Cape Verde Overview
|Rep®≤blica de Cabo Verde
||Portuguese, Cape Verde Creole
|Form of government
||Cape Verdean escudo
|Telephone area code
The Republic of Cape Verde is an island nation in the
Atlantic Ocean and lies around 650 km from the western
tip of Africa. With an area of 4,033 km², Cape Verde
is one of the smallest states on the continent. The
republic got its name from "Cabo Verde" in what is now
Senegal , the westernmost point of the African
Nine of the 15 Cape Verde Islands are inhabited.
According to their location, they are divided into two
groups: the northern ones are in the trade wind (islands
over the wind, "Barlavento"), including Santo Antão, São
Vicente, São Nicolau, Sal and Boa Vista. The southern
islands (under the wind, "Sotavento") include Maio, São
Tiago (with 991 km² the largest of the islands), Fogo
All of the islands are of volcanic origin, with the
twelve westward islands being geologically younger. They
developed after volcanic eruptions and consist mainly of
layers of lava and ash. These islands are mostly
mountainous in character and rise steeply out of the
sea. The mountains are cut up by deep valleys (Ribeiras).
The highest elevation in the republic is the only active
volcano Pico de Cano (2,829 m) on the island of Fogo.
The three eastern islands of Sal, Boa Vista and Maio
are lower (maximum 400 m) and are characterized by scree
fields, dune areas and salt marshes. There are gently
sloping, white sandy beaches here.
The capital of the Republic of Cape Verde is Praia on
the island of São Tiago.
The Cape Verde Islands have a tropical climate with
high temperatures all year round. The northeast trade
wind blows almost all year round. The average
temperatures are around 24.5 °„ C. The rainfall is only
300 mm on average, in some cases there is no rain for
years. Much of the rainfall falls from August to
October. In the cooler season, the dry desert wind
Flora and fauna
The vegetation is poor due to the low rainfall; only
plants that have optimally adapted to the drought can
grow here. These include, for example, acacias, aloes,
eucalyptus, shrubs and bushes. Only on Brava, Santo
Antão and São Nicolau there are isolated specimens of
the dragon tree. Fig, tamarisk, palm and laurel plants
also grow in more humid areas, such as the deeply cut
valleys. Around 90 of the plant species are endemic and
only occur in the Cape Verde Islands.
Few mammals live on the islands, including rodents
and Guinea monkeys. In addition to reptiles such as
geckos and lizards, a large number of different bird
species live on the islands. They include, for example,
jagar sparrows, ravens, Egyptian vultures, black kites,
ospreys and a number of waterfowl such as herons and
stilt. Some of the bird species are endemic, such as the
Cape Verde Reed Warbler and the Razo Lark.
Around 476,000 people live in the nine inhabited Cape
Verde Islands. Over 70% of them are mulattos, the rest
are black. Whites make up a minority with around 1% of
the total population. The official language is
Portuguese, a Creole language (a mixture of Portuguese
and African languages) is used as the common language.
According to COUNTRYAAH,
about 93% of the population are Catholics, almost 1% are
Protestants; however, both beliefs are often mixed with
The average population density is around 126
residents per square kilometer. About half of the
population lives on the island of São Tiago, the
majority of them in the capital Praia (around 106,000
residents). The second largest city, Mindelo, has around
65,000 residents and is located on the island of Sao
Population growth is low at 2.3% by African
standards. This is less due to the low birth rate than
to the high number of emigrants to other countries. The
health system is sufficiently developed, and the supply
of the population with sufficient drinking water is
always problematic. The average life expectancy is 70.5
years. School attendance is compulsory for children
between the ages of seven and 14; approx. 76.6% of the
population can read and write.
The Republic of Cape Verde is a parliamentary
democracy with a multi-party system. The constitution
dates from 1992. The head of state is the president, who
is elected by the people for a term of five years (since
September 2011 Jorge Carlos Fonseca). The Prime Minister
as head of the government (since February 2001 Jos®¶
Maria Neves) is nominated by the National Assembly and
appointed by the President. The ministers are also
appointed by the president, albeit on a proposal from
the head of government.
The legislature lies with the National Assembly,
whose 72 deputies are elected by the people for five
The legal system of the state is a variant of the
Portuguese system; the supreme court is the Supremo
Tribunal de Justia.
Cape Verde is divided into 22 districts (concelhos).
Since the beginning of 2008, Cape Verde is no longer
classified by the World Bank in the group of least
developed countries, but in the group of countries with
low and middle income. This is associated with the loss
of international financial aid. Unemployment is high
(21%), which is why many Cape Verde people emigrate.
Your home transfers make up about 9% of total gross
domestic product (GDP).
Services, especially tourism (together 72% of GDP)
have become the most important industry.
Agriculture only makes up around a tenth of GDP, but
employs around 21% of the workforce. Cape Verde suffers
from frequent droughts; there is a constant lack of
fresh water. Bananas, corn, sugar cane, beans, cassava,
sweet potatoes and tropical fruits are grown. Around 80%
of the food has to be imported. Fishing is of great
importance: fish, crustaceans and fish products make up
two thirds of the export goods.
Cape Verde has virtually no raw materials. The
industry (18% of GDP) is only moderately developed and
concentrates on the production of fish products and
sugar, on food processing, the production of textiles
and shoes and on shipyards.
The main trading partner for exports (fish, clothing,
shoes) is Portugal. Above all, food, machinery, vehicles
and industrial goods are introduced. The most important
delivery country is again Portugal.
There are around 1,350 km of roads on the islands,
two thirds of which are paved. Smaller planes and motor
boats operate between the islands. There are four
international airports in total. The most important
ports are Porto Grande on São Vicente and Praia on São
The currency is the Cape Verde escudo.