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Quick Facts
CapitalPraia
Governmentrepublic
CurrencyCape Verdean escudo (CVE)
Areatotal: 4,033 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 4,033 sq km
Population408,760 (July 2002 est.)
Internet TLD.cv
LanguagePortuguese, Crioulo
ReligionRoman Catholic (infused with indigenous beliefs); Protestant (mostly Church of the Nazarene)

Cape Verde (Portuguese Cabo Verde) is a country in West Africa. It comprises a group of islands in the Senegal.

Cities

  • World Heritage Site

Other destinations

  • The Island of Fogo volcano - The country's highest point (2,829 m)

Understand

Cape Verde (pop. 480.000) is located 500 km from the west coast of Africa. The once uninhabited islands were discovered and colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th century; they subsequently became a trading center for African slaves and later an important coaling and re-supply stop for whaling and transatlantic shipping. Independence was achieved in 1975.

Most Cape Verdeans have both African and Portuguese antecedents.

Climate

Cape Verde�s climate is temperate, with a warm, dry summer. Precipitation is meager and very erratic.

Holidays

The national holiday is the 5th of July, Independence Day.

Get in

By plane

International flights land at the island of Sal, 70km (110 miles) northeast of the capital.

There are regular flights from Amsterdam, Boston (weekly), Fortaleza (Brazil) (weekly), Lisbon (daily), Madrid, Milan, Munich and Oporto operated by Dakar), SAA (from South Africa) and TAP airlines.

By boat

There are only infrequent, expensive connections to the mainland.

Get around

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Talk

The official language is Portuguese. Crioulo (a blend of Portuguese and West African words) is widely spoken.

Buy

Costs

Eat

  • Lagostada � a lobster dish

Stay safe

Crime rates are relatively low. The emergency number is 132.

Stay healthy

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Contact

The telephone system is effective and improving. There is mobile phone coverage. The country also has one internet service provider.






Geography

Coastline 
965 km
Terrain 
steep, rugged, rocky, volcanic
Natural hazards 
prolonged droughts; seasonal harmattan wind produces obscuring dust; volcanically and seismically active
Environment - current issues 
soil erosion; demand for wood used as fuel has resulted in deforestation; desertification; environmental damage has threatened several species of birds and reptiles; illegal beach sand extraction; overfishing
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

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 
0.04% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 
775 (2001)
HIV/AIDS - deaths 
225 (as of 2001)
Ethnic groups 
Creole (mulatto) 71%, African 28%, European 1%


Government

Administrative divisions 
17 districts (concelhos, singular - concelho); Boa Vista, Brava, Calheta, Maio, Mosteiros, Paul, Praia, Porto Novo, Ribeira Grande, Sal, Santa Catarina, Santa Cruz, Sao Domingos, Sao Nicolau, Sao Filipe, Sao Vicente, Tarrafal
Diplomatic representation in the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador Jose BRITO
consulate(s) general: Boston
FAX: [1] (202) 965-1207
telephone: [1] (202) 965-6820
chancery: 3415 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
Diplomatic representation from the US 
chief of mission: Ambassador Donald C. JOHNSON
embassy: Rua Abilio m. Macedo 81, Praia
mailing address: C. P. 201, Praia
telephone: [238] 61 56 16, 61 56 17
FAX: [238] 61 13 55

Economy

Economy - overview 
Cape Verde suffers from a poor natural resource base, including serious water shortages exacerbated by cycles of long-term drought. The economy is service-oriented, with commerce, transport, and public services accounting for 70% of GDP. Although nearly 70% of the population lives in rural areas, the share of agriculture in GDP in 2001 was only 11%, of which fishing accounts for 1.5%. 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 emigrants; remittances supplement GDP by 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 2002 depend heavily on the maintenance of aid flows, remittances, and the momentum of the government's development program.
GDP 
purchasing power parity - $600 million (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 
3% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita 
purchasing power parity - $1,500 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector 
agriculture: 11%
industry: 17%
services: 72% (2001)
Population below poverty line 
30% (2000)
Household income or consumption by percentage share 
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 
3% (2001)
Unemployment rate 
21% (2000 est.)
Budget 
revenues: $112 million
expenditures: $198 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000)
Industries 
food and beverages, fish processing, shoes and garments, salt mining, ship repair
Agriculture - products 
bananas, corn, beans, sweet potatoes, sugarcane, coffee, peanuts; fish
Exports 
$27.3 million f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities 
fuel, shoes, garments, fish, hides
Exports - partners 
Portugal 45%, UK 20%, Germany 20%, Guinea-Bissau 5% (1999)
Imports 
$218 million f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities 
foodstuffs, industrial products, transport equipment, fuels
Imports - partners 
Portugal 52%, Germany 7%, France 4%, UK 3% (1999)
Debt - external 
$301 million (2000)
Economic aid - recipient 
$136 million (1999)
Exchange rates 
Cape Verdean escudos per US dollar - 123.556 (January 2002), 115.877 (2000), 102.700 (1999), 98.158 (1998), 93.177 (1997)


Transportation

Highways 
total: 1,100 km
paved: 858 km
unpaved: 242 km (1996)
Ports and harbors 
Mindelo, Praia, Tarrafal
Airports 
9
note: 3 airports are reported to be nonoperational (2001)