The Republic of Cabo Verde is an archipelago and island country of West Africa in the central Atlantic Ocean, a combined land area of about 4,033 square kilometers. It was uninhabited until the 15th century, when Portuguese explorers colonized the islands. Since the early 1990s, Cabo Verde has been a stable representative democracy. In a discussion with their Ambassador Clara Delgado Jesus, more is revealed about this beautiful country.
Your Excellency, please could you tell us about your career and what led you to your current position?
I have been with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cabo Verde since 1993, after my university studies. I joined the Cabo Verde Diplomatic Service as Secretary of the Embassy. After working in the Central Services of the Ministry, I was posted in our Embassy in the Netherlands, where I served for just over 2 years.
After working in the Netherlands, I was commissioned to our Embassy in Brussels, where I dealt with matters related to the European Union and especially those related to the relations between the Group of African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries and the European Union. I returned to Cabo Verde from Brussels after four and a half years. Back in the Ministry, I worked in different areas, namely in the area of Protocol and in the Division of External Politics.
After this assignment, I was posted again in Europe, this time as Chargé d ’affaires in our Embassy in Luxembourg where I served for six and a half years. I then returned to the Ministry where I dealt with the so-called global issues. Later, I was appointed to the position of Diplomatic Adviser to the President of the Republic of Cabo Verde, a position that I held until I was appointed Ambassador to Switzerland, which I obtained alongside the position of the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Cabo Verde to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva. This has been the highlight of my diplomatic career.
Cape Verde’s independence from Portugal happened only 48 years ago. What have been the country’s main achievements in that time?
In my view, the most important achievement of Cabo Verde in the post-independence period has been in the field of education.
All successive governments since our independence have paid the utmost attention to education and the development of human resources. It has facilitated an increase in infrastructure in this field: primary schools, high schools and universities, and the easy access of the population to public education (which explains the positive statistics achieved in this field). I dare to say that the relatively good results achieved in the development process of Cabo Verde are partly due to the successful education policies that have been put in place.
What are the main priorities that the Mission brings to the UN table in Geneva?
Our main priorities are focused on how we can improve the state of African countries. Especially in the domains of health, environment protection and preservation, human rights, economic development, amongst others.
What is it about Cabo Verde that makes it such a popular holiday destination?
Cabo Verde is made up of 10 islands and a few islets, located in the Northern Atlantic. Its climate is characterized as subtropical dry because many say we have a permanent summer, as we do not have a winter season. This explains why the country is a good destination for tourists that are looking for warm weather, for swimming and other ocean-related activities.
Cabo Verde’s geographical location close to Europe makes it a convenient vacation destination. Also, the islands are still pretty much pristine as we have a comparatively small population of roughly half a million. The environment has never been meaningfully spoiled as the country has never been exposed to a process of industrialization.
These factors – the geographical location, the pristine environment, and the surrounding oceans and the beautiful white sandy beaches – may appeal and attract prospective tourists, especially from Europe.
For those who haven’t visited the country, how would you describe its main features and cultural identity?
Cabo Verde has a stable society and political system, beautiful mountains and beaches, unspoiled islands and a good climate, as well as good food and music.