Cape Verde

Region: Western Africa

Capital: Praia

Population: 500,600 (UNDP 2011)

Surface area: 4,033 sq km

Currency: CapeVerdean escudo (CVE)

GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity $4,000 (2011 est.)

The uninhabited islands were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th century; Cape Verde subsequently became a trading center for African slaves and later an important coaling and resupply stop for whaling and transatlantic shipping. Following independence in 1975, and a tentative interest in unification with Guinea-Bissau, a one-party system was established and maintained until multi-party elections were held in 1990. Cape Verde continues to exhibit one of Africa’s most stable democratic governments. Repeated droughts during the second half of the 20th century caused significant hardship and prompted heavy emigration. As a result, Cape Verde’s expatriate population is greater than its domestic one. Most CapeVerdeans have both African and Portuguese antecedents.

Economy – Overview
This island economy suffers from a poor natural resource base, including serious water shortages exacerbated by cycles of long-term drought and poor soil for agriculture on several of the islands. The economy is service oriented with commerce, transport, tourism, and public services accounting for about three-fourths of GDP. Although about 40% of the population lives in rural areas, the share of food production in GDP is low. About 82% 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 its large pool of emigrants; remittances supplement GDP by more than 20%. Despite the lack of resources, sound economic management has produced steadily improving incomes. Continued economic reforms are aimed at developing the private sector and attracting foreign investment to diversify the economy and mitigate high unemployment. Future prospects depend heavily on the maintenance of aid flows, the encouragement of tourism, remittances, and the momentum of the government’s development program. Cape Verde became a member of the WTO in July 2008. (CIA, 2012)

Major Export Commodities: fuel, shoes, garments, fish, hides

Remittances: US 152 million USD (World Bank 2011 est.)

Human Development Index 2011 Ranking: 133 out of 187 countries

Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: US $329 million (2010)

Major development partners include Portugal, United States, E.U. Spain, Japan

Total External Debt:$325 million (2002)

Life Expectancy At Birth:74.2 years

Environmental Indicators:

                                        Endangered Species (as a % of all species): 13

                                           Forested Area (percentage of land area): 21

                                                 CO2 Emissions (tonnes per capita): 0.6

                                                         (Data Source: UNDP 2011)

United Nations Membership date: 16 September 1975

New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Cape Verde to the United Nations
27 East 69th Street
New York, N.Y. 10021 USA
Telephone: 212-472-0333
Fax: 212-794-1398.  Website:


CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.

World Development Indicators. World Bank

Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Human Development Report 2011.United Nations Development Programme.

Updated July 2012