressed their determination to engage as needed in focused conversations on the aforementioned areas in the coming months.