Cape Verde Prime Minister Jose Maria Neves hailed the great economic and social strides his nation has made in recent years during a visit Saturday to the Whaling City. While challenges still remain for the African nation of about 500,000 people, the prime minister said that all the children in Cape Verde now attend school and are immunized and all babies are born in hospitals, he said. Speaking with the aid of an English interpreter, Neves said the per capita income has grown to $4,000 and the poverty rate has dropped from 80 percent to 24 percent in just 17 years from 1995 to 2012. The expectation is that the per capita income will grow to $12,000 by 2030. Neves made his remarks at the Corson Maritime Learning Center, part of the National Whaling Historical Park, with about 100 people in attendance. His cabinet also joined him in his visit. Tourism grows every year and currently a half million tourists visit Cape Verde each year.
The expectation is that 750,000 tourists will visit the country by 2040, according to Neves. He said in 2014 Cape Verde expects to open eight dams and has 200 projects underway searching for underground water supplies. Cape Verde continues to develop sources of renewable energy. Currently 33 percent of its energy comes from alternative energy sources, Neves said. With 30,000 immigrants within its borders, Cape Verde is transforming itself into a immigrant nation with the greatest portion coming from the west coast of Africa, he said. “Despite our challenges and problems, we are almost an oasis in the region,” the prime minister said.