The future of Cape Verde

Maio is a quiet peaceful island, with very few tourist developments. It is sometimes called the forgotten island. This is mainly because transport to Maio has never been very reliable or frequent enough. However, maybe this is about to change – for better or worse. What is the future for Maio? Government officials recently visited Maio.

We reported in March 2018 that Maio had the necessary conditions to be designated as a UNESCO Biosphere. The island is currently applying for this status. Various improvements to the infrastructure have been implemented, or are planned. These include works in Calheta to improve the drainage to prevent flooding and also the improvements to Avenida Amílcar Cabral in Vila do Maio (Porto Inglês). The municipal stadium is also under construction and the possibility of a sports hall is being considered.

These are all positive improvements on an island that has lacked investment in the past. Government minister Fernando Elísio Freire said that Maio was moving from being a forgotten island to an island of hope. He also referred to gains that Maio was, and would experience because of investments in urban and environmental projects.

It has also been reported recently that Cape Verde has recorded more than 140,000 turtle nests. The Government legislated in 2018 to protect the turtles. The main islands where turtles lay their eggs are Maio, Boa Vista and Sal. So Maio plays an important part in the conservation and protection of these gentle creatures. This will be a significant consideration in the Biosphere application process.

However, maybe the Minister was referring to recently reported Spanish investments of 550 million euros? This relates to projects expected to commence in January 2021 and lasting three years. The intention is to eventually create 10,000 jobs on Maio through a project that focuses on the environment and eco tourism. The works will include a private hospital, an international college and tourist resorts. In addition there is talk of an international airport.

These proposals have been well received by the Prime Minister, Ulisses Correia e Silva on his recent visit to the island. Also Miguel Rosa, President of Maio welcomed them. It is claimed to be in accordance with the government’s aim to develop sustainable tourism for the country, and Maio specifically.

The peaceful, unspoilt nature of Maio is its main attraction and is what brings visitors back year after year. Undoubtedly more employment on the island will be a positive move for the population. Increased tourism will also bring money to the island and be good for local businesses. It is to be hoped that this can be achieved without spoiling this gem in the Cape Verde archipelago. The desire to promote eco-tourism is hopefully an acceptance that the beauty and character of Maio is its biggest asset. We hope the future for Maio will be a bright one.