As of 2003, over 70% of the economy was based on the service sector, with commerce, transportation, and public services as the strongest segments. However, the majority of the workforce lives and works in the rural sector employed in agriculture or fishing, which accounted for only about 10% of the GDP in early 2003. Most consumer goods are imported and sold or distributed in the major centers of Praia and Mindelo by EMPA, a state wholesale-retail company that controls the prices of many basic consumer goods. Nearly 20% of the GDP is supported by remittances from expatriates.
Since 1991, the government has pursued economic policies which promote privatization and a market economy. In particular, the government has sought ways to encourage foreign investment and to expand tourism
Business hours for banking, government, and industry are 8 AM to 12 noon and 2 PM to 6 PM . Commercial/retail hours are generally from 8 AM to 12:30 PM and 3 PM to 7 PM . Some establishments are open on Saturdays from 9 AM to 1 PM .