Country Profile: Cape Verde
Capital and largest cityPraia
Official languagesPortuguese, Cape Verdean Creole
Area4, 033 sq km
Population503, 000 (2008 est.)
CurrencyCape Verdean escudo
Although Portuguese is the offiical language of Cape Verde, the mother tongue of almost the whole population is in fact the Portuguese derived Cape Verdean Creole, shortened simply to Creole by its speakers. Also, despite Cape Verde's small size, there are still around nine distinct versions of Cape Verdean Creole, each different enough to be considered separate dialects: Brava, Fogo, Santiago, Maio, Boa Vista, Sal, Sao Nicolau, Sao Vicente and Santo Antao.
Formed from a series of islands making up an island archipelago, Cape Verde has limited natural resources, and only four out of its ten islands support agriculture. However, some mineral resources include salt and limestone. Around 90% of Cape Verde's food is imported. The service industry is the country's leading economic sector, with industries such as commerce, transport and public service dominating. Small amounts of fish and seafood are exported, and apart from this light manufacture makes up the remainder of the export. Recently, the country has embraced foreign investment, and has also privatised many previously government-run areas, in order to promote its market economy. Tourism is another expanding sector of the economy. Politically and economically, Cape Verde is closely aligned with Portuguese policies. Cape Verde is a member of the World Trade Organization.
Cape Verde has an extremely biodiverse ecosystem, with volcanic mountains and a milder climate than the neighbouring African mainland. There is a variety of endemic species - of which many are endangered - including Raso Lark and Alexander's Swift.
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