The Republic of Cabo Verde is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres off the coast of Western Africa.
The islands, covering a combined area of slightly over 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 sq mi), are of volcanic origin and while three of them (Sal, Boa Vista and Maio) are fairly flat, sandy and dry, the remaining ones are generally rockier and have more vegetation.
Because of the infrequent occurrence of rainfall the overall landscape is not particularly green, despite what the country’s name suggests (verde is Portuguese for “green”).
The previously uninhabited islands were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th Century, and became an important location in the Atlantic slave trade due to their geographically advantageous position. The decline in the slave trade in the 19th century resulted in an economic crisis.
Tough economic times during the last decades of its colonization and the first years of Cabo Verde’s independence led many to migrate to Europe, the Americas and other African countries. This migration was so significant that the number of Cabo Verdeans and their descendants living abroad currently exceeds the population of Cabo Verde itself.
Historically, the influx of remittances from these immigrant communities to their families has provided a substantial contribution to help strengthen the country’s economy. Currently, the Cabo Verdean economy is mostly service-oriented with a growing focus on tourism, which benefits from the islands’ warm climate throughout the year, diverse landscape, welcoming people and cultural richness, especially in music.
Following the April 1974 coup d’état in Portugal, Cabo Verde declared its independence from Portugal on July 5, 1975.
The one-party state established after the independence was abolished in September 28, 1990, and the first multi-party elections were held in January 1991.
Cabo Verde is divided into 22 municipalities (concelhos) and subdivided into 32 parishes (freguesias), based on the religious parishes that existed during the colonial period.
Cabo Verde is a stable representative Parliamentary republic. The constitution —adopted in 1980 and revised in 1992, 1995 and 1999— defines the basic principles of its government. The president is the head of state and is elected by popular vote for a 5-year term. The prime minister is the head of government and proposes other ministers and secretaries of state. The prime minister is nominated by the National Assembly and appointed by the president. Members of the National Assembly are elected by popular vote for 5-year terms.
Cabo Verde has few natural resources, scant rainfall and limited supplies of fresh water. Only 4 of the 10 main islands (Santiago, Santo Antão, Fogo, and Brava) normally support significant agricultural production and over 90% of all food consumed in Cabo Verde is imported. Mineral resources include salt, pozzolana (a volcanic rock used in cement production), and limestone. Its small number of wineries making Portuguese-style wines have traditionally focused on the domestic market, but have recently met with some international acclaim. A number of wine tours of Cabo Verde’s various microclimates began to be offered in spring 2010 and can be arranged through the tourism office.
Cabo Verde has significant cooperation with Portugal at every level of the economy, which has led it to link its currency first to the Portuguese escudo and, in 1999, to the euro.
Capital (and largest city) Praia
Official language(s) Portuguese
Area – 4,033 km2 (1,557 sq mi)
Currency Cabo Verdean escudo (CVE)
Time zone CVT (UTC-1)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code CV
Internet TLD .cv
Calling code +238
Gross Domestic Product (10^9 USD)
Real Growth Rate (%)
Gross National Income per capita (USD) in PPP
Inflation – annual average (%)
Unemployment rate (%)
Imports (10^6 USD)
Exports (10^6 USD)
Exchange rate to the USD
External debt (10^9 USD)
External help per capita (USD)
Sources: World Bank
Expresso das Ilhas
Câmara Câmara de Comércio, Indústria e Turismo Portugal Cabo Verde
Câmara de Comércio de Barlavento