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Cape Verde is among the poorest countries in the world. The GDP per capita is $8,000 (2017). Unemployment among the working population is about 9% (2017); an even larger proportion is underemployed. Many harvests were lost due to the severe drought. Food imports consume valuable currency. In order to obtain foreign currency, Cape Verde depends on emigrants living overseas and on development aid. This finances large employment programmes: reforestation, terracing of the mountain slopes intended for agriculture and road building.

Although a large part of the population is employed in agriculture, this sector contributes only 8.9% to the gross national product (GNP). In the long term, Cape Verde could reduce its dependence on agriculture by focusing more on fishing, which is developing favourably, and especially on services and specialised industries. A law has been passed encouraging investment in export products and thus job creation, as well as a ten-year tax holiday, a toll-free import and export regime and free transfer of profits. Energy is dependent on imported petroleum and by-products.

There is a possibility of hydroelectricity. Mining and industry are limited to the extraction of salt and volcanic material, and a canning factory. The banking system, which is surprisingly efficient, is expanding. The central bank is the Banco de Cabo Verde, which is also the commercial bank. There is an international airport on Sal. Portugal is by far the most important trading partner, both for imports (foodstuffs and transport equipment) and exports (fish and canned fish).


Grote Lekturama wereldatlas

Irwin, A. / Cape Verde Islands
The Globe Pequot Press

Osang, R. / Kapverdische Inseln

Schleich, H.H. / Cabo Verde

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated March 2024
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