Over a dozen companies from Brazil active in sectors like handicraft, food, civil construction, garment manufacturing, equipment for the processing of water, cosmetics and information technology participated in a trade mission to Cape Verde, off the western coast of the African continent.
These 15 companies presented their products at the 12th Cape Verde International Fair-FIC 2008, in Praia.
The Brazilian stand was visited by local businessmen and by businessmen from São Vicente, Santo Antão, Fogo Island and other islands of Cape Verde, as well as representatives from the Canary Islands, Guinea Bissau and Portugal.
The businessmen from the Brazilian northeastern state of Ceará made significant contacts within and outside the fair, with importers and owners of distributors of several products, supermarkets as well as food, furniture and household appliance sector companies.
"They visited supermarkets, boutiques and household appliance shops, focusing on better knowledge of the local retail market and, consequently, on business opportunities," explained Mônica da Rocha Tomé, articulator of the Market Access Unit at the Ceará state branch of the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae).
"Cape Verde is an ideal region for small companies to start exporting to. Local importers were enchanted with the Brazilian products," pointed out Rosenilde Teixeira Alff, coordinator of the Foreign Trade Center at the Rio Grande do Norte branch of the Sebrae, who traveled to the country for the third time seeking business opportunities for small entrepreneurs.
"The economy of Cape Verde is basically geared towards tourism and I noticed how hard it was for hotel workers to transport the baggage of tourists to their rooms without elevators," she recalled.
Alff's observation presented an opportunity for the owner of Industrial Elevadores, Francisco de Assis Dantas. The businessman and inventor developed, over six years, an elevator that consumes just 1/3 of the electric energy consumed by conventional elevators, or just a little more than a light bulb.
"Eighteen companies showed interest in importing the elevator during the fair," celebrated the businessman, who has already got a local partner to finance the assembly of the elevators in Cape Verde.
"We are still discussing the question of freight and logistics, but it is all almost set. We are going assemble the part with greater added value here, around 70% of the lift, and the other 30% will be assembled there," commented Dantas.
In the sidelines of the FIC there were events promoted by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services of Sotavento (CCISS) like a Seminar about "Opportunities in Cape Verde" and "The Market in Cape Verde – The Challenges of Salto". The Ceará state branch of the Sebrae gave a talk on "Opportunities in Africa – Brazil/Cape Verde Relations", which included the presence of 45 businessmen from Cape Verde and Portugal.
The group also participated in a seminar about micro-finance, promoted by the Ministry of Finance of Cape Verde. During the meeting there was a talk by the Superintendent of the Bank of the Northeast, in Fortaleza, Luis Sérgio Farias Machado, in which he spoke about the organization's micro finance system (Credi-Amigo/Friendly-Credit).
There were also meetings with businessmen in Cape Verde, as part of a program in the sidelines of the FIC 2008. Businessmen also participated in a meeting with Florentino Cardoso, coordinator da Agency for Business Development and Innovation (ADEI), connected to the Ministry of Finance of Cape Verde.
The committee from Ceará also met ambassador Maria Dulce de Barros, at the Brazilian embassy in Cape Verde. During the external visits, contacts were made with Cape Verde businessmen interested in doing business and establishing partnerships in sectors like food, shoes, civil construction, furniture and cleaning material.