View Text Low Bandwidth Version
Download Publication
Africa :: Sao Tome and Principe
Page last updated on June 24, 2015
No Photos available for Sao Tome and Principe
  no photos available
  • 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. New oil discoveries in the Gulf of Guinea may attract increased attention to the small island nation.
  • Geography :: SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE

  • Central Africa, islands in the Gulf of Guinea, just north of the Equator, west of Gabon
    1 00 N, 7 00 E
    total: 964 sq km
    land: 964 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    more than five times the size of Washington, DC
    0 km
    209 km
    measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    tropical; hot, humid; one rainy season (October to May)
    volcanic, mountainous
    lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Pico de Sao Tome 2,024 m
    fish, hydropower
    agricultural land: 50.7%
    arable land 9.1%; permanent crops 40.6%; permanent pasture 1%
    forest: 28.1%
    other: 21.2% (2011 est.)
    97 sq km (2003)
    deforestation; soil erosion and exhaustion
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    the smallest country in Africa; the two main islands form part of a chain of extinct volcanoes and both are mountainous
  • People and Society :: SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE

  • noun: Sao Tomean(s)
    adjective: Sao Tomean
    mestico, angolares (descendants of Angolan slaves), forros (descendants of freed slaves), servicais (contract laborers from Angola, Mozambique, and Cabo Verde), tongas (children of servicais born on the islands), Europeans (primarily Portuguese), Asians (mostly Chinese)
    Portuguese 98.4% (official), Forro 36.2%, Cabo Verdian 8.5%, French 6.8%, Angolar 6.6%, English 4.9%, Lunguie 1%, other (including sign language) 2.4%
    note: shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer on the census (2012 est.)
    Catholic 55.7%, Adventist 4.1%, Assembly of God 3.4%, New Apostolic 2.9%, Mana 2.3%, Universal Kingdom of God 2%, Jehovah's Witness 1.2%, other 6.2%, none 21.2%, unspecified 1% (2012 est.)
    190,428 (July 2014 est.)
    0-14 years: 43.5% (male 42,170/female 40,750)
    15-24 years: 19.8% (male 19,085/female 18,573)
    25-54 years: 30.3% (male 28,232/female 29,410)
    55-64 years: 3.5% (male 3,010/female 3,612)
    65 years and over: 2.9% (male 2,523/female 3,063) (2014 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 81.3%
    youth dependency ratio: 75.3%
    elderly dependency ratio: 6%
    potential support ratio: 16.7% (2014 est.)
    total: 17.8 years
    male: 17.3 years
    female: 18.2 years (2014 est.)
    1.89% (2014 est.)
    35.12 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    7.45 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    -8.79 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
    urban population: 64.5% of total population (2014)
    rate of urbanization: 3.58% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    SAO TOME (capital) 71,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female
    total population: 1 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2008/09 est.)
    210 deaths/100,000 live births (2013 est.)
    total: 49.16 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 51.16 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 47.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
    total population: 64.22 years
    male: 62.94 years
    female: 65.53 years (2014 est.)
    4.67 children born/woman (2014 est.)
    38.4% (2008/09)
    6.9% of GDP (2013)
    2.9 beds/1,000 population (2011)
    urban: 98.9% of population
    rural: 93.6% of population
    total: 97% of population
    urban: 1.1% of population
    rural: 6.4% of population
    total: 3% of population (2012 est.)
    urban: 40.8% of population
    rural: 23.3% of population
    total: 34.4% of population
    urban: 59.2% of population
    rural: 76.7% of population
    total: 65.6% of population (2012 est.)
    0.64% (2013 est.)
    2,300 (2013 est.)
    200 (2013 est.)
    degree of risk: high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever
    water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2013)
    10.6% (2014)
    14.4% (2009)
    9.5% of GDP (2010)
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 74.9%
    male: 99.1%
    female: 98.8% (2015 est.)
    total: 11 years
    male: 11 years
    female: 11 years (2012)
    total number: 3,235
    percentage: 8% (2006 est.)
  • 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
    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
    12 July 1975 (from Portugal)
    Independence Day, 12 July (1975)
    approved 5 November 1975; revised several times, last in 2003 (2012)
    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 Patrice Emery TROVOADA (since 25 November 2014)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the proposal of the prime minister
    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%
    description: unicameral National Assembly or Assembleia Nacional (55 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held on 12 October 2014 (next expected in December 2018)
    election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ADI 33, MLSTP-PSD 16, PCD-GR 5, other 1
    highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 5 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 [Fradigue Bandeira Melo DE MENEZES]
    Independent Democratic Action or ADI [Patrice TROVOADA]
    Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe-Social Democratic Party or MLSTP-PSD [Aurelio MARTINS]
    Party for Democratic Convergence-Reflection Group or PCD-GR [Leonel Mario D'ALVA]
    other small parties
    Association of Sao Tome and Principe NGOs or FONG
    other: the media
    ACP, AfDB, AOSIS, AU, CD, CEMAC, 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), MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
    chief of mission: Ambassador Carlos Filomeno Azevedo Agostinho das NEVES (since 3 December 2013)
    chancery: 675 Third Avenue, Suite 1807, New York, NY 10017
    telephone: [1] (212) 651-8116
    FAX: [1] (212) 651-8117
    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
    palm tree; national colors: green, yellow, red, black
    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

  • 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 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 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.
    $612 million (2014 est.)
    $582.9 million (2013 est.)
    $560.4 million (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2014 US dollars
    $362 million (2014 est.)
    5% (2014 est.)
    4% (2013 est.)
    4% (2012 est.)
    $3,100 (2014 est.)
    $3,100 (2013 est.)
    $3,000 (2012 est.)
    note: data are in 2013 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 187
    22% of GDP (2014 est.)
    13.3% of GDP (2013 est.)
    25.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
    household consumption: 79.1%
    government consumption: 13.9%
    investment in fixed capital: 40.7%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 10.1%
    imports of goods and services: -43.8%
    (2014 est.)
    agriculture: 18.8%
    industry: 16.1%
    services: 65.1% (2014 est.)
    cocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, copra, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, bananas, papayas, beans; poultry; fish
    light construction, textiles, soap, beer, fish processing, timber
    4.2% (2014 est.)
    70,200 (2014 est.)
    note: population mainly engaged in subsistence agriculture and fishing; shortages of skilled workers
    66.2% (2009 est.)
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%
    revenues: $98.29 million
    expenditures: $135.2 million (2014 est.)
    27.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
    -10.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
    77.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
    84.5% of GDP (2013 est.)
    calendar year
    7% (2014 est.)
    8.3% (2013 est.)
    16% (31 December 2009)
    28% (31 December 2008)
    25.5% (31 December 2014 est.)
    25.75% (31 December 2013 est.)
    $67.45 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $59.57 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    $133.1 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $120.8 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    $85.66 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $92.9 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    $-70.1 million (2014 est.)
    $-58.7 million (2013 est.)
    $12.6 million (2014 est.)
    $11.9 million (2013 est.)
    cocoa 80%, copra, coffee, palm oil (2010 est.)
    Netherlands 30.5%, Belgium 20.4%, Spain 9.8%, Nigeria 7.4%, Turkey 7.3% (2013)
    $126.2 million (2014 est.)
    $118.1 million (2013 est.)
    machinery and electrical equipment, food products, petroleum products
    Portugal 67.2%, Gabon 5.6%, China 5.2% (2013)
    $68.6 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $63.79 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    $416.4 million (31 December 2014 est.)
    $299.6 million (31 December 2013 est.)
    dobras (STD) per US dollar -
    18,347 (2014 est.)
    18,450 (2013 est.)
    19,068 (2012 est.)
    17,623 (2011 est.)
    18,499 (2010 est.)

  • 60 million kWh (2011 est.)
    55.8 million kWh (2011 est.)
    0 kWh (2013)
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    16,000 kW (2011 est.)
    75% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    25% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0% of total installed capacity (2011 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    930 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    889 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (2012 est.)
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    137,800 Mt (2012 est.)
  • Communications :: SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE

  • 8,000 (2012)
    122,000 (2012)
    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)
    AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 1 (2001)
    2 (2001)
    1,678 (2012)
    26,700 (2009)
  • Transportation :: SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE

  • 2 (2013)
    total: 2
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 320 km
    paved: 218 km
    unpaved: 102 km (2000)
    total: 3
    by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 2
    foreign-owned: 2 (China 1, Greece 1) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Sao Tome

  • 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.)
    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 (infantry, technical issues) and the Chief of the General Staff (logistics, administration, finances) (2012)
  • Transnational Issues :: SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE

  • none