Country Profiles:
Cape Verde

Cape Verde, also known as Cabo Verde, is a former Portuguese colony comprises 10 islands and five islets, all but three of which are mountainous. Located in the West Coast of the Continent about 400 Nautical miles (nautical miles are usually longer than regular miles) from Senegal. The archipelago lies around 500 km off the west coast of Africa. Of the nine islands, only one is uninhabited. Praia, on Santiago Island, is the capital.

With limited natural resources, Cabo Verde islands have won a reputation for achieving political and economic stability. Since gaining independence from the Portuguese on July 5th 1975 it has maintained a democratic state. Cape Verde is listed among the most democratic nations in the world, ranking 23rd position in the continent, according to the 2016 Democracy Index. The constitution was adopted in 1980 and revised in 1992, 1995 and 1999, defines the basic principles of its government. The president is the head of state and is elected by popular vote for a 5-year term. The current President Jorge Carlos Almeida Fonseca was elected president in August 2011 and re-elected in October 2016.

Despite its limited natural resources, the country has a lot to offer.

Each island serves up a different set of attractions and reasons to visit and each island feels vastly different from the last. Major tourist sites include:  Fortaleza Real de San Felipe (Cidade Velha), Rue Banana (Cidade Velha), Pelourinho (Cidade Velha), Porto Novo-Ribeira Grande Road (Porto Novo), Konzentrationslager Colonia Penal de Tarrafal (Tarrafal), Fogo (Portuguese for “fire”) is the most prominent island of the Sotavento group of Cape Verde.

Cape Verde offers healthy and exotic food and drink. Fish is a popular element of cuisine in Cape Verde, while meat and fresh vegetables also form a staple part of the national cuisine. Popular dishes include:

Cachupa is the archipelago’s national dish (mixed stew of corn and beans). Tchassina (salted goat meat, eaten with cachupa). Diable Dentro (pastry with “the devil” inside (tuna, onions, tomatoes, and pastry made from potatoes and flour), Stewed beans (with “feijão longo” (long beans). Goat stew (served at all popular feast).

Cape Verde has strong musical heritage with strong rhythms, mournful melodies and melancholic voices. The world knows about the music from Cape Verde mainly through the late Cesária Evora, who popularised the songs from her native island of São Vicente. Suzanna Lubrano is also a popular singer.

Cape Verde has limited natural especially the limited water supply, which pose a grave liability to the country, and there are no domestic sources of energy except firewood, wind, and sunlight.

The entire country relies on imported petroleum fuel. On the local level, most domestic energy needs are met by the use of firewood. Experimental approaches toward energy supply are under investigation, and the potential of Cabo Verde’s renewable energy resources has been recognized. Few natural resources, such as supplies of sand, limestone, puzzolane (a cement or plaster additive), and salt do exists. Historically, the country is prone to drought which lead to heavy emigration. There is about half a million Cape Verdians living in the United States which is approximately the size of its current population and few in Europe, Senegal and other parts of the world.

The country’s ethnic make up is overwhelming a mix of Europeans and African descent and is often referred to as Mestiço or Crioulo. One of the most beautiful people in the world with unique and striking features that are unique only to Cabo Verdians. The most dormant ethnic groups are Fulani, the Balante, and the Mandyako people. A small population of European origin includes those of Portuguese descent (especially from the Algarve, a historical province, and the Azores islands), as well as those of Italian, French, and English descent. There is also a substantial number that traces its roots to Sephardic Jews. The Official language is Portuguese, one of the Lusophone country’s on the continent.

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