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Economy of São Tomé and Príncipe

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Title: Economy of São Tomé and Príncipe  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Economy of São Tomé and Príncipe, List of banks in São Tomé and Príncipe, São Tomé and Príncipe, Economy of Senegal, Economy of Togo
Collection: African Union Member Economies, Economy of São Tomé and Príncipe
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Economy of São Tomé and Príncipe

Economy of São Tomé and Príncipe
A market place located in the capital city of São Tomé
Currency São Tomé and Príncipe Dobra (STD)
Calendar Year
GDP Increase $408.6 million (PPP) (2012 est.)
Rank: 217 (2012 est.)
GDP growth
Increase 4.0% (2012 est.)
GDP per capita
$2,400 (PPP) (2012 est.)
Rank: 186 (2012 est.)[1]
GDP by sector
agriculture (13.9%)
industry (19.5%)
services (66.5%) (2012 est.)
Increase 10.6% (2012 est.)
Population below poverty line
66.2% (2009 est.)
Labour force
52,490 (2007 est.)
Labour force by occupation
Population mainly engaged in subsistence agriculture and fishing (note: shortages of skilled workers)
Main industries
light construction, textiles, soap, beer, fish processing, timber
Exports Increase $11.7 million (2012 est.)
Export goods
cocoa, copra, coffee, palm oil
Main export partners
 Netherlands 32.7%
 Belgium 21.4%
 Spain 10.8%
 Nigeria 5.7%
 United States 5.0% (2012 est.)[3]
Imports Increase $121.6 million (2012 est.)
Import goods
machinery, electrical equipment, petroleum products, food
Main import partners
 Portugal 63.0%
 Gabon 6.0% (2012 est.)[4]
Increase $299.5 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Public finances
Decrease 83.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
Decrease -10% of GDP (2012 est.)
Revenues $105.5 million (2012 est.)
Expenses $131.8 million (2012 est.)
Foreign reserves
Increase $51.58 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.

The economy of São Tomé and Príncipe, while traditionally dependent on cocoa, is experiencing considerable changes due to investment in the development of its oil industry in the oil-rich waters of the Gulf of Guinea. In 2003, the government agreed a Joint Development Zone over the area which gives Sao Tome 40% of revenues.


  • History 1
  • Oil reserves 2
  • Agriculture 3
  • Economic issues 4
  • Data 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Under Portuguese colonial rule, sugar plantations were set up, and the islands were used for the transshipment of slaves.[5]

Oil reserves

Geologists estimate that the Gulf of Guinea zone (Niger Delta province) holds more than 10 billion barrels (1.6 km³) of oil, although no reserves have yet been proved. A joint oil project with Nigeria in 2005 is likely to contribute $50 million of revenues to the government from the exploration licence signing fees. This represents four times government revenues in 2004. São Tomé is optimistic that significant petroleum discoveries under the exploration licence are forthcoming.

In 2006, the first tests in the deep-water block struck oil, but not in commercially viable quantities.[6]


Since the 1800s, the economy of São Tomé and Príncipe has been based on plantation agriculture. At the time of independence, Portuguese-owned plantations occupied 90% of the cultivated area. After independence, control of these plantations passed to various state-owned agricultural enterprises. The dominant crop on São Tomé is cocoa, representing about 95% of exports. Other export crops include copra, palm kernels, and coffee.

Economic issues

The government has an economic program that is supported by the IMF, via its Extended Credit Facility arrangement.[7]


Gross domestic product: purchasing power parity - $316.9 million (2010 est.), $214 million (2003 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 6% (2010 est.), 5% (2004 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,800 (2010 est.), $1,200 (2003 est.)

GDP - composition by sector: (2010 est.)

  • agriculture: 14.7
  • industry: 22.9%
  • services: 62%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 13% (2010 est.)

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

Unemployment rate: 50% in the formal business sector (1998 est.)


  • revenues: $58 million
  • expenditures: $114 million, including capital expenditures of $54 million (1993 est.)

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

Electricity - production: 15 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:

  • fossil fuel: 46.67%
  • hydro: 53.33%
  • nuclear: 0%
  • other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 14 GWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

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

Exports: $13 million (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities: cocoa 80%, copra, coffee, palm oil (2009)

Exports - partners: United Kingdom 32.99%, Netherlands 26.93%, Belgium 21.04%, Portugal 4.31% (2009)

Imports: $99 million (2010 est.)

Petroleum - it needs to import all of its required petroleum[8]

See also


  1. ^ "Sao Tome and Principe Country Profile: Human Development Indicators". Human Development Reports. UN. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "Doing Business in São Tomé and Príncipe 2012".  
  3. ^ "Export Partners of São Tomé and Príncipe".  
  4. ^ "Import Partners of São Tomé and Príncipe".  
  5. ^ "Sao Tome and Principe profile". BBC. 27 June 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Rice, Xan (2006) The oil boom that never was. The Guardian Weekly 25.07.08, p. 40.
  7. ^ "IMF Concludes Visit to the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe". Press Release No. 13/32. International Monetary Fund. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  8. ^ "Petroleum (Thousand Barrels per Day)". São Tomé and Principe: Country Analysis Brief. U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 

External links

  • São Tome and Principe latest trade data on ITC Trade Map
  • Agência Nacional do Petróleo de São Tomé e Príncipe
  • CIA - The World Factbook -- Sao Tome and Principe
  • Nations Encyclopedia::Sao Tome and Principe::Banking and Finance
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