–Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA):- Special Report From Mike SOGBOLA:
CABO Verde has established her Embassy in the country to strengthen diplomatic ties with Nigeria and be closer to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission which is headquartered in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The Prime Minister of Cabo Verde, Dr. Ulisses Correia e Silva expressed the importance of having an embassy in Abuja during a visit to the ECOWAS Commission as part of activities marking his working visit to Nigeria.
He explained that the purpose of the mission is to inaugurate the new embassy of Cabo Verde in the country, present the first resident ambassador who will be representing Cabo Verde before the ECOWAS Commission as well as strengthen the relationship and cooperation of Cabo Verde with Nigeria, the ECOWAS Commission, and all member states in the organisation.
Welcoming the Prime Minister on behalf of the President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou and other commissioners, the Vice President Finda Koroma said the visit to the Commission showed the importance Cabo Verde placed on its membership of the regional body.
Koroma, while using the opportunity to congratulate Jose Maria Neves on his recent election as the President of the Republic of Cabo Verde, said “we are impressed by Cabo Verde’s exemplary democratic governance through the organisation of free and fair elections and the smooth transfer of power.”
She also appreciated the clear leadership the country has shown in human capital development despite being a small country of many islands.
She expressed the unflinching support of ECOWAS community institutions to the new government and good people of Cabo Verde.
At the meeting with the commissioners at the ECOWAS Commission, the Prime Minister expressed appreciation for being allowed to address them and explained the purpose of his mission to Nigeria.
He said he was in Nigeria to inaugurate the Embassy of Cabo Verde, make known the First Resident Ambassador who will also represent the country before the ECOWAS Commission.
He noted that this will go a long way in strengthened relations of friendship and cooperation with Nigeria, the ECOWAS Commission and all member states of ECOWAS.
He said: “In other words, Cabo Verde intends to be more dynamic in its participation in the sub-region and consequently boost its Regional Integration.”
The Prime Minister said he is fully aware of what at this moment the Region is going through, noting that there remains hard fight that still remains to be fought for the damages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the actions of economic recovery.
He said: “The pandemic is still present and demands from all of us more cooperation, more solidarity and more concerted action.
“For Cabo Verde, since its national independence, this is the greatest challenge to its economy.”
He lamented that: “In the process of Regional Integration, Cabo Verde is faced with several constraints, such as: insularity, its dispersion in islands that entails exorbitant costs of infrastructure and development, the demographic and territorial smallness, in addition to the various other vulnerabilities that create asymmetries and imbalances that make the integration of Cabo Verde extremely difficult. In fact, “Unequal does not integrate”.
He lamented that the drama and cost of Cabo Verde development, a country with 500,000 inhabitants is obliged to have 9 ports, airports, among others because the populations are dispersed throughout the nine islands, and the government is obliged to multiply everything, including services, by the number of inhabited islands.
He said instead of one port but because of the geography of the country, nine ports are needed and all this adds up to: (exiguity of natural resources as a basis for sustainability; the limitation in arable land, combined with the drought/water factor for food security and economy; the smallness of the market (physical and demographic) to attract private investment, the specialization and external dependence in tourism services, transport (whose impact was demonstrated with COVID-19); the atrocities of nature (volcanism, drought, floods etc).
He however said in the face of this integration difficulty, Cabo Verde wishes to make use of Article 3.2 paragraph k) of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty which recommends a balanced development of the sub-region and that attention be paid to the specific problems of each member state, especially the island and landlocked states, and Article 68, which pledges to grant, whenever necessary, to states facing economic and social difficulties, in particular the island and landlocked states, special treatment for the application of certain provisions of the Treaty and to grant them any other assistance they may require.
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