[Country map of Sao Tome and Principe]

Sao Tome and Principe


Location: Western Africa, island in the Atlantic Ocean, straddling the equator, west of Gabon

Map references: Africa

total area: 960 sq km
land area: 960 sq km
comparative area: slightly less than 5.5 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

International disputes: none

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

Terrain: volcanic, mountainous

Natural resources: fish

Land use:
arable land: 1%
permanent crops: 20%
meadows and pastures: 1%
forest and woodland: 75%
other: 3%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

current issues: deforestation; soil erosion and exhaustion
natural hazards: NA
international agreements: party to - Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea; signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Climate Change


Population: 140,423 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 40% (female 27,995; male 28,452)
15-64 years: 55% (female 38,846; male 38,619)
65 years and over: 5% (female 3,615; male 2,896) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.62% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 34.94 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 8.7 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 62.1 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 63.65 years
male: 61.76 years
female: 65.59 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.44 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Sao Tomean(s)
adjective: Sao Tomean

Ethnic divisions: mestico, angolares (descendents of Angolan slaves), forros (descendents 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)

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

Labor force: most of population mainly engaged in subsistence agriculture and fishing; labor shortages on plantations and of skilled workers


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

Digraph: TP

Type: republic

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 law 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); election last held 3 March 1991 (next to be held NA March 1996); results - Miguel TROVOADA was elected without opposition in Sao Tome's first multiparty presidential election
head of government: Prime Minister Carlos da GRACA (since 25 October 1994)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; appointed by the president on the proposal of the prime minister

Legislative branch: unicameral
National People's Assembly: (Assembleia Popular Nacional) parliament dissolved by President TROVOADA in July 1994; early elections held 2 October 1994; results - MLSTP 27%, PCD-GR 25.5%, ADI 25.5%; seats - (55 total) MLSTP 27, PCD-GR 14, ADI 14

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: Party for Democratic Convergence-Reflection Group (PCD-GR), Daniel Lima Dos Santos DAIO, secretary general; Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe (MLSTP), Carlos da GRACA; Christian Democratic Front (FDC), Alphonse Dos SANTOS; Democratic Opposition Coalition (CODO), leader NA; Independent Democratic Action (ADI), Gabriel COSTA; other small parties


Diplomatic representation in US: Sao Tome and Principe has no 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

US diplomatic representation: ambassador to Gabon is accredited to Sao Tome and Principe on a nonresident basis and makes periodic visits to the islands

Flag: 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


Overview: This small poor island economy has remained dependent on cocoa since independence 20 years ago. Since then, however, cocoa production has gradually declined because of drought and mismanagement, so that by 1987 annual output had fallen from 10,000 tons to 3,900 tons. As a result, a shortage of cocoa for export has created a serious balance-of-payments problem. Production of less important crops, such as coffee, copra, and palm kernels, has also declined. The value of imports generally exceeds that of exports by a ratio of 4:1 or more. The emphasis on cocoa production at the expense of other food crops has meant that Sao Tome has to import 90% of food needs. It also has to import all fuels and most manufactured goods. Over the years, Sao Tome 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 and to encourage market-based mechanisms, e. g., to facilitate the distribution of imported food. Annual GDP growth is estimated in the 3%-4% range for 1994-96.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $133 million (1993 est.)

National product real growth rate: NA%

National product per capita: $1,000 (1993 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 27% (1992 est.)

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $10.2 million
expenditures: $36.8 million, including capital expenditures of $22.5 million (1989 est.)

Exports: $5.5 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: cocoa 78%, copra, coffee, palm oil (1992)
partners: Netherlands, Germany, China, Portugal

Imports: $31.5 million (f.o.b., 1993 est.)
commodities: machinery and electrical equipment 44%, food products 18%, petroleum 11% (1992)
partners: Portugal, Japan, Spain, France, Angola

External debt: $237 million (1993)

Industrial production: growth rate 1% (1991); accounts for 7% of GDP

capacity: 5,000 kW
production: 17 million kWh
consumption per capita: 105 kWh (1993)

Industries: light construction, shirts, soap, beer, fisheries, shrimp processing

Agriculture: accounts for 25% of GDP; dominant sector of economy, primary source of exports; cash crops - cocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, coffee; food products - bananas, papaya, beans, poultry, fish; not self-sufficient in food grain and meat

Economic aid:
recipient: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $8 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $89 million

Currency: 1 dobra (Db) = 100 centimos

Exchange rates: dobras (Db) per US$1 - 129.59 (1 July 1993), 230 (1992), 260.0 (November 1991), 122.48 (December 1988), 72.827 (1987)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 0 km

total: 300 km
paved: 200 km
unpaved: 100 km
note: roads on Principe are mostly unpaved and in need of repair

Ports: Santo Antonio, Sao Tome

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

total: 2
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 1


Telephone system: NA; minimal system
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: 1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth station

broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 0
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, National Police

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 33,789; males fit for military service 17,752 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: $NA, NA% of GDP