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Date: 09/01/2008

Prime Minister José Maria Neves wants Cape Verde to be more productive in 2008, and believes that Cape Verde’s membership in the World Trade Organization and its alignment with European Union standards will make the issue of the country’s and companies’ competitiveness come to the forefront. This was one of the challenges the Prime Minister made to the country’s citizens this morning during the ceremony in which he officially delivered his New Year’s greetings to the head of state, President Pedro Pires.

The Prime Minister believes that “2008 will be a historic watershed, as it will see the beginning of the transition process to the category of developed countries.”

“Cape Verde is already considered a developing country. This is good, because it shows that we have progressed as a nation. It also demonstrates that we have the conditions needed to keep advancing.”

Being a middle-income country, however, is not a final objective, but rather a transitional phase. “Our vision is that we will have to rise in the ranking of developing countries in order to reach a higher stage of development. And this is what transition is,” explained Neves.

In order to make this transition “as short as possible,” the country will have to take on a new rhythm, said the head of Cape Verde’s executive. “Achieving gains in competitiveness is a necessary condition for a successful transition,” he also highlighted, appealing to entrepreneurs, managers, workers and “all of society” to appropriate notions such as “the time factor, productivity and opportunity costs.”

José Maria Neves affirmed that “this will be another year of robust economic growth for the creation of more jobs,” with policies aimed at “reinforcing the business sector” occupying “the center of the government’s activities.”

In addition to the development of the economy and competitiveness, José Maria Neves pointed to security, the environment and energy as among the government’s top priorities for the coming year.

In the realm of security, José Maria Neves admitted that “there is clearly a perception of insecurity in the main urban centers, particularly in the city of Praia,” and that the government will act to “bring citizens’ confidence levels back up.” In order to do this, the Prime Minister promised to increase the number of officers working in the National Police and Judiciary Police, reinforce police equipment, secure the nations prisons and reform its penitentiary system.

The Prime Minister also guaranteed that this year “decisive steps will be taken toward the resolution of the country’s grave energy-related problems,” particularly in Praia.

In this year of municipal elections, the head of the government called for “active participation from all political actors and from citizens as well, beginning with the new general voter census, which is currently under way.” In Neves’ perspective, “local government in Cape Verde has already proven itself a factor in democratization,” and the Prime Minister said he was satisfied with the various “political consensuses reached.”

Aristides Lima calls for an end to “complacency in the parliament”

National Assembly president Aristides Lima also presented his official New Year’s greetings to President Pedro Pires today. In his speech, Lima called on the legislators in the National Assembly to “surpass a certain sentiment of complacency.”

In Lima’s opinion, more “legislative and political initiative” is needed from those participating in the parliamentary process, as is the creation of the conditions necessary for legislators to dedicate themselves exclusively to parliamentary activities.

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