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CABO VERDE - At A Glance

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Cabo Verde is located 350 miles off the coast of West Africa and consists of ten volcanic islands (Santo Antao, S. Vicente, Santa Luzia, S. Nicolau, Sal, Boavista, Maio, Santiago, Fogo and Brava).

It was one of the main transit areas for the transatlantic slave trade to the Americas and Europe. In 2009, Cidade Velha, in the Island of Santiago, was named World Heritage Site by UNESCO, in recognition of Cape Verde’s role in shaping new anthropologic and cultural realities in those two Continents.

Cabo Verde became independent from Portugal on July 5th, 1975, following the liberation struggle led by the African Party for the Liberation of Guinea Bissau and Cabo Verde – PAIGC. The archipelago’s history has always been one of major challenges poised by economic and environmental vulnerabilities. Severe droughts in the first half of the 20th century prompted heavy immigration, resulting in an expatriate population that is larger than the resident one.

Cabo Verde is a stable democracy with a sound economic management. For the last four years, it has been rated by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, as one of the best governed Sub-Saharan African countries.

Economy

Cabo Verde became a member of the WTO and graduated from the LDC status in 2008. Major policy reforms and programs brought important changes and progresses in areas such as governance, public administration, information technologies, economic growth and human capital, thus placing the country in the path to achieve most MDGs by 2015. The economy is service oriented with commerce, transport, tourism, and public services accounting for most of the GDP.

Main Exports: Fish products and crustaceans, clothing, shoes and shoe parts, fuel re-exports

Main Imports: consumer goods, intermediary goods, petroleum

Basic Data

  • Population – 491,875 (2010)
  • Total Area -1,557 sq. Miles / (4,033 sq. Km)
  • Capital – Praia (Santiago Island)
  • Climate - Tropical and dry
  • Type of Government - Parliamentary Republic
  • President - Jorge Carlos de Almeida Fonseca (Head of State)
  • Prime Minister – Ulisses Correia e Silva (Head of Government)
  • GDP – Billions $1,943 (2011)
  • GDP per Capita - $2,064
  • Income Level – Lower Middle Income
  • Currency – CV Escudo (1USD=$85.6CVEsc) pegged to the Euro
  • Language – Portuguese (official); Cape Verdean Creole
  • Religions – Roman Catholic; Protestant
  • Life Expectancy – 74 (2009)
  • Literacy – 85% (2009)

International Relations – International Organization’s membership includes, e.g., UN, AU, ECOWAS, CPLP (Portuguese Speaking Countries), La Francophonie, Community of Democracies and ICC. Cape Verde enjoys a special Partnership with the European Union as well.

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