Cape Verde government clarifies position on land sales

The government in Cape Verde has dismissed rumours that it was going to ban the sale of land to foreign investors.

As one of the world's fastest growing property markets, Cape Verde is regarded by many analysts as being a good example of how an emerging market can grow steadily without falling into over development traps.

But recently rumours were flying that officials were worried that too much foreign investment risked damaging the islands' environment.

The archipelago of 10 islands, 450km off the coast of West Africa, is highly regarded for its beautiful, unspoilt landscape. It has rugged peaks, deep green valleys and banana plantations overlooking empty white beaches.

As a result Cape Verde has become something of a property gold mine, and huge sums of money are being invested in local infrastructure. There is a new international airport and a new ring road around the capital, Praia. More new roads linking resorts to the airport are due to be completed in December this year, cutting transfer time by between 15 – 20 minutes.

New hotels are being built including a Five Star hotel in Praia and a number of key negotiations are underway for further large projects. There was concern that major projects could be lost so the Economy minister Fatima Fialho has stepped in to stop the rumours.

'The policy of this Government is to promote foreign investment and negotiations with each promoter will continue to be the same. Every time there is an investor proposal, either national or from overseas, it will be analysed,' she said.

Fialho added that the government was committed to protecting the environment as the beaches and natural beauty are an important part of policy.

The statement was greeted with relief. 'An official ban on land sales would have serious consequences. We are pleased the position is now clarified,' said Olavo Correia, the head of the islands' Association of Tourism Real Estate Promoters.

Foreign investment has been central to the growth of Cape Verde's economy and infrastructure. Tourism is predicted to grow to over a million by 2015.