Africa :: Sao Tome and Principe
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Sao Tome and Principe
Location of Sao Tome and Principe
 
Map of 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 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 party's precipitated repeated changes in leadership and two failed coup attempts in 1995 and 2003. 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
Western Africa, islands in the Gulf of Guinea, straddling the Equator, west of Gabon
1 00 N, 7 00 E
total: 964 sq km
country comparison to the world: 184
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
arable land: 8.33%
permanent crops: 48.96%
other: 42.71% (2005)
100 sq km (2003)
NA
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 ::Sao Tome and Principe
212,679 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
0-14 years: 46.9% (male 50,475/female 49,188)
15-64 years: 49.7% (male 51,325/female 54,289)
65 years and over: 3.5% (male 3,335/female 4,067) (2009 est.)
total: 16.4 years
male: 15.9 years
female: 17 years (2009 est.)
3.093% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
38.54 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
5.8 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 169
-1.81 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
urban population: 61% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 3% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 37.12 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 68
male: 38.84 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 35.35 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 68.32 years
country comparison to the world: 149
male: 66.65 years
female: 70.04 years (2009 est.)
5.33 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 20
NA
NA
NA
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)
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 Cape Verde), tongas (children of servicais born on the islands), Europeans (primarily Portuguese)
Catholic 70.3%, Evangelical 3.4%, New Apostolic 2%, Adventist 1.8%, other 3.1%, none 19.4% (2001 census)
Portuguese (official)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 84.9%
male: 92.2%
female: 77.9% (2001 census)
total: 10 years
male: 10 years
female: 10 years (2006)
NA
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 12 N, 6 39 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
based on Portuguese legal system and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
chief of state: President Fradique Bandiera Melo DE MENEZES (since 3 September 2001)
head of government: Prime Minister Joachim Rafael BRANCO (since 22 June 2008)
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 30 July 2006 (next to be held July 2011); prime minister chosen by the National Assembly and approved by the president
election results: Fradique DE MENEZES elected president; percent of vote - Fradique DE MENEZES 60%, Patrice TROVOADA 38.5%
unicameral National Assembly or Assembleia Nacional (55 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 26 March 2006 (next to be held in March 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party - MDFM-PCD 37.2%, MLSTP 28.9%, ADI 20.0%, NR 4.7%, others 9.2%; seats by party - MDFM-PCD 23, MLSTP 19, ADI 12, NR 1
Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the National Assembly)
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, AU, CPLP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ITU, ITUC, NAM, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant)
chancery: 400 Park Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10022
telephone: [1] (212) 317-0580
FAX: [1] (212) 935-7348
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; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia
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 has to import all fuels, most manufactured goods, consumer goods, and a substantial amount of food. Over the years, it has had difficulty servicing its external debt and has relied heavily on concessional aid and debt rescheduling. Sao Tome 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, Sao Tome signed on to a new 3-year IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) program worth $4.3 million. 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'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 Sao Tome's receipt of more than $20 million in signing bonuses for almost a year. Real GDP growth averaged about 6% in 2006-08, as a result of increases in public expenditures and oil-related capital investment.
$276.5 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 213
$262.1 million (2007 est.)
$247.2 million (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$176 million (2008 est.)
5.5% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 72
6% (2007 est.)
6.7% (2006 est.)
$1,300 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 205
$1,300 (2007 est.)
$1,300 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 14.6%
industry: 14.6%
services: 70.8% (2008 est.)
52,490 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 182
note: population mainly engaged in subsistence agriculture and fishing; shortages of skilled workers
NA%
54% (2004 est.)
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
38.8% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 7
revenues: $47.65 million
expenditures: $51.48 million (2008 est.)
23% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 210
18% (2007 est.)
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 3
28% (31 December 2007)
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 5
32.4% (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 171
$19.99 million (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 168
$33.5 million (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 171
$31.84 million (31 December 2007)
$NA
cocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, copra, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, bananas, papayas, beans; poultry; fish
light construction, textiles, soap, beer, fish processing, timber
9.5% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 14
19 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
17.67 million kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 207
0 kWh (2008)
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128
1,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
725.5 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 193
0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 102
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 125
0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 128
$-68 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76
$-44 million (2007 est.)
$8 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 211
$7 million (2007 est.)
cocoa 80%, copra, coffee, palm oil
Japan 75.5%, Belgium 7.5%, Netherlands 6.2% (2008)
$88 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 208
$65 million (2007 est.)
machinery and electrical equipment, food products, petroleum products
Portugal 55.9%, Belgium 9.6%, Japan 9.3% (2008)
$43 million (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
$39 million (31 December 2007 est.)
$318 million (2002)
country comparison to the world: 173
dobras (STD) per US dollar - 14,900 (2008 est.), 13,700 (2007), 12,050 (2006), 9,900.4 (2005), 9,902.3 (2004)
Communications ::Sao Tome and Principe
7,700 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 208
49,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 194
general assessment: local telephone network of adequate quality with most lines connected to digital switches
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity approaching 30 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 239; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)
AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 1 (2001)
2 (2001)
.st
1,345 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 155
24,800 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 183
Transportation ::Sao Tome and Principe
2 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 205
total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2009)
total: 320 km
country comparison to the world: 201
paved: 218 km
unpaved: 102 km (2000)
total: 6
country comparison to the world: 130
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 5
foreign-owned: 1 (Greece 1) (2008)
Sao Tome
Military ::Sao Tome and Principe
Armed Forces of Sao Tome and Principe (FASTP): Army, Coast Guard of Sao Tome e Principe (Guarda Costeira de Sao Tome e Principe, GCSTP), Presidential Guard (2007)
18 years of age (est.) (2004)
males age 16-49: 42,340
females age 16-49: 43,781 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 35,216
females age 16-49: 38,329 (2009 est.)
male: 2,534
female: 2,485 (2009 est.)
0.8% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 148
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)
Transnational Issues ::Sao Tome and Principe
none