Sao Tome and Principe

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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 four 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 in 2014, legislative elections returned him to the office. New oil discoveries in the Gulf of Guinea may attract increased attention to the small island nation.

Geography

Location

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

Geographic coordinates

1.00° N, 7.00° E

Area 185/257

total: 964 sq km

land: 964 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

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate

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

Terrain

volcanic, mountainous

Elevation

mean elevation:

elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point: Pico de Sao Tome 2,024 m

Natural resources

fish, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 50.7%

arable land 9.1%; permanent crops 40.6%; permanent pasture 1%

forest: 28.1%

other: 21.2% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

97 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards

NA

Environment - current issues

deforestation; soil erosion and exhaustion

Environment - international agreements

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

Geography - note

the smallest country in Africa; the two main islands form part of a chain of extinct volcanoes and both are mountainous

People and Society

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 (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.)

Population 186/238

194,006 (July 2015 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 43.04% (male 42,460/female 41,036)

15-24 years: 20.03% (male 19,692/female 19,159)

25-54 years: 30.47% (male 28,985/female 30,125)

55-64 years: 3.59% (male 3,173/female 3,787)

65 years and over: 2.88% (male 2,508/female 3,081) (2015 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 84.2%

youth dependency ratio: 78.5%

elderly dependency ratio: 5.7%

potential support ratio: 17.6% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 17.9 years

male: 17.5 years

female: 18.4 years (2015 est.)

Population growth rate 61/233

1.84% (2015 est.)

Birth rate 27/224

34.23 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Death rate 121/225

7.24 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Net migration rate 212/222

-8.63 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2015 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 65.1% of total population (2015)

rate of urbanization: 3.58% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

SAO TOME (capital) 71,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

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: 0.84 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

19.4

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2008/09 est.)

Maternal mortality rate 88/184

156 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate 41/224

total: 47.88 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 49.85 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 45.85 deaths/1,000 live births (2015 est.)

Life expectancy at birth 178/224

total population: 64.58 years

male: 63.27 years

female: 65.92 years (2015 est.)

Total fertility rate 26/224

4.54 children born/woman (2015 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

38.4% (2008/09)

Health expenditures 60/191

6.9% of GDP (2013)

Hospital bed density

2.9 beds/1,000 population (2011)

Drinking water source

improved:

urban: 98.9% of population

rural: 93.6% of population

total: 97.1% of population

unimproved:

urban: 1.1% of population

rural: 6.4% of population

total: 2.9% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

improved:

urban: 40.8% of population

rural: 23.3% of population

total: 34.7% of population

unimproved:

urban: 59.2% of population

rural: 76.7% of population

total: 65.3% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.78% (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

1,000 (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

100 (2014 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate 132/191

10.6% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight 50/138

14.4% (2009)

Education expenditures 6/173

9.5% of GDP (2010)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 11 years (2012)

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

Government type

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)

Administrative divisions

2 provinces; Principe, Sao Tome

Independence

12 July 1975 (from Portugal)

National holiday

Independence Day, 12 July (1975)

Constitution

approved 5 November 1975; revised several times, last in 2006 (2015)

Legal system

mixed legal system of civil law base 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 Manuel Pinto DA COSTA (since 3 September 2011)

head of government: Prime Minister Patrice Emery TROVOADA (since 29 November 2014)

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 17 July and 7 August 2011 (next to be held in July 2016); prime minister chosen by the National Assembly and approved by the president

election results: Manuel Pinto DA COSTA elected president in runoff; percent of vote - Manuel Pinto DA COSTA (independent) 52.9%, Evaristo CARVALHO (ADI) 47.1%

Legislative branch

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 October 2018)

election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ADI 33, MLSTP-PSD 16, PCD-GR 5, other 1

Judicial branch

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

Political parties and leaders

Democratic Movement of Forces for Change 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 or PCD [Leonel Mario D'ALVA]

other small parties

Political pressure groups and leaders

Association of Sao Tome and Principe NGOs or FONG

other: the media

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)

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

Economy - overview

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.

GDP (purchasing power parity) 210/230

$663.7 million (2015 est.)

$632.1 million (2014 est.)

$604.9 million (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$326 million (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate 40/225

5% (2015 est.)

4.5% (2014 est.)

4% (2013 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP) 180/230

$3,400 (2015 est.)

$3,200 (2014 est.)

$3,100 (2013 est.)

note: data are in 2015 US dollars

Gross national saving 86/179

19.7% of GDP (2015 est.)

-2% of GDP (2014 est.)

8.1% of GDP (2013 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 85%

government consumption: 13.2%

investment in fixed capital: 48.4%

investment in inventories: -0.1%

exports of goods and services: 12.3%

imports of goods and services: -58.8%

(2015 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 18.4%

industry: 16%

services: 65.6% (2015 est.)

Agriculture - products

cocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, copra, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, bananas, papayas, beans; poultry; fish

Industries

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

Industrial production growth rate 46/202

4.3% (2015 est.)

Labor force 187/233

68,640 (2015 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

note: population mainly engaged in subsistence agriculture and fishing; shortages of skilled workers

Unemployment rate 143/207

13.5% (2014 est.)

13.7% (2013 est.)

Population below poverty line

66.2% (2009 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%

Budget

revenues: $84.33 million

expenditures: $101.3 million (2015 est.)

Taxes and other revenues 114/219

25.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) 175/220

-5.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

Public debt 22/176

93.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

69.6% of GDP (2014 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices) 179/226

5.5% (2015 est.)

7% (2014 est.)

Central bank discount rate 8/156

16% (31 December 2009)

28% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate 39/184

15% (31 December 2015 est.)

16% (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of narrow money 189/192

$62.19 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$54.91 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Stock of broad money 192/193

$133.1 million (31 December 2014 est.)

$120.8 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit 184/191

$74.86 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$80.91 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$NA

Current account balance 59/197

-$40 million (2015 est.)

-$94 million (2014 est.)

Exports 213/224

$18.1 million (2015 est.)

$17.4 million (2014 est.)

Exports - commodities

cocoa 80%, copra, coffee, palm oil (2010 est.)

Exports - partners

Netherlands 25.6%, Belgium 23.6%, Turkey 17.9%, Spain 8.6%, US 6.1%, Germany 5.3% (2014)

Imports 211/223

$138.7 million (2015 est.)

$145.6 million (2014 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and electrical equipment, food products, petroleum products

Imports - partners

Portugal 65.4%, Gabon 6.1%, China 5.3% (2014)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 168/170

$64.1 million (31 December 2015 est.)

$63.52 million (31 December 2014 est.)

Debt - external 188/206

$234.1 million (31 December 2014 est.)

$214.4 million (31 December 2013 est.)

Exchange rates

dobras (STD) per US dollar -

21,681 (2015 est.)

18,466 (2014 est.)

18,466 (2013 est.)

19,068 (2012 est.)

17,623 (2011 est.)

Energy

Electricity - production 204/220

65 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - consumption 204/219

60.45 million kWh (2012 est.)

Electricity - exports 205/218

0 kWh (2013)

Electricity - imports 209/219

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity 205/214

16,000 kW (2012 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels 99/214

75% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels 192/214

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 85/214

25% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources 134/212

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production 199/214

0 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Crude oil - exports 198/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - imports 135/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves 200/215

0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production 137/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption 203/212

900 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports 138/214

0 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports 199/213

905.6 bbl/day (2012 est.)

Natural gas - production 137/216

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 201/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports 194/215

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports 142/214

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves 201/212

0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 205/212

137,800 Mt (2012 est.)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines 205/219

total subscriptions: 6,800

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 4 (2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular 187/217

total: 128,500

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 67 (2014 est.)

Telephone system

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)

Broadcast media

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)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 1 (2001)

Television broadcast stations

2 (2001)

Internet country code

.st

Internet hosts 165/232

1,678 (2012)

Internet users 186/217

total: 47,000

percent of population: 24.7% (2014 est.)

Transportation

Airports 206/236

2 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 2

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)

Roadways 204/223

total: 320 km

paved: 218 km

unpaved: 102 km (2000)

Merchant marine 138/156

total: 3

by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 2

foreign-owned: 2 (China 1, Greece 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Sao Tome

Military and Security

Military branches

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, National Guard (2015)

Military service age and obligation

18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory military service; 17 is the legal minimum age for voluntary service (2012)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

none