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Country profile for Cabo Verde

Provided Courtesy of Security Exchange 24

Risk Rating

Unselected
Red (High Risk) InTouch advice:

Most parts of the country are dangerous.

Do not travel unless absolutely necessary.

Unselected
Amber (Moderate Risk) InTouch advice:

Some parts of the country are dangerous.

Travel with caution.

Green (Low Risk)
Green (Low Risk) InTouch advice:

Most parts of the country are safe.

Travel freely.

General Information

  • Capital: Praia
  • Major Languages: Portuguese
  • Currency: Cape Verdean Escudo
  • Timezone: GMT -1:00

Country Map

Map of Cabo Verde

Since gaining independence from Portugal in 1975 Cabo Verde has become one of Africa’s most stable democratic countries. Correia e Silva was sworn in as prime minister in April, 2016 after leading his Movement for Democracy (MPD) to victory in a general election.  His victory ousted the African Party for the Independence of Cabo Verde (PAICV) for the first time in 15 years.  Jorge Carlos Fonseca (also MPD) has been president since 2011.  The MPD and the PAICV have dominated politics in the country since independence and since multi-party democracy was introduced in 1991.  

The main challenge facing the government is dealing with international narcotics trafficking, with Cabo Verde a key transit point between South America and Europe since the 1990s.  There have been a series of shootings linked to the trade, most notably the killing of the mother of the country's leading narcotics investigator, Katia Tavares, in September, 2014.  The son of former Prime Minister Jose Maria Neves was wounded in a separate shooting months later.

There is a low terrorist threat in Cabo Verde and there have not been any notable attacks.  In 2014 officials said regional terrorist groups, namely Boko Haram and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), had a presence in the archipelago but there have been no subsequent reports to suggest that a serious foothold has been established.  The combination of a large tourist industry and small coast guard does make the country vulnerable to potential attacks in the future, particularly in light of the attacks in Tunisia, Cote d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso.  Militants could also attempt to transit via Cabo Verde to Europe; in 2013 seven Syrian nationals travelling from Senegal to Europe were denied entry at the international airport.

Crime is the only real concern for visitors to Cabo Verde, and although levels are relatively low there has been an increase in recent years of petty and violent crime.  The threat of crime is higher in the main cities of Praia and Mindelo and visitors should exercise normal precautions to minimise the risk.  There has also been a small increase in burglaries and muggings on the islands of Sal and Boavista since 2015. In April, 2016 a disgruntled soldier went on a shooting spree at the Monte Tchota barracks, north of Praia, killing 11 people.  Three civilians were among the victims of the attack. 

Alerts for Cabo Verde

Low-pressure to bring adverse weather to Cabo Verde

Intense rainfall is forecast to impact Cabo Verde as a low-pressure system formed off the country's south-west. According to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), the system has become more organised in recent days and may bring adverse weather to most islands until at least Tuesday. Caution is advised due to strong currents and high waves. Maritime activities should be undertaken with caution, especially those involving small vessels.

Mayor Oscar Santos shot outside gym in Praia

Praia Mayor Oscar Santos has been shot in the back after armed men targeted him outside a gym in the capital. Santos was hit by a single bullet in the early hours of Monday morning in the Palmarejo Baixo neighbourhood. He was rushed to hospital after suffering non-life-threatening injuries. Santos is a member of the ruling Movement for Democracy (MPD). The government condemned the attack and said that investigations are ongoing to find the suspected shooters.

Italian national found dead in Cabo Verde

An Italian aid worker has been founded dead on the island of Fogo. Florence-based NGO COPSE said David Sollazzo had been working on a sustainable tourism project in the country after assisting on other projects in Angola. Police are investigating the circumstances around his death and an autopsy is due to be carried out on Thursday.

Authorities arrest Russian sailors after cocaine bust

The Cabo Verde authorities have arrested 11 Russian sailors and seized almost 10 tonnes of cocaine. The police carried out a raid on a Panama-registered vessel on Friday. "Their condition is normal, they are healthy, they are currently in the stage of processing the events," said a source at the Russian embassy.

Storm warning issued for Cabo Verde

A storm warning has been issued for Cabo Verde by the US National Hurricane Center (NHC). "The Cabo Verde feature is on the verge of becoming a tropical depression and has the potential to become a powerful hurricane," said the NHC. The storm is expected to pass over Cabo Verde late on Friday evening. Local media and the NHC should be monitored for updates.

Zika virus detected in Cape Verde

The Zika virus has been detected in Cape Verde, sparking a warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) that the disease could spread throughout continental Africa.  Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said: "This information will help African countries to re-evaluate their level of risk and adapt and increase their levels of preparedness."  More than 7,000 suspected cases of the disease have been identified in Cape Verde, including infections in 180 pregnant women.  Three babies have been born with microcephaly, a congenital condition which can been caused by Zika.

Eleven shot dead at military barracks

Eleven people have been found dead at a military barracks in Cape Verde.  Eight soldiers, two Spanish nationals and a local civilian were shot dead at the site in Monte Tchota, around 27km north of the capital Praia.  Minister Paulo Rocha said another solider is missing and is suspected of carrying out the attack.  "There are strong indications that he was responsible in the events," said Rocha.

First case of microcephaly recorded in Praia

The country's first recorded case of microcephaly, a neurological disorder linked to the Zika virus which leads to babies being born with small heads and undeveloped brains, has been identified in the capital, Praia. The Ministry of Health has been monitoring about 100 women suspected of contracting the virus, but this patient was not in the sample. There have been over 7,000 cases of Zika virus recorded within the country since October 2015, however the connection between the disorder and the virus remains unknown.

Resident evacuated as Pico de Fogo volcano erupts

Hundreds of residents have been evacuated after the Pico do Fogo volcano erupted for the first time since 1995.  Prime Minister Jose Maria das Neves said that civil protection staff and the military had been flown to the island to help, while the displaced families will be housed in temporary accommodation.

Cabo Verde Data Sheet

Population:
523,000
Major Religion/s:
Christianity
International dialing code:
+238
International dialing prefix:
0
Emergency services:
Police 132, Medical 130, Fire 131
Drives:
Right
Voltage:
220V
Climate:
Semi-arid
Ohter Major Cities:
Mindelo
Borders:
None