About Cape Verde

Located in the Atlantic Ocean 500 kilometers off the western coast of Africa, Cabo Verde is an archipelago consisting of 10 volcanic islands. These islands were entirely uninhabited until the 15th century, when the Portuguese discovered and colonized them. Also known as Cape Verde, the Republic of Cabo Verde is home to 590,000 people distributed throughout the islands, with more than half living on Sao Tiago Island, site of the capital, Praia. About 67 percent of Cape Verdeans are urban dwellers. The population identifies mostly as ethnically Creole, with other ethnic groups including African and European. Portuguese is the official language, while Krioulo is also widely spoken throughout the country and diaspora.

Since gaining independence from Portugal in 1975, Cabo Verde has maintained one of the most stable democratic governments in Africa, as well as one of the continent's most stable economies. Only about 10 percent of Cabo Verde’s land is arable, and there are few mineral resources. Instead, much of the economy is grounded in tourism, drawing visitors with its pleasant climate, attractive beaches, stable economy, and close proximity to Europe. Tourism contributed substantially to the country’s rapid economic and social progress between 1990 and 2008. Much of the population is employed in the service industry, and also commerce, trade, transport, and public services.

Non-communicable diseases have increased since 2009 to become the leading cause of death in Cabo Verde. Death due to ischemic heart disease, stroke, diabetes, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, and chronic kidney disease all increased by 50 percent or more between 2009 and 2019. Other leading causes of death include lower respiratory infections, cirrhosis, Alzheimer's disease, self-harm, and interpersonal violence. While neonatal disorders and HIV/AIDS continue to contribute substantially to death in Cabo Verde, these decreased by nearly 50 percent between 2009 and 2019, indicating substantial progress. Risk factors that contribute most to deaths and disabilities include high blood pressure, malnutrition, air pollution, high body-mass index, high fasting plasma glucose, dietary risks, alcohol and tobacco use, high LDL, kidney dysfunction, insufficient sanitation and clean water, and unsafe sex.

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