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Countries > Sao Tome & Principe Sao Tome & Principe Flag

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Capital: Sao Tome
Population: 150,000
Click to Listen Play the National Anthem
Sao Tome & Principe Map


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% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 100 sq km (1998 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


Population: 170,372 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 47.7% (male 41,159; female 40,125)
15-64 years: 47.7% (male 41,159; female 40,125)
65 years and over : 4% (male 3,115; female 3,686) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate: 3.18% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 42.3 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 7.32 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: -3.15 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth : 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 47.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 65.93 years
male :64.47 years
female:67.45 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 5.95 children born/woman (2002 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.)


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 Fradique DE MENEZES (since 3 September 2001)
head of government: Prime Minister Gabriel Arcanjo Ferreira DA COSTA (since 8 April 2002)
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 29 July 2001 (next to be held NA July 2006); prime minister chosen by the National Assembly and approved by the president
election results : Fradique DE MENEZES elected president in Sao Tome's third 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 four-year terms)
elections:last held 3 March 2002 (next to be held NA March 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - MLSTP 39.6%, Force for Change Democratic Movement 39.4%, Ue-Kedadji coalition 16.2%; seats by party - MLSTP 24, Force for Change Democratic Movement 23, Ue-Kedadji coalition 8

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, judges are appointed by the National Peoples 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 sid e 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 - overview: This small poor island economy has become increasingly dependent on cocoa since independence 26 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 substantial 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. Sao Tome benefited from $200 million in debt relief in December 2000 under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program. Sao Tome's success in implementing structural reforms has been rewarded by international donors, who have pledged increased assistance in 2001. 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 also optimistic that substantial petroleum discoveries are forthcoming in its territorial waters in the oil-rich waters of the Gulf of Guinea. Corruption scandals continue to weaken the economy.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $189 million (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 4% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,200 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture : 25%
services: 65% (1999 est.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 7% (2001 est.)

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

Unemployment rate: NA%

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 (1991)

Electricity - production: 17 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 15.81 million kWh (2000)

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

total value: $4.1 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
commodities: cocoa 85%-90%, copra, coffee, palm oil
partners:Portugal 33.3%, Netherlands 8.3%, Spain 8.3% (1999)

total value : $40 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
commodities: machinery and electrical equipment, food products, petroleum products
partners: Portugal 43%, France 15.7%, UK 13.7% (1999)

Debt - external: $253.8 million (2000)

Economic aid:
recipient: $200 million in December 2000 under the HIPC program

Currency: 1 dobra (STD) = 100 centimos

Exchange rates: dobras per US dollar - 9,009.1 (December 2001), 8,842.1 (2001), 7,978.2 (2000), 7,119.0 (1999), 6,883.2 (1998), 4,552.5 (1997)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Telephones: 3,000 (1997)

Telephone system: adequate facilities
domestic: minimal system
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:AM 2, FM 4, shortwave 0 (1998)

Radios: 38,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 2 (1997)

Televisions: 23,000 (1997)


Railways: 0 km

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

Ports and harbors: Santo Antonio, Sao Tome

Merchant marine:
total :41 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 169,991 GRT/245,996 DWT
ships by type: bulk 6, cargo 23, chemical tanker 1, container 3, livestock carrier 1, petroleum tanker 3, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 2, specialized tanker 1

Airports: 2 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:
total : 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2001)


Military branches: Army, Navy, Security Police

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 35,524 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males:18,727 (2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $400,000 (FY01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 0.8% (FY01)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none