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Cape Verde Defense and Foreign Policy

Foreign policy and defense

Since independence in 1975, Cape Verde has pursued an alliance-free foreign policy and the country's relations with the outside world are good. The earliest public receives a great deal of assistance from the western world in particular, not least the US, Portugal and the EU. For some decades now, China has also been an important aid donor.

Cape Verde has a good relationship with the former colonial power of Portugal. The country also plays an active role in the Portuguese-speaking countries' organization CPLP. It also has good cooperation with other former Portuguese colonies in Africa.

  • Countryaah: Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Cape Verde for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.

Contact with EU countries has increased in importance since the early 1990s. In 2007, a "special partnership" agreement was concluded between the EU and Cape Verde, which means that cooperation is carried out in trade and investment as well as in the fight against drug smuggling, organized crime and illegal immigration. Cape Verde is working to gain special status within the EU under the same conditions as for example the Canary Islands. It would give the country access to the EU internal market and justify further financial support from the Union. Since the turn of the millennium, the country has expanded its cooperation with the Atlantic islands of Madeira, the Azores and the Canary Islands.

Cape Verde also has good relations with the United States, where there is a large Cape Verde colony. The country gave its full support to the United States after the terrorist attacks against New York and Washington in 2001, announcing that Cape Verde territory was at the disposal of the Americans in the fight against terrorism. In January 2012, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Cape Verde and the following month, US aid to the islands was expanded. In March 2013, Prime Minister Neves traveled to Washington to meet President Barack Obama with three other African leaders.

Defense and Foreign Policy of Cape VerdeCape Verde has largely come to act as a transit country for drugs smuggled from Latin America to Europe. In 2010, a new security center, Cosmar, was opened with the help of American money, in order to tighten the measures against drug smuggling. A similar center is located in Morocco.

In 2001, the new PAICV government established diplomatic relations at ambassador level with China. Since then, contacts with the Asian country have increased significantly, mainly on the economic level.

The defense force is small. Less than one percent of gross domestic product (GDP) goes to the defense. The two-year military service is selective. In 2006, NATO chose to hold its first major military exercise on African soil in Cape Verde. It strengthened the country in its quest for closer contacts with the military alliance, which it is hoped will help keep drug smuggling and illegal fishing off the coasts.



1,000 men (2017)

The air Force

100 men (2017)

The fleet

100 men (2017)

Military expenditure's share of GDP

0.5 percent (2017)

Military spending's share of the state budget

1.7 percent (2017)



Free Trade Agreement in Africa

21 March

Cape Verde is one of 44 countries to sign a Free Trade Agreement at the African Union Summit in Rwanda. The agreement must be ratified at the national level before the AFCFTA free trade area can become a reality, but it is seen as a historically important step towards increased trade exchange within Africa.

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