Off the west coast of Africa, poor in natural resources, the Cape Verde islands have won a reputation for achieving political and economic stability. The former Portuguese colony comprises of 9 main islands.

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Constitution and government

There is much secularity intent within the constitution of Cape Verde. Laws and policies generally protect religious freedom, the right of individuals to choose and change their religion and to interpret their religious beliefs for themselves. The constitution provides for separation of church and state and prohibits the state from imposing religious beliefs and practices.

Family, community and society

There are several religious groups in Cape Verde, that include small Muslim and Bahá’i communities. There are no known atheist or humanist groups. Different commentators emphasise the dominance of the Roman Catholic Church, said to be the faith of 80-90% of the population. It is not a traditional Catholic church, but much influenced by the African and Brazilian traditions of Cape Verde residents.

“… the Catholic faith still plays a dominating role on the islands. The colonial power of Portugal was primarily influenced by Catholicism and the situation was anything but laicistic in the years of its rule on Cape Verde…”

The organization by the government of a visit of a Pope to the islands provides evidence of the deference to the religion. The government also offered all religious groups free television broadcasting time for religious services but only the Roman Catholic Church had the capacity to make use of this opportunity.