Utafiti: Journal of African Perspectives


Call for Papers: Utafiti is inviting you to submit your manuscript – any topic in the humanities - for consideration in the next issues.




News & Announcements

Stay up-to-date with the Brill African Studies Community and sign up to our newsletter!

Sign up

New at Brill: Afrika Focus

This journal promotes critical and worldly debates with Africa at the centre. 

New Series: Africa Futures / Afrique Futurs

Published in association with the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Africa Futures features cutting-edge research that critically reflects on some of the big questions relevant to imagining Africa’s future as a place.

Listen to our podcast on Africa and Climate Change

Robin Attfield talks about how Africa finds itself vulnerable to drought but also the flooding of its coastline, among other untoward environmental effects of climate change and civil war.


In March, the central bank reduced the principal interest rates in an attempt to halt the downward trend of economic growth. The number of tourists dropped by 2.6%, though this was partly compensated for by only a 0.6% reduction in nights spent by the visitors. Following strong protests against the nomination of a former minister as the new governor of the central bank, in November, Prime Minister José Maria Neves gave in and appointed another candidate. In mid-December, the 36-year old Janira Hopffer Almada, minister of youth, employment and human resources development, achieved a convincing victory in the direct elections of the ruling ‘Partido Africano da Independência de Cabo Verde’ (paicv) and succeeded Neves as party leader.


Despite the downward economic trend that affected all sectors of the economy, the number of tourist arrivals increased. In addition, tourism received the largest foreign investment project ever made in the sector. An attempt to considerably increase the incomes of political office holders was blocked by a presidential veto in response to spontaneous popular protests. Despite considerable diplomatic lobbying by the presidency and the government, Finance Minister Cristina Duarte failed to be elected as head of the AfDB.


Three elections shaped the political scene. In March, the opposition ‘Movimento para a Democracia’ (MpD) won the legislative elections for the first time since 2001. In the municipal elections in September, the ‘Partido Africano para a Independência de Cabo Verde’ (paicv) lost six of the eight municipalities it had previously controlled. The MpD increased its share of municipalities from 14 to 18. In the presidential elections in October, the incumbent, Jorge Carlos Fonseca (independent backed by the MpD), was re-elected. Despite the ongoing economic crisis in other sectors, tourism continued to grow significantly.


In January, the ruling ‘Movimento para a Democracia’ (MpD) re-elected Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva unopposed as party leader. In the same month, and despite having lost two consecutive elections in 2016, Janira Hoppfer Almada was also re-elected unopposed as leader of the opposition ‘Partido Africano para a Independência de Cabo Verde’ (paicv). The government authorised the heavily indebted national airline ‘Transportes Aéreos de Cabo Verde’ (tacv) to take out three loans from commercial banks to cover operational and current expenses. In August, tacv’s domestic flights were taken over by the Canary airline Binter Cabo Verde, while Icelandair assumed the management of the airline’s international flights. As in previous years, the tourism sector continued to grow significantly.


The Status of Forces Agreement (sofa) with the United States and a law on the creation of administrative regions were controversial issues both inside and outside the National Assembly. Both were eventually adopted thanks to the support of the parliamentary majority enjoyed by the ruling ‘Movimento para a Democracia’ (MpD). The ailing state-owned tacv Cabo Verde Airlines struggled with serious financial, organisational, and logistical problems. However, at the end of the year, Loftleidir-Icelandic submitted a proposal to acquire a majority share in the airline. Tourism continued to grow both in terms of new investment and the number of tourists.


After months of debate, in April the government withdrew the regionalisation law after it failed to obtain the necessary support for a qualified majority from the opposition ‘Partido Africano para a Independência de Cabo Verde’ (paicv) in the final voting in the Assembleia Nacional (an). In contrast, in October both the ruling ‘Movimento para a Democracia’ (MpD) and the paicv unanimously adopted a parity law on political gender equality. Finally, in March the government concluded the privatisation of Cabo Verde Airlines when Loftleidir Icelandic acquired 51% of the ailing state-owned company.


The pandemic prompted a severe set-back in the country’s important tourism sector, which dropped drastically by 75% in terms of tourist arrivals. In addition to the crisis provoked by the pandemic, in the second half of the year the controversial extradition proceedings against the arrested Colombian businessman Alex Saab, the special envoy of Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro wanted by the US for money laundering, dominated the local debate. In the municipal elections of 25 October, the ruling Movimento para a Democracia (MpD) lost the capital Praia and three other municipalities to the opposition Partido Africano da Independência de Cabo Verde (paicv) but remained the dominant party at the local level, controlling 14 of the country’s 22 municipalities.


The ruling Movimento para a Democracia (MpD) won the legislative elections in April, while former prime minister José Maria Neves (of Partido Africano da Independência de Cabo Verde – paicv) won the presidential elections in October. In July, the government unilaterally reversed the privatisation of Cabo Verde Airlines (cva) by taking over the 51% stake sold to Loftleidir Icelandic in 2019, on the grounds that the latter had not fulfilled its obligations. The crucial tourism sector began to successively recover from the effects of the pandemic but still lagged behind compared with previous years’ performance.


When Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva (Mudança para a Democracia, MpD) reshuffled his executive in October, he did not significantly reduce the number of government members as demanded by the opposition to reduce public spending in times of crisis. The government approved several credits for the ailing national airline Transportes Aéreos de Cabo Verde (tacv) to safeguard its existence until its scheduled future reprivatisation. The important tourism sector further recovered from the decline suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic. Steadily increasing numbers of foreign visitors resulted in rising tourist-related tax revenue.