10 facts about life expectancy in Cabo Verde

Located off the coast of Western Africa, the Republic of Cabo Verde is a chain of 10 islands with a population of more than 500,000 people. A former Portuguese colony, Cabo Verde’s economy was heavily based on the Atlantic slave trade. Post independence, the country and its citizens remain impacted by the effects of poverty, including a life expectancy lower than that of many other nations. Here are seven facts about life expectancy in Cabo Verde.

7 Facts About Life Expectancy in Cabo Verde

  1. Life expectancy in Cabo Verde is on the rise. As of 2018, Cabo Verde has a life expectancy at birth of 72.7 years, placing it at 147th in the world. For males, life expectancy is 70.3 years, while females have a life expectancy of 75.1 years.  In 1960, life expectancy at birth was 48.9 years, or 47.7 years for males and 50 years for females. Life expectancy rose rapidly from the 1960s through the mid-2000s and has since been more stable, increasing slightly from year to year.
  2. The country has made huge strides in terms of health care provision. As of 2014, there are more than 250 doctors in Cabo Verde compared with only 13 doctors in 1975. Furthermore, the government is continually working toward universal access to health care and today, “more than 80 percent of the population lives within 30 minutes of a health facility.”
  3. Telemedicine bridges the gap. This innovation is helping to make medical care accessible for those residents who still face barriers to visiting a medical specialist such as cardiologists or dermatologists in person. From 2012 to 2014, the Cabo Verdean government, in collaboration with the International Virtual e-Hospital Foundation and with financial support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, implemented the Integrated Telemedicine and e-Health Program (ITeHP). The ITeHP involves 10 telemedicine centers throughout the country, where patients can have remote consultations with a specialist.
  4. Sanitation access is poor. Access to clean water and functional sanitation systems is critical to preventing the spread of disease. According to a 2017 article from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), 16 percent of people in urban areas and 54 percent of people in rural areas did not have access to flushing toilets.
  5. The Cabo Verdean government is working to improve sanitation. In 2012, the government partnered with the MCC on an economic growth plan, one aspect of which included a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project. As of November 2017, the project had resulted in 2,277 new sanitation facilities and 227 kilometers of water pipeline construction.
  6. Infant mortality rates have been steadily decreasing. In 1969, Cabo Verde had an infant mortality rate of 126 per 1,000 births. As of 2017, the rate has dropped to 15 per 1,000 births.
  7. Immunization rates in Cabo Verde are high. For the DTP1 vaccine, which protects against diphtheria and tetanus, the 2018 immunization rate was an estimated 99 percent. The same is true of the polio and measles vaccines.

Cabo Verde’s economic history has led to difficulties in health care and sanitation, but in recent decades the nation has made impressive improvements, which has led to an increase in life expectancy in Cabo Verde. Many citizens of the country still live in poverty, but these seven facts about life expectancy in Cabo Verde show how nongovernmental organizations and the Cabo Verdean government are working to help people manage their health.

– Meredith Charney
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Education in Cabo Verde

Cabo Verde is a small nation that consists of a group of islands just under 400 miles off Africa’s northeast coast. Nine of the 10 islands are inhabited and they are divided into two groups. The Barlavento group in the north includes the islands of Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal and Boa Vista. The Sotavento group in the south includes the islands of Maio, Santiago, Fogo and Brava.

According to a 2014 report by the World Bank, 3 percent of primary school aged children were not enrolled in school. Girls were less likely to receive an education in Cabo Verde; only 1 percent of primary school aged boys were not in school compared to 4 percent of girls. The rate of completion of primary education in Cabo Verde is 99 percent, which shows that the small nation is making progress towards its goal of universal primary education.

Compared to other low to middle-income nations, access to education in Cabo Verde ranked among the 85th percentile, but it only ranked at the 61st percentile in learning. Despite this, the literacy rate of the youth population was 98 percent, which was higher than the average in other lower to middle-income nations. This is good news for education in Cabo Verde, because literacy is a necessary skill for accessing higher levels of education.

Although Cabo Verde has made great strides in access to education, there are still some obstacles to overcome. One problem for education in Cabo Verde is that many students and teachers alike speak Creole at home and have a weak command of Portuguese, which is the language used in the academic setting. Aside from that, there is not enough spending on supplies, books and lunches, and there is also a high rate of repetition. Students are more likely to repeat grade two during their primary education. The rate of repetition in grade two was 18 percent in Cabo Verde, which was double the average of other primary grades.

Cabo Verde‘s high enrollment and literacy rates show that education is a priority in the country. By addressing its students’ obstacles to learning, it can ensure that they get the most out of the education they are receiving.

Fernando Vazquez

Photo: Google


For the small nation of Cape Verde, renowned for its rich culture and beautiful beaches, recurring instances of famine over centuries have left the country with a stubborn hunger problem. Located off the northwest coast of Africa, Cape Verde has encountered multiple famines since 1747, when inconsistent weather patterns and deforestation led to a severe drought. Within a few decades, three other major droughts had killed around 100,000 people. Such occurrences of famine continued into the 21st century and so has the issue of hunger in Cape Verde.

Today, the nation has a population of approximately 500,000. Around 20 percent of the population consists of children between the ages of 10 and 19. According to Lancet Global Health data, 60.5 percent of youth have anemia, a very low level of red blood cells. This is often a symptom of malnutrition. Moreover, 21.4 percent of children under the age of five are malnourished.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization identifies Cape Verde as a Low-Income Food-Deficit Country (LIFDC). This attests to the large-scale nature of hunger in Cape Verde. However, government involvement is a viable solution to ensuring that the population is no longer faced with malnutrition. This is particularly true for solving the issue of youth hunger; in 2010, Cape Verde took a step towards eradicating the nation’s hunger problem by supporting the school meals program. This program allows young people, who often face long-term health consequences as a result of hunger, access to food.

Other programs address agriculture as a means of long-term sustainability. Following a 65 percent decrease in rainfall from 2013 to 2014, a severe drought led many households to require urgent assistance after they lost their crops. The United Nations provided aid at this time, which aimed not only to support agriculture through short-term measures but also to strengthen sustainability, leading to less reliance on unpredictable rains. Additionally, in May 2017, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and its partners launched a program in 17 locations in Africa, including Cape Verde, to reduce the impact of climate change on agriculture.

A United Nations’ report on Cape Verde found that from 1990 to 2015, the percentage of the population below the minimum level of dietary consumption decreased 10.5 percent, from 22 percent to 11.5 percent. These numbers show that there has been significant progress. Despite the devastating effects hunger in Cape Verde has on its population–among the worst being the mortality of pregnant women and infants–measures such as those mentioned above are effective and must be continued to ensure that no individual is faced with malnutrition.

Mahika Halepete

Photo: Flickr