Also called Cape Verde, this African state of at least 10 islands and several islets, 500 km off the coast of West Africa, has marvellous mountainous landscapes. However, the islands are poor in natural resources, prone to drought and have little arable land. Cabo Verde is one of the most urbanized countries in Africa, more than 60 per cent of the population living in urban areas. Roughly a quarter of the urban population alone lives in Praia, the capital of the island state. One of the key challenges is a lack of affordable housing for the low-income population. One quarter of the country’s population is considered poor. Typically, people settle and build houses of varying quality, which are very often left unfinished. These households are in most cases not connected to public water supply, sewage and electricity.
Since 2010 the Government has undertaken several measures to make the housing market more vibrant. It has regulated the access to housing credits and subsidized housing. Furthermore, the Government is in the process of rolling out a large scale Social Housing Programme “Casa Para Todos” to provide housing to more than 8,000 people. A National Programme on Urban Development and Empowerment of Cities was approved in 2012. This programme concentrates on improving living conditions through slum upgrading and decent job creation.
Cabo Verde is a member of the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators, reinforcing its interest in not only achieving the results defined by the SDGs, but also contributing to their monitoring, which is pertinent since the country has advanced capacities in data collection in its vulnerable settlements through the National Institute of Statistics (INE).
The PSUP principles were mainstreamed in several national programmes, including the Social Housing Programme and the National Programme on Urban Development and Empowerment of Cities. Cabo Verde is also developing its own innovative cultural approach towards urban renewal and social development through the nationwide programme “Bairros Creativos” (Creative Neighbourhoods). With regards to PSUP activities, participatory urban profiling was piloted in the three urban areas of Santa Cruz, Praia and Sal and replicated by the Ministry of Decentralization, Housing and Territory Planning in 22 municipalities, through financing from the Intra-ACP Funds. The profiles comprehensively assessed the social and economic situation. Further, the current PSUP’s citywide slum upgrading strategy formulation and policy review provides the opportunity to institutionalise the community-based prioritization and planning of interventions. In addition, this inclusive approach has been replicated for participatory budgeting and has promoted citizen engagement in decision-making processes. PSUP financed the technical studies for an Urban Policy, which is in the process of being finalized. This is a remarkable contribution by the Programme, as the urban policy will provide a vision for slum upgrading and sustainable urban development.