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Cape Verde, Russia sign visa-free agreement, explore economic relations

Africa in 60 - May 7, 2019

Cape Verde’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luis Filipe Lopes Tavares, paid a working visit to Moscow where diplomatic talks on bilateral trade and economic ties ensued with Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov.

They also paid special attention to the promotion of mutually beneficial cooperation in the energy, tourism and agriculture sectors. An inter-governmental agreement on ending visa formalities for reciprocal travel was also signed.

According to Sergei Lavrov, Cape Verde is considered Russia’s traditional partner in Africa. “We value the friendship. Cooperation is growing between the two countries. I would like bilateral trade and economic cooperation to reach the level of political contacts, which is very high. There are good opportunities for this in various areas, especially tourism. I hope that the visa-free travel agreement we signed, will contribute to the development of tourism in both directions”, Lavrov says.

Both ministers further agreed to take additional measures to step up economic partnership, identify and use all opportunities available, including direct contacts between members of the business community.

The substantive part of the official discussion was devoted to the development of tourism, including in the context of the Visa Waiver Agreement, between Russia and Cape Verde that was signed.

Lavrov and Tavares stressed that the new visa-free agreement will encourage tourism, as well as cultural and educational exchanges and contacts between both countries.

Over the past ten years, Russia and Cape Verde have achieved very little, if nothing at all, in dealing with previous diplomatic promises and pledges. Undoubtedly, some bilateral agreements were signed but are yet to be implemented.

“We have an understanding of the necessity to encourage business circles to establish direct links and to explore the capabilities of each other, particularly under the auspices of the chambers of commerce and industry,” Lavrov told his counterpart- then Foreign Minister, Victor Borges who visited in October 2007.

In terms of tourism and other investment sectors have remained relatively unknown, primarily due to inadequate information and lack of publicity in Russia, according to Felly Mbabazi, Executive Director of Safari Tropical Tours, who for almost 15 years, has directed and organized several Russian group tours to safari in East Africa.

East African safari includes Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. Her company also operates tours to South Africa and other southern African countries.

“Beyond taking advantage of the existing potential to increase mutual relations, Praia and Moscow first need a shared business strategy. There are lot of things to be considered in the tourism business to Cape Verde. For example: distance from Moscow to Cape Verde, quality tourism infrastructure, reasonable prices, attractions like wildlife, white sandy beaches and most importantly tourist safety”, Mbabazi adds.

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