Remarks by Ambassador Jeff Daigle Reception and Concert Celebrating the 247th Anniversary of U.S. Independence

Remarks by Ambassador Jeff Daigle
Reception and Concert Celebrating the 247th Anniversary of U.S. Independence
U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, Praia
July 4, 2023

(as prepared for delivery)

Your Excellencies, dear friends, Minister Lélis, Mister Rocha, Secretary of State Vieira, Dr. Landim, Admiral Monteiro;

Friends and partners in the government, diplomatic corps, business community and civil society; and

All of our viewers online.

On behalf of the entire U.S. Embassy team, my spouse Matthew and I are delighted to welcome you to our celebration of the 247th anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America.

This month also marks my fourth anniversary as the U.S. Ambassador to Cabo Verde, giving me the honor and pleasure of being the longest-serving person ever in this role!  Despite me being in Cabo Verde quite some time now, I am very proud that we continue to find innovative, new ways to partner with Cabo Verde to deepen and broaden our bilateral relationship.

Just this past year we provided emergency funding to address food insecurity in Cabo Verde through targeted cash transfers to those most affected, helping reduce the number of people at severe risk of hunger by more than 30 percent.  We supported the efforts of civil society, led by ACRIDES, in partnership with the Ministry of Justice, to open four child-friendly interview rooms across Cabo Verde to bolster the protection of children from abuse.  We launched in Cabo Verde both the Fulbright program, which will provide scholarships to Cabo Verdean students to study in the United States, and the English Access program, which is providing two-years of intensive after-school English training to students in underserved communities.

We are supporting efforts across the Cabo Verdean government to strengthen the country’s cybersecurity, and our expansive justice-sector portfolio continues to build the capacities of Cabo Verde’s law enforcement, judicial, and prison systems.  In the military sphere, we are assisting with the rehabilitation of The Guardião to get this vital maritime security asset back on the high seas, finalizing plans for construction of a dedicated pier in Mindelo for the Cabo Verdean Coast Guard, and expanding our State Partnership Program between New Hampshire’s National Guard and the Cabo Verdean military launched last year into robust collaboration on a range of issues, including search-and-rescue, emergency medical response, and safely managing and disposing of explosive ordnance.  The United States was also honored to co-host with Cabo Verde the first-ever African Maritime Forces Summit, which took place in Sal and brought together naval leaders from nearly 40 nations across the continent.

As made clear during December’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC, attended by His Excellency the Prime Minister, the United States prioritizes economic development in Cabo Verde supported by U.S. private-sector investment and expanded trade ties.  And I am proud to say that our Embassy’s hard work in this area is paying off, with the United States virtually tying this year for second place for foreign direct investment in Cabo Verde and 2022 two-way trade in goods rising 83 percent from pre-pandemic levels, led by dramatically increased Cabo Verdean exports to the United States.

Finally, demonstrating the growing prominence and importance of Cabo Verde to U.S. foreign policy, we were honored to host multiple high-level visitors this past year, including the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, the Secretary of the Navy, the Special Envoy for Business Affairs, and a six-member Congressional delegation led by Senator Coons.

There are so many more milestones that occurred this past year that I could highlight, but as the saying goes, the best is yet to come, so we look forward to sharing news with all of you in the coming months of new developments.

In particular, I am thrilled that the design phase of our new embassy compound is nearing completion, with a team of designers and construction experts visiting Cabo Verde just last week to share and receive important feedback on the initial design concepts, which I can say are spectacular and truly reflect the culture and history of Cape Verde, while embracing the best of American values.  With more than 6,500 square meters, the future embassy campus will provide new and larger consular services and public event spaces, further integrate gardens and green spaces, and house approximately 225 staff members, including more than 150 local employees.  Plans are on track for construction to begin in 2025, with the facility to be ready for occupancy in the 2028-2029 timeframe, with the project expected to inject $100 million into Cabo Verde’s economy and create 1,000 local jobs.

To conclude, I want to thank each and every one of you for your partnership, collaboration, and support during my time in Cabo Verde.  These past four years have been some of the most professionally rewarding ones of my career.  And on a personal level, Matt and I have been deeply touched by the warm welcome and spirit of morabeza we have experienced visiting each of Cabo Verde’s beautiful and unique islands.

But all good things come to an end, and Senate willing, we expect that Jennifer Adams, the distinguished and highly respected diplomat that President Biden has nominated to succeed me, to arrive in the upcoming months.  So I am very grateful to have this final July 4th celebration with all of you to express my profound gratitude to the government and the people of Cabo Verde for four outstanding years of collaboration and partnership benefitting both of our great nations.

In my very first remarks after arriving in Cabo Verde I shared my wish that the people of Cabo Verde would think of Matthew and me as family by the time we depart, and I sincerely hope that dream has come to pass.

Now, I will give the microphone to Minister Lélis for her remarks, to be followed by a toast, so please get your glasses ready!  Minister Lélis.

[After Minister Lélis Remarks]

Thank you Your Excellency for your heart-felt remarks.

Now I would ask everyone to join me in a toast.  Please raise your glasses in honor of the independence of both the United States and Cabo Verde as we toast the U.S.-Cabo Verde relationship spanning more than 200 years.  May it continue to grow ever deeper and stronger.  Long live the Fourth and Fifth of July!

[After the toast]

Now for tonight’s main event, our Independence Day concert!  And what a show we have planned tonight, featuring two outstanding Cabo Verdean-American entertainers — Zerui Depina and Khyra Tavares – performing with Bruno Lima and the incomparable Pret e Bronk band.  And we also have two of the U.S. Embassy’s own – Nadia Barbosa and Alex Dennis — emceeing and sharing a few songs as well.  So, without further ado, take it away Nadia, Alex, and Pret e Bronk!

View the photos of the event here!