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Foreign Trade in Figures

Cabo Verde has one of Africa's most open economies, with trade representing 98% of its GDP (World Bank, latest data available). It became a member of the WTO in 2008 and enjoys preferential access to American and European markets, thanks to American legislation - the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) - and the Treaties of Lome and Cotonou. The country has also signed a free trade agreement with China. Cabo Verde mainly exports fish and caviar (74.2% of total exports), clothes (8.1%), and parts of footwear (5.9%); while it imports food products (21.4%), fuels (19.2%), construction materials (8.7%), and machinery (6.1% - data INE, 2022).

Cabo Verde's main customers are Spain (54.7% of total exports), Portugal (19.2%), Italy (18.8%), and the United States (5.2%). Its major suppliers are Portugal (42.7% of total imports), Spain (8.6%), China (5.1%), the Netherlands (5%), and the U.S. (2.4% - data INE 2022). However, global trade tensions among China, the United States, and Europe - key trading partners to the island economy - could have a negative impact on their economy. Additionally, the archipelago's strategic location means that Cabo Verde is increasingly at the crossroads of the transatlantic narcotics trade. Consequently, the United States and Cabo Verde are currently working together to fight drug trafficking along its coast. The construction of a special economic zone (involving Chinese investments) is expected to increase trade in the future. Overall, the export base of the country is limited in terms of products and partner countries. The trade balance is in a structural deficit, a trend that should continue for the next years.

In 2022, Cabo Verde shipped USD 46 million worth of goods and imported goods for USD 882 million. With regard to services, the country exported USD 574 million (thanks to its tourism industry) and imported USD 246 million (WTO). According to World Bank data, in the same year the country's trade balance was negative by 15.8% of GDP. According to preliminary data by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), in 2023, Cabo Verde witnessed a decrease in exports, totaling PTE 5,590 billion, representing a decline of PTE 574 billion (11.5%) compared to the previous year. Europe retained its position as the primary destination for Cabo Verdean exports, absorbing approximately 94.1% of the total. Spain emerged as the leading client within the European economic zone, accounting for 59.7% of Cabo Verde's exports in 2023, marking a 5 percentage point increase from 2022. The top exported products in 2023 were prepared and preserved foods (73.7%), followed by clothing (9.5%) and footwear (5.7%). Cabo Verde's imports in 2023 saw a 4.8% increase compared to the previous year. Europe remained the leading supplier, contributing 68.6% of the total imports, followed by Asia/Oceania (14.9%), America (12.8%), Africa (1.7%), and the Rest of the World (1.9%). Portugal stood out as the primary supplier, accounting for 41.4% of the total imports, followed by Spain, the United States of America, and China, with shares of 11.6%, 6.7%, and 4.7%, respectively. The top ten imported products comprised 54.2% of total imports, with fuels (14.8%) and reactors and boilers (6.1%) being the most imported items.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20192020202120222023
Imports of Goods (million USD) 796720821910980
Exports of Goods (million USD) 6253554854
Imports of Services (million USD) 355219229246276
Exports of Services (million USD) 740295287574700
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -0-17913n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 9-593101n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) -666-660-711-774n/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 103787795n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 57545457n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 47242338n/a

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.

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Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Spain 57.6%
Portugal 18.8%
United States 2.2%
Cuba 0.5%
Algeria 0.3%
See More Countries 20.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
Portugal 45.2%
Spain 8.6%
Togo 6.7%
Netherlands 5.3%
China 4.9%
See More Countries 29.3%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

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Main Products

0.0 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Prepared or preserved fish; caviar and caviar...Prepared or preserved fish; caviar and caviar substitutes prepared from fish eggs 73.6%
Parts of footwear, incl. uppers whether or not...Parts of footwear, incl. uppers whether or not attached to soles other than outer soles; removable in-soles, heel cushions and similar articles; gaiters, leggings and similar articles, and parts thereof (excl. articles of asbestos) 6.3%
T-shirts, singlets and other vests, knitted or...T-shirts, singlets and other vests, knitted or crocheted 4.6%
Flours, meals and pellets, of meat or meat offal,...Flours, meals and pellets, of meat or meat offal, of fish or of crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates, unfit for human consumption; greaves 4.0%
Men's or boys' underpants, briefs, nightshirts,...Men's or boys' underpants, briefs, nightshirts, pyjamas, bathrobes, dressing gowns and similar articles, knitted or crocheted (excl. vests and singlets) 3.6%
See More Products 7.8%
0.8 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 17.2%
RiceRice 3.2%
Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not...Cement, incl. cement clinkers, whether or not coloured 3.1%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 2.6%
Bars and rods, of iron or non-alloy steel, not...Bars and rods, of iron or non-alloy steel, not further worked than forged, hot-rolled, hot-drawn or hot-extruded, but incl. those twisted after rolling (excl. in irregularly wound coils) 2.5%
See More Products 71.3%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data


To go further, check out our service Import Controls and Export Controls

To go further, check out our service Import-Export Flows


Main Services

60.6 bn USD of services exported in 2022
25.6 bn USD of services imported in 2022

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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List of tariffs and local taxes that apply to your product on our service Customs Duties and Local Taxes


Trade Compliance

International Economic Cooperation
Member of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)

Member of African Union (AU)

Useful Resources
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
You can contact the Intellectual Property Institute of Cape Verde by Email.

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Latest Update: May 2024

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