Poverty in Cabo Verde

Poverty in Cabo VerdeCabo Verde, also known as Cape Verde, is an archipelago located off the west coast of Africa comprised of ten islands, nine of which are inhabited. Cabo Verde has a population of nearly 520,500 people.

Only seven percent of this population lives below the dollar-a-day poverty line, meaning that most citizens have enough income to purchase the bare minimum of food, clothing and shelter.

Those living in poverty mainly rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. Only ten percent of Cabo Verde has arable land, which means that farms often have poor soil or receive inadequate rainfall.

Poverty in Cabo Verde is primarily a structural problem resulting from the lack of natural resources and the country’s narrow economic base.

According to the United Nations Development Programs (UNDP), Cabo Verde ranks third out of the 43 sub-Saharan African countries. This places it firmly in the medium development bracket. However, the country is still working to come back from the post-global crisis recovery.

Tourism Decline and Poverty in Cabo Verde

The country’s current leading industry is tourism. Tourism slowed from its 2014 rate of 3 percent to about 1.5 percent in 2015, cutting the industry profits in half. Pressures on the country’s public finances in 2016 foretell increases in debt.

However, while the macroeconomic climate is doing poorly and many continue to live within the poverty bracket, Cabo Verde is seeing progress. Since its independence, Cabo Verde has made huge strides in its economic development, health care and education initiatives. Life expectancy has increased from 69 years in 2001 to 73 years in 2016.

The government of Cabo Verde is currently making an effort to turn the islands into a center for trade and transport. Meanwhile, the tourism industry is projected to increase to around a 4 percent rate for 2016. These initiatives are expected to have a positive impact on the economy and poverty in Cabo Verde.

Kayla Provencher

Photo: Flickr