Country Profile

Country Profile - Cape Verde

Country Profile Of Cape Verde

Cape Verde

President:  Jorge Carlos Fonseca

Prime Minister:  Jose Maria Neves

Land area:  4030 kilometers squared

Capital: Praia

Population:  538 535; growth-rate: 1.39%; birth-rate: 20.72/1000; life expectancy: 71.57  

Monetary unit:  Cape Verdean Escudo

Languages:  Portuguese (official) and Crioulo.

Ethnicity:  Creole 71%; African 28%; European 1%

Literacy rate:  84.9%

Economic summaryGDP/PPP: 2.222 billion; real growth: 1.5%; Inflation: 1.9%; unemployment: 21%; exports: $ 159.9 billion; imports: $ 796.3 billion.

Agriculture:  Bananas, corn, beans, sweet potatoes, sugar cane, coffee, peanuts and beans



Cape Verde is an archipelago in the Atlantic 500 km’s west of Senegal. The islands are mostly mountainous, with the land deeply scarred by erosion. It comprises of 10 islands and 5 islets.




The Cape Verde islands became part of the Portuguese empire in 1495. A majority of today's inhabitants are of mixed Portuguese and African ancestry.

Positioned on the great trade routes between Africa, Europe, and the New World, the islands became a prosperous centre for the slave trade but suffered economic decline after the slave trade was abolished in 1876. In the 20th century, Cape Verde served as a shipping port.

In 1951, Cape Verde's status changed from a Portuguese colony to an overseas province, and in 1961 the inhabitants became full Portuguese citizens. An independence movement led by the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde was founded in 1956. Following the 1974 coup in Portugal, after which Portugal began abandoning its colonial empire, the islands became independent on July of 1975.

On Jan. 13, 1991, the first multiparty elections since independence resulted in the ruling African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde losing its majority to the Movement for Democracy Party. The MPD candidate, Antonio Monteiro, won the subsequent presidential election, and was easily re-elected in 1996. In 2001, Pedro Pires became president.


In an effort to take advantage of its proximity to cross-Atlantic sea and air lanes, the Cape Verde government has embarked on a major expansion of its port and airport capacities. It is also modernizing its fish processing industry. These projects are being partly paid for by the EU and the World Bank, making Cape Verde one of the largest per-capita aid recipients in the world. Disenchantment with the government's privatization program continued, high unemployment, and widespread poverty helped defeat the MPD in elections held in Jan. 2001. The PAICV swept back into power and José Maria Neves became prime minister. In 2006, incumbent Pedro Pires was re-elected president.

In 2011, Jorge Carlos Fonseca was elected president. A member of the Movement for Democracy party, Fonseca won the election in the second round, defeating Manuel Sousa. Fonseca became the fourth president since Cape Verde's independence.

The current President is Jorge Carlos Fonseca; the Prime Minister is Jose Maria Neves. The capital of the Cape Verde islands is Praia and the monetary unit used is the Cape Verdan Escudo. With a population of more than five hundred thousand, the major spoken language is Portuguese.

Travel and tourism, together with foreign investments, enables Cape Verde’s domestic economy to achieve a sustainable growth level. The country’s government is well aware of the importance of travel and tourism and, consequently, dedicates significant funds and efforts in an attempt to further stimulate its development. As travel and tourism grows, Cape Verde’s economy becomes increasingly stable.



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