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Lusa - Business News - Cabo Verde: Portugal open to renegotiating bilateral debt, swapping for assets




Lisbon, May.3,2021(Lusa)-Cabo Verde's minister for foreign affairs and defence, Rui Figueiredo Soares, who on Saturday ended his first official visit to Portugal, said that he had heard from the government in Lisbon that it was open to renegotiating his country's debt, with the conversion of part of it into investments.
"We have paved the way to look at the debt as a whole and the conditions of our debt," he said in an interview with Lusa. "Not only regarding debt relief, which is on the agenda with international organisations and in relations between countries, but also on converting the debt into important investments, so that we can face this post-Covid period."
It was decided, he explained, that the two countries' finance ministries would now study and present "shortly" a proposal for the conversion of part of Cabo Verde's debt to Portugal and to Portuguese banks into investments, with the participation of Portuguese companies.
Soares said that he had felt great openness to the idea from his counterpart, Augusto Santos Silva, and from Portugal's prime minister, António Costa, two of the officials with whom he met during the week.
Cabo Verde had already been advocating the conversion of its €600-million debt to Portugal into "strategic investments" in the archipelago, under "conditions" that it argued would be "in the interest" of both countries.
Now, according to Soares, "on the part of the Portuguese government we have received the greatest openness so that our ministries of finance can analyse Cabo Verde's debt and make proposals on how a large part of that debt can be converted into substantial investments, which are of interest, and also with the participation of Portuguese companies and Portuguese services."
The prospect of Portuguese companies taking part in portfolio investments in his country would also be "important for the re-launch of the economy" in Portugal itself, he argued.
Amongst the investments that could be involved in this plan, Soares cited ones in the area of health, such as a new hospital in the Cabo Verde capital of Praia, as well as others in the blue economy and digital economy sectors.
Proposals would be presented soon, he said, "because time is pressing" since "with Covid-19 everything is urgent" since the economy must be re-launched.
As for the total amount of Cabo Verde's debt to Portugal, Soares preferred not to specify: "The exact figures are being calculated," he said, adding that "we have debts with the Portuguese banks and the package is being analysed together."
Soares also welcomed Portugal's pledge to bring forward the planned delivery of vaccines against Covid-19 to Cabo Verde and to extend the current moratorium on the servicing of bilateral debt until the end of the year, as Santos Silva had announced after the two men's meeting in Lisbon on Wednesday.
The measure is a response to a challenge issued by the Paris Club, an entity created informally in 1956 to support countries in economic difficulties, and by the G20, a group of the 20 largest economies in the world, to all official and private bilateral creditors, for a global mobilisation in support of the least developed countries, through the debt service suspension initiative (DSSI).
On Thursday, Soares had what he said was an "excellent meeting" with Portugal's defence minister, João Cravinho, in which they spoke "about cooperation in the specific area of defence". It was also decided "that we will continue the regular meetings and the minister will visit Cabo Verde soon, in June," he added.
Above all, Soares said, the meeting raised the possibility of strengthening and defining a new concept of bilateral cooperation with Portugal in the field of defence, as well as underscoring Portugal's openness to serve as a spokesperson and mediator in a process to expand Cabo Verde's partnership with the European Union to the defence sector.
"Essentially, the message I brought is to strengthen cooperation relations in the area of defence and security with Portugal," he said. "These are important issues, which we will think about as will the Portuguese Ministry of Defence."

ATR/ARO // ARO.
Lusa


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2021-05-04 09:48:00







 

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