The World Factbook (1990)/Cape Verde


Cape Verde

World Factbook (1990) Cape Verde.jpg

 See regional map VII


Total area: 4,030 km²; land area: 4,030 km²

Comparative area: slightly larger than Rhode Island

Land boundaries: none

Coastline: 965 km

Maritime claims: (measured from claimed archipelagic baselines)

Extended economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: temperate; warm, dry, summer precipitation very erratic

Terrain: steep, rugged, rocky, volcanic

Natural resources: salt, basalt rock, pozzolana, limestone, kaolin, fish

Land use: 9% arable land; NEGL% permanent crops; 6% meadows and pastures; NEGL% forest and woodland; 85% other; includes 1% irrigated

Environment: subject to prolonged droughts; harmattan wind can obscure visibility; volcanically and seismically active; deforestation; overgrazing

Note: strategic location 500 km from African coast near major north-south sea routes; important communications station; important sea and air refueling site


Population: 374,984 (July 1990), growth rate 3.0% (1990)

Birth rate: 49 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 11 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: -8 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 65 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 59 years male, 63 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 6.7 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Cape Verdean(s); adjective—Cape Verdean

Ethnic divisions: about 71% Creole (mulatto), 28% African, 1% European

Religion: Roman Catholicism fused with indigenous beliefs

Language: Portuguese and Crioulo, a blend of Portuguese and West African words

Literacy: 48% (1986)

Labor force: 102,000 (1985 est.); 57% agriculture (mostly subsistence), 29% services, 14% industry (1981); 51% of population of working age (1985)

Organized labor: Trade Unions of Cape Verde Unity Center (UNTC-CS) closely associated with ruling party


Long-form name: Republic of Cape Verde

Type: republic

Capital: Praia

Administrative divisions: 12 districts (concelhos, singular—concelho); Boa Vista, Brava, Fogo, Maio, Paul, Praia, Ribeira Grande, Sal, Santa Catarina, São Nicolau, São Vicente, Tarrafal; there may be 2 new districts named Porto Novo and Santa Cruz

Independence: 5 July 1975 (from Portugal)

Constitution: 7 September 1980, amended 12 February 1981 and December 1988

National holiday: Independence Day, 5 July (1975)

Executive branch: president, prime minister, deputy minister, Council of Ministers (cabinet)

Legislative branch: unicameral National People's Assembly (Assembléia Nacional Popular)

Judicial branch: Supreme Tribunal of Justice (Supremo Tribunal de Justia)

Leaders: Chief of State—President Aristides Maria PEREIRA (since 5 July 1975);

Head of Government—Prime Minister Pedro Verona Rodrigues PIRES, (since 5 July 1975); Deputy Minister Aguinaldo Liboa RAMOS (since NA February 1990)

Political parties and leaders: only party—African Party for Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV), Aristides Maria Pereira, secretary general

Suffrage: universal at age 15

Elections: President—last held 13 January 1986 (next to be held January 1991); results—President Aristides Maria Pereira (PAICV) was reelected without opposition;

National People's Assembly—last held 7 December 1985 (next to be held December 1990); results—PAICV is the only party; seats—(83 total) PAICV 83

Communists: a few Communists and some sympathizers


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador José Luis FERNANDES LOPES; Chancery at 3415 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC 20007; telephone (202) 965-6820; there is a Cape Verdean Consulate General in Boston; US—Ambassador Terry McNAMARA; Embassy at Rua Hojl Ya Yenna 81, Praia (mailing address is C. P. 201, Praia); telephone [238] 614-363 or 253

Flag: two equal horizontal bands of yellow (top) and green with a vertical red band on the hoist side; in the upper portion of the red band is a black five-pointed star framed by two corn stalks and a yellow clam shell; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia; similar to the flag of Guinea-Bissau which is longer and has an unadorned black star centered in the red band


Overview: Cape Verde's low per capita GDP reflects a poor natural resource base, a 17-year drought, and a high birth rate. The economy is service oriented, with commerce, transport, and public services accounting for 60% of GDP during the period 1984-86. Although nearly 70% of the population lives in rural areas, agriculture's share of GDP is only 16%; the fishing and manufacturing sectors are 4% each. About 90% of food must be imported. The fishing potential of the islands is not fully exploited (the fish catch mostly lobster and tuna came to only 10,000 tons in 1985). Cape Verde annually runs a high trade deficit, financed by remittances from emigrants, cash grants, food aid, and foreign loans.

GDP: $158 million, per capita $494; real growth rate 6.1% (1987)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.8% (1987)

Unemployment rate: 25% (1988)

Budget: revenues $80 million; expenditures $87 million, including capital expenditures of $45 million (1988 est.)

Exports: $8.9 million (f.o.b., 1987); commodities—fish, bananas, salt; partners—Portugal, Angola, Algeria, Belgium/Luxembourg, Italy

Imports: $124 million (c.i.f., 1987); commodities—petroleum, foodstuffs, consumer goods, industrial products; partners—Portugal, Netherlands, Spain, France, US, FRG

External debt: $140 million (December 1988)

Industrial production: growth rate 0% (1986 est.)

Electricity: 14,000 kW capacity; 18 million kWh produced, 50 kWh per capita (1989)

Industry: fish processing, salt mining, clothing factories, ship repair

Agriculture: accounts for 16% of GDP; largely subsistence farming; bananas are the only export crop; other crops—corn, beans, sweet potatoes, coffee; growth potential of agricultural sector limited by poor soils and limited rainfall; annual food imports required; fish catch provides for both domestic consumption and small exports

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY75-88), $83 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $540 million; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $12 million; Communist countries (1970-88), $36 million

Currency: Cape Verdean escudo (plural—escudos); 1 Cape Verdean escudo (CVEsc) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: Cape Verdean escudos (CVEsc) per US$1—72.31 (February 1990), 74.86 (December 1989), 72.01 (1988), 72.5 (1987), 76.56 (1986), 85.38 (1985)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Ports: Mindelo and Praia

Merchant marine: 5 cargo ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 9,308 GRT/16,172 DWT

Civil air: 2 major transport aircraft

Airports: 6 total, 6 usable; 4 with permanent-surface runways; none with runways over 3,659 m; 1 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 4 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: interisland radio relay system, high-frequency radio to mainland Portugal and Guinea-Bissau; 1,740 telephones; stations—5 AM, 1 FM, 1 TV; 2 coaxial submarine cables; 1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: People's Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARP); Army, Navy, and Air Force are separate components of FARP

Military manpower: males 15-49, 68,776; 40,731 fit for military service

Defense expenditures: 11.8% of GDP (1981)