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Cape Verde
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Brief History

Cape Verde, officially known as the Republic of Cape Verde, achieved its independence from Portugal on July 5, 1975, after being colonized since the 15th century. In February 1990, the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV) called an emergency congress to discuss proposed constitutional changes to end one-party rule, which ended on September 28, 1990. Cape Verde continues to exhibit one of Africa's most stable democratic governments. On 11 and 25 February 2001, Pedro Pires was elected president, and inaugurated on 22 March 2001.

Geography

Cape Verde, capital Praia, is an island country located in Western Africa covering an area of 4,033 square kilometers. It is located in the Macaronesia ecoregion of the central Atlantic Ocean, off the western coast of Africa, close to Mauritania and Senegal. The climate is temperate with a warm, dry summer. Precipitation is meager and erratic. The island chain is of volcanic origin. Natural resources include salt, basalt rock, limestone, kaolin, fish, clay, and gypsum.

People

Cape Verde has a population of 508,659 (2010). Ethnic groups consist of the largest one, Creole, forming 71% of the population, Africans, and small minorities of Europeans. The official language is Portuguese and Crioulo is a recognized regional language. The literacy rate is 76.6% (2003) and the unemployment rate is 13.1% (2010). Its religions are distributed among Christians, mainly Roman Catholics, and Protestants, mostly Church of the Nazarene. T here are also small groups of Muslims and Baha'i.

Government

The government of Cape Verde is subject to a republic system. Its legal system is based on the legal system of Portugal. It has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction. The chief of state has been President Pedro Verona Rodriques Pires since March 22, 2001, and the head of government has been Prime Minister Jose Maria Pereira Neves since February 1, 2001. The official currency is the Cape Verdean escudo where 1 euro = 110.265 escudos.

Economy

This island economy suffers from a poor natural resource base, including serious water shortages exacerbated by cycles of long-term drought. Mineral resources include salt, pozzolana, and limestone.

The economy is service oriented with commerce, transport, tourism, and public services accounting for about three-fourths of GDP. Tourism was regarded as one of the most important growth sectors for the islands, along with transportation infrastructure. About 82% of food must be imported. Agricultural products include bananas, corn, beans, sweet potatoes, sugarcane, coffee, peanuts, and fish. The fishing potential, mostly lobster and tuna, is not fully exploited, but Fish and shellfish are plentiful, and small quantities are exported. Agriculture and fishing contribute only about 9% of GDP.The Cape Verde oil and mining industries are key sectors in the economy of the country.

Economic reforms on the part of the government aim to develop the private sector, attract foreign investment and diversify the economy. However, the country is dependent on aid flows.

Cape Verde became a member of the WTO in July 2008.

The GDP per capita is US$ $3,400 (2009) and the inflation rate is 1% (2009). The country’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita is estimated to be US$ 3,131.10 (2010).


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