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Cape Verde

Updated by Joana Borges Henriques on 14.03.2014

The government of Cape Verde is strongly committed to achieving universal social security coverage, combining the gradual extension of contributory social security with the provision of basic non-contributory benefits. In its Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (GPRSP II 2008-2011), the government proposed to move towards a coherent and universal social security and action system and social protection adapted to the new economic and social realities of the country. 

Cape Verde's social security system is regulated by Law No. 131/V/2001 of January 2001, which established three different schemes: social assistance, compulsory social protection, and complementary social protection.

  • Social assistance (non-contributory) covers the entire population living in vulnerability and economic need by allocating social benefits (social support, protection against risk, and solidarity benefits) to guarantee income security.
  • Compulsory social protection (contributory) covers salaried workers and the self-employed (including domestic workers), as well as their families, and follows an insurance model funded by the workers and their employers. The benefits allocated under this scheme are provided by the National Social Security Institute, which grants sickness, maternity, adoption, nursing, physical or mental disability, funeral, and family benefits; old-age, disability, and temporary and permanent survivors' pensions; and health insurance.
  • The complementary social protection system aims to strengthen the coverage provided by the compulsory social protection scheme. Participation is voluntary.

The social security system also includes the health system and a series of social assistance programmes focused on education, housing, food, nutrition, and support for disabled persons, among others.

The main public institutions responsible for the administration of the social protection programmes are the National Centre for Social Pensions (CNPS) and the National Social Security Institute (INPS). The health system is administered by the Ministry of Health; the INPS, which provides health care for the insured and their families; and the CNPS's Mutual Fund for Social Assistance Pensioners, which provides health care and medicine to the elderly living in poverty.

Over the last decade, Cape Verde has adopted focused legislative measures: 1) to include self-employed and domestic workers; 2) to harmonize the sickness and maternity schemes for public servants with the schemes applicable to private sector workers; and 3) to include, starting 2006, public servants in the INPS scheme. Cape Verde's social protection system has benefited from the modernization of administrative processes and the growth of agency networks.

A considerable effort was deployed to consolidate a network of social protection programmes and additional resources were allocated to finance their operations. Between 2005 and 2010, total social expenditure represented 13.3 per cent of GDP and social protection expenditure was 4 per cent of the GDP. The contributory social security scheme covers around 34 per cent of the economically active population.