The economy is dominated by the service sector, which is
estimated to account for just over 75 percent of GDP.
Difficult cultivation conditions with recurring dry periods
adversely affect agricultural production. About 25 per cent
of the population works in the agricultural sector, but this
accounts for only 15 per cent of the total food demand. The
farms are generally small; more than half are less than 1 ha
and only 3 percent are larger than 5 ha. Main crops are
corn, beans, cassava and sweet potatoes. The most
economically important industry, which is also considered to
have the greatest development potential, is tuna fishing.
The fish-rich waters around Cape Verde are also rich in
lobster and other seafood. As a result of state investment,
tourism has increased significantly in importance.
COUNTRYAAH, exports are dominated by re-exports of fuel to aircraft
and ships that interstate on the islands as well as shoes,
textiles and fish, while imports are dominated by food. The
country has a large trade deficit. About 40 per cent of the
deficit has previously been covered by transfers from
cut-off values abroad, but this proportion has decreased
in recent years. Portugal is the dominant trading partner.
Other major trading partners are Spain, China, the United
States and the Netherlands.
Tourism and gastronomy
In recent years, Cape Verde has been investing more and
more in developing tourism, including the expansion of the
infrastructure and increased hotel capacity. The investments
have yielded results, and in 2000–12 the number of visitors
increased from 115,000 to 482,000. Mostly tourists from the
UK, Germany, Portugal and Italy are coming. Most come for
the beautiful beaches. The islands of Boa Vista, Sal and
Maio have long sandy beaches. The islands of São Tiago and
Santo Antão have a rockier landscape, but you can find white
sandy beaches on São Tiago as well. For the
nature-interested, there is also the Pico do Cano volcano on
the island of Fogo, which, like the city of Cidade Velha on
São Tiago, is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List
Almost 90 per cent of the food intake consists of
vegetables, mainly beans, maize and root vegetables. Fish,
meat and dairy products also provide important supplements.
Grilled fish with garlic and tomato is a popular dish as
well as spicy bean stew and meat marinated in lemon and then
fried or grilled. Fried sweet potato cakes, fish cooked in
coconut milk and fried crabs flavored with ginger and chili
pepper are other common dishes.