Skip to main content

Cape Verde Country Report

Country Risk Level

Medium

Overview

Executive Summary

Cape Verde has one of the most stable political environments in Africa, exemplified by a peaceful change of government in March 2016 from the African Party for the Independence of Cape Verde (PAICV) to the Movement for Democracy (MpD). Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva is focused on promoting the service sector, reducing taxes for small and medium-sized businesses, and cutting expenditure on costly infrastructure projects, while privatising state-owned enterprises and establishing private management of national ports and airports. A 51% share in Cabo Verde Airlines was sold to an Icelandic company in 2019, but plans to sell the government's remaining 39% stake in the company was postponed on 22 March due to COVID-19 virus-related flight disruption. The government also plans to privatise power and water utility Electra in 2020, with technical assistance from the World Bank.Government borrowing is likely to greatly increase in 2020 to combat the negative economic impacts of COVID-19. For example, the government has introduced a six-month moratorium on loan repayments to local banks until 30 September 2020 and has invested in struggling local government-owned utilities. The finance minister has publicly stated his opposition to deep cuts in planned expenditure and to tax increases, although budget revisions are likely, and public-sector workers have reported salary arrears in 2020.IHS Markit forecasts real GDP growth of 5% for Cape Verde during 2020; however, COVID-19 virus-related disruption to the tourism industry and a fall in diaspora remittances is likely to significantly reduce projected economic growth. We forecast real GDP growth to reach 5.7% in 2021.IHS Markit expects the Cape Verdean escudo to slightly depreciate against the US dollar through 2020, driven by its fixed peg to the euro. We expect the euro to retreat to USD1.12 during the European Central Bank's monetary policy normalisation, from the mid-2020s onward.

Operational Outlook

The Cape Verdean government has long-term plans to make the archipelago a logistics and services hub as well as a year-round tourist destination, in July 2019 establishing a special economic zone reducing regulatory and tax measures to maritime trade on São Vicente Island. Corruption in government is robustly checked. Strike risks increased after the COVID-19 outbreak due to government revenue shortfalls and salary arrears or reductions in the public sector. Strikes are generally of short duration, and are most common in the transport sector, particularly at the national airline due to its financial troubles since 2017. Before the COVID-19 virus outbreak, strikes had abated since 61% of the company was privatised.

Terrorism

The government has claimed that Islamist militant groups, including Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, may be using Cape Verde for transit, refuge, recruitment, and training. However, it remains highly unlikely that Islamist militants have done anything other than use Cape Verde for non-operational financing purposes.

Crime

Crime rates in Cape Verde are low for the sub-region, although they are on a noticeable upward trend. With the growth of tourism and increase in foreign business visitors, further increases in petty thefts, muggings, and sexual assaults in tourist destinations and resorts can be expected. The temporary lull in tourism caused by COVID-19 will increase unemployment and puts tourists at higher risk of theft and robbery attempts upon their return. Violent crime linked to drug-trafficking is almost always confined to disputes between and within criminal networks. Police generally have a good reputation, but logistical constraints, including lack of vehicles and limited communications equipment and forensic capacity, reduce their effectiveness.

War Risks

War risks are minimal. Cape Verde has strong institutions with good levels of training and no history of military takeovers, and maintains peaceful relations with its neighbours. Cape Verde announced in March 2018 it was working with Portugal to establish an improved joint naval presence around the archipelago.

Social Stability

Social stability and unrest in Cape Verde generally revolve around labour issues, with sporadic demonstrations over job opportunities, unemployment benefits, and salary increases likely to increase given a dramatic fall in tourism revenue due to COVID-19. On 5 July 2019, a crowd reportedly greater than 10,000 protested in Mindelo regarding the marginalisation of São Vicente island; a similar protest happened on Brava island in March 2019. In January 2020, trade unions protested to demand better working conditions, better salaries, and government action against youth unemployment. During 2020, negative economic growth is likely to increase incidences of petty crime and gang violence.

Health Risk

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

Yellow fever: There is no risk of contracting yellow fever in Cape Verde. However, the government requires proof of vaccination for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease.

Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).

Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Malaria: There is currently no malaria vaccine. However, various antimalarial prophylactics are available by prescription and can reduce risk of infection by up to 90 percent. Different medications are prescribed depending on the risk level and the strains of the virus present in the destination. Antimalarial tablets need to be taken throughout the trip to be effective and may need to be taken for as long as four weeks following the trip.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Practical Information

Climate

Located in the Sahel Zone, Cape Verde enjoys a dry tropical climate.

The country has two main seasons, the dry season (November until June) and the rainy season (July until October). Air temperatures vary between 20°C and 30°C. The average ocean temperature is 26°C. Temperatures do not drop much at night except at higher elevations. Violent winds often strike the country during the winter, sometimes for days at a time.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +238
Police in Santiago: 261 36 37
Police in Sao Vicente: 231 46 31
Police on the island of Boa Vista: 251 11 32
Police on the island of Brava: 285 11 32
Police on the island of Fogo: 281 11 32
Police on the island of Maio: 255 11 32
Police on the island of Sao Nicolau: 235 11 32
Police on the island of Sal: 241 11 32
Police on the island of Sao Antao: 221 11 32

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Risk Level
Critical High Medium Low Minimal