Most people only know
Cape Verde through
the haunting mornos (mournful songs) of Cesária Évora. To visit
her homeland which is a series of unlikely volcanic islands some 500km
off the coast of Senegal, is to understand the strange, bittersweet
amalgam of West African rhythms and mournful Portuguese melodies that
shape her music.
not just open ocean that separates
Cape Verde from the rest of West
Africa. Cool currents, for example, keep temperatures moderate, and a
stable political and economic system help support West Africa’s highest
standard of living. The population, who represent varying degrees of
African and Portuguese heritage, will seem exuberantly warm if you fly
in straight from, say, Britain, but refreshingly low-key if you arrive
from Lagos or Dakar.
has never been easy here. For centuries, isolation and cyclical drought
have resulted in famine. Generations of Cape Verdeans have been forced
to emigrate, leaving those at home wracked by
sodade – the deep longing
that fills Cesária Évora’s music. While hunger is no longer a threat,
you need only glance at the terraced hillsides baking in the sun to
understand that every bean, every grain of corn, is precious.
tiny in area, the islands contain a remarkable profusion of landscapes,
from Maio’s barren flats to the verdant valleys of Santo Antão. And Fogo,
a single volcanic peak whose slopes are streaked with rivers of frozen
lava. The beaches of Sal and Boa Vista increasingly attract package-tour
crowds, but Cape Verde remains a destination for the connoisseur – the
intrepid hiker, the die-hard windsurfer, the deep-sea angler, the
It is very
important that you are familiar with the potential hazards that property
purchase in an unfamiliar country may have in store. This information is
designed to help you find your way through the purchasing process on the
Cape Verde Islands. As an investor, it is most important to make sure
that professional people who know their way around the country in which
you are buying your property help you.
Buying in a foreign
country with a different language, laws, rules, and currency can be
quite daunting and is not for the faint hearted.
Choosing Your Lawyer: We
always recommend using a local lawyer who speaks your language whenever
purchasing any overseas property.
You will need
to appoint a lawyer and we may be able
to put you in touch with a suitably qualified company to assist you if
you haven't already appointed someone. The key thing is to be able to
understand everything that you are given to sign and your lawyer must be
able to help you with this. 9
appoint must be qualified and experienced in the local law and able to
speak both fluent Portuguese and English. Your existing UK lawyer
is obviously not the person for the job!
Your lawyer will
carry out land searches at the local Municipal Authority and Land
Registry Offices. These will reveal if there are charges registered
against the property or any existing restrictions on the title. The
existence of a valid habitation permit is a precondition for a valid
conveyance of off plan property in
The lawyer will
obtain the following documents for you:
- the Certidao do
Registo Predial (the land registry certificate)
- Planta de Localizacao
(the official map showing the property's exact location)
- "Certidao Matricial"
(the tax information certificate).
- If the property is not
registered, it is necessary to obtain a Certidao pela negativa
(a certificate confirming that the property in not registered in
anyone's name). A Certidao matricial para o efeito (which is
a tax certificate confirming this). With these two documents, it
will be possible to register the property.
The solicitor will also ask the vendor to
produce evidence of payment for any bills such as electricity and other
services and check that they have been paid.
You will most
likely need to give your lawyer Power of Attorney so he/she can
represent you when the promissory contract and deed are signed and also
to request the necessary tax cards on your behalf. This will have to be
done in Portuguese but you should request a copy in your own language.
This will have to be signed before a Notary and legalised by the Cape
Verde Honorary Consul in Liverpool.
Your lawyer will also obtain a tax card on
the purchaser’s behalf.
Promissory Contract of Purchase and Sale:
Signing the Promissory Contract of Purchase and Sale - Contrato
Promessa de Compra e Venda is the next step.
At this stage the purchaser is normally
expected to pay the deposit, which is negotiable (10% or lately 30% is
In Cape Verde, the parties are contractually bound once this Promissory
Contract of Purchase and Sale is signed. This sets out the terms of the
transaction (property details, price, method of payment, completion
date, warranties, penalties, etc.). This contract should be signed
before a notary public in
Cape Verde. Until this contract is exchanged,
the vendor is not committed and can change his mind. Transfer tax or IUP
tax is due at this point.
Conveyance – “Escritura”:
Deed of Conveyance called the "Escritura" has to be signed before
a notary public in Cape Verde. This is the document that gives the
purchaser complete title to the Property in Cape Verde law. The signing
of this deed must be scheduled with a minimum of 30 days' notice.
Registering the Property:
The purchase will have to be registered at the local Land Registry and
also at the local municipal authority. In Cape Verde, subsequent to the
signing of the deed, the notary will prepare and send a report to the
local municipal authority regarding the transaction.
But if it is
found that the property is not already registered, the following
documentation will be required:
Certidao Pela Negativa (a certificate confirming the fact that the
property is not registered)
Certidao Matricial Para o Efeito – the corresponding tax certificate
The municipal authority will then update
their records and register the new ownership of the property. Notary,
registration fees and stamp duty are usually around 2.5% of the
property’s value. These are payable on signing the Deed of Conveyance.
Contracts for Utility Services:
will need to be signed with each of the providers of services e.g.
water, gas and electric. Your lawyer can arrange this if necessary. It
is also advisable to arrange for final meter readings to take place
prior to completion.
The taxes relating to the property
transactions can be found on the
Cape Verde tax information section
This is a
general guide to the taxes that you are liable to pay with regard to
property or land transactions in
Cape Verde. When you sell property in
Cape Verde there are no property taxes to pay. However property purchase
is subject to the following taxes:
This is charged at a flat rate of 3% of the
property value and is paid prior to the signing of the deed of purchase
Holding Property / Annual Rates:
This tax is charged at a flat rate of 3% on
25% of the value of the property and is paid annually every April (or in
two instalments in April and September).
Capital Gains Tax:
- Capital gains on plots
for construction are taxable if their sale value exceeds a 100%
increase of the value at which they were initially purchased.
- Capital gains on any
other property sale are taxable if their sale value exceeds a 30%
increase on the value at which they were initially purchased. The
capital gain is taxed at a flat rate of 3% and is payable within 30
days of the deeds, together with the submission of a "Declaracao de
Mais Valias" (Capital Gains Statement)
Any inherited or gift property is taxed at a
flat rate of 3% on the attributed value of the property.
it is your responsibility to have the funds available. Either from cash
or via a mortgage lender and perhaps even via a combination of the two!
You will also
have to arrange for the transfer of funds to
Money and Banking:
The unit of currency is the Cape Verde escudo (CVE),
divided into 100 centavos. It’s not a hard currency, but it’s stable; in
January 2002, it was pegged to the euro. Most businesses also accept US
dollars and euros.
Banks are found in all the main towns and even some of
the smaller ones, and most have ATMs that accept bankcards and Visa.
Many also change travellers cheques and cash in all the main currencies
(except the West African CFA). Many also give cash advances with a Visa
Changing money on the black market is illegal and carries
risks (US dollars and Portuguese escudos are often fakes), so avoid it
unless you’re desperate. Be careful not to get stuck with Cape Verdean
escudos (not legal tender outside the islands). The bank at Sal’s
airport and Banco Interatlântico in Praia should change escudos back
into other currencies, but bring money changing receipts, your passport
and air ticket, which may be requested.
Credit cards are accepted only in very upmarket