Cape Verde Case Study
Cape Verde has made striking progress in growing its telecommunication sector
and became the Least Developed Country (LDC) with the highest telephone density
in 1996, a position it still holds.
Cabo Verde Telecom (CVT), the monopoly operator, has performed well and
provided the country with an up-to-date telecommunication infrastructure.
Nonetheless, there are the inevitable consequences of a monopoly situation,
including higher prices, shortage of ancillary firms and deficiencies in
In both sectors - mobile and Internet access - Cape Verde's prices are above
comparator countries and keep the country from fully benefiting from these
technologies. At the end of 2001, there were around 32'000 mobile subscribers
for a penetration rate of seven percent. Worldwide, the number of mobile
subscribers passed fixed telephone subscribers in early 2002 and more than 100
countries had more mobile than fixed subscribers. Yet in Cape Verde, the mobile
base only accounted for 33 percent of all telephone subscribers at the end of
2001, one of the lowest rates among LDCs and among African nations. Although
this is partly due to the country's relatively high fixed line density, it also
suggests restricted growth in the mobile sector. The Internet faces similar
barriers and considering the advanced state of its infrastructure, it is
surprising that Cape Verde does not have a higher level of Internet penetration,
which stood at 2.7 percent at the end of 2001. Although there is a high level of
Internet awareness among senior officials and many civil servants use the
government intranet, the level of awareness among the population needs to be
raised. There are also very few public Internet access locations.
To consolidate the gains made from infrastructure developments and to move to
a higher level, Cape Verde needs to open up the market to liberalization and
solve the problems linked to the legal restrictions in the ICT sector. While CVT
has a legal monopoly until 2025, there are a number of arguments and an urgency
for introducing competition now.
A mission to Cape Verde was carried out from 16-23 April 2002, involving
Michael Minges, Vanessa Gray, and Margarida Evora-Sagna. The mission and
interviews were coordinated with the Direcção Geral das Comunicações.