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 Cape Verde History



Cape Verde against Poverty

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A little over 500 years ago, Portuguese explorers discovered a group of ten islands off the coast of West Africa. Cape Verde is a small archipelago, located in the Atlantic Ocean, with 4033km2 of land area, are volcanic in origin and have limited arable land. At approximately 434 thousand inhabitants (2000 Census); the population growth rate is about 2.4% a year. The urban population represents 53% (44% in 1990) of the total population, and the male ratio is 94/100 women. With limited water supply and periodic severe droughts that at various times have killed large portions of the population, it's easy to see why economic growth have been difficult. From its first settlement, Cape Verde's principal economic resources have been its location and its people. It's estimated that 60-70% of those identifying themselves as Capeverdeans live abroad.

Cape Verde is one of the countries most affected by drought and desertification, the main form of natural disaster the country is confronted with. Its geographic location in the sahalian region makes the country extremely vulnerable to unexpected climatic changes, with devastating effects on both the economy and the environment and causing a permanent sense of insecurity among the population.

The effects of the drought during the last thirty years have been very severe on the rural populations. Agriculture does not absorb the labor force turned excessive by the lack of rain and in the rural world there are no other employment alternatives, which partly explains the intense migratory flow to urban centers.