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Remarks at the special session of the Governing Board of the OECD Development Centre on the occasion of the visit of Mr. José Maria Neves, Prime Minister of Cabo Verde

 

Remarks by Angel Gurría,

Secretary-General, OECD

17 February 2016

OECD, Paris, France

 

Vossa Excelência, Primeiro-Ministro José Maria Neves,

Excelentíssimos embaixadores, caros colegas,

É um grande prazer recebê-los nesta Sessão Especial do Conselho Directivo do Centro de Desenvolvimento em homenagem ao Primeiro-Ministro José Maria Pereira Neves da República de Cabo Verde.

Cabo Verde é um dos 50 países em todo o mundo – entre economias avançadas e emergentes, e entre membros e não membros da OCDE - que pertence ao nosso Centro de Desenvolvimento.

Vossa Excelência,

Nós temos muito a aprender com Cabo Verde. E com a sua permissão, eu continuarei o discurso em inglês. Os ensinamentos do seu país são importantes demais para se perderem na tradução!

* * *

Dear Colleagues,

 

Cabo Verde’s experience reminds us that development is a never-ending process — a path of perpetual change. When Cabo Verde joined the Development Centre in March of 2011, it was only four short years after it had graduated from the list of least-developed countries.

 

And having won that battle, it faced new challenges. Cabo Verde had to adapt to new trade and financial regimes. It also had to step up public investment in the infrastructure needed to drive growth and remain competitive in such industries as tourism. And it had to do all of this while keeping an eye on debt sustainability.

 

More recently, Cabo Verde was hit by a number of shocks, including spill-overs from Europe’s slow economic recovery and natural disasters. Despite these challenges, progress continues to be made in reducing poverty. And our analysis of Cabo Verde’s economic performance shows that the country’s real GDP growth held up well in 2015 as tourism receipts increased; that domestic demand has improved; and that energy prices remain low.

 

The country has developed an ambitious energy strategy, with the goal of deriving 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

 

According to the latest World Economic Forum Executive Survey, Cabo Verde has one of the highest scores for public sector efficiency. And the country is among the top ten performers of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance.

 

When it comes to migration, Cabo Verde also demonstrates leadership. It is one of ten countries worldwide to operationalise a dashboard of indicators for measuring policy and institutional coherence for migration and development. In other words, Cabo Verde is aligning its public policies, institutions and programmes to harness migration as an engine for development and as a force for good. The OECD is proud to support Cabo Verde in this work, together with its partners at UNDP.

 

These are all impressive achievements. Congratulations, Prime Minister! Your leadership of the country since 2001 has helped bring about marked improvements to the livelihoods of Cape Verdeans. And your country has become a reference for other nations as they strive to achieve more inclusive and sustainable growth, and better governance.

 

Looking ahead, we must seize other opportunities to deepen the co-operation between Cabo Verde and the OECD – through the Development Centre and beyond. Just a few moments ago, the Prime Minister and I exchanged words on some of the initiatives in which Cabo Verde could consider playing an active role: our Revenue Statistics in Africa project, for example, will see us working with African countries and for African countries to generate reliable, comparable data on revenues.

 

Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, and priorities such as expanding social protection, could also be explored further together.

 

Before handing the Prime Minister the floor, allow me to say one last word about his leadership. Now in his third term, Prime Minister Neves has led Cabo Verde through a period of many milestones. I should also add another important milestone: the country’s first government with a female majority. Today, women account for over half of all cabinet positions in the government of Cabo Verde. This is the highest proportion of female cabinet ministers in any African government. Globally, Cabo Verde comes second only to Finland. Congratulations, Prime Minister!

 

Excellency, Prime Minister,

 

Last September, we were both privileged to be at the United Nations in New York for the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Despite the accomplishments I have just described, you also spoke very openly of the challenges ahead. Of the challenge of raising the per capita GDP of Cabo Verde from 3 800 USD a year to at least 12 000 USD by 2030. Of the need to accelerate our quest for a green economy. And of the need to overcome the very special challenges faced by middle-income countries and Small Island Developing States.

 

You stressed a point that I will stress again here today: we all need to do our homework. We need to work to build partnerships and bridges, and we need to do this in win-win ways. I firmly believe that the OECD and its Development Centre can play a crucial role in these partnerships and in building these bridges.

 

Together, we can deliver Better Policies for Better Lives – both in Cabo Verde and globally.

 

Muito obrigado.

 

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