- Middle-income nation Cape Verde is continuing its strong economic growth, new statistic figures reveal. This year and last year, economic growth is set at around 7 percent annually, with a booming tourism industry providing for most of the growth.
According to Maitland MacFarlan, head of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission that ended its 11-day visit to Cape Verde today, the archipelago's economic and policy performance "remains sound." According to the latest economic analyses, GDP growth in 2006 appears to have been higher than expected earlier - possibly around 6.5 percent, Mr MacFarlan revealed.
"Growth in 2007 is expected to be close to 7 percent and, given the large investment projects in the pipeline, the economic outlook is promising," he said, adding that "inflation is expected to decline substantially in 2007 and reach low single-digit levels by the end of the year."
The IMF mission concluded that Cape Verde's strong economic growth mainly had been supported by "strong public and private investment, together with a sharp pickup in tourist arrivals." Also most of the massive investments had been related to the tourist sector, including infrastructure.
The IMF's conclusions are sustained by Cape Verde authorities. According to a statement late last year by the spokeswoman of the Praia cabinet, Cristina Fontes Lima, the numbers of tourist arrivals from 2006 were set to increase at an annual rate of 22 percent. This had been revealed by the National Statistics Institute (INE).
INE projections had further suggested that by 2015, around one million tourists would visit the archipelago annually. "This means that the sector could start contributing with 30 percent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in contrast to the current 10 percent," Ms Lima said, adding that "continuing the dynamic development of the sector, it could employ 53,000 people, demonstrating that there will be more economic growth and more employment."
The cabinet spokeswoman further revealed that in 2006 alone, Cape Verde authorities had approved of investment projects totalling US$ 300 million, "which remains a promising indicator" of economic growth. A great part of these approved investments had been in the booming tourism sector.
The IMF today said it was optimistic on further growth and investments in Cape Verde. While the archipelago already had proven a lucrative place for foreign investors, the Fund nevertheless urged Praia authorities to keep moving forward on economic reforms. In particular the tax code - which holds a complex system of tax exemptions - urgently needed reform, Mr MacFarlan noted.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.