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Sao Tome and Principe

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Introduction

Background

Portugal discovered and colonized the uninhabited Sao Tome and Principe islands in the late 15th century, setting up a sugar-based economy that gave way to coffee and cocoa in the 19th century -- all grown with African 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 among the various political parties precipitated repeated changes in leadership and failed, non-violent coup attempts in 1995, 1998, 2003, and 2009. In 2012, three opposition parties combined in a no-confidence vote to bring down the majority government of former Prime Minister Patrice TROVOADA, but legislative elections returned him to the office two years later. President Evaristo CARVALHO, of the same political party as TROVOADA, was elected in 2016, marking a rare instance in which the same party held the positions of president and prime minister. TROVOADA resigned in 2018 and was replaced by Jorge BOM JESUS. Carlos Vila NOVA was elected president in 2021. TROVOADA began his fourth stint as prime minister in 2022, after his party's victory in legislative elections. 

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Geography

Location

Central Africa, islands in the Gulf of Guinea, just north of the Equator, west of Gabon

Area

total: 964 sq km

land: 964 sq km

water: 0 sq km

comparison ranking: total 184

Area - comparative

more than five times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

total: 0 km

Coastline

209 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

measured from claimed archipelagic baselines

Climate

tropical; hot, humid; one rainy season (October to May)

Terrain

volcanic, mountainous

Elevation

highest point: Pico de Sao Tome 2,024 m

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

Natural resources

fish, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 50.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 9.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 40.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 1% (2018 est.)

forest: 28.1% (2018 est.)

other: 21.2% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

100 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

Sao Tome, the capital city, has roughly a quarter of the nation's population; Santo Antonio is the largest town on Principe; the northern areas of both islands have the highest population densities as shown in this population distribution map

Geography - note

the second-smallest African country (after the Seychelles); the two main islands form part of a chain of extinct volcanoes and both are mountainous

People and Society

Population

total: 223,561

male: 111,553

female: 112,008 (2024 est.)

comparison rankings: female 183; male 183; total 183

Nationality

noun: Sao Tomean(s)

adjective: Sao Tomean

Ethnic groups

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)

Languages

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; other Portuguese-based Creoles are also spoken (2012 est.)

Religions

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.)

Demographic profile

Sao Tome and Principe’s youthful age structure – more than 60% of the population is under the age of 25 as of 2020 – and high fertility rate ensure future population growth. Although Sao Tome has a net negative international migration rate, emigration is not a sufficient safety valve to reduce already high levels of unemployment and poverty. While literacy and primary school attendance have improved in recent years, Sao Tome still struggles to improve its educational quality and to increase its secondary school completion rate. Despite some improvements in education and access to healthcare, Sao Tome and Principe has much to do to decrease its high poverty rate, create jobs, and increase its economic growth.

The population of Sao Tome and Principe descends primarily from the islands’ colonial Portuguese settlers, who first arrived in the late 15th century, and the much larger number of African slaves brought in for sugar production and the slave trade. For about 100 years after the abolition of slavery in 1876, the population was further shaped by the widespread use of imported unskilled contract laborers from Portugal’s other African colonies, who worked on coffee and cocoa plantations. In the first decades after abolition, most workers were brought from Angola under a system similar to slavery. While Angolan laborers were technically free, they were forced or coerced into long contracts that were automatically renewed and extended to their children. Other contract workers from Mozambique and famine-stricken Cape Verde first arrived in the early 20th century under short-term contracts and had the option of repatriation, although some chose to remain in Sao Tome and Principe.

Today’s Sao Tomean population consists of mesticos (creole descendants of the European immigrants and African slaves that first inhabited the islands), forros (descendants of freed African slaves), angolares (descendants of runaway African slaves that formed a community in the south of Sao Tome Island and today are fishermen), servicais (contract laborers from Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde), tongas (locally born children of contract laborers), and lesser numbers of Europeans and Asians.

Age structure

0-14 years: 36.4% (male 41,337/female 40,106)

15-64 years: 60.3% (male 67,101/female 67,775)

65 years and over: 3.2% (2024 est.) (male 3,115/female 4,127)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 77.9

youth dependency ratio: 71.2

elderly dependency ratio: 6.7

potential support ratio: 14.9 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 20.8 years (2024 est.)

male: 20.4 years

female: 21.2 years

comparison ranking: total 197

Population growth rate

1.42% (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 70

Birth rate

26.7 births/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 39

Death rate

6 deaths/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 155

Net migration rate

-6.5 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 213

Population distribution

Sao Tome, the capital city, has roughly a quarter of the nation's population; Santo Antonio is the largest town on Principe; the northern areas of both islands have the highest population densities as shown in this population distribution map

Urbanization

urban population: 76.4% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 2.96% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

80,000 SAO TOME (capital) (2018)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2024 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

19.4 years (2008/09 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality ratio

146 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 55

Infant mortality rate

total: 42.6 deaths/1,000 live births (2024 est.)

male: 46.1 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 39 deaths/1,000 live births

comparison ranking: total 27

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 67.7 years (2024 est.)

male: 66 years

female: 69.4 years

comparison ranking: total population 195

Total fertility rate

3.31 children born/woman (2024 est.)

comparison ranking: 41

Gross reproduction rate

1.63 (2024 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 94% of population

total: 98.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 6% of population

total: 1.5% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

4.9% of GDP (2020)

Physician density

0.49 physicians/1,000 population (2019)

Hospital bed density

2.9 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 57.1% of population

rural: 42.8% of population

total: 53.4% of population

unimproved: urban: 42.9% of population

rural: 57.2% of population

total: 46.6% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and sexually transmitted diseases: hepatitis B (2024)

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

12.4% (2016)

comparison ranking: 133

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 4.23 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 0.42 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 3.58 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.23 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 92

Tobacco use

total: 5.7% (2020 est.)

male: 10.1% (2020 est.)

female: 1.3% (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 159

Child marriage

women married by age 15: 5.4%

women married by age 18: 28%

men married by age 18: 3.1% (2019 est.)

Education expenditures

5% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 73

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 94.8%

male: 96.5%

female: 91.1% (2021)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 12 years

male: 12 years

female: 13 years (2015)

Environment

Environment - current issues

deforestation and illegal logging; soil erosion and exhaustion; inadequate sewage treatment in cities; biodiversity preservation

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban

Climate

tropical; hot, humid; one rainy season (October to May)

Land use

agricultural land: 50.7% (2018 est.)

arable land: 9.1% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 40.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 1% (2018 est.)

forest: 28.1% (2018 est.)

other: 21.2% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 76.4% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 2.96% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

1.9% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 36

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 110

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 33.75 micrograms per cubic meter (2019 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 0.12 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 0.04 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 25,587 tons (2014 est.)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 10 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 600,000 cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 30 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

2.18 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)

Government

Country name

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

etymology: Sao Tome was named after Saint THOMAS the Apostle by the Portuguese who discovered the island on 21 December 1470 (or 1471), the saint's feast day; Principe is a shortening of the original Portuguese name of "Ilha do Principe" (Isle of the Prince) referring to the Prince of Portugal to whom duties on the island's sugar crop were paid

Government type

semi-presidential republic

Capital

name: Sao Tome

geographic coordinates: 0 20 N, 6 44 E

time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: named after Saint Thomas the Apostle

Administrative divisions

6 districts (distritos, singular - distrito), 1 autonomous region* (regiao autonoma); Agua Grande, Cantagalo, Caue, Lemba, Lobata, Me-Zochi, Principe*

Independence

12 July 1975 (from Portugal)

National holiday

Independence Day, 12 July (1975)

Constitution

history: approved 5 November 1975

amendments: proposed by the National Assembly; passage requires two-thirds majority vote by the Assembly; the Assembly can propose to the president of the republic that an amendment be submitted to a referendum; revised several times, last in 2006

Legal system

mixed legal system of civil law based on the Portuguese model and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Sao Tome and Principe

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Carlos Manuel VILA NOVA (since 2 October 2021)

head of government: Prime Minister Patrice TROVOADA (since 11 November 2022)

cabinet: Council of Ministers proposed by the prime minister, appointed by the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 18 July 2021 with a runoff on 5 September 2021 (next to be held in 2026); prime minister chosen by the National Assembly and approved by the president

election results:
2021: Carlos Manuel VILA NOVA elected president in the second round; percent of vote in the first round - Carlos Manuel VILA NOVA (IDA) 39.5%; Guilherme POSSER DA COSTA (MLSTP-PSD) 20.8%; Delfim NEVES (PCD-GR) 16.9%; Abel BOM JESUS (independent) 3.6%; Maria DAS NEVES (independent) 3.3%; other 15.9%; percent of the vote in second round - Carlos Manuel VILA NOVA 57.5%, Guilherme POSSER DA COSTA 42.5%

2016:
Evaristo CARVALHO elected president; percent of vote - Evaristo CARVALHO (ADI) 49.8%, Manuel Pinto DA COSTA (independent) 24.8%, Maria DAS NEVES (MLSTP-PSD) 24.1%; note - first round results for CARVALHO were revised downward from just over 50%, prompting the 7 August runoff; however, on 1 August 2016 DA COSTA withdrew from the runoff, citing voting irregularities, and Evaristo CARVALHO was declared the winner

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Assembleia Nacional (55 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by closed party-list proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 25 September 2022 (next to be held 30 September 2026)

election results: percent of vote by party - ADI 46.8%, MLSTP-PSD 32.7%, MCI-PS-PUN 6.6%, BASTA Movement 8.8%, other 5.1%; seats by party - ADI 30, MLSTP-PSD 18, MCI-PS-PUN 5, BASTA Movement 2; composition - men 47, women 8, percentage women 14.6%

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court or Supremo Tribunal Justica (consists of 5 judges); Constitutional Court or Tribunal Constitucional (consists of 5 judges, 3 of whom 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 and elected by the National Assembly for 5-year terms

subordinate courts: Court of First Instance; Audit Court

Political parties and leaders

BASTA Movement [Salvador RAMOS]
Independent Democratic Action or ADI [Patrice TROVADA]
Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe-Social Democratic Party or MLSTP-PSD [Jorge Lopes Bom JESUS]
Movement of Independent Citizens of São Tomé and Príncipe - Socialist Party or MCI-PS [António Monteiro]
National Unity Party or PUN

International organization participation

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)

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant)

chancery: 122 East 42nd Street, Suite 1604
New York, NY 101168

telephone: [1] (212) 317-0533

FAX: [1] (212) 317-0580

email address and website:
stp1@attglobal.net

Sao Tome and Principe Permanent Mission to the United Nations

Diplomatic representation from the US

embassy: the US does not have an embassy in Sao Tome and Principe; the US Ambassador to Angola is accredited to Sao Tome and Principe

mailing address: 2290 Sao Tome Place, Washington DC  20521-2290

Flag description

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

National symbol(s)

palm tree; national colors: green, yellow, red, black

National anthem

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

Economic overview

ower middle-income Central African island economy; falling cocoa production due to drought and mismanagement; joint oil venture with Nigeria; government owns 90% of land; high debt, partly from fuel subsidies; tourism gutted by COVID-19

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$781.928 million (2022 est.)
$781.418 million (2021 est.)
$766.853 million (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 210

Real GDP growth rate

0.07% (2022 est.)
1.9% (2021 est.)
2.62% (2020 est.)

note: annual GDP % growth based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 195

Real GDP per capita

$3,400 (2022 est.)
$3,500 (2021 est.)
$3,500 (2020 est.)

note: data in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 189

GDP (official exchange rate)

$542.687 million (2022 est.)

note: data in current dollars at official exchange rate

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

18.01% (2022 est.)
8.14% (2021 est.)
9.82% (2020 est.)

note: annual % change based on consumer prices

comparison ranking: 194

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 11.8% (2017 est.)

industry: 14.8% (2017 est.)

services: 73.4% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 57; industry 183; agriculture 81

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 81.4% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 17.6% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 33.4% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 7.9% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -40.4% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

plantains, oil palm fruit, taro, bananas, fruits, cocoa beans, coconuts, yams, cassava, carrots/turnips (2022)

note: top ten agricultural products based on tonnage

Industries

light construction, textiles, soap, beer, fish processing, timber

Industrial production growth rate

6.59% (2022 est.)

note: annual % change in industrial value added based on constant local currency

comparison ranking: 46

Labor force

74,000 (2022 est.)

note: number of people ages 15 or older who are employed or seeking work

comparison ranking: 188

Unemployment rate

14.35% (2022 est.)
15.41% (2021 est.)
15.37% (2020 est.)

note: % of labor force seeking employment

comparison ranking: 190

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 22.9% (2021 est.)

male: 18%

female: 34.3%

comparison ranking: total 71

Population below poverty line

55.5% (2017 est.)

note: % of population with income below national poverty line

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

40.7 (2017 est.)

note: index (0-100) of income distribution; higher values represent greater inequality

comparison ranking: 51

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.6%

highest 10%: 32.9% (2017 est.)

note: % share of income accruing to lowest and highest 10% of population

Remittances

1.42% of GDP (2022 est.)
2.02% of GDP (2021 est.)
1.83% of GDP (2020 est.)

note: personal transfers and compensation between resident and non-resident individuals/households/entities

Budget

revenues: $95 million (2019 est.)

expenditures: $102 million (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-2.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 111

Public debt

88.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
93.1% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 29

Taxes and other revenues

26.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 41

Current account balance

-$79.437 million (2022 est.)
-$95.248 million (2021 est.)
-$59.595 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - net trade and primary/secondary income in current dollars

comparison ranking: 83

Exports

$96.977 million (2022 est.)
$75.256 million (2021 est.)
$49.337 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - exports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 212

Exports - partners

Netherlands 26%, France 11%, Belgium 11%, Portugal 8%, Angola 6% (2022)

note: top five export partners based on percentage share of exports

Exports - commodities

cocoa beans, palm oil, gas turbines, integrated circuits, coconut oil (2022)

note: top five export commodities based on value in dollars

Imports

$219.322 million (2022 est.)
$201.145 million (2021 est.)
$160.097 million (2020 est.)

note: balance of payments - imports of goods and services in current dollars

comparison ranking: 210

Imports - partners

Portugal 35%, Angola 18%, Togo 13%, China 6%, Italy 5% (2022)

note: top five import partners based on percentage share of imports

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, ships, electric generating sets, rice, cars (2022)

note: top five import commodities based on value in dollars

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$48.607 million (2022 est.)
$75.017 million (2021 est.)
$75.288 million (2020 est.)

note: holdings of gold (year-end prices)/foreign exchange/special drawing rights in current dollars

comparison ranking: 194

Debt - external

$292.9 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$308.5 million (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 184

Exchange rates

dobras (STD) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
23.29 (2022 est.)
20.71 (2021 est.)
21.507 (2020 est.)
21.885 (2019 est.)
20.751 (2018 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 78% (2022 est.)

electrification - urban areas: 80%

electrification - rural areas: 73.7%

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 30,000 kW (2022 est.)

consumption: 95.235 million kWh (2022 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 40.95 million kWh (2022 est.)

comparison rankings: transmission/distribution losses 34; consumption 199; installed generating capacity 202

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 95.6% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

hydroelectricity: 4.4% of total installed capacity (2022 est.)

Coal

imports: (2022 est.) less than 1 metric ton

Petroleum

refined petroleum consumption: 1,000 bbl/day (2022 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

162,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 162,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 207

Energy consumption per capita

9.873 million Btu/person (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: 149

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 3,000 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 212

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 197,000 (2022 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 87 (2022 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 184

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: local telephone network of adequate quality with most lines connected to digital switches; mobile cellular superior choice to landline; dial-up quality low; broadband expensive (2018)

domestic: fixed-line is 1 per 100 and mobile-cellular teledensity is 85 telephones per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 239; landing points for the Ultramar GE and ACE submarine cables from South Africa to over 20 West African countries and Europe; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

Broadcast media

1 government-owned TV station; 2 government-owned radio stations; 7 independent local radio stations; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available

Internet users

total: 112,200 (2021 est.)

percent of population: 51% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 185

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 2,512 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 197

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 1

Airports

2 (2024)

comparison ranking: 201

Roadways

total: 1,300 km

paved: 230 km

unpaved: 1,070 km (2018)

comparison ranking: total 179

Merchant marine

total: 25 (2023)

by type: general cargo 15, oil tanker 4, other 6

comparison ranking: total 141

Ports

total ports: 2 (2024)

large: 0

medium: 0

small: 0

very small: 2

ports with oil terminals: 0

key ports: Santo Antonio, Sao Tome

Military and Security

Military and security forces

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), Presidential Guard, National Guard (2024)

note: the Army and Coast Guard are responsible for external security while the public security police and judicial police maintain internal security; both the public security police and the military report to the Ministry of Defense and Internal Affairs; the judicial police report to the Ministry of Justice, Public Administration, and Human Rights

Military and security service personnel strengths

the FASTP has approximately 500 personnel (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the FASTP has a limited inventory of light weapons (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory military service (reportedly not enforced); 17 is the legal minimum age for voluntary service (2023)

Military - note

the FASTP is one of the smallest militaries in Africa and consists of only a few companies of ground troops and some small patrol boats

in November 2022, the FASTP's headquarters was attacked shortly after the prime minister's inauguration in what São Tomé authorities described as an attempted coup (2023)