[Country map of Cape Verde]

Cape Verde


Location: Western Africa, group of Islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Senegal

Map references: World

total area: 4,030 sq km
land area: 4,030 sq km
comparative area: slightly larger than Rhode Island

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 965 km

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

International disputes: none

Climate: temperate; warm, dry, summer; precipitation very erratic

Terrain: steep, rugged, rocky, volcanic

Natural resources: salt, basalt rock, pozzolana, limestone, kaolin, fish

Land use:
arable land: 9%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 6%
forest and woodland: 0%
other: 85%

Irrigated land: 20 sq km (1989 est.)

current issues: overgrazing of livestock and improper land use such as the cultivation of crops on steep slopes has led to soil erosion; demand for wood used as fuel has resulted in deforestation; desertification; environmental damage has threatened several indigenous species of birds and reptiles; overfishing
natural hazards: prolonged droughts; harmattan wind can obscure visibility; volcanically and seismically active
international agreements: party to - Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification

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


Population: 435,983 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 50% (female 106,539; male 110,301)
15-64 years: 47% (female 114,931; male 88,029)
65 years and over: 3% (female 9,781; male 6,402) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.98% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 45.32 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 8.65 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -6.88 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 55.9 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 63.01 years
male: 61.1 years
female: 65.01 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 6.23 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Cape Verdean(s)
adjective: Cape Verdean

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

Religions: Roman Catholicism fused with indigenous beliefs

Languages: Portuguese, Crioulo, a blend of Portuguese and West African words

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1990)
total population: 63%
male: 75%
female: 53%

Labor force: 102,000 (1985 est.)
by occupation: agriculture (mostly subsistence) 57%, services 29%, industry 14% (1981)


conventional long form: Republic of Cape Verde
conventional short form: Cape Verde
local long form: Republica de Cabo Verde
local short form: Cabo Verde

Digraph: CV

Type: republic

Capital: Praia

Administrative divisions: 14 districts (concelhos, singular - concelho); Boa Vista, Brava, Fogo, Maio, Paul, Praia, Porto Novo, Ribeira Grande, Sal, Santa Catarina, Santa Cruz, Sao Nicolau, Sao Vicente, Tarrafal

Independence: 5 July 1975 (from Portugal)

National holiday: Independence Day, 5 July (1975)

Constitution: new constitution came into force 25 September 1992

Legal system: NA

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Antonio MASCARENHAS Monteiro (since 22 March 1991; election last held 17 February 1991 (next to be held February 1996); results - Antonio Monteiro MASCARENHAS (independent) received 72.6% of vote
head of government: Prime Minister Carlos Alberto Wahnon de Carvalho VEIGA (since 13 January 1991)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; appointed by prime minister from members of the Assembly

Legislative branch: unicameral
People's National Assembly (Assembleia Nacional Popular): elections last held 13 January 1991 (next to be held January 1996); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (79 total) MPD 56, PAICV 23; note - the 1991 multiparty Assembly election ended 15 years of single-party rule

Judicial branch: Supreme Tribunal of Justice (Supremo Tribunal de Justia)

Political parties and leaders: Movement for Democracy (MPD), Prime Minister Carlos VEIGA, founder and chairman; African Party for Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV), Pedro Verona Rodrigues PIRES, chairman

Member of: ACP, AfDB, CCC, ECA, ECOWAS, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, INTELSAT, INTERPOL, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM, OAU, UN (Cape Verde assumed a nonpermanent seat on the Security Council on 1 January 1992), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNOMOZ, UPU, WCL, WHO, WMO

Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Jose Eduardo BARBOSA (since 12 February 1994)
chancery: 3415 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 965-6820
FAX: [1] (202) 965-1207
consulate(s) general: Boston

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph M. SEGARS
embassy: Rua Abilio Macedo 81, Praia
mailing address: C. P. 201, Praia
telephone: [238] 61 56 16
FAX: [238] 61 13 55

Flag: three horozontal bands of light blue (top, double width), white (with a horozontal 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


Overview: Cape Verde's low per capita GDP reflects a poor natural resource base, serious water shortages exacerbated by cycles of long-term drought, and a high birthrate. The economy is service oriented, with commerce, transport, and public services accounting for 60% of GDP. Although nearly 70% of the population lives in rural areas, agriculture's share of GDP is only 20%; the fishing sector accounts for 4%. About 90% 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 remittances from emigrants and foreign aid, which form important supplements to GDP. 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 1995 depend heavily on the maintenance of aid flows, remittances, and the momentum of the government's development program.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $410 million (1993 est.)

National product real growth rate: 3.5% (1992 est.)

National product per capita: $1,000 (1993 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7% (1992)

Unemployment rate: 26% (1990 est.)

revenues: $174 million
expenditures: $235 million, including capital expenditures of $165 million (1993 est.)

Exports: $4.4 million (f.o.b., 1992 est.)
commodities: fish, bananas, hides and skins
partners: Netherlands, Portugal, Angola

Imports: $173 million (c.i.f., 1992 est.)
commodities: foodstuffs, consumer goods, industrial products, transport equipment
partners: Portugal, Netherlands, Germany, Spain

External debt: $156 million (1991)

Industrial production: growth rate 3.6% (1990 est.); accounts for 8% of GDP

capacity: 15,000 kW
production: 40 million kWh
consumption per capita: 73 kWh (1993)

Industries: fish processing, salt mining, garment industry, ship repair, construction materials, food and beverage production

Agriculture: accounts for 20% of GDP (including fishing); largely subsistence farming; bananas are the only export crop; other crops - corn, beans, sweet potatoes, coffee; growth potential of agricultural sector limited by poor soils and scanty rainfall; annual food imports required; fish catch provides for both domestic consumption and small exports

Illicit drugs: increasingly used as a transshipment point for illicit drugs moving from Latin America and Africa destined for Western Europe

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY75-90), $93 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-90), $586 million; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $12 million; Communist countries (1970-89), $36 million

Currency: 1 Cape Verdean escudo (CVEsc) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: Cape Verdean escudos (CVEsc) per US$1 - 85.537 (1st Quarter 1994), 80.427 (1993), 68.018 (1992), 71.408 (1991), 70.031 (1990)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 0 km

total: 1,100 km (1992)
paved: 680 km
unpaved: 420 km

Ports: Mindelo, Praia, Tarrafal

Merchant marine:
total: 7 (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 11,609 GRT/19,052 DWT cargo 6, chemical tanker 1

total: 6
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 5


Telephone system: over 1,700 telephones; telephine density - about 4 telephones/1,000 persons
local: NA
intercity: interisland microwave radio relay system, high frequency radio links to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau
international: 2 coaxial submarine cables; 1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth station

broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 6, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 1
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: People's Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARP; includes Army and Navy), Security Service

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 80,867; males fit for military service 47,225 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: exchange rate conversion - $3.4 million, NA% of GDP (1994)