Mayor Martin Walsh headed out of town Friday morning to visit Cape Verde, kicking off a five-day trip across the islands of Fogo, Brava, and Santiago.
He will travel with a delegation "comprised of City of Boston and Commonwealth of Massachusetts officials, and business and nonprofit leaders, and community stakeholders," according to the mayor's press office.
“This mission to Cabo Verde offers us an incredible opportunity to strengthen ties with the country where many Bostonians have their family roots, while showcasing the best of all Boston has to offer and unlocking new doors of opportunity,” Walsh said in a statement. “It’s important that as we continue to grow as a city, we look beyond our borders as part of our strategy for creating and sustaining equitable economic growth in the City of Boston.”
Boston and Cape Verde's capital city Praia established a sister-city relationship in 2015, noting the long history of the country's natives settling in Boston around the late 19th century. They moved into the area seeking employment in the whaling and cranberry industries at the time. Over 40,000 Cape Verdeans live in Greater Boston, according to the American Community Survey.
Walsh is joined by the city's economic development chief, John Barros; their chief diversity officer, Danielson Tavares; Boston Fire Commissioner Joe Finn; the Boston Planning and Development Agency's director of research, Alvaro Lima; State Sen. Vinny DeMacedo; State Rep. Liz Miranda; Nam Pham, assistant secretary of business development and international trade for the state; and representatives from the from Berklee College of Music, Hyams Foundation, Cruz Construction, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
"As the proud son of Cape Verdean immigrants and Boston's Cape Verdean community, I know first hand that having a strong working partnership with the City of Praia and Cabo Verde is beneficial to both of our Cities' residents, culture, economy, and quality of life," said Barros said in a statement. "Through our Sister City program we have exchanged best practices, fostered business relationships, and shared cultural experiences with cities around the world that help to strengthen Boston's diversity and economy."
While on the trip, the mayor and his coalition will be focused on expanding economic opportunities between Boston and Cape Verde, and refocusing the sister-city agreement touching on education, health, arts and culture, business and trade, and public safety.
It is the mayor's first trip to Cape Verde and his second international's trip since re-election, after a 2017 voyage to Ireland. The Cape Verde visit concludes on Feb. 28.