Cape Verde Industry

The industrial sector is small and is hampered by the limited domestic market and high costs for transport and energy. It consists mainly of manufacturing industry and a construction industry and in 2014 accounted for just under one sixth of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Other industries include mining and energy production.

To encourage foreign investment in industry, in 1993, Cape Verde started to set up special free zones where export companies are offered tariff and tax relief. The free zones contributed significantly to the value of industrial exports sixfold between 1994 and 2004. Most new investments have gone to textile factories in the cities of Praia and Mindelo. During the period 2004–2013, Cape Verde industrial production increased by an average of just over 4 percent per year, though from a low level.

There are a number of small and medium-sized industrial companies, most of which are privately owned. Many major industries were previously state-owned, but most were privatized during the 1990s. The industry mainly produces fish preserves, clothing, shoes and rum.

The construction industry has performed well in recent years, not least thanks to the positive development of the tourism industry and government investments in infrastructure projects.

Cape Verde

Foreign trade

Since independence in 1975, Cape Verde has been drawn with a large deficit in trade with the outside world. The modest export consists mainly of clothing, shoes, canned tuna, frozen fish, lobster and small quantities of bananas, salt and the puzzolan (volcanic ash used in cement production).

Cape Verde also re-exports fuel to aircraft and ships that make temporary stops on the islands. At the same time, the country must import large quantities of food. Most of the food imports are financed through aid. Fuel and industrial goods must also be purchased from the outside.

The current account deficit has increased since the beginning of the 1990s, from $ 100 million in 1989 to $ 609 million in 2014, which is equivalent to one third of gross domestic product (GDP). The deficit is to some extent offset by the aid and money that cut-off values ​​abroad send home. Cape Verde’s most important trading partners are Portugal, Spain and the United States.

Cape Verde has favorable trade agreements with the EU and with the countries of the West African partner organization Ecowas. China’s role as a trading partner has grown since a cooperation agreement was signed in 1995.

Cape Verde joined the WTO in July 2008. It was the first African country to successfully negotiate membership since the WTO was founded in 1995.


Merchandise exports

US $ 273 million (2018)


US $ 960 million (2018)

Current account

– US $ 104 million (2018)

Commodity trade’s share of GDP

45 percent (2018)

Main export goods

re-export of fuel 1

Largest trading partner

Portugal, Spain, Netherlands

  1. fish, seafood, clothing, shoesSources


Cape Verde has white sandy beaches, a dramatic mountain landscape and a pleasant climate for most of the year. For those who are culturally interested, the city of Mindelo on São Vicente has the most to offer. The Pico do Cano volcano on the island of Fogo, like the city of Cidade Velha on São Tiago, is listed as a World Heritage Site by the UN agency Unesco.

Big future hopes are set for the tourism sector, which benefits from the proximity to Europe. Government investment in better infrastructure and communications has led to the rapid expansion of tourism over the past 20 years. Since 1998, accounting for four percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the sector contributed more than 21 percent of GDP in 2012. About 90 percent of foreign direct investment goes to the development of the tourism industry. A number of hotel chains and charter companies have established themselves on the islands. The number of foreign tourists increased from 19,000 in 1991 to around 540,000 in 2014. Most of the tourists come from the UK, Germany, France and Portugal.


Number of foreign visitors per year

598 000 (2016)

tourist revenue

US $ 402,000,000 (2016)

The share of tourist income from exports

54.7 percent (2016)



MPD gets new leader

At MPD’s party congress, party leader António Gualberto do Rosário is succeeded by Agostinho Lopes, one of the party’s founders.


PAICV’s candidate becomes president

In the presidential election there are mainly two former prime ministers against each other: Pedro Pires from PAICV and MPD’s Carlos Veiga. Pires wins in the second round with only 13 votes overweight. Veiga claims that irregularities have occurred in the election, but it is rejected by the Supreme Court.


The election represents a change of government

The Social Democratic Party PAICV (Cape Verde’s African Independence Party) wins by almost half the votes in the parliamentary elections. That gives the party 40 of the 72 seats. The ruling bourgeois MPD (Movement for Democracy) receives just over 40 percent of the vote, or 30 seats. Two mandates go to the Democratic Alliance for Change (ADM), which consists of three small parties, including the Christian Democratic Ucid (Cape Verde Democratic and Independent Union).

Cape Verde Industry

You may also like...