Previous
Profile
Next
Profile

Sao Tome and Principe

Population: 190 428

GDP: 311 000 000.00 $

Description

 

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 African 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. In 2012, three opposition parties combined in a no confidence vote to bring down the majority government of former Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada.

 

The new government of Prime Minister Gabriel Arcanjo Ferreira Da Costa is entirely composed of opposition party members with limited experience in governance. New oil discoveries in the Gulf of Guinea may attract increased attention to the small island nation.

Population

 

Population: 190,428 (2014).

 

Nationality: 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 Cabo Verde), tongas (children of servicais born on the islands), Europeans (primarily Portuguese), Asians (mostly Chinese).

 

Languages: Portuguese 98.4% (official), Forro 36.2%, Cabo Verdian 8.5%, French 6.8%, Angolar 6.6%, English 4.9%, Lunguie 1%, other (including sign language) 2.4%

note: shares sum to more than 100% because some respondents gave more than one answer.

 

Religions: Catholic 55.7%, Adventist 4.1%, Assembly of God 3.4%, New Apostolic 2.9%, Mana 2.3%, Universal Kingdom of God 2%, Jehovah's Witness 1.2%, other 6.2%, none 21.2%, unspecified 1%.

GDP

 

GDP: $ 311 000 000.00 (2013).

Military Organization

 

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); also called "Navy"), Presidential Guard.

 

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 (infantry, technical issues) and the Chief of the General Staff (logistics, administration, finances).

Geographical Information and Map

 

Capital: Sao Tome

 

Location: Central Africa, islands in the Gulf of Guinea, just north of the Equator, west of Gabon. The smallest country in Africa; the two main islands form part of a chain of extinct volcanoes and both are mountainous.

 

Geographic coordinates:

1 00 N, 7 00 E.

 

Area:

total: 964 sq km

land: 964 sq km

water: 0 sq km.

 

Land boundaries: 0 km.

 

Coastline: 209 km.

 

Natural resources: fish, hydropower.