We're always looking for ways to make better. Have an idea? See something that needs fixing? Let us know!



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

Geographic Coordinates:

 1 00 N, 7 00 E


 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


 209 km (Rank: 140)

Maritime Claims:

 Measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
Territorial sea: 12 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


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


 Volcanic, mountainous

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Pico de Sao Tome 2,024 m

Natural Resources:

 Fish, hydropower

Land Use:

 Arable land: 8.33%
Permanent crops: 48.96%
Other: 42.71% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 100 sq km (2008)

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

Back to the Top



 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)


 Portuguese (official)


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


 179,506 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 44.7% (male 40,777/female 39,386)
15-64 years: 52.2% (male 46,114/female 47,509)
65 years and over: 3.2% (male 2,634/female 3,086) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 17.5 years
Male: 17.1 years
Female: 18 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 2.052% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 38.03 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 8.18 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 -9.33 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 62% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 2.8% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 SAO TOME (capital) 60,000 (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
Total population: 1 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 53.21 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 55.3 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 51.07 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 63.11 years
Male: 61.93 years
Female: 64.33 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 5.08 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 7.1% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.49 physicians/1,000 population (2004)

Hospital Bed Density:

 3.2 beds/1,000 population (2006)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 89% of population
Rural: 88% of population
Total: 89% of population
Urban: 11% of population
Rural: 12% of population
Total: 11% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 30% of population
Rural: 19% of population
Total: 26% of population
Urban: 70% of population
Rural: 81% of population
Total: 74% of population (2008)

Major Infectious Diseases:

 Degree of risk: high
Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne disease: malaria
Animal contact disease: rabies (2009)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 13.1% (2009)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 84.9%
Male: 92.2%
Female: 77.9% (2001 census)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 11 years
Male: 11 years
Female: 11 years (2010)

Back to the Top


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:



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

Administrative Divisions:

 2 provinces; Principe, Sao Tome

Note: Principe has had self government since 29 April 1995


 12 July 1975 (from Portugal)

National Holiday:

 Independence Day, 12 July (1975)


 Approved March 1990, effective 10 September 1990

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


 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 14 August 2010)

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

Election results: Manuel PINTO DA COSTA elected president in a run-off election; percent of vote - Manuel PINTO DA COSTA 52.9%, Evaristo CARVALHO 47.1%

Legislative Branch:

 Unicameral National Assembly or Assembleia Nacional (55 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

Elections: last held on 1 August 2010 (next to be held in 2014)

Election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ADI 26, MLSTP-PSD 21, PCD 7, MDFM 1

Judicial Branch:

 Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the National Assembly)

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

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 Association of Sao Tome and Principe NGOs or FONG
Other: the media

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Ovidio Manuel Barbosa PEQUENO
Chancery: 1211 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036
Telephone: [1] (202) 775-2075, 2076
FAX: [1] (202) 775-2077

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; 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 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

Back to the Top


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 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 and Principe 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, the government 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. 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.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $311 million (2010 est.)
$297.8 million (2009 est.)
$286.3 million (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $196 million (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 4.5% (2010 est.)
4% (2009 est.)
5.8% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $1,800 (2010 est.)
$1,700 (2009 est.)
$1,700 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 15%
Industry: 23.3%
Services: 61.6% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 52,490 (2007)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

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

Unemployment Rate:


Population Below Poverty Line:

 54% (2004 est.)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: NA%
Highest 10%: NA%

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 44.6% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $36.16 million
Expenditures: $43.14 million (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 18.5% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -3.6% of GDP (2010 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 14.4% (2010 est.)
17% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 16% (31 December 2009)
28% (31 December 2008)

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 20% (31 December 2010 est.)
32% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $27.84 million (31 December 2008)
$19.99 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $36.95 million (31 December 2008)
$33.5 million (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $16.46 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$18.41 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $77.3 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$67.4 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $16.17 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$15.97 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Agriculture - Products:

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


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

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 7% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 41 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 41.2%
Hydro: 58.8%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 38.13 million kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 1,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 889 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$73.2 million (2010 est.)
-$48.9 million (2009 est.)


 $13.5 million (2010 est.)
$9.7 million (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Cocoa 80%, copra, coffee, palm oil

Exports - Partners:

 Netherlands 47.6%, Belgium 17.4%, France 5.9%, Thailand 4.9% (2010)


 $99.65 million (2010 est.)
$79.6 million (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Machinery and electrical equipment, food products, petroleum products

Imports - Partners:

 Portugal 61%, Malaysia 7.4%, Netherlands 5.3%, Gabon 4.6% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $46.8 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$38.6 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $185.9 million (31 December 2009 est.)
$318 million (2002 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Sao Tome Dobra to Any Currency

Dobras (STD) per US dollar -
19,641 (2010)
16,209 (2009)
14,900 (2008)
13,700 (2007)
12,050 (2006)

Back to the Top


Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 7,700 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 102,500 (2010)

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 35 telephones per 100 persons

International: country code - 239; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)

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:


Internet Hosts:

 1,514 (2010)

Internet Users:

 26,700 (2009)

Back to the Top



 2 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2010)


 Total: 320 km
Paved: 218 km
Unpaved: 102 km (2000)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 3
By type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 2
Foreign-owned: 1 (Greece 1) (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Sao Tome

Back to the Top


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), Presidential Guard (2010)

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 18 years of age (est.) (2004)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 39,182
Females age 16-49: 39,845 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 27,310
Females age 16-49: 29,279 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 2,076
Female: 2,003 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 0.8% of GDP (2006)

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)

Back to the Top

Last Updated: December 2011

Sao Tome and Principe Main Page World Factbook Main Page


Click any image to enlarge.

National Flag

(Db) Sao Tome Dobra (STD)
Convert to Any Currency


Locator Map