Winds of Change in Cape Verde

Basking in the sun just off the north western coast of Africa, Cape Verde is a glorious archipelago of nine inhabited islands boasting a colourful creole of African and European cultures, today bringing a fresh surge of tourism and investment to its shores.

With developments going up fast, particularly on the busy island of Sal and around Praia on Santiago Island, the Cape Verde Islands are witnessing rapid change both in appearance and economic status. In fact they are currently tipped to undergo a similar kind of metamorphosis experienced in the Canary Islands some thirty years ago.

Nevertheless the past six to eight months do seem to have seen a relative calm on the Islands in terms of investment opportunities in quality new developments on prime locations. Fortunately this situation is about to change as investors await the launch of four superb new projects to be released on the islands of Sal and Sao Vicente over the next few months. One such project, now at launch stage, is Dunas Beach Resort, offering front line beach or golf properties and all the luxury on-site facilities to be expected of any modern golf and leisure resort today, including a spectacular commercial centre, luxury spa, communal pools and gymnasium.

As most savvy investors are aware, Cape Verde is the nearest Tropical destination for Northern Europeans and, at mere 5.5 hours budget flight from London, it sits on the brink of a heyday both as a tourist destination and as a property investment hotspot. According to official figures, visitors to Cape Verde are growing at a rate of 22% per annum, with over one million per year expected by 2015. Euromonitor global travel and tourism manager Caroline Bremner told TravelMole: “Tourism has become one of the world’s biggest and fastest growing industries, with global visitor numbers growing by 16% over 2004 and 2005 to reach 118.6 million. As a result, towns, cities and regions are welcoming a huge new influx of tourists and have begun to aggressively market their natural and historical attributes in order to encourage visitors.” Many other new facilities are also being established; for example a Macau businessman, David Chow, is investing over $100m in a casino and hotel complex in the capital city of Praia.

Increased tourism investment into Cape Verde’s economy has brought with it a new wave of businesses, all seeking top quality commercial and residential accommodation. With new investment projects worth over £150 million currently underway and more overseas property investors than ever before, flights to Cape Verde are constantly on the increase. These extra services have prompted savvy investors to look at the Islands’ great potential for wise moves into property and tourism in Cape Verde. Those investors who bought only 24 months ago have already seen price increases of some 70% in some locations, a fact which, in itself, is a great indicator of what is still to come while economic development is by no means over.

Due to increased economic activity, Cape Verde now celebrates a matching decline in unemployment along with far higher standards of living than ever experienced on the Islands. Recent improvements to the infrastructure and utilities are key areas which Cape Verde has been developing, bringing about vast improvements to islanders’ daily lives. For example, in 2000 only 68% of households had electricity while today over 90% are connected to mains power. Other services such as running water, waste and sewage disposal are now widely available as the country swiftly moves on with modern times to become one of the world’s top tourist and investment locations.

So the winds of change are still blowing strong in Cape Verde and its sails are filled towards its final destination of success. Many investors are eagerly jumping aboard in order to reap the rewards that emerging Cape Verde offers today.

International School Algarve

In 2002, Vale Verde International School opened its large modern premises in Burgau, Luz (on the outskirts of Lagos), fully complying with all the newly-implemented European Community regulations. The school provides parents in the Western Algarve with the opportunity to give their child a secondary education, based on the British National Curriculum with international adaptations.

Since its opening, the school has achieved a 100% pass rate for all students in all subjects undertaken in the final IGCSE examinations each year. This remarkable feat has been made possible by the school’s well-qualified, dedicated and experienced staff of whom we are justly proud.

Vale Verde International School has some of the most modern schooling facilities in the country and is almost daily broadening the range of educational opportunity we can offer.

The school employs a fully qualified staff of specialists, recognised by the Portuguese authorities, with a rich diversity of backgrounds, experience and nationalities. Our aim is to ensure that our growing number of pupils will receive a high quality education experience in a healthy environment.

The Vale Verde International School offers a wide and balanced curriculum based on the English National Curriculum for Key Stages 3 and 4 and leading to internationally recognised qualifications – the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and the International Certificate of Education (ICE) – administered by the Cambridge University International Exams.

Pupils in Years 6 and 7 follow a common curriculum of English, Maths, General Science, French, Portuguese, Geography, History, I.C.T., Art, Drama and Physical Education. As from September 2006 Chemistry will be offered.

In Year 9 individual Sciences are introduced (presently Physics and Biology) and Business Studies is also added to the time table. Pupils are offered the option of English Literature as an IGCSE course as from Year 10.

In Years 10 and 11 a limited but expanding option system is put into operation allowing pupils to “play to their strengths” while ensuring that they continue with priority subjects. Eventually all students will study 12 subjects throughout these two years leading to IGCSE’s in 8 or 9 of these. As from September 2006, Chemistry and Food and Nutrition Technology will be introduced.

Increasingly throughout the school I.C.T. is assuming the role of a means to learn and exercise other subjects as well as an independent discipline in its own right.

You can find out more information by visiting the VVIS website on http://www.vvis.org or e-mailing admissions on [email protected]

Holiday & Travel Guide For the Cape Verde Islands

Beaches

The Cape Verde are a cluster of 10 small islands very close together, ideal for island hopping and spending every day on a new palm beach. Many of the beaches have not been developed, so they are ideal for those wanting absolute peace and privacy. The more popular tourist beaches offer a small variety of water sports from snorkelling, boating and some jet skiing, with small kiosks selling drinks and snacks to keep you refreshed. The waters are warm and inviting and ideal for swimming, and for those that want to learn to surf. For the divers there is a 16th century ship wreck to explore, as well as the variety of colourful sea life in the area.

Sightseeing

Cape Verde Islands are more of a romantic retreat, or a place for the business person to get away from their busy working lives. There isn’t a great deal to see on the smaller islands but there is a little more on Santiago Island. Vogo has volcanic peaks and beautiful scenery and most of the islands are lush in foliage and also have beautiful botanical gardens. There are rare African birds to be seen in the area too, so it is great for birdwatchers. Island hop over to Sal where within one of the volcanoes there are salt mines that you can explore with a very informative local guide, they can be quite eerie, but fascinating. There are many cultural festivals held on the different islands between the months of February and September. They are quite exotic carnivals and a must see if you’re lucky enough to be holidaying at the right time on one of these beautiful islands. There are some lovely nature walks on the islands, which can be done by horseback, making it a more interesting and leisurely experience with many photo opportunities with the variety of landscapes. For those who love to fish, then the Cape Verde is an ideal place for deep sea fishing.

Shopping

Shopping on such small islands can be quite pleasant, with a variety of handmade items and colourful works of local art to choose from on Santiago and a few of the other islands. There is a bit more shopping to be had on some of the other islands, but as their goods are mostly imported you will find these items to be quite expensive. Local musicians record their music on to CD and sell them around the villages, so you can take home a real piece of Cape Verde atmosphere. Beaded jewellery items and small inexpensive gifts are readily available for you to take back home for souvenirs and with the local people being a mix of Senegal and Brazilian, it makes very colourful shopping with cloths and decorative items mixed in with the rest of the goods.

Nightlife

There isn’t what you call vibrant nightlife on the islands, there are the local bands playing live in the cafe’s and bars, which make up the main entertainment. The music is Salsa with a mix of African rhythms, it’s very relaxing to listen to while having an evening meal made with the islands tropical crops and seafood. There are also a few beach parties which can be entertaining, but the night life is very low key. But after a long day in the all year round sun, an early night is welcomed.

Happy Holidays.