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  Introduction Back To Top

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 Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.02 cu km/yr (7%/2%/91%)
per capita: 39 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
0.3 cu km (1990)

Land boundaries:
0 km

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

temperate; warm, dry summer; precipitation meager and very erratic

Map references:
Political Map of the World

Geographic coordinates:
16 00 N, 24 00 W

Natural resources:
salt, basalt rock, limestone, kaolin, fish, clay, gypsum

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mt. Fogo 2,829 m (a volcano on Fogo Island)

steep, rugged, rocky, volcanic

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

total: 4,033 sq km
land: 4,033 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Western Africa, group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Senegal

965 km

Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Rhode Island

Irrigated land:
30 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
soil erosion; deforestation due to demand for wood used as fuel; water shortages; desertification; environmental damage has threatened several species of birds and reptiles; illegal beach sand extraction; overfishing

Maritime claims:
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Natural hazards:
prolonged droughts; seasonal harmattan wind produces obscuring dust; volcanically and seismically active

Land use:
arable land: 11.41%
permanent crops: 0.74%
other: 87.85% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
3.17 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.58 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.035% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
775 (2001)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.33 years
male: 67.99 years
female: 74.76 years (2008 est.)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 76.6%
male: 85.8%
female: 69.2% (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:
-11.74 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Creole (mulatto) 71%, African 28%, European 1%

Median age:
total: 20.6 years
male: 19.9 years
female: 21.5 years (2008 est.)

426,998 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
6.3% of GDP (2006)

Population growth rate:
0.595% (2008 est.)

Portuguese, Crioulo (a blend of Portuguese and West African words)

Death rate:
6.26 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 42.55 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 48.66 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 36.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
225 (as of 2001)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 12 years
male: 11 years
female: 12 years (2006)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 36.1% (male 77,533/female 76,489)
15-64 years: 57.4% (male 120,208/female 125,009)
65 years and over: 6.5% (male 10,226/female 17,533) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
23.95 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Roman Catholic (infused with indigenous beliefs), Protestant (mostly Church of the Nazarene)

noun: Cape Verdean(s)
adjective: Cape Verdean

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Marianne M. MYLES
embassy: Rua Abilio Macedo n6, Praia
mailing address: C. P. 201, Praia
telephone: [238] 2-60-89-00
FAX: [238] 2-61-13-55

National holiday:
Independence Day, 5 July (1975)

18 years of age; universal

Government type:

Political pressure groups and leaders:
other: environmentalists; political pressure groups

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Fatima Lima VEIGA
chancery: 3415 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 965-6820
FAX: [1] (202) 965-1207
consulate(s) general: Boston

International organization participation:

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, UCID 2

Legal system:
based on the legal system of Portugal; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Flag description:
five unequal horizontal bands; the top-most band of blue - equal to one half the width of the flag - is followed by three bands of white, red, and white, each equal to 1/12 of the width, and a bottom stripe of blue equal to one quarter of the flag width; a circle of 10, yellow, five-pointed stars, each representing one of the islands, is centered on the red stripe and positioned 3/8 of the length of the flag from the hoist side

5 July 1975 (from Portugal)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Republic of Cape Verde
conventional short form: Cape Verde
local long form: Republica de Cabo Verde
local short form: Cabo Verde

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]; Democratic Renovation Party or PRD [Victor FIDALGO]; Democratic and Independent Cape Verdean Union or UCID [Antonio MONTEIRO]; Movement for Democracy or MPD [Agostinho LOPES]; Party for Democratic Convergence or PCD [Dr. Eurico MONTEIRO]; Party of Work and Solidarity or PTS [Isaias RODRIGUES]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Joao ALEM]

name: Praia
geographic coordinates: 14 55 N, 23 31 W
time difference: UTC-1 (4 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

25 September 1992; a major revision on 23 November 1995 substantially increased the powers of the president; a 1999 revision created the position of national ombudsman (Provedor de Justica)

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 in 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%

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

Judicial branch:
Supreme Tribunal of Justice or Supremo Tribunal de Justia

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Spain 37.2%, Portugal 29.9%, Morocco 7%, US 6.6% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
43.71 million kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
8.5% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$167 million (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$325 million (2002)

Unemployment rate:
21% (2000 est.)

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$4,200 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
41.3% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$1.049 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$1.808 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$1.845 billion (2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
Cape Verdean escudos (CVE) per US dollar - 73.84 (2008 est.), 81.235 (2007), 87.946 (2006), 88.67 (2005), 88.808 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
7% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$574 million (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
120,600 (1990)

Imports - partners:
Portugal 40.7%, Netherlands 10.9%, France 6.5%, Spain 5.6%, Cote d'Ivoire 4.9%, Brazil 4.7%, Italy 4.7% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 9%
industry: 16.9%
services: 74.1% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
1,785 bbl/day (2005)

$102 million f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Cape Verdean escudo (CVE)

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 about three-fourths of GDP. Although nearly 70% of the population lives in rural areas, the share of food production in GDP is low. 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 became a member of the WTO in July 2008.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
foodstuffs, industrial products, transport equipment, fuels

food and beverages, fish processing, shoes and garments, salt mining, ship repair

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
30% (2000)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
10.55% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$689 million (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
47 million kWh (2006 est.)

$887 million f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$459 million (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
2,117 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Exports - commodities:
fuel, shoes, garments, fish, hides

Economic aid - recipient:
$160.6 million (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $525.4 million
expenditures: $585.3 million (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
37,000 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
71,600 (2006)

15,000 (2002 est.)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 22 (plus 12 repeaters), shortwave 0 (2001)

100,000 (2002 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
148,000 (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
1 (plus 7 repeaters) (2001)

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; broadband services launched in 2004
international: country code - 238; landing point for the Atlantis-2 fiber-optic transatlantic telephone cable that provides links to South America, Senegal, and Europe; HF radiotelephone to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2002)

Internet hosts:
20 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:
Porto Grande

Merchant marine:
total: 8
by type: cargo 2, chemical tanker 1, passenger/cargo 5
foreign-owned: 2 (Spain 1, UK 1) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 8
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 1 (2007)

total: 1,350 km
paved: 932 km
unpaved: 418 km (2000)

8 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age (est.) for selective compulsory military service; 14-month conscript service obligation (2006)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 103,650
females age 16-49: 103,553 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 83,082
females age 16-49: 88,832 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
People's Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARP): Army, Coast Guard (includes maritime air wing) (2007)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 5,566
female: 5,441 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
0.7% of GDP (2005)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:

Illicit drugs:
used as a transshipment point for Latin American cocaine destined for Western Europe; the lack of a well-developed financial system limits the country's utility as a money-laundering center

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