Cabo Verde Currency

The Cabo Verdean Escudo (CVE): A Currency of Tropical Splendor

Cabo Verde, an island nation off the northwest coast of Africa, is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, rich musical traditions, and vibrant culture. The currency of Cabo Verde is the Cabo Verdean escudo (CVE), which has a unique history and plays a vital role in the country’s economy and identity. In this comprehensive exploration, we will delve into the history, denominations, design, and significance of the Cabo Verdean escudo, examining how it reflects the nation’s history, culture, and economic progress.

Historical Overview:

The history of the Cabo Verdean escudo is intertwined with Cabo Verde’s colonial past and its struggle for independence. Key historical points include:

  1. Portuguese Colonization: Cabo Verde was colonized by the Portuguese in the 15th century. During this period, the official currency used in Cabo Verde was the Portuguese real.
  2. Colonial Influence: Portuguese currency remained in circulation in Cabo Verde for many years. The local economy was deeply connected to Portuguese trade and the colonial administration.
  3. Struggle for Independence: Cabo Verde, along with Guinea-Bissau, was a part of Portuguese West Africa. The nation’s quest for independence from Portuguese colonial rule took shape in the mid-20th century.
  4. Adoption of the Escudo: On July 22, 1914, Cabo Verde adopted the escudo as its official currency, ending its reliance on Portuguese currency. The currency symbol is “$,” which is used for both the escudo and the U.S. dollar.
  5. Independence: Cabo Verde achieved its independence from Portugal on July 5, 1975. Following independence, the Cabo Verdean escudo continued to serve as the national currency.

Denominations and Design:

According to thedresswizard, the Cabo Verdean escudo is divided into 100 centavos and is represented by the symbol “$.” Banknotes and coins are issued by the central bank of Cabo Verde, the Banco de Cabo Verde. Here’s an overview of the most common denominations and their designs:


Cabo Verde’s banknotes are notable for their colorful and artistic designs, reflecting the nation’s culture and heritage. Some of the most noteworthy banknotes include:

  • $200 Note: The $200 banknote features the renowned Cabo Verdean writer Eugénio Tavares on the obverse side. The reverse side showcases a depiction of a Cabo Verdean woman playing a guitar, an emblematic image of Cabo Verdean music and culture.
  • $500 Note: The $500 banknote highlights the image of António Aurélio Gonçalves on the front side. The reverse side portrays the Tarrafal concentration camp, an important historical site symbolizing Cabo Verde’s fight for independence.
  • $1,000 Note: The $1,000 banknote displays the image of Luís da Silva Ribeiro on the obverse side. The reverse side showcases an image of a typical Cabo Verdean village with its traditional houses and landscape.
  • $2,000 Note: The $2,000 banknote features the image of Amílcar Cabral, a prominent figure in Cabo Verdean and Guinean independence movements. On the reverse side, the banknote highlights a representation of traditional Cabo Verdean music.


Coins in Cabo Verde also feature designs related to the nation’s history and culture. They come in various denominations, including 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 centavos, and $1. Some noteworthy coin designs include:

  • 1 Centavo Coin: The 1 centavo coin displays the image of a morna guitar, representing the traditional morna music of Cabo Verde.
  • 5 Centavos Coin: The 5 centavos coin features a depiction of a violin, symbolizing Cabo Verdean music.
  • 10 Centavos Coin: On the 10 centavos coin, you can find an image of a traditional weaving loom, representing the country’s rich textile traditions.
  • 50 Centavos Coin: The 50 centavos coin showcases a depiction of a typical Cabo Verdean windmill, emphasizing the importance of windmills in the country’s agricultural history.
  • $1 Coin: The $1 coin highlights the image of a Cabo Verdean woman playing a guitar, reflecting the musical heritage and culture of the nation.

Significance and Role in the Cabo Verdean Economy:

The Cabo Verdean escudo is more than just a means of exchange; it represents the economic vitality and cultural richness of the country. Here are some key points highlighting its significance and role in the Cabo Verdean economy:

  1. Tourism and Services: Cabo Verde’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism, and the Cabo Verdean escudo plays a pivotal role in supporting the services sector. Visitors use the currency for various transactions, such as accommodations, dining, and leisure activities.
  2. Currency Exchange: Currency exchange services are widely available throughout Cabo Verde, particularly in tourist areas and at local banks. Visitors can easily exchange their foreign currency for Cabo Verdean escudos.
  3. Economic Growth: The Banco de Cabo Verde is responsible for implementing monetary policy measures to regulate inflation, interest rates, and the currency supply. This promotes economic stability and progress.
  4. Currency Peg: The Cabo Verdean escudo is pegged to the euro, which provides stability and predictability for international trade and financial transactions. The currency peg is critical for economic development.
  5. Financial Services: Cabo Verde’s financial services sector is essential for both residents and tourists. The Cabo Verdean escudo is used in a wide range of financial transactions, including banking services and lending.
  6. International Trade: The Cabo Verdean escudo is used for international trade transactions, particularly in the import and export of goods and services. The currency’s stability fosters economic development and foreign investment.
  7. Cash and Digital Payments: While cash remains the preferred mode of payment for many transactions, digital payments and electronic banking services are gaining popularity, making it more convenient for both residents and visitors.

Challenges and Considerations:

Despite its role as the official currency, the Cabo Verdean escudo faces various challenges and considerations:

  1. Exchange Rate Stability: Maintaining the Cabo Verdean escudo’s stability is essential for economic and financial stability. A robust and stable currency peg is crucial for international trade and financial development.
  2. Tourism Dependency: Cabo Verde’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism, which can be vulnerable to external factors such as global economic conditions, travel restrictions, and natural disasters.
  3. Economic Diversification: Efforts are being made to diversify the Cabo Verdean economy beyond tourism and financial services. Economic diversification can reduce the country’s vulnerability to external shocks.
  4. Environmental Conservation: Cabo Verde is committed to environmental conservation to protect its stunning landscapes and pristine beaches. Sustainable tourism and conservation are vital considerations for the future.


The Cabo Verdean escudo, with its artistic banknotes and coins featuring elements of Cabo Verdean culture and heritage, is not just a means of exchange; it is an integral part of the nation’s identity. As a symbol of the country’s economic stability and commitment to protecting its natural beauty, the Cabo Verdean escudo plays a significant role in Cabo Verde’s journey towards prosperity and sustainable development. The currency invites visitors to experience the nation’s breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture while supporting economic growth and investment in its future.