Cabo Verde facts on every entity in the world

The uninhabited islands were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th century; Cabo 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. Cabo 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, Cabo Verde's expatriate population is greater than its domestic one. Most Cabo Verdeans have both African and Portuguese antecedents.



Western Africa, group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, west of Senegal

Geographic coordinates

16.00° N, 24.00° W

Area 176/257

total: 4,033 sq km

land: 4,033 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly larger than Rhode Island

Land boundaries

0 km


965 km

Maritime claims

measured from claimed archipelagic baselines

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


temperate; warm, dry summer; precipitation meager and erratic


steep, rugged, rocky, volcanic


mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Mt. Fogo 2,829 m (a volcano on Fogo Island)

Natural resources

salt, basalt rock, limestone, kaolin, fish, clay, gypsum

Land use

agricultural land: 18.6%

arable land 11.7%; permanent crops 0.7%; permanent pasture 6.2%

forest: 21%

other: 60.4% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

35 sq km (2012)

Total renewable water resources

0.3 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)

total: 0.02 cu km/yr (6%/1%/93%)

per capita: 48.57 cu m/yr (2004)

Natural hazards

prolonged droughts; seasonal harmattan wind produces obscuring dust; volcanically and seismically active

volcanism: Fogo (elev. 2,829 m), which last erupted in 1995, is Cabo Verde's only active volcano

Environment - current issues

soil erosion; deforestation due to demand for firewood; water shortages; desertification; environmental damage has threatened several species of birds and reptiles; illegal beach sand extraction; overfishing

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

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

People and Society


noun: Cabo Verdean(s)

adjective: Cabo Verdean

Ethnic groups

Creole (mulatto) 71%, African 28%, European 1%


Portuguese (official), Crioulo (a blend of Portuguese and West African words)


Roman Catholic 77.3%, Protestant 3.7% (includes Church of the Nazarene 1.7%, Adventist 1.5%, Universal Kingdom of God 0.4%, and God and Love 0.1%), other Christian 4.3% (includes Christian Rationalism 1.9%, Jehovah's Witness 1%, Assembly of God 0.9%, and New Apostolic 0.5%), Muslim 1.8%, other 1.3%, none 10.8%, unspecified 0.7% (2010 est.)

Population 174/238

545,993 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 30.1% (male 82,623/female 81,731)

15-24 years: 20.99% (male 57,307/female 57,303)

25-54 years: 38.53% (male 102,186/female 108,177)

55-64 years: 5.29% (male 12,194/female 16,709)

65 years and over: 5.08% (male 10,466/female 17,297) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 52%

youth dependency ratio: 45.1%

elderly dependency ratio: 7%

potential support ratio: 14.4% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 24.5 years

male: 23.6 years

female: 25.3 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 87/233

1.36% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 82/224

20.33 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 161/225

6.11 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 140/222

-0.63 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)


urban population: 65.5% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 1.99% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

PRAIA (capital) 145,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.95 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.73 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.61 male(s)/female

total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth


note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2005 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 83/184

42 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 76/224

total: 23.45 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 26.89 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 19.91 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 147/224

total population: 71.85 years

male: 69.58 years

female: 74.19 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 93/224

2.29 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

61.3% (2005)

Health expenditures 164/191

4.4% of GDP (2013)

Physicians density

0.31 physicians/1,000 population (2011)

Hospital bed density

2.1 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source


urban: 94% of population

rural: 87.3% of population

total: 91.7% of population


urban: 6% of population

rural: 12.7% of population

total: 8.3% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access


urban: 81.6% of population

rural: 54.3% of population

total: 72.2% of population


urban: 1.4% of population

rural: 45.7% of population

total: 27.8% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

1.09% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

3,400 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

100 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 131/191

11.7% (2014)

Education expenditures 76/173

5% of GDP (2011)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 13 years

male: 13 years

female: 14 years (2013)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Cabo Verde

conventional short form: Cabo Verde

local long form: Republica de Cabo Verde

local short form: Cabo Verde

etymology: the name derives from Cap-Vert (Green Cape) on the Senegalese coast, the westernmost point of Africa and the nearest mainland to the islands

Government type



name: Praia

geographic coordinates: 14.55° N, 23.31° W

time difference: UTC-1 (4 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

22 municipalities (concelhos, singular - concelho); Boa Vista, Brava, Maio, Mosteiros, Paul, Porto Novo, Praia, Ribeira Brava, Ribeira Grande, Ribeira Grande de Santiago, Sal, Santa Catarina, Santa Catarina do Fogo, Santa Cruz, Sao Domingos, Sao Filipe, Sao Lourenco dos Orgaos, Sao Miguel, Sao Salvador do Mundo, Sao Vicente, Tarrafal, Tarrafal de Sao Nicolau


5 July 1975 (from Portugal)

National holiday

Independence Day, 5 July (1975)


previous 1981; latest effective 25 September 1992; revised 1995, 1999, 2010 (2015)

Legal system

civil law system of Portugal

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Cabo Verde

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Jorge Carlos FONSECA (since 9 September 2011)

head of government: Prime Minister Jose Maria Pereira NEVES (since 1 February 2001)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 7 August 2011 with a second round on 21 August 2011 (next to be held in 2016); prime minister nominated by the National Assembly and appointed by the president

election results: percent of vote in second round - Jorge Carlos FONSECA (MPD) 53.4%, Manuel Inocencio SOUSA (PAICV) 46.6%

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Assembleia Nacional (72 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)

elections: last held on 6 February 2011 (next to be held by 2016)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PAICV 38, MPD 32, UCID 2

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of the chief justice and at least 5 judges)

judge selection and term of office: judges appointments - 1 by the president of the republic, 1 elected by the National Assembly, and the remainder by the Supreme Council of Magistrates, a 9-member independent body presided over by the chief justice and includes the high judicial inspector, 2 presidential appointees, 3 elected by the National Assembly, and 2 by their court peers; chief justice appointed by the president of the republic from among peers of the Supreme Court and in consultation with the Supreme Council of Magistrates; judge tenure NA

subordinate courts: first instance (municipal) courts; audit, military, and fiscal and customs courts

Political parties and leaders

African Party for Independence of Cabo Verde or PAICV [Janira Hopffer ALMADA]

Democratic and Independent Cabo Verdean Union or UCID [Antonio MONTEIRO]

Democratic Christian Party or PDC [Manuel RODRIGUES]

Democratic Renovation Party or PRD [Victor FIDALGO]

Movement for Democracy or MPD [Ulisses CORREIA e Silva]

Party for Democratic Convergence or PCD [Dr. Eurico MONTEIRO]

Party of Work and Solidarity or PTS [Anibal MEDINA]

Social Democratic Party or PSD [Joao ALEM]

Political pressure groups and leaders

other: environmentalists; political pressure groups

International organization participation


Flag description

five unequal horizontal bands; the top-most band of blue - equal to one half the width of the flag - is followed by three bands of white, red, and white, each equal to 1/12 of the width, and a bottom stripe of blue equal to one quarter of the flag width; a circle of 10, yellow, five-pointed stars is centered on the red stripe and positioned 3/8 of the length of the flag from the hoist side; blue stands for the sea and the sky, the circle of stars represents the 10 major islands united into a nation, the stripes symbolize the road to formation of the country through peace (white) and effort (red)

National symbol(s)

ten, five-pointed, yellow stars; national colors: blue, white, red, yellow

National anthem

name: "Cantico da Liberdade" (Song of Freedom)

lyrics/music: Amilcar Spencer LOPES/Adalberto Higino Tavares SILVA

note: adopted 1996


Economy - overview

Cabo Verde’s economy is vulnerable to external shocks and depends on development aid, foreign investment, remittances, and tourism. The economy is service-oriented with commerce, transport, tourism, and public services accounting for about three-fourths of GDP. Tourism is the mainstay of the economy and depends on conditions in the euro zone countries. Although about 40% of the population lives in rural areas, the share of food production in GDP is low. The island economy suffers from a poor natural resource base, including serious water shortages, exacerbated by cycles of long-term drought, and poor soil for growing food on several of the islands, requiring it to import most of what it consumes. The fishing potential, mostly lobster and tuna, is not fully exploited. Cabo Verde annually runs a high trade deficit financed by foreign aid and remittances from its large pool of emigrants; remittances as a share of GDP are one of the highest in sub-Saharan Africa. Economic reforms are aimed at developing the private sector and attracting foreign investment to diversify the economy and mitigate high unemployment. The government’s elevated debt levels have limited its capacity to finance any shortfalls.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 180/230

$3.479 billion (2015 est.)

$3.363 billion (2014 est.)

$3.302 billion (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.641 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 72/225

3.5% (2015 est.)

1.8% (2014 est.)

1% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 155/230

$6,700 (2015 est.)

$6,500 (2014 est.)

$6,400 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 17/179

31% of GDP (2015 est.)

30% of GDP (2014 est.)

34.6% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 53.4%

government consumption: 14.8%

investment in fixed capital: 32.3%

investment in inventories: 0.8%

exports of goods and services: 30.6%

imports of goods and services: -31.9%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 9.7%

industry: 18.3%

services: 72% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

bananas, corn, beans, sweet potatoes, sugarcane, coffee, peanuts; fish


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

Industrial production growth rate 120/202

1.8% (2015 est.)

Labor force 173/233

196,100 (2007 est.)

Unemployment rate 133/207

12% (2014 est.)

16.4% (2013 est.)

Population below poverty line

30% (2000 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 1.9%

highest 10%: 40.6% (2001)


revenues: $374.1 million

expenditures: $489.9 million (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 140/219

22.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 192/220

-7.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 9/176

116.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

113.7% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 45/226

0.3% (2015 est.)

-0.2% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 41/156

7.5% (31 December 2010)

7.5% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 79/184

10.5% (31 December 2015 est.)

10.9% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 163/192

$610.9 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$597.6 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 160/193

$1.621 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.608 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 151/191

$1.471 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

$1.449 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

Current account balance 77/197

-$159 million (2015 est.)

-$141 million (2014 est.)

Exports 187/224

$192.7 million (2015 est.)

$253 million (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

fuel (re-exports), shoes, garments, fish, hides

Exports - partners

Spain 46.1%, Poland 22.4%, Portugal 11.8% (2014)

Imports 185/223

$797.8 million (2015 est.)

$862 million (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

foodstuffs, industrial products, transport equipment, fuels

Imports - partners

Algeria 72.5%, Portugal 10% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 151/170

$491.5 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$510.9 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 153/206

$1.617 billion (31 December 2014 est.)

$1.484 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Exchange rates

Cabo Verdean escudos (CVE) per US dollar -

97.58 (2015 est.)

83.11 (2014 est.)

83.11 (2013 est.)

85.82 (2012 est.)

79.32 (2011 est.)


Electricity - production 177/220

307 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 181/219

285.5 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 128/218

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports 138/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 171/214

108,500 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 98/214

76.5% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 75/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 167/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 9/212

23.5% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 122/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 113/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 178/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 121/215

0 bbl (1 January 2015 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 171/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 184/212

2,600 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 171/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 177/213

2,646 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 175/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 134/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 85/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 185/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 128/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 187/212

385,700 Mt (2012 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines 156/219

total subscriptions: 58,500

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 11 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 166/217

total: 613,400

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 114 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: effective system, extensive modernization from 1996-2000 following partial privatization in 1995

domestic: major service provider is Cabo Verde Telecom; fiber-optic ring, completed in 2001, links all islands providing Internet access and ISDN services; cellular service introduced in 1998; broadband services launched in 2004

international: country code - 238; landing point for the Atlantis-2 fiber-optic transatlantic telephone cable that provides links to South America, Senegal, and Europe; HF radiotelephone to Senegal and Guinea-Bissau; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2011)

Broadcast media

state-run TV and radio broadcast network plus a growing number of private broadcasters; Portuguese public TV and radio services for Africa are available; transmissions of a few international broadcasters are available (2007)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 0, FM 22 (plus 12 repeaters), shortwave 0 (2001)

Television broadcast stations

1 (plus 7 repeaters) (2001)

Internet country code


Internet hosts 216/232

38 (2012)

Internet users 153/217

total: 213,900

percent of population: 39.7% (2014 est.)


Airports 157/236

9 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 9

over 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 3

under 914 m: 2 (2013)

Roadways 180/223

total: 1,350 km

paved: 932 km

unpaved: 418 km (2013)

Merchant marine 104/156

total: 13

by type: cargo 3, chemical tanker 2, passenger/cargo 7, petroleum tanker 1

foreign-owned: 3 (Greece 1, Spain 1, UK 1)

registered in other countries: 1 (unknown 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Porto Grande

Military and Security

Military branches

Armed Forces: Army (also called the National Guard, GN), Cabo Verde Coast Guard (Guardia Costeira de Cabo Verde, GCCV; includes naval infantry) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

18-35 years of age for male and female selective compulsory military service; 2-yearsconscript service obligation; 17 years of age for voluntary service (with parental consent) (2013)

Military expenditures

NA% (2012)

0.51% of GDP (2011)

NA% (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 115 (2014)

Illicit drugs

used as a transshipment point for Latin American cocaine destined for Western Europe, particularly because of Lusophone links to Brazil, Portugal, and Guinea-Bissau; has taken steps to deter drug money laundering, including a 2002 anti-money laundering reform that criminalizes laundering the proceeds of narcotics trafficking and other crimes and the establishment in 2008 of a Financial Intelligence Unit (2008)