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Flag of Cape Verde
Map of Cape Verde
Introduction Cape Verde
The uninhabited islands were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th century; Cape Verde subsequently became a trading center for African slaves and later an important coaling and resupply stop for whaling and transatlantic shipping. Following independence in 1975, and a tentative interest in unification with Guinea-Bissau, a one-party system was established and maintained until multi-party elections were held in 1990. Cape Verde continues to exhibit one of Africa's most stable democratic governments. Repeated droughts during the second half of the 20th century caused significant hardship and prompted heavy emigration. As a result, Cape Verde's expatriate population is greater than its domestic one. Most Cape Verdeans have both African and Portuguese antecedents.
Geography Cape Verde
Western Africa, group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Senegal
Geographic coordinates:
16 00 N, 24 00 W
Map references:
Political Map of the World
total: 4,033 sq km
land: 4,033 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Rhode Island
Land boundaries:
0 km
965 km
Maritime claims:
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
temperate; warm, dry summer; precipitation meager and very erratic
steep, rugged, rocky, volcanic
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mt. Fogo 2,829 m (a volcano on Fogo Island)
Natural resources:
salt, basalt rock, limestone, kaolin, fish, clay, gypsum
Land use:
arable land: 11.41%
permanent crops: 0.74%
other: 87.85% (2005)
Irrigated land:
30 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
prolonged droughts; seasonal harmattan wind produces obscuring dust; volcanically and seismically active
Environment - current issues:
soil erosion; deforestation due to demand for wood used as fuel; desertification; environmental damage has threatened several species of birds and reptiles; illegal beach sand extraction; overfishing
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
strategic location 500 km from west coast of Africa near major north-south sea routes; important communications station; important sea and air refueling site
People Cape Verde
420,979 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 37.9% (male 80,594/female 79,126)
15-64 years: 55.3% (male 113,450/female 119,423)
65 years and over: 6.7% (male 10,542/female 17,844) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 19.8 years
male: 19 years
female: 20.7 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.64% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
24.87 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
6.55 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
-11.91 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.59 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 46.52 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 51.63 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 41.26 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.73 years
male: 67.41 years
female: 74.15 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
3.38 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.035% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
775 (2001)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
225 (as of 2001)
noun: Cape Verdean(s)
adjective: Cape Verdean
Ethnic groups:
Creole (mulatto) 71%, African 28%, European 1%
Roman Catholic (infused with indigenous beliefs); Protestant (mostly Church of the Nazarene)
Portuguese, Crioulo (a blend of Portuguese and West African words)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 76.6%
male: 85.8%
female: 69.2% (2003 est.)
Government Cape Verde
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Cape Verde
conventional short form: Cape Verde
local long form: Republica de Cabo Verde
local short form: Cabo Verde
Government type:
name: Praia
geographic coordinates: 14 55 N, 23 31 W
time difference: UTC-1 (4 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
17 municipalities (concelhos, singular - concelho); Boa Vista, Brava, Maio, Mosteiros, Paul, Praia, Porto Novo, Ribeira Grande, Sal, Santa Catarina, Santa Cruz, Sao Domingos, Sao Filipe, Sao Miguel, Sao Nicolau, Sao Vicente, Tarrafal
5 July 1975 (from Portugal)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 5 July (1975)
new constitution came into force 25 September 1992; underwent a major revision on 23 November 1995, substantially increasing the powers of the president; a 1999 revision created the position of national ombudsman (Provedor de Justica)
Legal system:
derived from the legal system of Portugal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Pedro Verona PIRES (since 22 March 2001)
head of government: Prime Minister Jose Maria Pereira NEVES (since 1 February 2001)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 12 February 2006 (next to be held February 2011); prime minister nominated by the National Assembly and appointed by the president
election results: Pedro PIRES reelected president; percent of vote - Pedro PIRES (PAICV) 51.2%, Carlos VIEGA (MPD) 48.8%
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Assembleia Nacional (72 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 22 January 2006 (next to be held in January 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - PAICV 52.3%, MPD 44%, UCID 2.7%; seats by party - PAICV 41, MPD 29, ADM 2
Judicial branch:
Supreme Tribunal of Justice or Supremo Tribunal de Justia
Political parties and leaders:
African Party for Independence of Cape Verde or PAICV [Jose Maria Pereira NEVES, chairman]; Democratic Alliance for Change or ADM [Dr. Eurico MONTEIRO] (a coalition of PCD, PTS, and UCID); Democratic Christian Party or PDC [Manuel RODRIGUES, chairman]; Democratic Renovation Party or PRD [Victor FIDALGO, president]; Democratic and Independent Cape Verdean Union or UCID [Antonio MONTEIRO]; Movement for Democracy or MPD [Agostinho LOPES, president]; Party for Democratic Convergence or PCD [Dr. Eurico MONTEIRO, president]; Party of Work and Solidarity or PTS [Isaias RODRIGUES, president]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Joao ALEM, president]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Jose BRITO
chancery: 3415 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 965-6820
FAX: [1] (202) 965-1207
consulate(s) general: Boston
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Roger D. PIERCE
embassy: Rua Abilio Macedo n6, Praia
mailing address: C. P. 201, Praia
telephone: [238] 2-60-89-00
FAX: [238] 2-61-13-55
Flag description:
three horizontal bands of light blue (top, double width), white (with a horizontal red stripe in the middle third), and light blue; a circle of 10 yellow five-pointed stars is centered on the hoist end of the red stripe and extends into the upper and lower blue bands
Economy Cape Verde
Economy - overview:
This island economy suffers from a poor natural resource base, including serious water shortages exacerbated by cycles of long-term drought. The economy is service-oriented, with commerce, transport, tourism, and public services accounting for 66% of GDP. Although nearly 70% of the population lives in rural areas, the share of food production in GDP in 2004 was only 12%, of which fishing accounted for 1.5%. About 82% of food must be imported. The fishing potential, mostly lobster and tuna, is not fully exploited. Cape Verde annually runs a high trade deficit, financed by foreign aid and remittances from emigrants; remittances supplement GDP by more than 20%. Economic reforms are aimed at developing the private sector and attracting foreign investment to diversify the economy. Future prospects depend heavily on the maintenance of aid flows, the encouragement of tourism, remittances, and the momentum of the government's development program. Cape Verde has been exploring European Union membership in recent years.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$3.129 billion (2006 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$1.128 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
5.5% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$6,000 (2006 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 12.1%
industry: 21.9%
services: 66% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
120,600 (1990)
Unemployment rate:
21% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
30% (2000)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4.7% (2006 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
25.5% of GDP (2006 est.)
revenues: $324.6 million
expenditures: $370.4 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)
Agriculture - products:
bananas, corn, beans, sweet potatoes, sugarcane, coffee, peanuts; fish
food and beverages, fish processing, shoes and garments, salt mining, ship repair
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
44 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
40.92 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - consumption:
1,150 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Current account balance:
$-44.43 million (2006 est.)
$96.71 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports - commodities:
fuel, shoes, garments, fish, hides
Exports - partners:
Spain 38.2%, Portugal 33.3%, US 9.2%, Morocco 5.4% (2005)
$495.1 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, industrial products, transport equipment, fuels
Imports - partners:
Portugal 40.9%, Italy 7.8%, Netherlands 7.2%, Spain 5.5%, Brazil 5.3%, France 4.7%, Belgium 4.6% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$166.4 million (2006 est.)
Debt - external:
$325 million (2002)
Economic aid - recipient:
$136 million (1999)
Currency (code):
Cape Verdean escudo (CVE)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Cape Verdean escudos (CVE) per US dollar - 86.2664 (2006), 88.67 (2005), 88.808 (2004), 97.703 (2003), 117.168 (2002)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Cape Verde
Telephones - main lines in use:
71,400 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
81,700 (2005)
Telephone system:
general assessment: effective system, extensive modernization from 1996-2000 following partial privatization in 1995
domestic: major service provider is Cabo Verde Telecom (CVT); fiber optic ring, completed in 2001, links all islands providing Internet access and ISDN services; cellular service introduced in 1998
international: country code - 238; 2 coaxial submarine cables; HF radiotelephone to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 22 (and 12 low power repeaters), shortwave 0 (2002)
100,000 (2002 est.)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (and 7 repeaters) (2002)
15,000 (2002 est.)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
234 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2002)
Internet users:
25,000 (2005)
Transportation Cape Verde
7 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 7
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 1 (2006)
total: 1,350 km
paved: 932 km
unpaved: 418 km (2000)
Merchant marine:
total: 7 ships (1000 GRT or over) 12,300 GRT/7,726 DWT
by type: cargo 2, chemical tanker 1, passenger/cargo 4
foreign-owned: 2 (Spain 1, UK 1) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Mindelo, Praia, Tarrafal
Military Cape Verde
Military branches:
People's Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARP): Army, Coast Guard (includes maritime air wing)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 84,641
females age 18-49: 87,310 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 65,614
females age 18-49: 73,662 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$7.18 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
0.7% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Cape Verde
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
used as a transshipment point for illicit drugs moving from Latin America and Asia destined for Western Europe; the lack of a well-developed financial system limits the country's utility as a money-laundering center

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007