Politics and Economy of Cape Verde

State structure and political system of Cape Verde

Cape Verde is a democratic unitary state with a republican form of government. The Constitution is in force in 1992 with amendments in 1995 and 1999. Administratively it is divided into 17 districts – Boa Vista, Brava, Caleta, Mayu, Mostterios, Paul, Praia, Porto Novo, Ribeira Grande, Sal, Santa Catarina, Santa Cruz, Sau Domingos, Sau Nicolau, Sau Filipe, Sau Iisente, Tarrafal. Main cities: Praia, Mindelo – 64 thousand people, Sant Filipe – 6 thousand people. Check cancermatters for political system of Cape Verde.

The highest body of legislative power is the National Assembly, consisting of 72 deputies, elected in general elections for a term of 5 years. The supreme body of executive power is the government, headed by the prime minister, who is appointed by the president on the recommendation of the National Assembly. Local executive authorities are municipalities elected by the population. The head of state is the president (P. Pires). Chairman of the National Assembly – A. Lima. Prime Minister – J.M. Neves.

Amilcar Cabral (1924–73), who founded the PAIGC and made an enormous contribution to the independence of Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau, was an outstanding statesman.

The political system is multi-party. 7 parties are registered, the largest ones are PAIKV, MPD, Democratic Alliance for Change, Party of Democratic Renewal.

Leading business organizations are the Chambers of Commerce of the Windward and Leeward Islands. An influential public organization is the National Association of Workers of Cape Verde.

In domestic policy, the main activities of the government are the privatization of state-owned enterprises, attracting investment from abroad and social support for the poor.

In foreign policy, Cape Verde gives priority to the development of relations with Portugal, the Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa, and Brazil. In 1996 she merged with them to form the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries. Recent years have been marked by the strengthening of ties with Francophone Africa.

The armed forces consist of the army and the coast guard. Their number is 1200 people. Military spending (2001) $9.3 million (1.6% of GDP).

Cape Verde has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (established with the USSR in 1975).

Cape Verde Economy

The country’s economy is focused on the service sector – trade, air and sea transport. In 2001, GDP amounted to 550 million US dollars, i.e. $1,250 per capita; its growth was 3%. The structure of GDP by sectors: agriculture 11.5%, industry 18.6%, services – 69.9% (2000). Structure of GDP by employment: agriculture 23%, industry 6%, services 71%. Unemployment 21% (according to unofficial data, more than 50%, 2001). The income of 44% of the population is below the poverty level. Inflation 3.8% (2001).

The most significant enterprises are shipbuilding and ship repair yards, fish canning and cement plants. In addition, there is a brewery, clothing and shoe factories, a flour mill, bakeries and a building materials plant. Salt and pozzolana are mined. Electricity generation 133.6 million kWh.

10% of the territory is occupied by agriculture – 39 thousand hectares, of which 3 thousand hectares are irrigated. The arid climate does not allow self-sufficiency in food. The country produces 10-15% of the food consumed. The rest (from 30,000 to 80,000 tons) is imported or supplied under international programs to combat hunger. The main agricultural crop is corn (collection in 2000 was 18.5 thousand tons). Legumes, cassava, sweet potatoes, vegetables, fruits, and sugar cane are also grown. Cattle, goats, pigs are bred in animal husbandry.

The development of fisheries is promising. In 2001, the catch of fish, lobsters and lobsters amounted to 13 thousand tons, another 7 thousand tons of tuna were caught by EU courts. The optimal catch of seafood is estimated at 45 thousand tons.

The length of roads is 1100 km, of which 858 km are paved (2001). 40 ships of the Cape Verde merchant fleet carry out transportation within the archipelago, as well as to West Africa, Europe and America. Several new ports have been built in the last decade. Cargo turnover of ports (2000) – 450 thousand tons. Air transport connects Cape Verde with the countries of Africa, Europe, North and South America. The international airport on the island of Sal is capable of receiving airbuses. The national airline TAKV operates flights to 14 cities in Europe, Africa and America. All major islands are connected by local airlines. Transported (2000) 140 thousand passengers, 20 million tkm of cargo (2000).

Fixed telephones 60 935, mobile – 28 119 (2002). There are 15 radio stations and 1 TV station. 100 thousand radio receivers, 15 thousand television sets (2002, estimate). Number of Internet users 12 thousand (2002).

Tourism is a rapidly growing industry. In 2000, 83.3 thousand tourists visited the country. Tourism revenue $40.8 million

The main goals of economic and social policy are defined by the National Development Plan: 1) fight against poverty; 2) improving the healthcare system; 3) improvement of the sanitary condition of the capital Praia; 4) economic reforms, including privatization and attraction of foreign investments.

Financial reform ended the monopoly position of the central bank, the government split its holdings to establish new commercial banks. Four Portuguese banks have opened branches in Cape Verde.

Budget 2000: revenues $112 million, expenditures (including capital budget) $198 million. Taxes make up 72% of budget revenues. External debt $301 million (2000), domestic debt approx. $100 million, foreign exchange reserves $45.48 million (2001).

The foreign trade deficit is very significant. Export – 23.7 million dollars, import – 218 million dollars (2001). Main export items: oil products (re-export), seafood, shoes, leather. Main import items: foodstuffs, manufactured goods, vehicles, oil products. The balance of payments is positive ($11 million, 2000) thanks to gratuitous foreign aid, loans and investments.

Science and culture of Cape Verde

The school system includes primary (4-6 years) and secondary (9-12 years). In 2000, 98,000 students attended elementary schools, and 33,000 secondary schools. 1,200 students studied at 4 local universities and 2,500 students abroad. The university building is under construction. There is a significant amount of fiction in Portuguese and Creole. In dances, songs, applied arts (ceramics, wickerwork), the influence of the West African cultural heritage is reflected.

Politics of Cape Verde