Cape Verde


4033 km2



600 000



The Cape Verde archipelago lies in the sub-Saharan African climatic zone. Hence, it is characterized by a dry tropical climate with two distinct climatic seasons: a dry season and a rainy season. The dry season covers a period of approximately nine months from November to July, and is marked by an almost total absence of rainfall. The wet season corresponds to the months of July through October and is, generally, marked by rainfall events. The average annual rainfall across the islands is 225mm, although there are great temporal and spatial variations. The average monthly air temperature varies between 20 ºC and 26 ºC, and is higher during the wet season. In the arid coastal zones, the maximum absolute temperature may exceed 32 ºC.

Natural Resources:

The economy of Cape Verde is service-oriented, with tertiary sector mainly commerce, transport, and public services accounting for more than 70% of GDP. Nearly 70% of the population lives in rural areas but still primary sector through agriculture and fishing contribute only about 9% of GDP. Secondary sector mainly light manufacturing accounts for most of the remainder. An amount estimated at about 20% of GDP is contributed to the domestic economy through remittances from expatriate Cape Verdeans.


Rain-fed agriculture is practiced on all islands of the archipelago. The major crops are combinations of maize and beans: feijão pedra (Lablab dolichos), bongolon (Vigna unguiculata), sapatinha (Phaseolus vulgaris), fava (Phaseolus lunatus) and feijão congo (Cajanus cajan). In high altitude zones, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, cassava and different types of vegetables are cultivated. Peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is mainly cultivated on the island of Fogo. The main irrigated crops are sugar cane, bananas and vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, collards, onions, peppers, etc, as well as roots and tubers, namely sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes and cassava.

Climate Vulnerabilities:

Extreme events (devastating floods, droughts, sudden changes in temperature) are the highest points of variability and climate change, and have a strong socio-economic impact. Extreme events seem to be taking place more and more frequently. Torrential rains, an increasingly frequent phenomenon in Cape Verde, lead to great loss of agricultural soils, human lives, animals, and infrastructures. Increased local and general droughts are also foreseen. These contribute to the reduction of plant cover and the degradation of the ecosystem, thereby affecting livelihoods and agriculture. Impacts of sea level rise are seen more frequently through: increasing coastal erosion by strong waves and high tides contributing to the degradation and even total destruction of coastal protection structures; saline intrusion leading to salinization of water sources and agricultural fields near beaches and in low lying river beds.