Cape Verde [Country Flag of Cape Verde]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Cape Verde]

Cape Verde


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

Geographic coordinates: 16 00 N, 24 00 W

Map references: World

total: 4,030 sq km
land: 4,030 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area—comparative: 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

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

Terrain: steep, rugged, rocky, volcanic

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico 2,829 m

Natural resources: salt, basalt rock, pozzuolana (a siliceous volcanic ash used to produce hydraulic cement), limestone, kaolin, fish

Land use:
arable land: 11%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 6%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 83% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 30 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: prolonged droughts; harmattan wind can obscure visibility; volcanically and seismically active

Environment—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 species of birds and reptiles; overfishing

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban
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


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Population: 399,857 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 46% (male 92,175; female 90,557)
15-64 years: 48% (male 90,183; female 102,541)
65 years and over: 6% (male 9,765; female 14,636) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.49% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 34.47 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 7.04 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -12.54 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.87 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 47.53 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 70.5 years
male: 67.21 years
female: 73.89 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.08 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Cape Verdean(s)
adjective: Cape Verdean

Ethnic groups: 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

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 71.6%
male: 81.4%
female: 63.8% (1995 est.)


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

Data code: CV

Government type: republic

National 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
note: there may be a new administrative structure of 16 districts (Boa Vista, Brava, Maio, Mosteiros, Paul, Praia, Porto Novo, Ribeira Grande, Sal, Santa Catarina, Santa Cruz, Sao Domingos, Sao Nicolau, Sao Filipe, Sao Vicente, Tarrafa)

Independence: 5 July 1975 (from Portugal)

National holiday: Independence Day, 5 July (1975)

Constitution: new constitution came into force 25 September 1992

Legal system: derived from the legal system of Portugal

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Antonio MASCARENHAS Monteiro (since 22 March 1991)
head of government: Prime Minister Carlos Alberto Wahnon de Carvalho VEIGA (since 13 January 1991)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister from among the members of the National Assembly
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 18 February 1996 (next to be held NA February 2001); prime minister nominated by the National Assembly and appointed by the president
election results: Antonio MASCARENHAS Monteiro elected president; percent of vote—Antonio MASCARENHAS Monteiro (independent) 80.1%

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Assembleia Nacional (72 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 17 December 1995 (next to be held NA 2000)
election results: percent of vote by party—MPD 59%, PAICV 28%, PCD 6%; seats by party - MPD 50, PAICV 21, PCD 1

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

Political parties and leaders: Movement for Democracy or MPD [Prime Minister Carlos VEIGA, founder and president]; African Party for Independence of Cape Verde or PAICV [Pedro Verona Rodrigues PIRES, chairman]; Party for Democratic Convergence or PCD; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Joao ALEM, president]

International organization participation: ACCT, 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, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WMO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Deputy Chief of Mission is Charge d'Affaires Manuel MATOS
chancery: 3415 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 965-6820
FAX: [1] (202) 965-1207
consulate(s) general: Boston

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Lawrence Neal BENEDICT (17 June 1996)
embassy: Rua Abilio Macedo 81, Praia
mailing address: C. P. 201, Praia
telephone: [238] 61 56 16
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


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Economy—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 birth rate. The economy is service-oriented, with commerce, transport, and public services accounting for almost 70% of GDP. Although nearly 70% of the population lives in rural areas, the share of agriculture in GDP in 1995 was only 8%, of which fishing accounts for 1.5%. 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 foreign aid and remittances from emigrants; remittances constitute a supplement to GDP of 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 1998 depend heavily on the maintenance of aid flows, remittances, and the momentum of the government's development program.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$538 million (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 4.5% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1,370 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 8%
industry: 18%
services: 74% (1996 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 6.2% (1996)

Labor force: NA

Unemployment rate: NA %

revenues: $188 million
expenditures: $228 million, including capital expenditures of $116 million (1996)

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

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity—capacity: 7,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 40 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 92 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: bananas, corn, beans, sweet potatoes, sugarcane, coffee, peanuts; fish

total value: $12.8 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: shoes, garments, fish, bananas, hides,
partners: Portugal, Spain, France, UK

total value: $237 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: foodstuffs, consumer goods, industrial products, transport equipment, fuels
partners: Portugal 41%, Netherlands, France, Spain, US

Debt—external: $202 million (1996)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $70 million (1995)

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

Exchange rates: Cape Verdean escudos (CVEsc) per US$1—95.400 (December 1997), 93.177 (1997), 82.591 (1996), 76.853 (1995), 81.891 (1994), 80.427 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones: 22,900 (1995 est.)

Telephone system:
domestic: interisland microwave radio relay system with both analog and digital exchanges; work is in progress on a submarine fiber-optic cable system scheduled for completion in 1998
international: 2 coaxial submarine cables; HF radiotelephone to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau; satellite earth station—1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 6, shortwave 0

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 1 (1997 est.)

Televisions: 7,000 (1991 est.)


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Railways: 0 km

total: 1,100 km
paved: 858 km
unpaved: 242 km (1995 est.)

Ports and harbors: Mindelo, Praia, Tarrafal

Merchant marine:
total: 4 (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 9,620 GRT/13,920 DWT
ships by type: cargo 3, chemical tanker 1 (1997 est.)

Airports: 6 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 6
over 3,047 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 5 (1997 est.)


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

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 81,265 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 46,235 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $3.4 million (1994)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 2.2% (1997 est.)

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none

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