Speaking to journalists last Saturday, the Prime Minister-elect said that this government would work to “accelerate Cape Verde’s rhythm of growth, create more employment and income for families, and prepare the country for future challenges.” With this in mind, special attention will be given to the Economy of the Sea and the modernization of the country.
The Ministry of Infrastructures and Maritime Economy, the Ministry of Social Development and Family and the Ministry of Communities are the new areas included among the designations of the 18 ministries making up the new executive structure. Also in the government are two new state secretariats – one will work under the coordination of the Ministry of Foreign Relations (formerly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), while the other will be responsible for the area of Marine Resources.
Fernanda Fernandes, as Minister of Communities, and Eva Ortet, as Minister of Rural Development, are the two new female entries who will keep the number of women in the cabinet stable with the exit of Fátima Fialho (Minister of Tourism, Industry and Energy) and Madalena Neves (Minister of Labor, Family and Social Solidarity).
Another characteristic of the Prime Minister-elect’s new executive structure is the game of musical chairs played by current cabinet members who will be leaving one ministry for another completely different one. But there are also new “additions” to existing ministry denominations, including “Innovation” to the Ministry of Higher Learning, “Planning” to the Ministry of Finances and “Development of Human Resources” to the Ministry of Youth and Employment.
In terms of first-time cabinet ministers, in addition to those mentioned above, the new executive includes José Carlos Lopes Correia as Ministry of Justice, António Correia e Silva as Minister of Higher Learning, Science and Innovation, musician and writer Mário Lúcio Sousa as Minister of Culture, former Praia mayor Felisberto Vieira as Minister of Social Development and Family and Rui Semedo as Minister of Parliamentary Affairs.
Other executive first-timers include career diplomat José Luís Rocha as State Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Adalberto Vieira, who will leave the Department of Fisheries to take on his post as State Secretary of Marine Resources. Jorge Tolentino has left his post as Cape Verde’s ambassador to Germany to return to the cabinet as Minister Defense and government spokesman many years after leaving the executive, during José Maria Neves’ first government.
Clear bets and vague intentions
In this newest government lineup, José Maria Neves has reinforced the foreign “front” with a Minister of Foreign Relations and a State Secretary of Foreign Affairs. The Cape Verdean diaspora has been given a Ministry of Communities, and the sea has become a highlight as a strategic line of development with the Ministry of the Maritime Economy and the State Secretariat of Marine Resources. But if this investment in the “exportation of Cape Verde” is clear, the economic sector proves much more enigmatic with the disappearance of the Ministry of the Economy – there is no longer an Adjunct State Secretary of the Economy under the direct responsibility of the Prime Minister. There is only the Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Energy, which comes from the previous government. And not even the new Ministry of Infrastructures and Maritime Economy covers this gap in the “real economy.”
The transportation sector has also disappeared, as has labor. Where could they have gone? And, speaking of innovations, another incognita is the Ministry of Social Development and Family, led by Felisberto Vieira. With such a vague designation, the public will only be able to evaluate its worth when what is going to actually be put there is known.
Octávio Tavares, Lívio Lopes, Sidónio Monteiro, José Brito, Fátima Fialho and Madalena Neves leave the government. The Prime Minister has made himself responsible for the area of State Reform, which continues to have Romeu Modesto as State Secretary of Public Administration. Jorge Tolentino is the prodigal son who has returned to the government palace to become cabinet spokesman and Minister of National Defense.
Among the new faces are various independents. António Correia e Silva leaves the presidency of the University of Cape Verde to become Minister of Higher Learning, Science and Innovation. José Carlos Lopes Correia, until now the director of the Judiciary Police, is the new Minister of Justice. Career diplomat and former Cape Verdean ambassador to Luxembourg Fernanda Fernandes takes on the new Ministry of Communities, while Mário Lúcio Sousa makes his executive debut as Minister of Culture.
José Maria Veiga has left the Ministry of the Environment, Rural Development and Marine Resources to take on the Ministry of Infrastructures and Maritime Economy. Sara Lopes has kept Housing the Territorial Management under her realm, with one added sector, the Environment. Fernanda Marques has been shifted to the Ministry of Education and Sports, while Cristine Duarte holds steadfast in the Ministry of Finances, which now includes Planning.
Marisa Morais moves from the Justice Ministry to Internal Administration, while Janira Hopffer Almada continues in charge of the Ministry of Youth, with the added responsibilities of Employment and Development of Human Resources. Cristina Fontes Lima goes from the Ministry of Defense to the Ministry of Health, while Humberto Brito Lima has moved from State Secretary to Minister of Tourism, Industry and Energy.