Cape Verde’s March to Victory

Long long ago, we were
A scattered set of towns,
Hustling for independence
And world renown.
Real were our struggles,
Battling drought and poverty,
‘Til the time came when we joined hands
And set out to write history.

Emerge we did,
From the Portuguese slave trade,
Nothing but our own determination,
Came to our aid.
Now when we look back today,
Our chest swells with pride,
And our eyes brim with tears of nostalgia,
As we march astride.

From country that usurped
With few resources at hand,
No roofs over our head
And no cultivating land,
To a WTO member,
A potpourri of a unique cultural blend,
Some of Europe
And some of the African trends.

For the sacrifices of these ancestors,
Were certainly not in vain,
Look where we are today,
And look at what we’ve gained.

So curious is the world now,
That immigration flow in,
To bask in our glory,
And celebrate a mutual win.
Global respect, admiration,
World acclamation, and fame,
Have etched forever in history,
The great Cape Verde’s name.

-CV Hustle

Cape Verde: The travel destination everyone is talking about

The holiday season is in full swing and people are busy making preparations to celebrate Christmas and New Year. Families have already given shape to their annual vacation and packing their clothes to have fun and enjoyment on a destination of their dreams. But if you are among those who still have your vacation decision this year, there is a destination that is exotic and interesting that you may have seen or heard about: the Cape Verde Islands, a small nation located in Atlantic Ocean. Located some 570 km away from Cape Verde Peninsula in West Africa, this archipelago of 10 islands has suddenly caught the imagination of the travelers around the world.

cape verde travel

Travelers showing tremendous interest in this small island country

Capo Verde has a small population of slightly over half a million. It is spread over an area of more than 4000 sq. km. It boasts of an arid climate and has a mountainous terrain. This island country has a booming tourism industry which largely supports its economy. Interest shown by travelers in Capo Verde has been amazing. Based upon searches conducted on Google, this small island country is searched more than some of the top vacation destinations of the world. Interest in this country by travelers since 2004 has grown by almost 3000%. This reflects a growing trend among the travelers towards adventure tourism, a kind of tourism for which Capo Verde has tremendous opportunities. According to an article published in Lonely Plant recently, other countries where travelers have shown high interest for tourism are UAE, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Yemen, Qatar, Bangladesh, Kuwait, and Oman. But all these countries are far behind Cape Verde when it comes to online searches.

For all those who resent freezing temperatures that are common in December and January, Cape Verde presents itself as a virtual paradise with temperatures remaining steady at 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit). With year-round warm and sunny weather conditions and quick access through a 6-hour flight from most major airports, Cape Verde has emerged as a favorite destination for families from America and Europe.

Amazing diversity in terms of geography in a single vacation

There are 10 islands in total making up Cape Verde, with 9 of these islands are habitable. What makes Cape Verde exciting for travelers is the fact that every island has a different geography and presents new and exciting opportunities for them. If you are looking for islands with crystal clear water and white sand on the beaches, Sal and Boavista are the ones waiting for you. Sal also has a beautiful salt lake called Pedra de Luma. Boa Vista is the island where you can enjoy not just the beaches and some beautiful turtles but also get to see the famous Vana Desert. If your preference is islands with mountains every which way you turn, Santiago and Santo Antao are perfect places for you to indulge in some hiking and exploration.

cape verde travel

There is even Fogo Island with an active volcano if you are a dare devil and wish to see a volcano from close quarters. If you are fond of canopying, scuba diving, and hiking, Santo Antao is the best island for you. It also has an active volcano. Aguas Belas is the island most difficult to reach. You can get access by going there on boat. Despite difficult access, travelers make it a point to visit Aguas Belas because it is a treat the eyes to see. One of the biggest highlights of this island is a grotto having a huge hole. This hole actually leads to the sea having clear water. Campers are delighted when they reach Serra Malagueta which is the highest point in Santiago. Despite having different topography, what make all 9 islands similar for a tourist are their coastal areas that are full of beautiful rocky structures.

Lots of fun and recreation waiting for you

You will always find summer in Cape Verde. This means you can travel light as you do not need to pack your heavy items of clothing. All you need is your sun cream to protect your skin from the UV rays of the sun. Spend endless hours soaking the sun on the white sandy beaches of this island nation if you are bored with the cold weather conditions back home. For those who are yearning for some action in the outdoors, Cape Verde is nothing short of a paradise.

cape verde travel

You may have a hard time trying to spot Cape Verde on the map of Africa, but you will be amazed with the kind of attractions awaiting you. Every island has a different set of places and activities to indulge in.

Cape Verde is not just a beautiful tropical paradise because of its natural scenery. It also boasts a strong nightlife with pubs and restaurants where you can enjoy good music and drinks. Do whatever you want to do during day time and then relax with some music and drinks in these joints in the evening. 

Plan a trip to Cape Verde this Christmas and New Year. You will cherish the memories of this beautiful island nation forever.

How Blockchain Technology Can Benefit Developing Countries, Like Cape Verde

For the last few years, anyone involved in the financial industry has heard of blockchain technology. It’s considered a horizontal technology like the wheel or the electricity. Horizontal technologies have the power to change every sector and industry. Naturally, the question has started to circulate if blockchain can help alleviate the problems of emerging nations like Cape Verde Islands. Let’s have the look at the possibilities that blockchain technology offers for poor developing countries.

Cape Verde: An Overview

Cape Verde is an island country with an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands. It’s located to the west of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. Cape Verde was under Portugal rule until 1975. Today it is a country with a strong population of more than 512,000.

Year-round sun, beautiful beaches, and an incredible volcanic landscape make it a great destination for travel. Despite being poor in natural resources, having propensities for droughts and lacking land suitable for sustainable agriculture, Cape Verde has managed to achieve financial stability, but it’s nowhere near a wealthy country. According to 2016 UN Human Development Report, the Human Development Index (HDI) puts Cape Verde at the rank of 122 out of 188 countries. So there is a lot of room for improvement in terms of dealing with poverty and moving towards prosperity.

Blockchain: The Technology

Blockchain technology gained prominence through the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. In 2009, a mysterious figure called Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. Developers started to implement the solution and the Bitcoin cryptocurrency was born. Blockchain was the backbone of this new form of digital money. Soon researchers and scientists realized that Blockchain as a standalone technology can achieve more than just digital currency.

Blockchain uses the power of cryptography to create immutable and distributed digital ledgers. Whenever two parties make a transaction, the record is entered into the ledger and becomes part of the chain using complex cryptography and mathematics. Because it takes enormous computing power to put a record into the digital ledger, it’s not possible for any single party to change it. The record is permanent.

For the first time in human history, two parties can transact remotely using blockchain without the need for an intermediary (like a bank or a government) to validate it. It has the potential to change the way the world economy works today.

Cape Verde Blockchain: A Story of Possibilities

Blockchain can help a country like Cape Verde increase financial inclusion, improve current systems, and put it on a path to defeating poverty. Here are a few interesting possibilities:

1) International Transactions and Financial Inclusion

According to World Bank’s Global Findex Database, only 50 percent of the world population has an account with financial institutions. So the rest of the population doesn’t have access to financial capital. Financial inclusion and access to capital play a vital role in reducing poverty.

Banks can be too expensive for poor people, coupled with the fact that distances from remote locations make these institutions unreachable for parts of the population. Lack of financial institutions also means lack of access to international transactions. It prevents poor people from participating in the global market.

Blockchain technology has the ability to overcome these hurdles. Using the internet and mobile technology, blockchain can help build financial relationships from all corners of the world without financial intermediaries. It can help foreign investments increase in countries like Cape Verde.

2) Microfinancing and Small Businesses

Microfinancing was hailed as the solution for changing the landscape of poverty. It hasn’t lived up to its reputation. One of the problems in microfinancing has been the presence of third-parties like non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and microfinancing institutions (MFIs).

Microfinancing allows poor people to get credit and start small businesses. The credit system doesn’t require any collateral and depends on trust. However, maintaining the records and keeping track of the transactions can be cumbersome for NGOs and MFIs. It can make the system too expensive to maintain.

Blockchain technology can help microfinancing as a digital ledger. In a general microfinance chain, the trust can be easily broken and result in the collapse of the system. Blockchain provides the trust and security that can keep a microfinance system running at low cost and promote the growth of small businesses. The expansion of small businesses means wealth creation and prosperity.

3) Improving Current Financial Institutions and Intermediaries

Weaknesses in financial institutions and inefficiencies in financial transactions can impede economic growth. Banks and governments can fall prey to corruption. There can be lack of transparency. Inefficient financial transactions and recordkeeping can lead to land-grabbing and other property frauds. Poor people are at high risks for such manipulation.

Blockchain’s tamper-proof and immutable records can help. They provide easy-to-follow digital trails that prevent corruption. Sweden is working on a blockchain-powered land registry. Other governments are investing in blockchain-based systems to build a relationship of trust with their citizens. A developing country like Cape Verde can definitely learn from these innovations.

4) Empowering the People

Various blockchain applications are empowering the people in unforeseen ways. Identity documents like birth certificates, driver licenses, and marriage certificates on blockchain are helping fight identity theft. Access to digital ID cards is invoking the poor to participate in financial activities through banks and in civic duties like voting. Intellectual property rights management is moving into blockchains to ensure the original creators are rewarded for their efforts. This can help the poor build wealth on ideas which were impossible before.

Challenges of Implementing Blockchain

Even though blockchain is a wonderful technology, it requires an investment of time and resources. Here are a few challenges:

  • As a new technology, there is a lot of skepticism about blockchain technology. More awareness is necessary.
  • Governments need to help move the technology forward. Private sectors are profit-motivated, but governments work for the good of the people: it is the responsibility of governments to provide support for the technology to help people.
  • Businesses and institutions need to figure out the operational and regulatory barriers around blockchain. If governments and institutions try to shut down the technology as a threat, it will not be good for the country in the long run.
  • Investment in developing talent pool who can implement the system is a necessary first step. Without a talent pool of blockchain engineers and developers, it wouldn’t be possible to create viable systems.

The Future of Cape Verde Blockchain

Blockchain can be the catalyst to bring financial freedom to the poor, globally. Cape Verde blockchain-based applications can play an important role in improving the country’s financial standing in the world while helping its people break the cycle of poverty. Leaders of every industry should pay attention to this new technology as a catalyst for social change.

References:
• http://observer.com/2017/05/how-blockchain-technology-can-help-poor-people-around-the-world-banking-emerging-markets/
• https://hbr.org/2017/05/how-blockchain-could-help-emerging-markets-leap-ahead
• https://www.forbes.com/sites/nikolaikuznetsov/2017/07/24/how-emerging-markets-and-blockchain-can-bring-an-end-to-poverty
• https://medium.com/@philippsandner/solving-challenges-in-developing-countries-with-blockchain-technology-78ec9b01bae3
• http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/africa/cape-verde/articles/reasons-to-visit-cape-verde/
• http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-13148486
• http://hdr.undp.org/sites/all/themes/hdr_theme/country-notes/CPV.pdf
• http://www.eib.org/attachments/efs/economic_report_banking_africa_digital_financial_inclusion_en.pdf =
• http://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/globalfindex
• https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/6042
• https://qz.com/947064/sweden-is-turning-a-blockchain-powered-land-registry-into-a-reality
• https://www.devex.com/news/opinion-here-s-what-needs-to-happen-to-scale-blockchain-in-developing-countries-90899

Cape Verde: Where Hurricanes are Born

For hurricanes which affect the Caribbean, North America, and South America, the biggest impact is from those which originate as weather disturbances in the area of the Cape Verde Islands off the west coast of Africa, know as the Cape Verde hurricanes. On the whole, 85% of all hurricanes affecting the Americas come from Africa.

Hurricanes can spawn within the Caribbean but fortunately are generally less powerful because they don’t have as much time over warm water to develop the huge amounts of energy of their African cousins.

Seeds Grow

Between Africa and South America, just north of our planet’s equator (yellow), is a strip of comparatively warm ocean water (orange). Sitting at the Eastern end of that phenomena are the Cape Verde Islands.

These islands experience developing weather from June to November, but especially July through October, with up to 20 days per month of rainfall in September. This happens because the Trade Winds are moving westwards and this is where they encounter that very warm Atlantic Ocean water for the first time.

How a hurricane grows

People talk about how warm water and winds combine to form a hurricane, but many don’t truly understand the mechanism. So let’s look at how it works.

First, you need an existing disturbance in the atmosphere, such as a thunderstorm which are extraordinarily common over Western Africa at this time of year. With just a few more contributing factors it can evolve into a full-fledged tropical depression, and possibly a hurricane.

The main requirement is that ocean water must be at least 78° F (26.5° C) down to a depth of 150 feet (50 meters), scientists estimate. This provides a massive heat sink from which the storm will draw its energy in the form of gaseous water.

Next, it needs to be more than 5° of latitude above the equator. Our planet rotates towards the east, which is why it appears that the Sun (and Moon, and stars) rise in the eastern sky. Right on the Equator there is no effective spin imparted to the air. A weather system must be a minimum of 5° away in order to gain rotation from the turning Earth.

To understand this, it helps to know that the Equator is traveling at about 1,000 miles per hour as the Earth spins. At 45° N latitude (which passes through OR, ID, MT, MN, SD, WI, MI, Ontario, Quebec, ME, NY, VT, NH, and Nova Scotia) the speed is half of that or 500 mph. Someone at either pole is effectively traveling a 0 mph. This “twisting” is known as the Coriolis Effect and without it hurricanes wouldn’t be possible.

It might help to imagine a lump of clay on a surface. If you were to slide your hand along the upper surface, it would begin to roll. Your hand and the table are moving at different “speeds” so the clay adapts by spinning.

Next it requires very low wind-shear in the atmosphere. If you have ever looked at a cloud and observed that it looks as if it were pushed over like a tower of blocks getting ready to fall that is likely due to wind shear. The air above is traveling faster than the air below, and likely in a different direction, so the cloud is “torn apart. You can see this in action with this video.

The next component is plenty of moisture being moved up into the atmosphere. This is the fuel for the hurricane. It results in unstable conditions, the consequence of which is thunderstorms.

Putting it all together

It doesn’t happen often that all the conditions are “just right”. If it did, the results would be continuous hurricanes across our planet.
But, when it does happen it works like this:

  1.  The Trade Winds leave the west coast of Africa, around the Cape Verde Islands at 12° N latitude, and encounter a warm ocean that is throwing untold tons of water up into the atmosphere through evaporation.
  2. Down at ocean-level warm water continues to evaporate and rises, forming Nimbus (storm) clouds. As those clouds form, the gaseous water condenses to liquid releasing its heat, and that adds fuel to the fire. The hot air rises, and more air is drawn in from below to replace it, adding more water, releasing more heat and so on, feeding the giant engine of a hurricane.
  3. The various layers of the atmosphere become harmonious, traveling in roughly the same direction at approximately the same speed. This means that the thunderstorms can dwell in the center of circulation and add more energy. If the wind shear is too great, the thunderstorms dissipate and the hurricane turns back into an ordinary tropical storm.
  4. The Coriolis Effect then starts to amplify the rotation of the air mass, making the southerly portion turn faster, and the northerly portion speeds up in response because the Prevailing Westerlies (blue on the map) are not as fast or strong as the Trade Winds.[ CITATION Sta17 \l 1033 ]
    Since the storm rotates counterclockwise and encounters the eastbound Westerlies along its northern edge, what may be a Category 1 or 2 hurricane overall becomes a Category 4 along that upper border.

Hurricane Sizes

For ease of reference, there is a scale to describe hurricanes. It is called the Saffir-Simpson Scale and references not just the wind speed, but also the likely storm surge. A Category 1 will have winds under 100 mph, which may be reassuring, but if you live near the shore in an area only a couple of feet above the local water level, a surge of 5 feet could cause a lot of damage. If you’re 10 feet above the local water level, a Cat 3 might hit 12 feet during the surge. You had better get those sandbags out, and make sure your pump is working!

What kills a hurricane?

Hurricanes generally fizzle out before they do the level of damage that we’ve seen just recently. As mentioned, wind shear drives the thunderstorm “engines” away from the center of rotation, which is similar to taking the batteries out of a device—it might continue running for a while—but it’s going to get slower and slower until it stops.

Another hurricane killer is dry air. If the Jet Stream dips down and starts feeding it cool dry air it can cause so much turbulence that the whole thing just disintegrates into several smaller, harmless storms. Dry air siphons off the water “fuel” and it fades away.

Landfall is also fatal to hurricanes, for as we’ve seen, they are dependent on incoming water to survive. Take that away and they cannot maintain their thunderstorms and simply fail.

Finally, the ultimate death knell for a hurricane, even if it stays over open water, is the cold North Atlantic water. It simply can’t draw enough water and energy from the frigid waters and dies an ignominious death.

History of Destruction

At the time of writing, hurricane Maria is a Cat 1 hurricane, off the east coast of the United States and headed northeast which is ideal. Meanwhile, Cat 3 hurricane Lee is just a bit southeast of Bermuda and headed northwest, and current predictions have it turning north on Thursday, northeast on Friday, and dissipating by Saturday morning in the mid-north Atlantic. Good news.

This has been an expensive hurricane season in 2017 in terms of lives lost, property and infrastructure damaged, and likely a prolonged recovery time. The island of Barbuda is completely devoid of residents for the first time in 300 years after Irma struck it with all its fury. The island went from beautiful green to completely brown in a matter of hours. Most of the residents are now living on their sister island Antigua.

Barbuda has a GDP of about one billion dollars, but based largely on tourism, and damages exceeding $250,000,000. That is a much tougher problem to solve since they are going to have no tourists for quite a while…

Katrina devastated Louisiana in 2005, and political wrangling left the area struggling for years trying to rebuild. It’s only now more than a decade later that they are getting back to pre-Katrina levels, though areas like the Lower 9th Ward are still struggling.

Texas, and notably Houston, has suffered a massive impact from hurricane Harvey, but have already acquired $15 billion from FEMA to start the rebuilding. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said it was just a down payment on what was to come.

FEMA approved $124 million for individuals and Households for Florida on September 10 in response to the damage caused by two hurricanes Harvey, and Irma. FEMA has more to spend but numbers aren’t readily available.

Puerto Rico suffered significant damage from hurricane Maria as well, even if not to the same extent, but has the advantage of a massive wealthy government to help them with financial support, and rebuilding infrastructure. The island is largely without electricity, and the people are working to get things back in operation. It will take months to restore essential services, but they have a much higher expectation that help will be forthcoming once the political rhetoric is done compared to places like Barbuda.

Climate Change

With this barrage of devastating weather, some of the more outrageous news outlets have been shamelessly blaming Global Warming for all these woes. While it is true that it may have exacerbated it slightly, in truth, Harvey was statistically indistinguishable from of number of earlier hurricanes. These reach back to Hurricane Easy in 1950 with 45 inches of rain, Tropical Storm Claudette in 1979 with 42 inches of rain in just 24 hours (whereas hurricane Harvey took three days to reach that amount), and even Tropical Storm Amelia in 1978 with its 48 inches of rain.

The Takeaway

We’re big fans of reality-based, replicable science around here, and feel free to protest when it is used for the sake of making headlines instead of reflecting the world we live in. This article by Eric Holthaus is a case in point. Harvey is not unique; it is not a once in “500 years” storm (additional hyperbole suggests that it is a “once in a millennium” storm). We’ve had four in this particular area since 1950 (Harvey plus the three mentioned above).

When people seem too smug, and adopt an “I told you so” attitude, you should probably take what they say with a grain of salt. Maybe you could even do a little research on your own. The facts, however speak for themselves. No weather event can be attributed to Global Warming specifically. It may alter it in some way, but there are always more direct local influences on such a complex system.

In science, few people speak of certainties, and you should be suspicious if they do. We speak of probabilities while looking for faults in our examination process. Real scientists don’t mind being wrong because that is how we learn new things.

Works Cited
Britt, R. (2005, May 27). How And Where Hurricanes Form. Retrieved September 21, 2017, from LiveScience: https://www.livescience.com/3815-hurricanes-form.html
Iacurci, J. (2017). 85% of U.S. hurricanes come from Africa. Retrieved September 21, 2017, from Nature World News: http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/13408/20150313/85-percent-of-us-hurricanes-come-from-africa.htm
Reynolds, A. (2017, September 7). CATO Institute. Retrieved September 23, 2017, from CATO AT LIBERTY: https://www.cato.org/blog/hurricanes-harvey-irma-cant-be-blamed-global-warming-0
State Climate Office of North Carolina. (n.d.). Hurricanes – Development. Retrieved September 21, 2017, from State Climate Office of North Carolina: https://climate.ncsu.edu/climate/hurricanes/development.php if
Sterling J, S. C. (2017, September 15). CNN. Retrieved September 24, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/15/americas/irma-barbuda-population-trnd/index.html: http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/15/americas/irma-barbuda-population-trnd/index.html
The University of Rhode Island #1. (2015). Hurricane Development: From Birth to Maturity. Retrieved September 21, 2017, from Hurricane Science: http://hurricanescience.org/science/science/development/
The University of Rhode Island #2. (2015). Hurricane Decay: Demise of a Hurricane. Retrieved Sept 21, 2017, from Hurricane Science: http://www.hurricanescience.org/science/science/hurricanedecay/