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Exchange Rate Home >> Country Info >> Sao Tome and Principe

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  Sao Tome and Principe   
Introduction
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational
Issues
  Introduction Back To Top

Background:
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 parties 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 Back To Top

Land boundaries:
0 km

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

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

Map references:
Africa

Geographic coordinates:
1 00 N, 7 00 E

Natural resources:
fish, hydropower

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

Terrain:
volcanic, mountainous

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

Area:
total: 1,001 sq km
land: 1,001 sq km
water: 0 sq km

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

Coastline:
209 km

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

Irrigated land:
100 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
deforestation; soil erosion and exhaustion

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

Natural hazards:
NA

Land use:
arable land: 8.33%
permanent crops: 48.96%
other: 42.71% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
5.43 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
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: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 68 years
male: 66.35 years
female: 69.69 years (2008 est.)

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria (2008)

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 84.9%
male: 92.2%
female: 77.9% (2001 census)

Net migration rate:
-1.97 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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)

Median age:
total: 16.3 years
male: 15.8 years
female: 16.9 years (2008 est.)

Population:
206,178 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
NA

Population growth rate:
3.116% (2008 est.)

Languages:
Portuguese (official)

Death rate:
5.98 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 38.36 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 40.11 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 36.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 10 years
male: 10 years
female: 10 years (2006)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 47.1% (male 49,196/female 47,941)
15-64 years: 49.3% (male 49,326/female 52,324)
65 years and over: 3.6% (male 3,350/female 4,041) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
39.12 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Religions:
Catholic 70.3%, Evangelical 3.4%, New Apostolic 2%, Adventist 1.8%, other 3.1%, none 19.4% (2001 census)

Nationality:
noun: Sao Tomean(s)
adjective: Sao Tomean

  Government Back To Top

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

National holiday:
Independence Day, 12 July (1975)

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal

Government type:
republic

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Association of Sao Tome and Principe NGOs or FONG
other: the media

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ovidio Manuel Barbosa PEQUENO
chancery: 400 Park Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10022
telephone: [1] (212) 317-0580
FAX: [1] (212) 935-7348
consulate(s): Atlanta

International organization participation:
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)

Legislative branch:
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

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

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

Independence:
12 July 1975 (from Portugal)

Country name (Goverment):
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

Political parties and leaders:
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

Capital:
name: Sao Tome
geographic coordinates: 0 12 N, 6 39 E
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Constitution:
approved March 1990, effective 10 September 1990

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Fradique 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%

Administrative divisions:
2 provinces; Principe, Sao Tome
note: Principe has had self government since 29 April 1995

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

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Netherlands 23.7%, Belgium 23.7%, France 12.9%, US 5.9%, Portugal 4.1% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
16.74 million kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
28% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$71 million (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$318 million (2002)

Unemployment rate:
NA%

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,400 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
36.7% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$31.84 million (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$278.4 million (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$160 million (2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
dobras (STD) per US dollar - 14,900 (2008 est.), 13,700 (2007), 12,050 (2006), 9,900.4 (2005), 9,902.3 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
5.5% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$19.99 million (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
35,050 (1991)

Imports - partners:
Portugal 62.2%, US 11.6%, Gabon 4.5% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
27% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 14.6%
industry: 14.6%
services: 70.8% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
659.5 bbl/day (2005)

Exports:
$9 million f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
dobra (STD)

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 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. Sao Tome is optimistic about the development of petroleum resources in its territorial waters in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea, which are being jointly developed in a 60-40 split with Nigeria. 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 exceeded 6% in 2007, as a result of increases in public expenditures and oil-related capital investment.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
machinery and electrical equipment, food products, petroleum products

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

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007)

Population below poverty line:
54% (2004 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
32.4% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$33.5 million (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
18 million kWh (2006 est.)

Imports:
$91 million f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
note: population mainly engaged in subsistence agriculture and fishing; shortages of skilled workers

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$45 million (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
660 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA

Currency code:
STD

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Exports - commodities:
cocoa 80%, copra, coffee, palm oil

Economic aid - recipient:
$31.9 million in December 2000 under the Heavily Indebted Poor Country Initiative (HIPC) program (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 41.2%
hydro: 58.8%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $47.65 million
expenditures: $51.48 million (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
23,000 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
7,700 (2007)

Televisions:
23,000 (1997)

Internet country code:
.st

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 1 (2001)

Radios:
38,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
30,100 (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
2 (2001)

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 approaching 20 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 239; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2002)

Internet hosts:
1,355 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:
Sao Tome

Merchant marine:
total: 6
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 5
foreign-owned: 1 (Greece 1) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2007)

Roadways:
total: 320 km
paved: 218 km
unpaved: 102 km (2000)

Airports:
2 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age (est.) (2004)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 42,340
females age 16-49: 43,781 (2008 est.)

Military - note:
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)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 33,735
females age 16-49: 36,779 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
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)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 2,437
female: 2,394 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
0.8% of GDP (2006)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
none

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