Sao Tome and Principe [Country Flag of Sao Tome and Principe]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Sao Tome and Principe]

Sao Tome and Principe


[Top of Page]

Location: Western Africa, island in the Gulf of Guinea, straddling the Equator, west of Gabon

Geographic coordinates: 1 00 N, 7 00 E

Map references: Africa

total: 960 sq km
land: 960 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area—comparative: more than five times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 209 km

Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

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

Terrain: volcanic, mountainous

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico de Sao Tome 2,024 m

Natural resources: fish

Land use:
arable land: 2%
permanent crops: 36%
permanent pastures: 1%
forests and woodland: NA%
other: 61% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 100 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: NA

Environment—current issues: deforestation; soil erosion and exhaustion

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea
signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification


[Top of Page]

Population: 150,123 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 48% (male 36,127; female 35,253)
15-64 years: 48% (male 34,980; female 37,555)
65 years and over: 4% (male 2,813; female 3,395) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.1% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 43.48 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 8.31 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -4.15 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 54.55 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 64.34 years
male: 62.87 years
female: 65.86 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 6.19 children born/woman (1998 est.)

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 Cape Verde), tongas (children of servicais born on the islands), Europeans (primarily Portuguese)

Religions: Roman Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, Seventh-Day Adventist

Languages: Portuguese (official)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 73%
male: 85%
female: 62% (1991 est.)


[Top of Page]

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

Data code: TP

Government type: republic

National capital: Sao Tome

Administrative divisions: 2 districts (concelhos, singular—concelho); Principe, Sao Tome

Independence: 12 July 1975 (from Portugal)

National holiday: Independence Day, 12 July (1975)

Constitution: approved March 1990; effective 10 September 1990

Legal system: based on Portuguese legal system and customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Miguel TROVOADA (since 4 April 1991)
head of government: Prime Minister Raul Wagner BRAGANCA NETO (since 20 November 1996)
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; election last held 30 June and 15 July 1996 (next to be held in 2001); prime minister chosen by the National Assembly and approved by the president
election results: Miguel TROVOADA reelected president in Sao Tome's second multiparty presidential election; percent of vote—NA

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Assembleia Nacional (55 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: parliament dissolved by President TROVOADA in July 1994; early elections held 2 October 1994 (next to be held October 1998)
election results: percent of vote by party—MLSTP 49%, PCD-GR 25.5%, ADI 25.5%; seats by party—MLSTP 27, PCD-GR 14, ADI 14

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the National Assembly

Political parties and leaders: Party for Democratic Convergence-Reflection Group or PCD-GR [Armindo AGUIAR, secretary general]; Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe or MLSTP [Francisco Fortunas PIRES]; Christian Democratic Front or FDC [Alphonse Dos SANTOS]; Democratic Opposition Coalition or CODO; Independent Democratic Action or ADI [Carlos NEVES]; other small parties

International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, CEEAC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM, OAU, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (applicant)

Diplomatic representation in the US: Sao Tome and Principe does not have an embassy in the US, but does have a Permanent Mission to the UN, headed by First Secretary Domingos AUGUSTO Ferreira, located at 122 East 42nd Street, Suite 1604, New York, NY 10168, telephone [1] (212) 697-4211

Diplomatic representation from the US: 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

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; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia


[Top of Page]

Economy—overview: This small poor island economy has become increasingly dependent on cocoa since independence over 20 years ago. However, cocoa production has substantially declined because of drought and mismanagement. The resulting shortage of cocoa for export has created a persistent balance-of-payments problem. Sao Tome has to import all fuels, most manufactured goods, consumer goods, and a significant amount of food. Over the years, it has been unable to service its external debt and has had to depend on concessional aid and debt rescheduling. 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, but economic growth has remained sluggish. Sao Tome is also optimistic that significant petroleum discoveries are forthcoming in its territorial waters in the oil-rich waters of the Gulf of Guinea.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$154 million (1996 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 1.5% (1996 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1,000 (1996 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 21%
industry: 26%
services: 53% (1995 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 60% (1996 est.)

Labor force: most of population mainly engaged in subsistence agriculture and fishing; there are shortages of skilled workers

Unemployment rate: 28% (1996 est.)

revenues: $58 million
expenditures: $114 million, including capital expenditures of $54 million (1993 est.)

Industries: light construction, textiles, soap, beer; fish processing; timber

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity—capacity: 6,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 16 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 114 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: cocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, copra, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, bananas, papaya, beans; poultry; fish

total value: $4.9 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: cocoa 95%, copra, coffee, palm oil
partners: Netherlands 75.7%, Germany 1.2%, Portugal 1.1%

total value: $19.6 million (c.i.f., 1996 est.)
commodities: machinery and electrical equipment, food products, petroleum products
partners: Portugal 32.2%, France 16.8%, Belgium 6.6%, Japan, Angola

Debt—external: $266 million (1996)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA

Currency: 1 dobra (Db) = 100 centimos

Exchange rates: dobras (Db) per US$1—7,003.9 (December 1997), 4,552.5 (1997), 2,203.2 (1996), 1,420.3 (1995), 732.6 (1994), 429.9 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year


[Top of Page]

Telephones: 2,200 (1986 est.)

Telephone system:
domestic: minimal system
international: satellite earth station—1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 0

Radios: 33,000 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 1 (1992 est.)

Televisions: NA


[Top of Page]

Railways: 0 km

total: 320 km
paved: 218 km
unpaved: 102 km (1996 est.)

Ports and harbors: Santo Antonio, Sao Tome

Merchant marine:
total: 1 cargo ship (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,096 GRT/1,105 DWT (1997 est.)

Airports: 2 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (1997 est.)


[Top of Page]

Military branches: Army, Navy, Security Police

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 30,573 (1988 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 16,172 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

[Top of Page]

Disputes—international: none