It is a pleasure to be here for the opening of the post-harvest center. This is made possible through the partnership between Cape Verde and the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation.
I was in Cape Verde for the first time in February of this year, and it’s great to be back! Cape Verde remains a model of democracy and economic progress in Africa. I am pleased that the Millennium Challenge Corporation is part of Cape Verde’s story of economic growth and development.
[MCC and Cape Verde]
Today, we celebrate a historic chapter here in Cape Verde: The completion of the very first Millennium Challenge Corporation compact in Africa. Cape Verde’s 110 million dollar MCC compact to reduce poverty and promote economic growth has delivered tangible results that make a difference in the lives of families and communities. Our partnership is increasing agricultural productivity, improving the transportation network, facilitating trade, and expanding the private sector.
The investments we’ve made will strengthen Cape Verde’s economic system, making it easier for the private sector—as the engine of growth—to invest, make money, and create jobs. This helps Cape Verdeans earn more income, which is key to long-term economic growth.
[Importance of the Post-Harvest Center]
The post-harvest center that we inaugurate today is further proof of the success of the Cape Verde-MCC partnership.
Farmers and agribusinesses now have a modern facility to store and certify their agricultural products. The center will allow farmers to maintain the freshness and quality of crops, and command the best possible market price at the right time. With investments in farmer training and improvements to roads, bridges, and the port, this post-harvest center is part of an integrated solution to boost agricultural productivity and competitiveness.
Because of the construction of this post-harvest inspection center, the training of sanitary inspectors, and further research on the millipede pest, the Council of Ministers approved a decree to lift a 20-year, inter-island embargo on exports of horticultural products from Santo Antão. The decree eliminates obstacles to the movement of inspected and certified agricultural exports. This will generate more business, trade, and income for the farmers and people of this island.
Let me also acknowledge the contribution of our friends at the Peace Corps. More than 50 Peace Corps volunteers serve in Cape Verde, and many contributed to the work of the MCC compact by collaborating with your agricultural extension services and local governments. I thank them for their service to our shared goals.
Today’s inauguration is just the beginning. Now, this center must be used by the agricultural community to maximize their opportunities for greater income. Like all the successes of Cape Verde’s MCC compact, including this post-harvest center, the incredible impact we see underway must now be sustained. For the sake of economic growth in Cape Verde, let us sustain and build upon the fruits of our partnership moving forward.
Thank you very much, and congratulations to Cape Verde on the completion of its Millennium Challenge Corporation compact, including the opening of this post-harvest center. OBRIGADO.