A signing ceremony was held Feb. 4, 2022, in Praia, Cabo Verde, to officially recognize a new state partnership between the New Hampshire National Guard and the Republic of Cabo Verde under the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program.
The day prior, a New Hampshire delegation led by Gov. Chris Sununu and New Hampshire National Guard Adjutant Gen. David Mikolaities met with Cabo Verde President Josè Neves and Minister of Defense Janine Lélis.
"We're extremely excited for the partnership," Sununu said during a press conference at the presidential palace. "It starts with a military-to-military partnership, and we know that can really create opportunities between our schools, education, health care. We look to provide opportunity on both sides of the Atlantic in a really positive way for our citizens."
U.S. Ambassador to Cabo Verde Jeff Daigle expressed his approval of the budding alliance, part of a Department of Defense program that pairs National Guards from all states with foreign countries.
"There were many states that applied to be a partner for Cabo Verde, and we are extremely excited that New Hampshire was the state that was chosen," Daigle said. "What the embassy was most excited about is that the state partnership program involves citizen soldiers. These aren't military people who are full-time soldiers. They are full-time doctors and lawyers and firefighters and teachers. And so they bring those relationships from their private sector job to the state partnership."
"It really will be a whole of state government approach to working with Cabo Verde rather than just a military one," he said.
The work to build the partnership begins immediately.
"We will be leaving three or four of our planners to work with the Cabo Verdean military in order to do an assessment to figure out a road map (for the partnership) on behalf of both countries," Mikolaities said.
"This is really kind of the first step and a door opener for something that we see as very long term and very prosperous for both New Hampshire and the Republic of Cabo Verde," Sununu said.