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Date: 25/09/2013
CAPE VERDE SECOND IN WORLD'S MOST ETHICAL DESTINATIONS



You may be surprised to discover that the nonprofit Ethical Traveler organization ranked any place in Africa as one of its “World’s 10 Best Ethical Destinations” list for 2013. But despite all the bad news we hear, some parts of Africa are flourishing, and both Ghana and Cape Verde made this list.
The list is based on how a country is faring in terms of environmental protection, social welfare and human rights. “We look at information past and present so that we understand not only the current state of a country, but how it has changed over time. This helps us select countries that are actively improving the state of their people, government and environment,” the group’s website says.
On top of achievements in those areas, the Cape Verde archipelago boasts diverse volcanic landscapes, beautiful beaches, warm weather and a rich culture fueled by ethnic diversity. Not well known to many in North America, the island chain off Africa’s west coast has long been a crossroads for travelers to and from Europe, Africa and the Americas.
Influenced by the Portuguese who explored there and made Cape Verde the first European overseas colony in sub-Saharan Africa, the place retains traditional African influences and some of its colonial-era charm. But these days, tourists head there to relax and recreate. Surfing is growing in popularity, especially on the island of Sal, where most of the population is under 40.
The capital city, Praia, is on Santiago, the largest of the islands. But tourists tend to head for smaller cities, beach towns and historic sites like the Cidade da Ribeira Grande de Santiago, a Portuguese-era fortress city and World Cultural Heritage site.

The Winners

Ethical Traveler congratulates the countries on our 2013 list of The World’s 10 Best Ethical Destinations. The winners, in alphabetical order (not in order of merit), are:

Barbados
Cape Verde
Costa Rica *
Ghana
Latvia *
Lithuania
Mauritius *
Palau *
Samoa
Uruguay *

Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Lithuania, Palau and Uruguay received the highest possible scores from Freedom House in the categories of Political Rights and Civil Liberties as well as high Press Freedom scores—even better than those of some developed countries. Freedom House also commends the political and civil freedom in the African countries of Mauritius and Ghana. After President Mills died earlier this year, Ghana went through a peaceful transition of power, which is not a given on the African continent. Interim President Mahama is regarded as a champion of the underprivileged, with a keen interest in environmental issues.

Two excellent performers in their regions are Cape Verde and Uruguay. Cape Verde serves as a model for political rights in Africa, while Uruguay has extensive human rights laws, including the most liberal LGBT rights in South America; same-sex civil unions are recognized, gays are allowed to serve openly in the military, same sex adoption is legal and anti-discrimination laws are in place to prevent discrimination for sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Islands: A General Trend

It’s worth noting that island states are again a strong presence in this year’s Top 10 list. These include Barbados, Cape Verde, Mauritius, Palau and Samoa. One clear reason for this is marked efforts towards environmental responsibility. These states understand that islands will be severely impacted by climate change, and are therefore taking the vanguard in progressive environmental policies.

It’s certainly notable to see three African countries named among the Ten Best Ethical Destinations for 2013! Cape Verde, Ghana and Mauritius serve as positive role models in the region. We commend their efforts, and hope ethical travelers will ‘vote with their wings’ by enjoying all these nations have to offer.



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