10 Facts About Sanitation in Cape Verde
Cape Verde is a country comprising a group of islands near Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. In Cape Verde, almost half of the population does not have access to clean water. As a result, the government founded initiatives to improve its water, sanitation and hygiene processes for everyone. Here are 10 facts about the water and sanitation situation in Cape Verde.

10 Facts About Sanitation in Cape Verde

  1. Cape Verde Compact II was a project that reached completion in 2017. The project cost $41.1 million and aimed to improve the services that delivered water to Cape Verde houses. The project also increased access to piped water and sanitation, creating a new water utility. The project creation started with a theory that increasing access to piped water would increase household productivity, especially for low-income families.
  2. A significant number of people in Cape Verde do not have access to sanitation systems. To expand, 54% of people in the country’s rural areas and 16% in urban areas do not have access to flushing toilets or other sanitation improvements. Moreover, the government does not have enough money to assure everyone has access to clean water. In Cape Verde, 20% of the population does not have access to a shower, meaning they have to use rivers and lakes to take baths.
  3. The shortcomings of the water and sanitation sector affects women. Women typically have the task of bringing home clean water. The United Nations Children’s Fund found that women in underdeveloped countries spend more than 200 million hours daily collecting water to provide for their families. Because women have to focus on bringing water to their families, they are more likely than men to stop receiving an education. If the country created new institutions that could provide water without having to walk miles to get it, women would have the same opportunities as men to get an education.
  4. There have been many improvements in the water and sanitation sector over the last two decades in Cape Verde. But Cape Verde still faces significant challenges in overcoming its water and sanitation crisis. Cape Verde relies on the energy-intensive process of desalinization for clean water. Only 59% of people have access to clean water in their homes or on their property. Just 20% of the population has access to a sewer, and 27% of the population has to resort to open defecation.
  5. In 2012, the government of Cape Verde started making reforms in the sanitation sector. The government created a Social Access Fund to help families access clean water more easily. The Social Access Fund has provided more than 3,000 new connections to the water network and more than 2,000 sanitation facilities. The government believes that more than 600,000 people would benefit from this program. The government also believes that if the country keeps making progress in the next 20 years, more than 80% of the population would have access to clean water.
  6. The government launched a National Agency for Water and Sanitation with the Office of Environment and Gender and Social Integration. The office works with departments to support data to improve access to clean water and affordability. The new department started working in 2013, and since then, the country has made a lot of progress.
  7. Aguas de Santiago, a corporation installed on the island of Santiago in 2017, is alleviating the country’s sanitation issue. Almost half of Cabo Verde’s population lives on the island of Santiago. With this new corporation, the Office of Information, Education and Communication has the data they need to know the number of families that do not have access to clean water. With this new corporation, the government is receiving real data and making changes in the country’s sanitation program.
  8. Sal is the driest inhabited island in Cape Verde. Sal receives less than 9 inches of rain on average each year. The island does not have enough water for the whole population, and it depends heavily on the desalinization process. The process is costing the island a lot of money, and the government is unsure of how long they will be able to afford it.
  9. Carlos Jorge Santos, the director-general of Oasis Atlantic Group’s hotel operations in Cape Verde, hopes that sooner than later, Cape Verde’s beaches will earn the prestigious Blue Flag certification. The Blue Flag is essential because it gives the country reputation so tourists would visit the country more. The Blue Flag means that all the beaches are safe and clean, improving Cape Verde’s tourism sector, local economies and its sanitation programs. Additionally, through this certification, the government would be able to build more water fountains and deposits so the whole country has greater access to clean water.
  10. Water consumption was deficient in the city of Santiago. In 2018, the average family in Santiago consumed 40 liters per person per day. Low-income families, who are less likely to have a connection to the piped water network, consumed less water than non-impoverished households at 24 liters per person per day. In Cape Verde, 30% of the population lives in poverty, meaning the families’ majority consume 24 liters per day.

Cape Verde is making a lot of progress in providing clean water to the population, but there is a lot that the country needs to do. Currently, more than half of the people do not have access to clean water in their homes and have to walk miles to gather clean water. Nevertheless, these 10 facts about sanitation in Cape Verde show improvement.

– Ainhoa Maqueda Castillejo
Photo: Flickr

Poverty Eradication in Cabo Verde
Cabo Verde is an archipelago country with a small population of about 550,000 people. Within this small population, about 3% live at or below a dollar a day. Two of the influencers of poverty in the country are the unstable economy and lack of accessibility to proper healthcare. Despite the prevalence of extreme poverty in Cabo Verde, the percentage of individuals living below a dollar a day has greatly decreased from 8% in 2007 to 3% in 2020 with the help of innovations in poverty eradication in Cabo Verde.

Cabo Verde’s Challenges

The country’s lack of resources, small population and dependency on external aid leaves the country vulnerable to natural disasters and global economic shocks. This economic instability directly impacts the wide-scale poverty in Cabo Verde. This results in a lack of opportunity for those in poverty-stricken areas of Cabo Verde to find ways to improve their lives, especially with the high unemployment that the fragile economy has caused.

Besides the economic challenges that the country faces, healthcare is suffering as there is a limited amount of healthcare facilities on the islands. This leaves people in extreme poverty in Cabo Verde vulnerable to inadequate healthcare. Although there is free access to health facilities that the government funds, these facilities only provide basic care which is not enough for those in dire need of more specific care. In situations where people with serious health conditions need to receive treatment, they are air transported to the necessary hospitals, which is very expensive and not accessible to those living in poverty.

Economic Improvements

In recent years, there have been innovations in poverty eradication in Cabo Verde through continuous improvements in its economy. The Global Innovation Index is a tool that ranks global economies based on the countries’ innovative capabilities. According to the Global Innovation Index, Cabo Verde ranked 100th out of the 131 countries for the Global Innovation Index (GII) in 2020. The country also has a high rank in economic growth in comparison to other Sub-Saharan Africa countries, being ranked number seven out of 26.

 Some economic innovations include:

  • More investments have occurred through a development plan that links to the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a set of goals pertaining to making a better and sustainable future for all by 2030. The development plan with Cabo Verde aims to attain 50% of its electricity from renewable energy by expanding its sustainable energy business to domestic and international sectors, which will aid in continuing economic improvement. This will help more impoverished people have access to electricity and help improve their livelihood.
  • The United States’ Prosper Africa initiative, started in May 2000, helps Cabo Verde attract trade and investments by making U.S. companies aware of trade and investment opportunities in the tourism and transportation industries. These investments help provide job opportunities to poverty-stricken communities and help eradicate poverty.
  • The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a legislation passed in May 2000 that aids in economic relations between the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa, now allows Cabo Verde access to preferential trade benefits. These trade benefits include U.S. exports of poultry, low-value shipments and machinery, and also imports from Cabo Verde.
  • Cabo Verde is now an FAA Category 1 country, which means that its airports now comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization standards and can have airline services in the United States. The country is also working toward becoming an important aviation hub. For instance, Cabo Verde Airlines launched new flights to South America, Africa and Europe and two direct flights from Virginia and Massachusetts in December 2019. By increasing its airline services to other countries, the country is also expanding employment opportunities, which can help in limiting the amount of extreme poverty.

Innovations in Healthcare

Besides the improvements in economic stability, there has also been an increase in innovations in poverty eradication through recent developments in Cabo Verde healthcare. With increased healthcare, Cabo Verdeans have the ability to live healthier lives and therefore contribute to the growth of the country, which can in turn help decrease poverty. Here are some of the improvements:

  • There has been a reduction in infant mortality from 24.9% in 2008 to 15.8% in 2017 due to the reevaluation of the quality of healthcare services surrounding prenatal and neonatal health.
  • Cabo Verde restored the Cabo Verde perinatology committee with a maternal death audit committee, which also helped in contributing to the reduction in infant mortality. These health committees are in place to prevent maternal and infant death and find ways to improve maternal and fetal healthcare.
  • Cabo Verde has experienced a 0.8% decrease in acute malnutrition rate from 2009 to 2018 and a 2.3% decrease in chronic malnutrition from 2009 to 2018. Part of this decline is due to the creation of the national brand VITAFERRO, which provides children under 5 years of age with about 50% of the recommended daily macronutrient intakes.
  • UNICEF and other United Nations agencies have helped provide technology to strengthen the Health Information System (HIS) as technology regarding medicine has been lacking. This has improved the quality of child healthcare by providing immunizations and the necessary nutrition for children to improve their health.
  • The South-South and Triangular Cooperation is the collaboration between developing countries in the south that helps in improving technological resources. The promotion of the cooperation has increased technology aimed at strengthening the quality of health services such as mother and child health by implementing technology that makes health services more effective in fulfilling the needs of mother and child care. This has also contributed to the decrease in child mortality and malnutrition rates.
  • An improved immunization program recently emerged and received an evaluation by Effective Vaccine Management (EVM) in 2019. To ensure quality service, all of the immunization providers obtain training in EVM, resulting in the immunization coverage rate to be above 90%.
  • Cabo Verde introduced the HPV vaccine, which the country declared as a national priority in 2020 since there is a high risk of catching and spreading the virus due to the lack of health services in Cabo Verde.

The growing efforts to implement innovative ways to eradicate poverty in Cabo Verde have shown to be effective in limiting the rate of poverty. The advancements in both the economy and the healthcare system have brought great improvements to the lives of the impoverished in Cabo Verde.

– Zahlea Martin
Photo: Flickr

Hunger in Cabo Verde
Cape Verde, commonly referred to as Cabo Verde, is a country consisting of 10 islands off the west coast of Africa. The country has a small population of 525,000 people — about one-sixteenth of the population of New York City alone — dispersed among the nine inhabited islands. Due to the country’s isolated location, volcanic origin and limited resources, poverty and hunger in Cabo Verde are significant issues. Here are five facts about hunger in Cabo Verde.

5 Facts About Hunger in Cabo Verde

  1. As of 2017, 12.6% of the population of Cabo Verde was unable to meet their daily food needs. Hunger in Cabo Verde has been decreasing since 2010 but at a rate of no more than 0.6% per year. In recent years, this rate has decreased to about 0.1%, marking little change in the total population that remains hungry. When comparing rates of hunger to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), hunger decreased at the highest rates during the years the GDP increased at the highest rates. Since 2017, the GDP has been increasing at a much slower rate, and the smaller monetary value of goods and services in Cabo Verde leads to fewer resources in battling nationwide hunger. This is a small amount of progress, and this progress may diminish if the economy does not continue to grow.
  2. Cabo Verde has limited access to water. One of Cabo Verde’s most limited resources is clean water. Ever since a nearly two-decade-long drought beginning in the 1970s, citizens must pay for buckets of filtered water for delivery to their homes. Recurring drought and the allocation of clean water to drinking and hygiene have led to frequent failures in agriculture. Crops that rely on irrigation are not sustainable, and this can lead to a lack of crops that could feed many people on islands where importing crops is difficult.
  3. Trade is successful, but not in terms of food. Cabo Verde’s highest exports are fish products, and its highest imports are petroleum and automobiles. Due to the republic’s lack of resources such as natural gas, imports like the aforementioned are necessary and common. However, the closest coast to Cabo Verde is roughly 350 miles away, so transporting any fresh food is difficult due to expiration periods. As a result, international trade cannot make fresh food more accessible, exacerbating the problem of hunger in Cabo Verde.
  4. The soil is volcanic and rocky. The islands of Cabo Verde are the creation of multiple volcanic eruptions. In fact, a quarter of the land is volcanic rock and the country’s soil is rough and unrefined. The land is ideal for grazing, which allows for livestock throughout the country. However, poor soil contributes to the country’s inability to rely on agriculture as a food source. Any available water cannot irrigate the tough soil, and wind erosion has led to a loss of valuable soil.
  5. Absolute poverty is a factor in hunger in Cabo Verde. As of 2015, 35% of the population lived in poverty. Limited resources across the country have systematically led to low rates of education and high rates of unemployment. Rates of higher education dropouts are high and no universities exist. Reform in education systems and growth across more industries beyond the exportation of goods can help close the poverty gap. An economy that values diverse industries and expanding resources will result from improved education, more job opportunities and the ability for citizens to complete degrees in other parts of the world. With expanded industrial areas comes more opportunities for residents to earn money and combat the effects of hunger that low-income households often face. Essentially, better primary education leads to strength in higher education, and the need for higher education is evident in a nation with an economy of limited industries.

Solutions to the Hunger Issue

Fortunately, some have taken steps to address hunger in Cabo Verde. In 2016, the country hosted the Center of Excellence Against Hunger’s Global Nutrition Forum, a panel of 40 government leaders that discuss solutions to hunger. At this event, the Cape Verdean School Social Action Foundation emerged to increase the number of nutrition programs in public schools. With the support of this panel and its creations, the U.N.’s Hunger Map has removed countries like Brazil. With continued support and brainstorming of creative solutions to battle hunger, Cabo Verde can move towards poverty reduction and solve its hunger crisis.

Hope for Cabo Verde

Even though poverty and hunger are a concern in Cabo Verde, the nation remains relatively economically free and has maximized its trading efforts in spite of limited resources. As a country far from the coast, it typically has the responsibility of remaining self-sufficient in terms of its economy and the way in which it handles poverty- and hunger-reduction. However, it is possible to continue lowering rates of poverty and hunger. Recognizing this country’s impact on the trade market is a step that other nearby countries can take, as this is the way that Cabo Verde stimulates its economy. If more countries create strong trade relations with this nation, it is likely that Cabo Verde will receive more imports of valuable resources, and it will also likely pave the way for the creation of more jobs in the trade industry. Despite its economic stability, the problem of hunger is still significant in Cabo Verde. However, it is possible to take more steps to eradicate hunger in the country.

Evan Coleman
Photo: Flickr

Girls’ Education in Cabo Verde
Cabo Verde is comprised of a group of 10 main islands off of Africa’s northwest coast, separated into the northern Barlavento group and the Sotavento group in the south. Compared with low to middle-income countries, Cabo Verde ranks in the 61st percentile in learning, despite ranking in the 85th percentile in providing access to education. These statistics, however, do not preclude girls’ education in Cabo Verde from further developing its policies to provide young girls with more opportunities than they are given now.    

Girls’ Education in Cabo Verde Plagued by a Gender Gap

Although Cabo Verde benefits from a relatively high rate of youth literacy at 98 percent, there is a gender divide in longer-term education opportunities that is apparent in more specific statistics. Even though the female youth literacy rate is at 98 percent, the female adult literacy rate drops to 86 percent. In 2015, the male population aged 15 years and older had a literacy rate of 91.69 percent, while the female population had a rate of only 82.04 percent.

The policies of the island nation widen the gender gap in education. The gross enrollment ratio for primary education for males in 2015 was at 101 percent while for females it was at 94 percent; of all females that qualify for primary education, only 94 percent enroll. Beyond the low minimum education requirements, many girls have been suspended for pregnancy and cannot resume schooling until after birth. 

As only primary education is free and compulsory for students aged 7 to 13, enrollment rates in secondary schools and higher education drop due to a lack of financial and emotional resources. It is not uncommon for young girls to take on menial jobs, as these are the only jobs they are qualified for since they have not completed their education. Moreover, the shameful stigma of teen pregnancy is often a large enough barrier to keep girls from staying in school or trying to continue.

Progress in Policies Helps Girls Finish School

“Tens of thousands of pregnant girls and adolescent mothers are banned or discouraged from attending school across Africa,” reported Human Rights Watch on June 16, 2018. Only recently has this policy been revised, giving hope for a change in these rates. The report “Leave No Girl Behind in Africa: Discrimination in Education Against Pregnant Students and Adolescent Mothers” has urged governments to ensure that pregnant girls have the ability to stay in school or at least be able to return to their studies after childbirth.

Twenty-six African countries have proceeded with the report’s advice in protecting these girls’ education. Cabo Verde has revoked all disciplinary actions against pregnant schoolgirls and replaced them with ones that support their re-entry. There are also special accommodations for teen mothers in school, such as permitting time for breastfeeding and health clinic appointments. These new policies do not guarantee that girls actually return to school, as they are not carefully overseen.

Since 2013, all countries associated with the African Union have adopted Agenda 2063, which focuses on the economic and social development of the continent. With a clear strategy, Africa aims to invest more in education, including “elimination of gender disparities at all levels of education,” according to the official Agenda 2063 document. Additionally, governments are working towards ending child marriage and increasing sexual and reproductive health education, which is the largest factor inhibiting the development of girls’ education in Cabo Verde.

Given Cabo Verde’s high statistics regarding some aspects of its educational system, there is reason to believe that it values progress in this sector and will continue to address the current issues, particularly the gender gap in education. “More than half the population of Cabo Verde is under 22 years of age. There is no way not to prioritize the youth,” Susan Delgado, head of the Cabo Verdean delegation and specialist in the Ministry of Education of Cabo Verde, told UNESCO. Recognizing that girls’ education in Cabo Verde deserves reconstruction, much of the island nation’s development will rely on providing equal opportunities for its youth.

– Alice Lieu
Photo: Flickr

humanitarian aid to Cabo Verde

Around 500 kilometers off the west coast of Africa lies the former Portuguese colony of Cabo Verde, a volcanic archipelago republic made up of ten islands and five islets in the central Atlantic Ocean. The country not only lacks in natural resources but also possesses a tiny portion of arable land and is prone to drought.

Despite these prevalent difficulties, Cabo Verde won an international reputation for maintaining economic and political stability, due largely in part to the humanitarian aid sent to the country.


Cabo Verde

Cabo Verde is a stable multi-party parliamentary democracy with a high trade deficit, most of which is offset by foreign aid and economic remittances sent by emigrants back to the country. The U.S. State Department praises the country as a “model of democratic governance,” noting the country’s high literacy rates and high per capita income among “the best development indicators of any country in the region.”

Cabo Verde received the notable distinction of becoming the first African state to complete its first Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact in late 2010. The MCC is an independent foreign aid agency established by Congress that works with partner countries around the world to alleviate global poverty.


Compact Stipulations

Following this successful $110 million MCC initiative that strengthened the country’s infrastructure and boosted agricultural production, the Cabo Verde government signed a five-year compact in 2012 to institute further water, sanitation and land management reforms. This second compact builds upon the first to establish transparency and accountability to achieve actionable results.

Last year, the government celebrated the end of its second compact and became the first one in the world to benefit from such a remarkable success of humanitarian aid to Cabo Verde.

“We are proud of the partnership between MCC and Cabo Verde that has built a solid foundation aimed at reducing poverty and improving the lives of individuals, families, and communities across the country,” MCC Vice President Robert Blau said at a closeout ceremony held on November 30, 2017. “We are also heartened by the Government of Cabo Verde’s commitment to continuing these programs and reforms in order to guarantee sustainability of the investments.”

Essentiality of Humanitarian Aid

The success of humanitarian aid to Cabo Verde is possible thanks to the united efforts of numerous countries and international aid organizations across the globe. The Cabo Verde government has also managed and administered the aid funds responsibly, entrusting state-owned companies and religious institutions with the implementation of developmental projects.


The United Nations

The United Nations (U.N.) has actively worked within the country through many conventions and projects. For instance, in early December, the U.N. held a seminar on social security, economic growth and development in the country. A month earlier, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) worked with the National Directorate of Health and National Sexual Health Program to develop a national strategic plan for improving sexual and reproductive health in the country.

Specialized programs and agencies of the United Nations, such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), have also advised the government on the best ways to make efficient use of humanitarian aid to Cabo Verde.


The Success Story

The African Development Bank has highlighted the success story of humanitarian aid to Cabo Verde in a detailed research project report, affirming that the very small island economy has “managed to defy the odds and transform itself from an extremely poor country into one of the better performing economies in Africa in just over two decades,” and thus managed to overcome “severe geographic, economic, and social challenges to become an African success story.”

– Mohammed Khalid

Photo: Flickr

Cabo Verde

Cabo Verde is a chain of islands off the coast of Senegal, West Africa. Despite having only 10 percent arable land, limited mineral resources, mountainous terrain and an arid climate, Cabo Verde has been developing rapidly. This is mainly due to the booming tourism industry and development projects in Cabo Verde.

Being a small island nation, there are a few challenges with development. The money spent on transportation between the nine inhabited islands is quite high. Several infrastructure constraints exist which make the delivery of public services and energy in need of improvement. Due to Cabo Verde‘s climate, the agriculture industry is not able to reach its full potential. Lastly, being an island in the Atlantic Ocean, it is susceptible to climate change, rising sea levels and natural disasters.

In light of these challenges, five development projects in Cabo Verde have been created to boost the economy, increase tourism and ensure the well-being of the residents on the islands.

  1. The Competitiveness for Tourism Development project recognizes tourism as the economy’s main source of growth, with the public sector as the key force. This project backs the implementation of Cabo Verde’s vision for this industry. The project began in April 2016 and will cost approximately $3.7 million.
  2. The Transport Sector Reform Project consists of four components. The first is road preservation with routine maintenance. The second component is the development and operationalization of a road and bridge management system. The third is a road safety action plan which puts an accident database and monitoring and evaluation system in place. Finally, there will be an inter-island transport strategy to improve the quality of services and the management of ports and airports.
  3. Another one of the five development projects in Cabo Verde is the Water Supply Development Project of Santiago Island. It is a $220 million project aiming to strengthen the bulk of the water supply on Santiago Island. There will be construction on two water treatment plants with reverse osmosis technology, 12 water reservoirs, 14 pumping stations and about 100 miles of water mains.
  4. The Cabeólica Wind Project was created to develop the use of wind power as a more sustainable alternative to imported fossil fuels. This project will help achieve Cabo Verde’s goal of using 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2020. On four of Cabo Verde’s islands, a 25.5-megawatt facility is meeting about 25 percent of the nation’s energy demands.
  5. The final of the five development projects in Cabo Verde is the Watershed Management and Agriculture Support Project. It was created to increase productivity in agriculture by supporting the conversion of dry farmland to higher-value horticultural production. This was done by improving natural resource management, including the sustainable use of soil and water resources. The project also improves the capacity to support the development and implementation of community-based watershed management plans.

As a middle-income country with a relatively low poverty rate, Cabo Verde is able to design projects like these to continue promoting growth and achieve goals. These development goals will boost the economy, increase tourism and ensure the well being of the residents and visitors on the islands and keep the poverty rate low.

– Lorial Roballo

Photo: Flickr

Hunger in Cabo Verde
Cabo Verde is no stranger to the widespread hardships of famine. Ever since its establishment, hunger in Cabo Verde has been one of many trials and tribulations the country has faced.

Cabo Verde’s ongoing history with droughts, the first recorded in 1747, is one of the main causes of its hunger problem. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there were three major droughts that resulted in the deaths of at least 100,000 people. It was not always that way. When Cabo Vervde was first discovered by the Portuguese in 1456, it was lush in vegetation. It even got its name from the green landscape it had upon discovery.

Portugal’s failure to assist those in Cabo Verde during these droughts only added to the problem. While being part of the Portuguese empire starting in 1495 and remaining one of its territories up until 1975, Cabo Verde had received little help during its droughts. The droughts and lack of government assistance continued into the twentieth century, where thousands more died of starvation.

Drought still plagues Cabo Verde to this day. There was a 65 percent decrease in rainfall in 2013 and 2014, which caused the loss of crops for 30,000 people. This drought led to the lowest corn production on record for 2014. However, there has been much greater initiative currently than there was in the past to find solutions to the issue of hunger in Cabo Verde. From the years 1991 to 2015, the total percentage of hunger in Cabo Verde decreased from 16 percent to 9 percent.

In an effort to address the problems caused by the 2013-2014 drought, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) supplied 7,015 households with a 17-kilogram kit containing bean, corn and cowpea seeds. The FAO also supplied 554 households with tomato, cabbage and onion seeds along with drip-irrigation kits in response to Cabo Verde’s lack of reliable water resources.

Cabo Verde has taken it into its own hands to ensure the proper nourishment of its citizens. The country was chosen to share its story in successfully feeding its young children to the 2015 Global Child Nutrition Forum. Proper nutrition is highly valued and is considered to be correlated to the strong development of a country, according to minister of education and sport Fernanda Marques.

The U.N. declared that the nation had met the Millennium Development Goal with 98.7 percent of its children enrolled in school, meaning that the majority of kids received the benefits of this program. These benefits include meals based on what the population likes to eat like the cachupa, which is a traditional dish made with vegetables, meat, fish and corn.

“My philosophy is that the purpose of foreign assistance must be to end the need of its existence – that we not only have to minister to immediate needs, but we have to help people take care of themselves,” USAID administrator Mark Green said in his speech at the World Food Program USA’s McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony.

Hunger in Cabo Verde may still persist, but Green’s words of aid being key to solve the problem holds true, as the nation is seeing improvement little by little.

– Blake Chambers

Photo: Flickr

Why Is Cabo Verde Poor?

Cabo Verde, or Cape Verde, is a former Portuguese colony made up of 10 islands and five islets located just over 300 miles off Africa’s west coast. Why is Cabo Verde poor? Severe droughts during the 1900s killed 200,000 people and caused many to leave the islands.

Cabo Verde does not have many natural resources, and only 10% of the land can sustain crops. This makes the nation vulnerable to poor economic growth. Although the poverty rate has been reduced significantly, one-quarter of the population is still poor.

The national poverty rate in Cabo Verde fell from 37% to 27% between 2003 and 2008, according to the World Bank, and the extreme poverty rate went from 21% to 12%.

Tourism is a major source of economic growth in Cabo Verde and is credited as the main reason for the drop in poverty rates. Still, one is compelled to ask: why is Cabo Verde poor?

The Congressional Research Service reported that slow economic growth in Europe has fostered slow growth in Cabo Verde. This is because Europe is a major trading partner and source of foreign investment, and Cabo Verde is also a major tourist destination for many Europeans.

Despite all this, growth has recovered due to a resurgence in tourism and foreign investment. Gross domestic product grew from .93% to 3.63% between 2012 and 2016. Unemployment is now estimated to be at nine percent, which is a significant drop from 16.8% in 2012. Yet, one must still ask: why is Cabo Verde poor?

Public debt in Cabo Verde was 130% of the GDP at the end of 2016, according to the World Bank. It is also estimated that growth was above four percent which is 1.5% more than in 2015 but still not enough to bring down debt levels. The World Bank predicts that debt will continue to increase in 2017 because of a state-owned airline (TACV) and social housing.

Modest growth is predicted for Cabo Verde’s major trading partners which may slow foreign investment in the small nation as well.

Fernando Vazquez
Photo: Flickr

Common Diseases in Cabo Verde

Vaccines have been a luxury for the leading countries of the world, but for poor countries, accessing them is much more difficult. Some diseases are preventable with a vaccine, but there are many that are not. Due to the poverty in Cabo Verde, diseases that can’t be prevented with a vaccine are just as common as the ones that can.

These are some common diseases in Cabo Verde that can be treated with a vaccine:

  1. Hepatitis A
    Hepatitis A is transmitted through contaminated food and water or through physical contact between people. Symptoms can take up to two weeks to appear and include jaundice or elevation of liver enzymes. In Cabo Verde, it is most common where the environment and drinking water are unclean.Hepatitis A typically lasts less than two months’ time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that “supportive care” is the best form of treatment. There are two vaccines available to prevent Hepatitis A — Vaqta and Harvix — which can be used on patients at least a year old.
  2. Hepatitis B
    According to the CDC, an estimated 248 million around the world people are infected with Hepatitis B. This disease is transmitted typically through blood and other fluids that are produced by the body. This can happen through the sharing of needles, unprotected sex and exposure to blood. Hepatitis B infects the liver and its symptoms are abdominal pain, jaundice, anorexia, vomiting and fatigue.For those with chronic Hepatitis B, antiviral drugs are available, otherwise, there is no direct treatment for it. There is a vaccine that is administered in three separate doses as a preventative measure.
  3. Yellow Fever
    Yellow Fever is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that is carrying the disease. Young children are the most likely to contract it because immunity is developed as people age. In Cabo Verde, Yellow Fever becomes a problem beginning in July when the weather becomes dry and typically ends in October.There are no direct treatments for Yellow Fever. Those that contract Yellow Fever are advised to rest, use analgesics and antipyretics to control the symptoms and avoid another mosquito bite. In Cabo Verde, it is required that travelers are vaccinated before entering the country. Revaccination is no longer required as of July of 2016, but proof of a vaccination is needed when leaving Cabo Verde and entering a new country.

These are some communicable common diseases in Cabo Verde that cannot be treated with a vaccine:

  1. African Tick-Bite Fever
    African Tick-Bite Fever is spread through the bite of ticks that are infected with the disease. Symptoms are typically soreness of muscles, rash and fever which typically appear two weeks after the bite. In Cabo Verde, the disease is most common from November through April.
  2. Chikungunya
    Chikungunya is a disease that is spread through mosquito bites. Those infected typically experience joint and muscle pain, fever, headache and rash. The mosquitoes carrying the disease are most active during the day near buildings in major cities.
  3. Dengue
    Like Chikungunya, Dengue is spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Its symptoms develop over the course of two weeks and are often fever, rash, muscle, joint and eye pain and vomiting. Some cases are more severe and bleeding, intense or even death can occur. Mosquitoes carrying Dengue are often found at an elevation of 6,500 feet and bite at any time in the day.

Prevention of common diseases in Cabo Verde is an important aspect for each citizen. Knowing what vaccinations are available and what measures to take when there isn’t one could keep the country from plummeting into a disastrous epidemic.

Mackenzie Fielder

Photo: Flickr

Diseases in Cabo VerdeJust west of Senegal lies a cluster of islands in the Atlantic Ocean called Cabo Verde, also known as Cape Verde. Only slightly larger that the state of Rhode Island, the islands are home to just over half a million people. With poor natural resources and often severe water shortages, the economy is largely service-oriented with little diversification. Today, reforms aim to develop the private sector and attract investment. Here are the top diseases in Cabo Verde:

Cerebrovascular Disease
Referring to disorders of ischemia or bleeding in the brain, cerebrovascular disease often leads to cases of stroke. In 2015, it was recorded that cerebrovascular disease had consistently been the most lethal of the top diseases in Cabo Verde for the past decade. Although it remains the archipelago’s most dangerous disease, instances of cerebrovascular disease had decreased by 4.7 percent over the decade.

Ischemic Heart Disease
Ischemic heart disease, also called coronary artery disease, refers to problems resulting from narrowed arteries of the heart. Such a disease can lead to a heart attack. In 2015, ischemic heart disease was recorded as Cabo Verde’s second most common cause of death. Fortunately, the prevalence of the disease has actually decreased by 4.3 percent since the previous decade.

Lower Respiratory Infections
Referring to infections of the lower respiratory system such as bronchiolitis, influenza, acute bronchitis and pneumonia, lower respiratory infections account for high death rates around the world. However, lower respiratory infections are communicable and can be treated if given proper care and attention. Lower respiratory infections are currently the third most fatal of the top diseases in Cabo Verde. However, since 2015, instances of the disease in the archipelago were reported to have decreased by 12.3 percent.

As previously mentioned, every one of the top diseases in Cabo Verde has been decreasing in prevalence since 2005. Additionally, in January of 2014, Cabo Verde opened the doors of the National Institute of Health of Cape Verde, an organization founded on the core value of universal health access. With this new development, the international community may see that the nation is dedicated to providing a higher standard of healthcare to their people.

Shannon Golden

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