The report, in placing Cape Verde in 2050 as one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, with the aggravating factor of coming in sixth position in the ranking of countries on the continent with the highest percentage of urban population, is expected to put the governing class on red alert regarding policies and measures to be undertaken in the coming decades.
The situation calls for planning strategies and the responsible use of land (which is an extremely scarce resource in Cape Verde), as well as measures in the areas of health, education and the encouragement of rural activities as a way of maintaining current rural populations in place and attracting new inhabitants to the countryside.
Such measures will be necessary to keep Cape Verde from having highly disorganized cities featuring a young population devoid of direction and perspectives. The programs and measures to be developed will have to be elaborated for the long term, and will require a great deal of funding and political will – here, the challenge is enormous, given that political cycles in Cape Verde (four years for municipal governments and five years for the national legislature and government) are relatively short.
Nevertheless, it is important to register the public recognition of Cape Verde’s head of government, José Maria Neves, that the country urgently needs reforms in its educational system, from elementary up to university levels. This awareness, however, remains to be raised in other sectors, and the resources necessary for the implementation of policies will be a permanent challenge for the country.
The challenges of the urban population are already visible in Praia – the country’s capital – which is home to a third of Cape Verde’s population, with some 150,000 inhabitants, creating an impressive dynamic while at the same time putting enormous pressure on available resources.