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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; they subsequently became a trading center for African slaves and later an important coaling and resupply stop for whaling and transatlantic shipping. Most Cape Verdeans have both African and Portuguese antecedents. Independence was achieved in 1975.
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
water: 0 sq km
land: 4,033 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
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
contiguous zone: 24 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
Land use:
arable land: 9.68%
permanent crops: 0.5%
other: 89.82% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
30 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
prolonged droughts; seasonal harmattan wind produces obscuring dust; volcanically and seismically active
Environment - current issues:
soil erosion; demand for wood used as fuel has resulted in deforestation; 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
408,760 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 41.9% (male 86,466; female 84,918)
15-64 years: 51.5% (male 100,684; female 109,841)
65 years and over: 6.6% (male 10,363; female 16,488) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.85% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
27.81 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
7.01 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-12.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.63 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
51.86 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 69.52 years
female: 72.91 years (2002 est.)
male: 66.23 years
Total fertility rate:
3.91 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.04% (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: 71.6%
male: 81.4%
female: 63.8% (1995 est.)
Government Cape Verde
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Cape Verde
conventional short form: Cape Verde
local short form: Cabo Verde
local long form: Republica de Cabo Verde
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
17 districts (concelhos, singular - concelho); Boa Vista, Brava, Calheta, Maio, Mosteiros, Paul, Praia, Porto Novo, Ribeira Grande, Sal, Santa Catarina, Santa Cruz, Sao Domingos, Sao Nicolau, Sao Filipe, 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, and a further revision in 1999, to create 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 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; election last held 11 and 25 February 2001 (next to be held NA February 2006); prime minister nominated by the National Assembly and appointed by the president
election results: Pedro PIRES elected president; percent of vote - Pedro PIRES (PAICV) 49.43%, Carlos VIEGA (MPD) 49.42%; note - the election was won by only twelve votes
Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Assembleia Nacional (72 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 14 January 2001 (next to be held NA December 2005)
election results: percent of vote by party - PAICV 47.3%, MPD 39.8%, ADM 6%, other 6.9%; seats by party - PAICV 40, MPD 30, 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 [Jacinto SANTOS, president]; 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 [Anibal MEDINA, 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
consulate(s) general: Boston
FAX: [1] (202) 965-1207
telephone: [1] (202) 965-6820
chancery: 3415 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Donald C. JOHNSON
embassy: Rua Abilio m. Macedo 81, Praia
mailing address: C. P. 201, Praia
telephone: [238] 61 56 16, 61 56 17
FAX: [238] 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:
Cape Verde 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, and public services accounting for 70% of GDP. Although nearly 70% of the population lives in rural areas, the share of agriculture in GDP in 2001 was only 11%, of which fishing accounts 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, launched by the new democratic government in 1991, are aimed at developing the private sector and attracting foreign investment to diversify the economy. Prospects for 2002 depend heavily on the maintenance of aid flows, remittances, and the momentum of the government's development program.
purchasing power parity - $600 million (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $1,500 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 11%
industry: 17%
services: 72% (2001)
Population below poverty line:
30% (2000)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3% (2001)
Labor force:
Unemployment rate:
21% (2000 est.)
revenues: $112 million
expenditures: $198 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000)
food and beverages, fish processing, shoes and garments, salt mining, ship repair
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
41 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
38.13 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
bananas, corn, beans, sweet potatoes, sugarcane, coffee, peanuts; fish
$27.3 million f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
fuel, shoes, garments, fish, hides
Exports - partners:
Portugal 45%, UK 20%, Germany 20%, Guinea-Bissau 5% (1999)
$218 million f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, industrial products, transport equipment, fuels
Imports - partners:
Portugal 52%, Germany 7%, France 4%, UK 3% (1999)
Debt - external:
$301 million (2000)
Economic aid - recipient:
$136 million (1999)
Cape Verdean escudo (CVE)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Cape Verdean escudos per US dollar - 123.556 (January 2002), 115.877 (2000), 102.700 (1999), 98.158 (1998), 93.177 (1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Cape Verde
Telephones - main lines in use:
60,935 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
28,119 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: effective system, being improved
domestic: interisland microwave radio relay system with both analog and digital exchanges; work is in progress on a submarine fiber-optic cable system which is scheduled for completion in 2003
international: 2 coaxial submarine cables; HF radiotelephone to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 15 (and 17 repeaters), shortwave 0 (2002)
100,000 (2002 est.)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (and 7 repeaters) (2002)
15,000 (2002 est.)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2002)
Internet users:
12,000 (2002)
Transportation Cape Verde
0 km
total: 1,100 km
paved: 858 km
unpaved: 242 km (1996)
Ports and harbors:
Mindelo, Praia, Tarrafal
Merchant marine:
total: 4 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 5,395 GRT/6,614 DWT
ships by type: cargo 3, chemical tanker 1
note: includes a foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: United Kingdom 1 (2002 est.)
note: 3 airports are reported to be nonoperational (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 6 3
over 3,047 m: 1 1
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2002)
Military Cape Verde
Military branches:
Army, Coast Guard
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 92,486 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 52,215 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$9.3 million (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.6% (FY01)
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 19 March 2003