Africa :: Sao Tome and Principe

Introduction ::Sao Tome and Principe

    Discovered and claimed by Portugal in the late 15th century, the islands' sugar-based economy gave way to coffee and cocoa in the 19th century - all grown with African plantation slave labor, a form of which lingered into the 20th century. While independence was achieved in 1975, democratic reforms were not instituted until the late 1980s. The country held its first free elections in 1991, but frequent internal wrangling between the various political parties precipitated repeated changes in leadership and two failed coup attempts in 1995 and 2003. In 2012, three opposition parties combined in a no confidence vote to bring down the majority government of former Prime Minister Patrice TROVOADA. The new government of Prime Minister Gabriel Arcanjo Ferreira DA COSTA is entirely composed of opposition party members with limited experience in governance. The recent discovery of oil in the Gulf of Guinea promises to attract increased attention to the small island nation.

Geography ::Sao Tome and Principe

People and Society ::Sao Tome and Principe

Government ::Sao Tome and Principe

    conventional long form: Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe
    conventional short form: Sao Tome and Principe
    local long form: Republica Democratica de Sao Tome e Principe
    local short form: Sao Tome e Principe
    republic
    name: Sao Tome
    geographic coordinates: 0 20 N, 6 44 E
    time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    2 provinces; Principe, Sao Tome
    note: Principe has had self government since 29 April 1995
    12 July 1975 (from Portugal)
    Independence Day, 12 July (1975)
    approved March 1990, effective 10 September 1990
    mixed legal system of civil law base on the Portuguese model and customary law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Manuel Pinto DA COSTA (since 3 September 2011)
    head of government: Prime Minister Gabriel Arcanjo Ferreira DA COSTA (since 12 December 2012)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the proposal of the prime minister
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 17 July and 7 August 2011 (next to be held in 2016); prime minister chosen by the National Assembly and approved by the president
    election results: Manuel Pinto DA COSTA elected president in a run-off election; percent of vote - Manuel Pinto DA COSTA 52.9%, Evaristo CARVALHO 47.1%
    unicameral National Assembly or Assembleia Nacional (55 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
    elections: last held on 1 August 2010 (next to be held in 2014)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ADI 26, MLSTP-PSD 21, PCD 7, MDFM 1
    highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of NA judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 5 judges, 3 of which are from the Supreme Court)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the National Assembly; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Court judges nominated by the president of the republic and elected by the National Assembly for 5-year terms
    subordinate courts: Court of First Instance; Audit Court
    Force for Change Democratic Movement or MDFM [Tome Soares da VERA CRUZ]
    Independent Democratic Action or ADI [Patrice TROVOADA]
    Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe-Social Democratic Party or MLSTP-PSD [Rafael BRANCO]
    New Way Movement or NR
    Party for Democratic Convergence or PCD [Delfim NEVES]
    Ue-Kedadji coalition
    other small parties
    Association of Sao Tome and Principe NGOs or FONG
    other: the media
    ACP, AfDB, AOSIS, AU, CD, CPLP, EITI (candidate country), FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), NAM, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
    chief of mission: Ambassador Ovidio Manuel Barbosa PEQUENO
    chancery: 1211 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036
    telephone: [1] (202) 775-2075, 2076
    FAX: [1] (202) 775-2077
    the US does not have an embassy in Sao Tome and Principe; the Ambassador to Gabon is accredited to Sao Tome and Principe on a nonresident basis and makes periodic visits to the islands
    three horizontal bands of green (top), yellow (double width), and green with two black five-pointed stars placed side by side in the center of the yellow band and a red isosceles triangle based on the hoist side; green stands for the country's rich vegetation, red recalls the struggle for independence, and yellow represents cocoa, one of the country's main agricultural products; the two stars symbolize the two main islands
    note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia
    name: "Independencia total" (Total Independence)

    lyrics/music: Alda Neves DA GRACA do Espirito Santo/Manuel dos Santos Barreto de Sousa e ALMEIDA
    note: adopted 1975

Economy ::Sao Tome and Principe

    This small, poor island economy has become increasingly dependent on cocoa since independence in 1975. Cocoa production has substantially declined in recent years because of drought and mismanagement. Sao Tome and Principe has to import fuels, most manufactured goods, consumer goods, and a substantial amount of food, making it vulnerable to fluctuations in global commodity prices. Over the years, it has had difficulty servicing its external debt and has relied heavily on concessional aid and debt rescheduling. Sao Tome and Principe benefited from $200 million in debt relief in December 2000 under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program, which helped bring down the country's $300 million debt burden. In August 2005, the government signed on to a new 3-year IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) program worth $4.3 million. In April 2011 the country completed a Threshold Country Program with The Millennium Challenge Corporation to help increase tax revenues, reform customs, and improve the business environment. Considerable potential exists for development of a tourist industry, and the government has taken steps to expand facilities in recent years. The government also has attempted to reduce price controls and subsidies. Potential exists for the development of petroleum resources in Sao Tome and Principe's territorial waters in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea, which are being jointly developed in a 60-40 split with Nigeria, but any actual production is at least several years off. The first production licenses were sold in 2004, though a dispute over licensing with Nigeria delayed the country''s receipt of more than $20 million in signing bonuses for almost a year. Maintaining control of inflation, fiscal discipline, and increasing flows of foreign direct investment into the oil sector are the major economic problems facing the country.
    $408.6 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 217
    $392.1 million (2011 est.)
    $374.1 million (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $264 million (2012 est.)
    4% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    4.9% (2011 est.)
    4.5% (2010 est.)
    $2,400 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 184
    $2,300 (2011 est.)
    $2,300 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    20.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    15.2% of GDP (2011 est.)
    -12.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 126.3%
    government consumption: 13.9%
    investment in fixed capital: 48.7%
    investment in inventories: -1.6%
    exports of goods and services: 15.5%
    imports of goods and services: -64.9%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 13.9%
    industry: 19.5%
    services: 66.5% (2012 est.)
    cocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, copra, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, bananas, papayas, beans; poultry; fish
    light construction, textiles, soap, beer, fish processing, timber
    5.5% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    52,490 (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    note: population mainly engaged in subsistence agriculture and fishing; shortages of skilled workers
    NA%
    66.2% (2009 est.)
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $105.5 million
    expenditures: $131.8 million (2012 est.)
    39.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 44
    -10% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 203
    83.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    80.9% of GDP (2011 est.)
    calendar year
    10.6% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 203
    14.3% (2011 est.)
    16% (31 December 2009)
    country comparison to the world: 4
    28% (31 December 2008)
    26% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    26.75% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $38.63 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    $34.42 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $80.55 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    $82.39 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $94.9 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 186
    $90.89 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $NA
    -$85.1 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 68
    -$77.6 million (2011 est.)
    $11.7 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    $12.1 million (2011 est.)
    cocoa 80%, copra, coffee, palm oil
    Netherlands 32.7%, Belgium 21.4%, Spain 10.8%, Nigeria 5.7%, US 5% (2012)
    $121.6 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 210
    $119.6 million (2011 est.)
    machinery and electrical equipment, food products, petroleum products
    Portugal 63%, Gabon 6% (2012)
    $51.58 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    $51.3 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    $299.5 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 182
    $230.9 million (31 December 2011 est.)
    dobras (STD) per US dollar -
    19,068 (2012 est.)
    17,623 (2011 est.)
    18,499 (2010 est.)
    16,209 (2009)
    14,900 (2008)

Energy ::Sao Tome and Principe

Communications ::Sao Tome and Principe

    8,000 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 204
    115,000 (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    general assessment: local telephone network of adequate quality with most lines connected to digital switches
    domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity roughly 65 telephones per 100 persons
    international: country code - 239; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2010)
    1 government-owned TV station; 1 government-owned radio station; 3 independent local radio stations authorized in 2005 with 2 operating at the end of 2006; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available (2007)
    .st
    1,678 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    26,700 (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 184

Transportation ::Sao Tome and Principe

Military ::Sao Tome and Principe

    Armed Forces of Sao Tome and Principe (Forcas Armadas de Sao Tome e Principe, FASTP): Army, Coast Guard of Sao Tome e Principe (Guarda Costeira de Sao Tome e Principe, GCSTP); also called "Navy"), Presidential Guard (2013)
    18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory military service; 17 is the legal minimum age for voluntary service (2012)
    males age 16-49: 39,182
    females age 16-49: 39,845 (2010 est.)
    males age 16-49: 27,310
    females age 16-49: 29,279 (2010 est.)
    male: 2,076
    female: 2,003 (2010 est.)
    0.5% of GDP (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    Sao Tome and Principe's army is a tiny force with almost no resources at its disposal and would be wholly ineffective operating unilaterally; infantry equipment is considered simple to operate and maintain but may require refurbishment or replacement after 25 years in tropical climates; poor pay, working conditions, and alleged nepotism in the promotion of officers have been problems in the past, as reflected in the 1995 and 2003 coups; these issues are being addressed with foreign assistance aimed at improving the army and its focus on realistic security concerns; command is exercised from the president, through the Minister of Defense, to the Chief of the Armed Forces staff (2005)