African Development: Go To Cape Verde


African development requires at a minimum the elimination of hunger, improved health care, and greater education, but to reach these goals, smaller preliminary steps must first be taken, and instead of tackling all of Africa at the same time, a concentrated effort should begin in the island-nation of Cape Verde.

Why begin in Cape Verde? It has a population of only 491,575, and a unique geographical location, 350 miles from the West African Coast. It has year-round temperatures between 77 F and 84 F, dry air for nine months (Nov.-July), beautiful beaches, and an abundance of seafood for fishing expeditions. The islands could and should be promoted as a tourist destination, which would in turn provide jobs and money to achieve other goals. Once conditions are elevated throughout the island-nation, it can then become a base for improving life in the other African states.

Currently, Cape Verde has three international airports that provide daily flights to Europe, but additional air traffic from the U.S. and Brazil could transform the island-state into a continental stepping stone, like Hong Kong is for China, or London is for Europe.

While the local use of the Creole/Portuguese language is a match for tourists from Portuguese-speaking Brazil, Cape Verde needs English teachers to help them with travelers from the U.S.

But the area of development that would benefit the country more than anything else is drinking water. The problem now is usable water is in short supply, since there is no rain for nine months straight, and water wells cannot be dug, because the country is volcanic. Desalinization plants and drip irrigation methods are currently in use, but much more water is needed.

Cape Verde needs to make regional arrangements with nearby Guinea and Sierra Leone, two of the wettest places on earth, to pump rain water through pipelines, along the ocean floor. Usable water is needed to develop livestock, like cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry. Although Cape Verde currently grows bananas, corn, beans, potatoes, sugarcane, peanuts, and coffee, more water would allow for a much stronger agricultural sector.

Once Cape Verde was fully-irrigated and green year round, foreign traffic would increase several times over. The arrival of tourists would trigger side trips to the nearby continental African countries, and economic development would spread.

Development has to start somewhere. Let’s start in Cape Verde. Upon making it a success, the neighboring states will follow.

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