Praia (awp/afp) – The Cape Verdean government and the French airport management group Vinci signed on Monday the concession contract for four international airports and three airports in the archipelago for the next 40 years.
“This concession will improve the quality and performance of our airports, benefit tourism as an important sector of Cape Verde’s economy and promote Cape Verde as an investment destination,” said Cape Verdean Prime Minister Ulysses Correa e Silva, during an official statement. Party at a hotel on the island of Sal, one of the most touristy hotels in the country.
The project was denounced by the opposition because of its duration – 40 years – and also because the selection of the company was made through “direct agreement”, that is, without a procedure for competition from potential dealers. The opposition was not consulted and ruled that the state had conducted an “opaque” grant procedure.
“We will be your partner (…) to develop positive mobility, create wealth and respect for our planet,” said Nicholas Notbert, CEO of Vinci Airports Group.
“The Vinci airport network now includes eight airports in Brazil, ten in Portugal and seven in Cape Verde, and Portuguese is now the most spoken language in the Vinci concessions,” he added.
Vinci will pay the Cape Verde state, for an initial period of 40 years, €80 million in two installments, €35 million paid immediately, and €45 million upon taking on the same level of movement as in 2019.
The Vinci Group will also have to pay a percentage of its total income annually to Cape Verde and provide investments of 619 million euros during this period. It will also handle the majority of employees working in airports.
Located off the coast of Senegal, the Cape Verde archipelago consists of volcanic islands and sunny beaches, and is very popular with tourists.
But its economy, which is 25% dependent mainly on European tourism and also depends on remittances from the large diaspora and development aid, has been hit hard by the coronavirus. The pandemic has exacerbated the economic effects of a worsening drought in recent years.
Dibba / Al