Q travel: with BAR­RIE MAHONEY

‘Twit­ters from the At­lantic’

Q Magazine - - Q Travel -

Bar­rie Mahoney was a head teacher and school in­spec­tor in the UK, as well as a reporter in Spain, be­fore mov­ing to the Ca­nary Is­lands to launch and edit a new English lan­guage news­pa­per. He en­joys life in the sun as a colum­nist and au­thor, and con­tin­ues to write a se­ries of pop­u­lar nov­els and books for ex­pats.

A Lit­tle More than Am­ne­sia I guess most peo­ple have heard of In­done­sia and maybe Poly­ne­sia, but what about Mac­arone­sia and, in­deed, Mi­crone­sia? How about vis­it­ing Mac­arone­sia one day? No, this is not a new name for France in­vented by the cur­rent am­bi­tious Pres­i­dent Macron, but a clus­ter of four archipela­gos in the North At­lantic Ocean, just off the con­ti­nents of Africa and Europe, which are formed by raised and ex­posed peaks of the ocean floor that peer out above the ocean’s sur­face.

The Ca­nary Is­lands are part of Mac­arone­sia, which also in­cludes Cape Verde, Madeira and the Azores. In­ter­est­ingly, the is­lands be­long to three dif­fer­ent coun­tries: Spain, Por­tu­gal and Cape Verde, which are all part of the con­ti­nent of Africa. The Azores are an ex­cep­tion, since they are part of the Euro­pean con­ti­nent.

Al­though I vaguely re­mem­ber the term ‘Mac­arone­sia' be­ing used dur­ing ge­og­ra­phy lessons when I was a pupil, I have rarely heard the term used in re­cent years. It came to light once again this week af­ter Cape Verde an­nounced that it was aim­ing for a free trade zone with other At­lantic is­lands to al­low for the free move­ment of peo­ple, as well as goods and ser­vices. De­spite the term ‘free trade area' now be­ing seen as ‘dirty words' in the UK dur­ing the cur­rent UK-EU Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions, it is good to hear that the es­tab­lish­ment of free trade ar­eas by oth­ers is re­garded as a very sen­si­ble way for­ward for nations to trade and work to­gether in a co­her­ent and civilised man­ner.

Cape Verde is a group of ten windswept is­lands off the coast of West Africa. It is a vol­canic ar­chi­pel­ago that was a Por­tuguese colony un­til 1975, and with which it still has close links. The is­lands have stronger eco­nomic growth that most of the sub-Sa­ha­ran coun­tries in Africa. The In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund recorded Cape Verde's growth in 2017 at 4 per cent, which is fore­cast to im­prove even fur­ther to around 7 per cent. The is­lands are hop­ing to en­hance tourism and eco­nomic growth with such a deal and re-en­gag­ing with other is­lands in what is known as Mac­arone­sia. Cape Verde is hop­ing to cre­ate a le­gal frame­work for its peo­ple and goods to travel freely for the ben­e­fit of all.

The Cape Verde is­lands, which have a pop­u­la­tion of around 500,000, and with a large ex­pat pop­u­la­tion, have al­ready passed leg­is­la­tion to re­move visa re­quire­ments for Euro­peans and hope that the Euro­pean Union will re­cip­ro­cate. Laws have been changed to make it eas­ier for foreign in­vestors to in­vest, and re­cent leg­is­la­tion al­lows foreign ex­change ac­counts to fund trans­fers with­out re­stric­tions. Cape Verde's cur­rency is linked to the euro, which also fa­cil­i­ties busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ties. Cape Verde as­pires to develop the is­lands as a hub for air travel, since it is ideally lo­cated be­tween the Amer­i­cas, Europe and Africa. It also sees it­self as of­fer­ing great po­ten­tial as a dig­i­tal hub for Africa.

Since I men­tioned Mi­crone­sia at the be­gin­ning of this ar­ti­cle, I should ex­plain that this group of small is­lands is in the Pa­cific Ocean, but that is a story for an­other time. I think I am go­ing to add Mac­arone­sia to my postal ad­dress in fu­ture, af­ter sev­eral in­ci­dents of my post be­ing sent to the Cay­man Is­lands, in­stead of the Ca­nary Is­lands. It might help Correos to de­liver my post rather more ac­cu­rately in fu­ture.

If you en­joyed this ar­ti­cle, take a look at my web­sites: http://bar­riema­honey.com and http://theca­nary­is­lander.com or read my lat­est book, ‘Liv­ing in Spain and the Ca­nary Is­lands' (ISBN: 9780995602724). Avail­able in paperback, as well as Kin­dle edi­tions.

Join Bar­rie on Face­book: www.face­book.com/bar­rie.mahoney

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.