Cabo Verde President Jorge Carlos Fonseca announced on Thursday the approval of the law establishing the São Vicente Special Economic Zone (ZEEMSV), a key development project supported by China.
The law, which had already been approved by parliament, creates special incentives for investors, taking into account the amount of the investment, the social and economic impact, the creation of jobs and relevance for the implementation of ZEEMSV.
The development of ports, fisheries, tourism, the repair and shipbuilding industry and renewable energies are defined as strategic sectors of ZEEMSV. The Government identified as additional to this activity, the sectors of energy, water, communications and transport, environment, education, health and finance.
For the purpose of granting incentives – to be determined by the Government – the “minimum investment amount to be considered” for entities or companies that want to invest or settle in ZEEMSV is 275 million escudos (EUR 2.5 million).
These special incentives are applicable “to all relevant areas” of ZEEMSV, but investments below that value may also be granted incentives, in the case they are considered “important projects” for its implementation.
Support measures include tax and customs incentived, but also land use policies and seafront concessions, under special conditions.
According to the law, the aim is “by 2035, transforming São Vicente into a modern and international island, with great vitality, a model of economic and social development, in terms of ecological environment, use of resources and human living conditions”.
According to the proposal, the goal is also to make ZEEMSV “a maritime logistics platform in the central Atlantic Ocean region for transhipment of cargo and containers, processing, marketing and distribution of maritime products and an internationally renowned tourist destination”.
The installation and planning of the ZEEMSV, approved by the Government, foresees three phases until its conclusion, in 2035, and will immediately involve the territorial planning of the island of São Vicente, which concentrates a large part of the country’s fish processing activity, the country´s major export product.
In addition to the creation of the special economic zone in São Vicente, the document defines the creation of Integrated Development Zones in the neighboring islands of Santo Antão, São Nicolau and Santa Luzia, with a view to exploring the complementarities between these islands and São Vicente and the integrated and coordinated development of the four islands.
Cabo Verde´s new minister of Maritime Economy is expected to bring new momentum into the process and create a new economic growth engine.