Embassy of Cape Verde


Message of Ambassador Spencer Lopes

As we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Independence of Cape Verde, I welcome and appreciate the oppurtunity to address to all the Cape Verdean nation living in the United States, and also to convey to all of you my warmest greetings.
This is a moment of pride and celebration.
In spite of being a young sovereign State, Cape Verde is an old Nation. A Nation with a proper identity, and a history of tireless struggle against adversity.
In fact, nature was not so generous with the land: besides cyclical and painful droughts, Cape Verde lacks of natural resources and wealth.
Nevertheless, it has the Cape Verdean women and men, and these are its main weapons to face the challenges of development, progress, modernity and wellbeing.
The relationship between the Cape Verdean and the American people has lasted for more than a hundred years. In fact, as far back when the American shipowners began to hire Cape Verdeans sailors and fishermen for whaling fishirey, our ancestors began to emigrate to America.
Nowadays there are, in the United States, about half a million Cape Verdean Americans living, working, producing, paying taxes, coting, who could be elected for City Councils, state and federal Parliaments or other elective positions.
Consequently, the Cape Verdean community in this country must build up an effective Constituency for Cape Verde, because Cape Verde needs and deserves it.
With more than a century of history of emigration, it is time for the Cape Verdean Diaspora to organize in each adopted country, and to find the best ways to help the beloved Mother Land.
I, thus, challenge and urge you to build up this Constituency for Cape Verde.
Cape Verde deserves it. Cape Verde is looking forward to you doing so.


Ecology

Location
West African archipelago of 10 islands and 8 islets, divided into two groups: Northern Windward ("Barlavento"): Boa Vista, Sal, Santo Antao, S. Vicente, Sao Nicolau, and Santa Luzia; Southern Leeward ("Sotavento"): Brava, Fogo, Maio, Santiago.
Situated off the southern Mid-Atlantic Ocean Ridge. 630 kilometers (375 miles) west of Gambia, Senegal, and Mauritania.
Circa 1350 miles east of Brazil; 2750 miles SW of Britain; 3400 miles SE of New York; 1450 south of Azores.
Latitude: between 14 degrees 48 minutes and 17 deg. 12 min. North (same latitude at Martinique in West Indies).
Longitute: between 22 deg. 41 min., and 25 degrees. 22 min. West.
Time Zone: -2 hours Greenwich Meridian time.

Area
4,033 sq. km, or 1,557 sq. miles. (1.25x Rhode Island; 1.5 x Luxembourg; 7 x Singapore; 4 x Hong Kong).
Continental Shelf: 10,450 sq. km. 200
Miles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ): 734,265 sq. km.

Climate
Sahelo-saharan climatic Zone
Sub-tropical: average temperature in Praia (capital): 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Hottest month: September, average temp. 79 degrees F. Coolest month: February - average temp. 72 degrees
Seasons: Dry season: November - July; Rainy season: August - October
Micro-climate diversity: arid, semi-arid, sub-humid, and humid - largely due to different terrain/altitudes.

Demographic Information

Population
Resident: 430.000(1999)
Large Emigrant Population/Diaspora: Africa (Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome e Principe, Senegal); Brazil and Argentina; Europe (France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal). U.S. Capverdean population (concentrated in New England States and California) is estimated to be almost as large as population in Cape Verde. Density (per sq. km): 94.3
Population growth rate: 2,1% (1999)
Life expectancy at birth: 69 years
Population Age structure: less than 15 years old: 45,5%; ages 15 to 24: 19,5%; ages 25 to 64: 29,4%; ages 65 + 5.6%
Active population: 65.2%
Unemployment rate: 25.4%
Literacy rate: adult 86,3%
Primary school enrollment rate: universal
Illiteracy rate: 13,7% (1999)

Languages
Official language: Portuguese
National language: Cape Verdean Creole

Religion
Roman Catholic (majority), Protestant, Jehovahís Witnesses, Baptist, Muslim, and other

Government

Name
REPUBLICA DE CABO VERDE
Capital: PRAIA (Santiago island)

Independence
5 July 1975

Political System
Democratic (Multi-party) system of government (universal suffrage); proportional representation through electoral districts;
Executive: Prime Ministry and Ministerial Cabinet.
President: Elected head-of- State for 5-year term.
Prime Minister: head of government; appointed by President with advice and consent of popularly elected national legislature (National Assembly)
Legislative Branch: Unicameral Parliament (National Assembly), composed of 72 elected deputies (six elected by the Diaspora) for 5 years.

Judiciary System
Categories of courts: Supreme Court of Justice and judicial courts of first appeal; Court of Audit; Military Courts; Fiscal and Customs Courts. Judicial courts of second appeal and administrative courts may be established. The Supreme Court is composed of a minimum of 5 Judges of whom 1 is appointed by the President, 1 elected by the National Assembly, and the other by the Supreme Council of Magistrates. The law may establish specialized courts "ratione materiae".

Legal Code
Mixture of Roman law. Constitutional separation of church and state, freedom of religion.

Principal Government Officials
President - Antonio Mascarenhas Monteiro
Prime Minister - Carlos Wanhon Veiga
President of the National Assembly - Antonio Espirito Santo
Ambassador to the United States - Amilcar Spencer Lopes

Administrative Jurisdictions
18 Administrative Districts ("Municipios").

Economy

GNP per Capita
1300 (in 1999 US$)

GDP (2000 Prices)
540 (US$ Billion)

Natural resources
Fish, salt, pozzolana, limestone.

Agriculture
Bananas, corn, beans, sugarcane, coffee, fruits, vegetables.

Industry
Fish and fish products, salt, construction, building materials, ship repair, clothing, shoes, furniture, metal products, beverages.

Tax System
Taxes owed by entities may be paid voluntarily, in lump sum or in installments and on account, or coercively. The tax system includes direct and indirect taxes. The group of direct taxes includes the labor tax, complementary tax, industrial tax, property tax, the municipal tax on assets, and the municipal tax of Sisa.

Financial System
Consists of the Banco de Cabo Verde (BCV) which functions as the central bank; Banco Comercial do Atlantico (BCA), established in 1993; Caixa Economica de Cabo Verde (CECV), two insurance companies: Garantia and IMPAR; the social security service INPS; a small rural credit fund (CCR).
Interest rate for long-term loans of 5 years or more is 12 percent for all sectors except agriculture (preferential rate of 10.5 percent).
Loans of 2 to 5 years: Interest rate of 12 percent.
Deposits of 180 days to 12 months or more earn 8.5 percent interest.
Three foreign banks are established in Cabo Verde.

Type of Economy
Largely Rural/Agrarian and Services Economy Mixed Economic System: Private Business (Domestic and Foreign); Cooperatives and micro-enterprises; Parastatals and semi-government enterprises ( many of whom have been restructured and privatized).
Foreign investment and industrial codes favor foreign private sector investment and joint ventures development.
PROMEX ìone stop-shopî offers assistance to foreign investors.

Exports
Shoes, fish, chotles, banana, lobsters, salt, pharmaceutical products, services

Imports
Food (corn, wheat, rice, butter, powdered milk, groundnut oil), construction and building materials, furniture, oil products, machinery, textiles.

Major Trading Partners
EU (Portugal, France, Holland, Germany, Spain, and Italy)

Foreign Investment Opportunities
Tourism, hotels, sport fishing, wind surfing, sailing, fish/shellfish (catching, processing, canning, freezing), teleport, informatics, export processing, transshipment, wharf/free trade and export processing zone ventures, corporate registry, and others.


National Symbols