São Tomé and Príncipe

São Tomé and Príncipe
Democratic Republic of, a republic in W Africa, comprising the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe, in the Gulf of Guinea, N of the equator: a former overseas province of Portugal; gained independence in 1975. 147,865; 372 sq. mi. (964 sq. km). Cap.: São Tomé.
Also, Sao Tome and Principe.

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Sao Tome and Principe

Introduction Sao Tome and Principe
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. Although independence was achieved in 1975, democratic reforms were not instituted until the late 1980s. The first free elections were held in 1991. Geography Sao Tome and Principe -
Location: Western Africa, islands in the Gulf of Guinea, straddling the Equator, west of Gabon
Geographic coordinates: 1 00 N, 7 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 1,001 sq km water: 0 sq km land: 1,001 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 territorial sea: 12 NM exclusive economic zone: 200 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, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 2% permanent crops: 41% other: 57% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land: 100 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards: NA Environment - current issues: deforestation; soil erosion and exhaustion Environment - international party to: Biodiversity, Climate
agreements: Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution 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 fairly mountainous People Sao Tome and Principe
Population: 170,372 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 47.7% (male 41,159; female 40,125) 15-64 years: 48.3% (male 39,701; female 42,586) 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 female: 67.45 years (2002 est.) male: 64.47 years
Total fertility rate: 5.95 children born/woman (2002 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: NA% HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/ NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths: NA
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 Cape Verde), tongas (children of servicais born on the islands), Europeans (primarily Portuguese)
Religions: Christian 80% (Roman Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, Seventh-Day Adventist)
Languages: Portuguese (official)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 79.3% male: 85% female: 62% (1991 est.) Government Sao Tome and Principe
Country name: conventional long form: Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe conventional short form: Sao Tome and Principe local short form: Sao Tome e Principe local long form: Republica Democratica de Sao Tome e Principe
Government type: republic
Capital: Sao Tome Administrative divisions: 2 provinces; Principe, Sao Tome note: Principe has had self- government since 29 April 1995
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) election results: Fradique DE MENEZES elected president in Sao Tome's third multiparty presidential election; percent of vote - NA% 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 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
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 Assembly) Political parties and leaders: Democratic Renovation Party [Armindo GRACA]; Force for Change Democratic Movement [leader NA]; Independent Democratic Action or ADI [Carlos NEVES]; Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe-Social Democratic Party or MLSTP-PSD [Manuel Pinto Da COSTA]; Party for Democratic Convergence or PCD [Aldo BANDEIRA]; Ue-Kedadji coalition [leader NA]; other small parties Political pressure groups and NA
leaders: International organization ACCT, ACP, AfDB, CEEAC, CEMAC, ECA,
participation: FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ITU, NAM, OAU, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer) 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 400 Park Avenue, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10022, telephone [1] (212) 317-0580 Diplomatic representation from the the US does not have an embassy in
US: 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; uses the popular pan- African colors of Ethiopia Economy Sao Tome and Principe -
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% industry: 10% services: 65% (1999 est.) Population below poverty line: NA% Household income or consumption by lowest 10%: NA%
percentage share: highest 10%: NA% Inflation rate (consumer prices): 7% (2001 est.)
Labor force: NA Labor force - by occupation: population mainly engaged in subsistence agriculture and fishing note: shortages of skilled workers
Unemployment rate: NA%
Budget: 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 - production: 17 million kWh (2000) Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 41.18% hydro: 58.82% other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0% Electricity - consumption: 15.81 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products: cocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, copra, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, bananas, papayas, beans; poultry; fish
Exports: $4.1 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities: cocoa 90%, copra, coffee, palm oil
Exports - partners: Portugal 33.3%, Netherlands 8.3%, Spain 8.3% (1999)
Imports: $40 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and electrical equipment, food products, petroleum products
Imports - 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: dobra (STD)
Currency code: STD
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 Communications Sao Tome and Principe Telephones - main lines in use: 3,000 (1997) Telephones - mobile cellular: 6,942 (1997)
Telephone system: general assessment: 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)
Internet country code: .st Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 2 (2000)
Internet users: 6,500 (2001) Transportation Sao Tome and Principe
Railways: 0 km
Highways: total: 320 km paved: 218 km unpaved: 102 km (1996)
Waterways: none
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 note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Egypt 1, Greece 1, Kenya 1, Portugal 1, Syria 1, Turkey 1 (2002 est.)
Airports: 2 (2001) Airports - with paved runways: total: 2 1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2001) Military Sao Tome and Principe
Military branches: Army, Navy, Security Police Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 35,524 (2002 est.) Military manpower - fit for military males age 15-49: 18,727 (2002 est.)
service: Military expenditures - dollar $400,000 (FY01)
figure: Military expenditures - percent of 0.8% (FY01)
GDP: Transnational Issues Sao Tome and Principe Disputes - international: none

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officially Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe

Island country, central Africa.

It is situated on the Equator in the Gulf of Guinea, west of the African mainland. Area: 386 sq mi (1,001 sq km). Population (2002 est.): 147,000. Capital: São Tomé. Most of the people are black-white admixture, Fang, or Angolares (descendants of former Angolan slaves). Languages: Portuguese (official), Creole. Religion: Christianity. Currency: dobra. The country consists of the two main islands, São Tomé and Príncipe, which are separated by about 90 mi (145 km), and a number of islets. The two main islands each have northeastern lowlands, central volcanic highlands, and swift-flowing streams. The economy is partly government-controlled and partly private and is based on agriculture and fishing. The country is a republic with one legislative house; its chief of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. First visited by European navigators in the 1470s, the islands were colonized by the Portuguese in the 16th century and were used in the trade and transshipment of slaves. Sugar and cocoa were the main cash crops. The islands became an overseas province of Portugal in 1951 and achieved independence in 1975. During recent decades the economy was heavily dependent on international assistance.

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▪ 2009

1,001 sq km (386 sq mi)
(2008 est.): 160,000
São Tomé
Chief of state:
President Fradique de Menezes
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Tomé Vera Cruz, Patrice Trovoada from February 14, and, from June 22, Joaquim Rafael Branco

      New hope for political stability arose in São Tomé and Príncipe in February 2008 when the opposition Independent Democratic Action party joined the governing coalition and its secretary-general, Patrice Trovoada, became the new prime minister. Only three months later, however, the new coalition government lost a parliamentary vote of confidence after Trovoada was accused of corruption. The Portuguese government, the country's main donor, responded by postponing its debt pardon, which the IMF had approved in 2007, and its finance minister canceled a visit to the archipelago. In December a corruption trial involving former prime minister Maria das Neves among others, was temporarily adjourned.

      Since his reelection in 2006, Pres. Fradique de Menezes had tried to secure more powers for his office; in 2008 he called for the legislative elections scheduled for 2010 to be brought forward. The armed forces, business community, trade unions, and other groups responded that an early election would be costly and could pose a risk to political stability. Bowing to pressure, Menezes asked the leader of the former ruling party, the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Principe–Social Democratic Party, to form a new government. One of Prime Minister Rafael Branco's first acts after taking office was to sign onto a submarine cable project with Portugal Telecom to improve international communications links between the archipelago and the rest of the world.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2008

1,001 sq km (386 sq mi)
(2007 est.): 158,000
São Tomé
Chief of state:
President Fradique de Menezes
Head of government:
Prime Minister Tomé Vera Cruz

      While São Tomé and Príncipe waited for the bonanza promised by the discovery of oil in its offshore waters, it was rewarded for its good governance and stable economy by the IMF, which offered debt relief in March 2007 under its Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative. Though no oil had yet been pumped from the country's waters, an estimated $80 million had been earned for prospecting rights, but most of that money had been invested (on international advice) in interest-bearing securities.

      The country continued to enjoy close relations with other members of the community of Portuguese-speaking countries, especially Angola, and in February the Angolan airline opened a service from Luanda via São Tomé to Lisbon. In 2006 São Tomé was one of the eight founder members of the Gulf of Guinea Commission, made up of countries bordering the oil-rich gulf. São Tomé's common maritime boundary with Nigeria meant that its future was bound up with the giant West African country, and in 2007 São Tomé officials appealed to Nigerians to invest in their country. In September news that the head of São Tomé's Association of Traditional Medicine had produced what he claimed to be an anti- AIDS herbal remedy was carried on radio and television and spread widely. Critics feared that the announcement might hamper the use of antiretroviral medication.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2007

1,001 sq km (386 sq mi)
(2006 est.): 152,000
São Tomé
Chief of state:
President Fradique de Menezes
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Maria do Carmo Silveira and, from April 21, Tomé Vera Cruz

 São Tomé and Príncipe entered 2006 on a note of hope for political stability. After many years of clashes between the president and the ruling party, the National Assembly in 2005 revised the constitution to reduce the powers of the president, who could no longer dissolve the parliament unilaterally. Fradique de Menezes, who had become president in 2001, was reelected to a second and final five-year presidential term on July 30, 2006. He won 60% of the vote in what international observers said was a peaceful and transparent election. His main challenger, Patrice Trovoada, son of former president Miguel Trovoada and secretary-general of the Independent Democratic Action party, won 38%. De Menezes promised to tackle unemployment, health, and education in his second term.

      More than half of the two-island nation's people continued to live in poverty, and 30% of the working-age population remained unemployed, with many relying on remittances from abroad. Though São Tomé and Príncipe appealed to the IMF for its debt burden of $300 million to be canceled, the country could see huge revenues from offshore oil in future years.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2006

1,001 sq km (386 sq mi)
(2005 est.): 157,000
São Tomé
Chief of state:
President Fradique de Menezes
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Damião Vaz d'Almeida and, from June 8, Maria do Carmo Silveira

 Though an oil bonanza was set to transform the fortunes of São Tomé and Príncipe, the country was mired in allegations of high-level corruption in 2005. In February the National Assembly removed the indemnity from prosecution of five of its members, two of them former prime ministers, who were alleged to have embezzled funds from a government aid-management agency. As a special tribunal was set up to investigate the allegations, some claimed that the president, whose own cement company was also under investigation, was trying to destroy political rivals ahead of the 2006 legislative and presidential election. The resignation in May of the minister of natural resources was followed by that in June of Prime Minister Damião Vaz d'Almeida, who disagreed with Pres. Fradique de Menezes over how to deal with a civil-service strike for higher wages and the president's awarding of five offshore blocks in the Joint Development Zone that São Tomé shared with Nigeria to the Texas-based but Nigerian-controlled oil company Environmental Remediation Holding Corp. This award would bring São Tomé $113 million, in addition to the $49 million the country was to receive from the consortium led by ChevronTexaco and ExxonMobil for an exploration and production-sharing agreement that was signed in February. As relations between the president and the ruling MLSTP-PSD Party deteriorated, the latter demanded that presidential and parliamentary elections be brought forward.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2005

1,001 sq km (386 sq mi)
(2004 est.): 142,000
São Tomé
Chief of state:
President Fradique de Menezes
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Maria das Neves and, from September 18, Damião Vaz d'Almeida

      After a failed army coup in the summer of 2003, São Tomé and Príncipe Pres. Fradique de Menezes gradually reestablished his authority in the small, potentially oil-rich country. He entered into especially close relations with neighbouring Nigeria, and the two countries set up an agency to administer the Joint Development Zone (JDZ) between them. In July 2004 de Menezes and Nigerian Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo signed a pact on governance in the JDZ that required all payments by oil companies to be made public.

      With the army now seen as a priority, military pay was increased and the main barracks were improved. The United States, much concerned with oil exports from the Gulf of Guinea, organized military exercises and training for the army. Portugal and Angola supplied equipment and training. In July de Menezes accused the ruling party of trying to undermine good relations with Angola. This was after party leader Manuel Pinto da Costa had said that the poverty that engulfed more than half of the population was creating an explosive situation. Political tension within the ruling elite further increased when the attorney general opened an anticorruption inquiry into the office managing foreign-aid funds.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2004

1,001 sq km (386 sq mi)
(2003 est.): 161,000
São Tomé
Chief of state:
Presidents Fradique de Menezes, Fernando Pereira (de facto) from July 16, and, from July 23, Fradique de Menezes
Head of government:
Prime Minister Maria das Neves

      During 2003 São Tomé and Príncipe and Nigeria agreed to share (40% and 60%, respectively) the proceeds of the oil found in the offshore waters between them. A Joint High Authority was established to manage offshore oil exploration in the disputed Gulf of Guinea, though the exact border demarcation between the two countries remained unresolved. Nigeria released $8 million for the management of São Tomé and Príncipe's oil industry and promised to build an oil refinery and deepwater port. Prospecting contracts with three oil companies were renegotiated, and in April São Tomé and Príncipe and Nigeria began the auction of nine exploration blocs in their joint maritime zone. These deals were expected to bring about $100 million to the archipelago, double its annual budget.

      In July, when de Menezes was visiting Abuja, Nigeria, a group of soldiers led by Maj. Fernando Pereira seized power in a bloodless coup. Prime Minister Maria das Nevas was locked up, and the parliament was dissolved. After a few days of negotiations, brokered by Portuguese, Nigerian, and U.S. diplomats, the leaders of the coup agreed to the return of de Menezes on the condition that they would not be punished for their actions.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2003

1,001 sq km (386 sq mi)
(2002 est.): 147,000
São Tomé
Chief of state:
President Fradique de Menezes
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Evaristo de Carvalho, Gabriel Costa from March 26, and, from October 7, Maria das Neves

      The year 2002 opened in São Tomé and Príncipe with the promise of new legislative elections. Pres. Fradique de Menezes had dissolved the National Assembly in December 2001 with the agreement that he would call new elections in an effort to form a more broad-based government. As a result, de Menezes called legislative elections for March 3. In the campaign each side accused the other of receiving financial backing from outside—the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe (MLSTP) from Angola's ruling party and its opponents from Taiwan and Nigeria. The MLSTP won 24 seats, the Democratic Movement Force for Change/Party of Democratic Governance (MDFM/PCD) 23 seats, and the Ue-Kedadji coalition 8. Without a majority in the legislature, the president appointed Gabriel Costa, the ambassador to Portugal, to head a coalition government. At the end of September, however, de Menezes dissolved the government after complaints from the army over Costa's promotion of two officers to the rank of lieutenant colonel. One of them had been defense minister, and regular officers complained that they had been sidelined. The Costa government continued in office while the president held discussions to find a new prime minister. In October de Menezes asked Maria das Neves, the minister for trade, industry, and tourism, to form a government. The archipelago's first woman prime minister, she was proposed for the post by the MLSTP. She began consultations to form a unity government from parties in the 55-member parliament.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2002

1,001 sq km (386 sq mi)
(2001 est.): 147,000
São Tomé
Chief of state:
Presidents Miguel Trovoada and, from September 3, Fradique de Menezes
Head of government:
Prime Ministers Guilherme Posser da Costa and, from September 26, Evaristo Carvalho

      Until September 2001 the country's two main parties, the Independent Democratic Action (ADI) and the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe (MLSTP), had enjoyed seven years of cooperation. The ADI held the presidency, and the MLSTP, which had won the parliamentary elections of 1994 and 1999, claimed the prime ministership. Though Pres. Miguel Trovoada was barred from running for a third term in the July 2001 presidential election, the ADI's new candidate, businessman Fradique de Menezes, won with a considerable majority (56% to 39%) over former president Manuel Pinto da Costa in an election that was generally regarded as free and fair. After being sworn in as Trovoada's successor on September 3, de Menezes demanded a cabinet reshuffle. When Prime Minister Guilherme Posser da Costa refused to sack certain key MLSTP ministers, he was himself dismissed and the cabinet dissolved.

      A new government without the MLSTP was then formed under Evaristo Carvalho, whose 10-member cabinet was drawn exclusively from the two parties that had supported de Menezes in the presidential election. In December de Menezes dissolved parliament and announced that legislative elections would take place on March 3, 2002.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2001

1,001 sq km (386 sq mi)
(2000 est.): 144,000
São Tomé
Chief of state:
President Miguel Trovoada
Head of government:
Prime Minister Guilherme Posser da Costa

      A cabinet reshuffle in May 2000 followed the resignation of two ministers in the cabinet of Prime Minister Guilherme Posser da Costa. Meanwhile, a legal tussle with Nigeria continued over the demarcation of boundaries off the Niger delta. It was believed that a settlement would be reached before the case was heard by the International Court of Justice, owing to São Tomé's eagerness to begin a deepwater exploration for oil, the discovery of which held out the promise of lifting this small group of islands out of poverty.

      The economy remained based on cacao production. The annual per capita income was only $354, and annual gross domestic product was only $45 million; the country's debt stood at $295 million. When Pres. Miguel Trovoada met French Pres. Jacques Chirac in May, he secured a promise from Chirac that France would support a debt-relief plan from the Paris Club of creditor nations for São Tomé and Príncipe.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 2000

1,001 sq km (386 sq mi)
(1999 est.): 140,000
São Tomé
Chief of state:
President Miguel Trovoada
Head of government:
Prime Minister Guilherme Posser da Costa

      In March 1999 the government led by Prime Minister Guilherme da Costa recommitted itself to economic stability, the alleviation of poverty, and good governance. That same month an inquiry revealed that leading figures in the central bank had issued $500 million worth of counterfeit treasury bonds and cashed them overseas. The opposition called for the prosecution of the former governor of the bank, but his close relations with Pres. Miguel Trovoada made this unlikely. One of the aims of economic policy was to reduce inflation, running at over 20% in early 1999.

      In November 1998 the National Assembly approved, over French opposition, the concession that had been granted in 1997 to the West African Development Corporation for the establishment of the first free-trade zone in the Gulf of Guinea. The concession involved building on Príncipe a new deepwater port for duty-free trading and offshore banking. Critics said it should be on São Tomé, the larger of the two islands, with 20 times the population of Príncipe, and they were concerned about the environmental impact as well as the economic viability of the scheme.

Christopher Saunders

▪ 1999

      Area: 1,001 sq km (386 sq mi)

      Population (1998 est.): 136,000

      Capital: São Tomé

      Chief of state: President Miguel Trovoada

      Head of government: Prime Ministers Raul Bragança Neto and, from December 24, Guilherme Posser da Costa

      Discontent with the government of Pres. Miguel Trovoada mounted in 1998. The army was dissatisfied with its pay, and other critics continued to be unhappy with the country's recognition of Taiwan, which had caused the loss of ties with China. Civil servants went on strike in March. Also during that month the Forum of Unity for National Reconstruction brought together the nation's various groups in an attempt to end the chronic political instability. In June Trovoada played a leading role in trying to defuse the crisis in Guinea-Bissau, serving as chair of a meeting of the five Portuguese-speaking African countries. Following general elections in November, Guilherme Posser da Costa took over as prime minister.

      The two-island nation remained extremely poor and Africa's most heavily indebted county relative to gross national product. The agreement reached with a South African group, WADCO, in 1997 to establish a customs-free zone on the west coast of the island of Príncipe held out much promise, but difficulties arose in implementing it, with environmentalists wanting to move it to another site. The price of the main export commodity, cocoa, remained depressed, and the country remained heavily dependent on international aid, especially from the European Union.


▪ 1998

      Area: 1,001 sq km (386 sq mi)

      Population (1997 est.): 137,000

      Capital: São Tomé

      Chief of state: President Miguel Trovoada

      Head of government: Prime Minister Raul Bragança Neto

      The economy of São Tomé and Príncipe in 1997 remained heavily dependent upon international assistance, with just over 60% of the budget derived from grants; most of this came from the European Union. A major development program under way during the year included job creation and new health centres and medical equipment. Financed by the European Development Fund, the program was also providing technical assistance as well as new drainage, sanitation, and environmental protection facilities.

      In May the government and the South African group Wadco signed an agreement to establish a customs-free zone on the west coast of Príncipe. Covering between 400 and 600 ha (1,000 and 1,500 ac), it was located near the island's airport and could become the site of a deep-water port and provide services for oil operators in the Gulf of Guinea. In September there were indications that the country was considering joining the Central African Economic and Monetary Zone.

      This article updates São Tomé and Príncipe, history of (São Tomé and Príncipe).

▪ 1997

      The republic of São Tomé and Príncipe comprises two main islands and several smaller islets that straddle the Equator in the Gulf of Guinea, off the west coast of Africa. Area: 1,001 sq km (386 sq mi). Pop. (1996 est.): 134,000. Cap.: São Tomé. Monetary unit: dobra, with (Oct. 11, 1996) a free rate of 2,385 dobras to U.S. $1 (3,757 dobras = £1 sterling). President in 1996, Miguel Trovoada; prime ministers, Armindo Vaz d'Almeida until September 20 and, from November 13, Raul Bragança Neto.

      A government of national unity was appointed on Jan. 5, 1996, by the new prime minister, Armindo Vaz d'Almeida; it included members of opposition parties as well as members of the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe (MLSTP-PSD). In March, reacting to wrangling in the MLSTP-PSD, the prime minister resigned, but he later agreed to serve until presidential elections had been held.

      Miguel Trovoada was reelected president in July when he defeated Manuel Pinto da Costa in a second ballot. On November 13 Trovoada appointed Raul Bragança Neto prime minister. (GUY ARNOLD)

      This article updates São Tomé and Príncipe, history of (São Tomé and Príncipe).

▪ 1996

      The republic of São Tomé and Príncipe comprises two main islands and several smaller islets that straddle the Equator in the Gulf of Guinea, off the west coast of Africa. Area: 1,001 sq km (386 sq mi). Pop. (1995 est.): 131,000. Cap.: São Tomé. Monetary unit: dobra, with (Oct. 6, 1995) a free rate of 1,446 dobras to U.S. $1 (2,286 dobras = £1 sterling). President in 1995, Miguel Trovoada; prime ministers, Carlos da Graça and, from December 31, Armindo Vaz d'Almeida.

      On Feb. 13, 1995, the government of São Tomé and Príncipe, in response to the rising cost of living, agreed to a general salary increase for both public- and private-sector workers. The increases were to range between 64% and 90% and become effective at the end of the month. The action was then followed by a number of austerity measures, however, including a rise in fuel prices, the dismissal of 300 civil servants, and an increase in the central bank reference interest rate from 32% to 50%. The measures were designed to persuade the World Bank to release funds that had already been committed.

      In March local elections were held on the island of Príncipe, and on April 29 the island became autonomous, with a five-member regional government.

      A five-member group of young army officers seized control of the government on August 15 in a coup attempt. Pres. Miguel Trovoada and Prime Minister Carlos da Graça and others were placed in custody, but there was no bloodshed. The leader of this self-styled national salvation junta, Lieut. Manuel Quintas de Almeida, claimed they wished to "recover the dignity of the country." On August 18 mediators arrived from Angola, and by August 21 the government had been restored, while the rebels were guaranteed immunity from prosecution.

      On December 30 Graça announced an agreement between his administration and two opposition parties to form a new multiparty government. Deputy Prime Minister Armindo Vaz d'Almeida was expected to take over as prime minister in January 1996 in preparation for presidential elections in March. (GUY ARNOLD)

      This updates the article São Tomé and Príncipe, history of (São Tomé and Príncipe).

▪ 1995

      The republic of São Tomé and Príncipe comprises two main islands and several smaller islets that straddle the Equator in the Gulf of Guinea, off the west coast of Africa. Area: 1,001 sq km (386 sq mi). Pop. (1994 est.): 128,000. Cap.: São Tomé. Monetary unit: dobra, with (Oct. 7, 1994) a free rate of 811.68 dobras to U.S. $1 (1,291 dobras = £1 sterling). President in 1994, Miguel Trovoada; prime ministers, Norberto José d'Alva Costa Alegre until July 2, Evaristo Carvalho from July 7, and, from October 25, Carlos da Graça.

      In July Pres. Miguel Trovoada dismissed the prime minister, Norberto Costa Alegre, and replaced him with Evaristo Carvalho. This caused the ruling Party of Democratic Convergence (PCD) to call for the president's resignation, for it was unhappy with Carvalho's appointment even though he was a member of the party. The crisis between Trovoada and the PCD led the former to dissolve the National Assembly on July 10 and to set a date for general elections on October 2.

      In the elections the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe-Social Democratic Party (MLSTP-PSD) won 27 seats in the 55-member National Assembly. The formerly Marxist party, which had at one time been the only legal party, thus came to power some three years after having been defeated in the country's first multiparty elections, in 1991. The PCD and Independent Democratic Action each took 14 seats. President Trovoada appointed Carlos da Graça, head of MLSTP-PSD, as prime minister.

      In April 1994 the National Assembly began to examine draft legislation that would confer autonomy on the island of Príncipe, which lies about 150 km (90 mi) from the main São Tomé archipelago. The bill provided for the establishment of a regional assembly and a five-member government under a minister, who would be appointed by the president of the republic. In addition, Príncipe would be empowered to establish "bonds of cooperation" with nearby foreign powers.

      The Supreme Court legalized two new political parties during the year: the Independent Democratic Action party, which was led by Gabriel Costa (an adviser to President Trovoada), and the People's Alliance. The National Assembly adopted a law that reinforced the rights of the parliamentary opposition; the government and president must consult all opposition parties on major political issues, including the budget, defense, the organization of elections, and foreign policy. The opposition was also to take part in controlling state media. (GUY ARNOLD)

      This updates the article São Tomé and Príncipe, history of (São Tomé and Príncipe).

▪ 1994

      The republic of São Tomé and Príncipe comprises two main islands and several smaller islets that straddle the Equator in the Gulf of Guinea, off the west coast of Africa. Area: 1,001 sq km (386 sq mi). Pop. (1993 est.): 125,000. Cap.: São Tomé. Monetary unit: dobra, with (Oct. 4, 1993) a free rate of 238.26 dobras to U.S. $1 (360.96 dobras = £1 sterling). President in 1993, Miguel Trovoada; prime minister, Norberto José d'Alva Costa Alegre.

      The year 1993 was dominated by economic problems as São Tomé and Príncipe continued to chart a new direction following the nation's first democratic elections in 1991. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) demanded a pay freeze on government workers until 1994 as well as a one-third reduction of the 5,000-member government workforce, whose salaries swallowed one-third of the state budget. The dobra's value dropped by 80% in 1992. Cocoa remained the mainstay of the economy.

      France, one of São Tomé's largest aid donors, provided F 75 million to finance a number of projects in agriculture, water, and energy, including the rehabilitation of two cocoa plantations, and to support balance of payments. The International Bank of São Tomé and Príncipe, a joint venture with two Portuguese banks and the government, was incorporated during the year. It began operations with capital of $1.8 million. The European Community (EC) supplied a grant worth ECU 1.3 million to improve the country's road infrastructure and in particular to facilitate the movement of agricultural products from the south to the capital of São Tomé. The EC also agreed to provide ECU 3.9 million to renovate the water-supply system for 40,000 people living in the capital. (GUY ARNOLD)

      This updates the article São Tomé and Príncipe, history of (São Tomé and Príncipe).

* * *

Sao Tome and Principe, flag of   country of central Africa, located on the Equator in the Gulf of Guinea (Guinea, Gulf of). It consists of two main islands (São Tomé and Príncipe) and several rocky islets, including Rôlas, south of São Tomé island, and Caroço, Pedras, and Tinhosas, south of Príncipe.

 São Tomé, which is oval in shape, is larger than Príncipe, which lies about 90 miles (145 km) northeast of its sister island. The capital of the country, São Tomé city, is situated in the northeastern part of São Tomé island. The country's closest neighbours are Gabon and Equatorial Guinea on the Atlantic coast of central Africa.

Relief and drainage
 In the south and west of both islands, high volcanic mountains fall precipitously to the sea, although neither island has witnessed any volcanic activity in recent centuries. The mountains descend gradually to small plains in the northeast. São Tomé Peak, the highest point on the main island, rises to 6,640 feet (2,024 metres) above sea level, and Príncipe Peak on the smaller island reaches 3,110 feet (948 metres). These mountainous areas are deeply dissected by stream erosion, and spectacular isolated volcanic plugs stand out as landmarks. Swift and rocky streams rush down to the coast in every direction.

      The climate is basically maritime and tropical, but, because of the rough topography, there is a wide range of microclimates. The prevailing moist southwesterly winds are intercepted by the mountains, so annual rainfall exceeds 275 inches (7,000 mm) in the southwestern part of São Tomé island, while the far northeast receives less than 30 inches (760 mm). The dry season, called gravana, lasts from June to September in the northeast but is scarcely discernible in the wetter regions. In the coastal areas the mean annual temperature is high, in the low 80s F (upper 20s C); the average relative humidity is also high, about 80 percent. Average temperatures decline sharply with elevation, and night temperatures fall below 50 °F (10 °C) at about 2,300 feet (700 metres). Above 3,300 feet (1,000 metres) fine misty rain falls almost continuously and the nights are cold, although frost and snow are unknown.

Plant and animal life
      The original vegetation of the islands was luxuriant tropical rainforest, with a gradual transition from lowland forest to mist forest. Some of the islands' area, mainly in the south and west, is still covered with rainforest. Much of this is secondary growth on abandoned plantation land. The flora and fauna include many rare and endemic species, reflecting the isolation and environmental diversity of the islands. Birds such as the ibis, shrike, and grosbeak can be found in São Tomé and Príncipe. Many of the plants, birds, reptiles, and small mammals are threatened by pressure on the remaining rainforest.

Ethnic groups
      The population consists mainly of Forros (from forro, Portuguese for “free man”), descendants of immigrant Europeans and African slaves. Another group, the Angolares, descended from runaway Angolan slaves who were shipwrecked on São Tomé about 1540. The Angolares remained apart in the isolated southern zone of São Tomé island until the late 19th century, but they later spread throughout the country and became largely assimilated. Cape Verdeans (Cape Verde) form the largest group of resident foreigners; many have adopted São Toméan nationality. Angolans (Angola) and Mozambicans (Mozambique) make up most of the rest of the African immigrant community. Like the Cape Verdeans, they are relatively well integrated with the other islanders, because of a shared Luso-African cultural background. There is a small European population—primarily Portuguese—in the country.

      Standard Portuguese (Portuguese language) is the official language and is understood by virtually all islanders. In addition, three Portuguese-based creoles are spoken: Sãotomense, spoken by the Forros and having by far the largest number of speakers; Angolar, the language of the Angolares, spoken on the southern tip of São Tomé; and Principense, spoken by only a few hundred individuals on Príncipe.

      About four-fifths of the population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church. The remainder of the population is primarily Protestant, although there is a small percentage of Muslims. Traditional African religious practices and beliefs are widespread, even among adherents of other faiths.

Settlement patterns
      The population is concentrated in the drier and flatter areas of both islands. Whereas a third of the inhabitants live in São Tomé city and its outskirts, only about 5 percent live on the island of Príncipe. Many people live in dispersed settlements known locally as lucháns. Houses made of wooden planks and raised above the ground are typical of the local building methods, although there are also many concrete structures in the Portuguese colonial style. Many people still live in barracklike accommodations on the plantations.

Demographic trends
      Population growth is above the world average but below the average for sub-Saharan Africa. About two-fifths of the population is less than 15 years of age, and almost another one-third is younger than 30, assuring continued rapid growth. Life expectancy in the early 21st century was more than 65 years of age, relatively high for an African country and close to the world average.

      Decades of colonial stagnation were followed by economic disruption after independence in 1975. Under the tutelage of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank since the mid-1980s, São Tomé and Príncipe has tried to restore a functioning economy by devaluing its currency, reducing the budget deficit, privatizing formerly nationalized companies, attracting foreign investment, and removing price subsidies and controls. Despite all efforts and considerable inflows of foreign funds, however, the results of the imposed reforms did not match the original targets. During that time corruption became rampant, and mass poverty increased tremendously. In the late 1990s, IMF measures helped the country's economy improve considerably, as did the advent of petroleum concessions sales, which continued into the 21st century.

      São Tomé and Príncipe's economy has historically been dependent on agriculture, and much of the total agricultural area of the two islands belongs to the state. Until 1993 this land was divided into 15 large plantation enterprises, but, by the end of the decade, most of the former plantations were dissolved and their land distributed to smallholders and medium-sized enterprises on a usufruct basis as part of attempted agricultural reform. High levels of unemployment coexist with a critical labour shortage on the former plantations, where wages and working conditions are poor.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing
      São Tomé is endowed with excellent conditions for tropical agriculture. The growing season is long, the volcanic soils are fertile, and there is no lack of water. Consequently, the economy remains dependent on plantation agriculture, especially cacao (grown for its seeds, cocoa beans). About two-fifths of the total land area is under cultivation, with cacao trees covering a little less than two-thirds of the cultivated land; coconut palms cover most of the remainder. Large areas of plantation land have been poorly maintained since independence; they are harvested from time to time but not otherwise tended. The country has never been self-sufficient in staple foodstuffs, and a combination of local eating habits, the legacy of the plantation economy, and foreign food aid has undermined the production of food crops for the local market.

      Fine stands of timber remain in the mountains, but the difficulty of removing logs from the steep terrain and the pressing need for effective conservation limit long-term prospects. The country's small size prevents farmers from keeping large herds of livestock, but conditions for poultry raising are quite favourable.

      Fishing resources are limited by the narrow continental shelf. The domestic demand for fish (commercial fishing) exceeds supply by the local artisan fishermen, and trawlers from European Union countries pay small license fees for the right to fish in the country's national waters. The deep-sea tuna resources of the Gulf of Guinea and shellfish in coastal waters represent the best hopes for fishery exports.

Resources and power
      There are numerous sites for small hydroelectric schemes but no large rivers for major installations. The islands have no known mineral resources, but the country claims an area of the Gulf of Guinea that may have considerable deepwater hydrocarbon reserves; in the late 1990s and early 2000s this potential attracted foreign investors who purchased exploration concessions. In 2001 São Tomé and Príncipe and Nigeria reached an agreement to oversee the exploration and development of potential oil (petroleum) fields in the Joint Development Zone (JDZ), an area of overlapping maritime boundaries about 125 miles (200 km) from the Nigerian coast. The agreement was renegotiated in 2003, after which oil companies began bidding for the right to develop sections within the JDZ. The first exploratory drilling in the JDZ began in 2006.

      Manufacturing, which accounts for a tiny fraction of the gross domestic product, is hampered by the small size of the domestic market, limited energy resources, and the lack of skilled labour. It consists mainly of small processing factories producing foodstuffs, beverages, soap products, bricks, and sawn wood for the domestic market.

Finance and trade
      São Tomé and Príncipe is reputed to be the recipient of one of the highest amounts of foreign aid per capita in the world, but this has not prevented large budgetary and balance-of-payment deficits. There are several commercial banks active in the country, and the Central Bank of São Tomé and Príncipe controls foreign exchange dealings and issues the country's currency, the dobra. Cocoa (cacao), despite decreasing production, still accounts for almost all foreign exchange earnings from merchandise exports. Most of the cocoa is exported to The Netherlands. Portugal is the main source of imports.

      Tourism is largely limited to the dry season and chiefly attracts individual travelers from Portugal and other European countries. The tourism sector has the potential to be a strong source of economic diversification for the country. The sector has expanded with some foreign investment, but development has been hindered by such obstacles as the presence of tropical diseases (notably malaria), the lengthy wet season, and the expense of traveling to the country.

Transportation and telecommunications
      Transportation assumes particular importance in this isolated microstate. There are no deepwater harbours, and large ships must anchor far out at sea and be unloaded by barge. Shipping links between the islands and with the outside world are erratic, and there are long delays in unloading cargo. The country's primary ports are at São Tomé city and Neves, both on São Tomé island. The international airport near São Tomé city has been expanded and modernized. The telephone system and road network are both fairly good by African standards. Mobile phone use is very popular on the islands, and Internet service is available.

Government and society

Constitutional framework
      Under the constitution of 1990 (since amended), the president, who is head of state, is directly elected to a five-year term and is limited to two successive terms. The prime minister serves as the head of government. The legislature is unicameral, with a 55-seat National Assembly. Assembly members are elected by popular vote and serve four-year terms. In April 1995 Príncipe became an autonomous region.

      The political and judicial structures adopted at independence in 1975 were those of a single-party state modeled on the Soviet example, but the regime never formally proclaimed its adherence to Marxism-Leninism. Free elections for the legislative assembly and the presidency were established by the constitution of 1990 and first held in 1991. At that time close ties with eastern European countries and Cuba were replaced by improved relations with Portugal, France, and other Western countries.

 São Tomé and Príncipe's military is small and consists of army, coast guard, and presidential guard contingents. The country's armed forces have received technical and training assistance from such countries as Portugal, Angola, and the United States.

Health and welfare
      There is one major medical centre for the country, in São Tomé city, which was created by uniting three existing hospitals, several public health posts, and a few private clinics. Malaria is endemic, although initiatives to curb the disease have shown progress since 2000. HIV/AIDS (AIDS) is present in the country, but its prevalence remains undetermined, as the stigma attached to being diagnosed with the disease and the subsequent lack of accurate reporting make the rate of infection difficult to monitor.

      Almost all children attend primary school, which is compulsory for four years. Secondary education consists of two cycles of four and three years, respectively, but secondary schooling opportunities are not as widely available, and fewer students enroll. Vocational training and higher education options are limited, although there is a polytechnic institute (founded 1997), and Portugal's Lusíada University opened a campus on São Tomé island in 2006. Some four-fifths of the adult population is literate.

Cultural life

Cultural milieu
      This small country has a homogeneous creole culture, profoundly marked by centuries of blending elements of the dominant Roman Catholic Portuguese culture with various African influences. The kinship system is bilateral, although men traditionally have been polygynous (polygyny). With the virtual absence of monogamous marriage, the conjugal system is characterized by a high incidence of multiple and serial customary unions and visiting relationships; as a result, about one-third of households are headed by females. Despite more than 500 years of Roman Catholicism, local practices have been restricted largely to baptism and a few rites, such as processions and funerals. Various traditional African practices and beliefs have always coexisted with Roman Catholicism.

      The lexicon of the three local creole languages is predominantly derived from Portuguese, whereas their phonology and syntax stem from African languages. Many African elements have been adopted in the cooking, customs, and beliefs of much of the population, and most people of lower socioeconomic status speak only creole in daily life. Famous examples of cultural creolization are the plays The Tragic Story of the Marquis of Mântua and Emperor Charlemagne (known as Tchiloli on São Tomé island) and Auto da Floripes, popular on Príncipe island, both of which are based on 16th-century Portuguese dramas.

Sports and recreation
      Football (football (soccer)) (soccer) has always been the most popular sport in the country. The first local association was founded in 1931, and a national federation was created in 1977, two years after independence. In the late 1990s the country contained some two dozen clubs competing in two divisions. The clubs of the first division compete annually for the national championship, and there is also a national cup competition. Local competitions comprising all existing sports are held annually on March 12, the National Sports Festival Day. São Tomé and Príncipe first participated in the Olympic Games in 1996, when the Summer Games were held in Atlanta.

Media and publishing
      Several local newspapers appear erratically, but the government-run radio and television stations provide consistent programming, and broadcasts from Portugal and France are locally retransmitted on FM channels.

      This discussion focuses on São Tomé and Príncipe since the late 15th century. For a treatment of the country in its regional context, see Central Africa.

Portuguese colonial rule
      São Tomé and Príncipe were uninhabited when they were discovered, about 1470, by Portuguese navigators. In the late 15th century the Portuguese sent out settlers (including many convicts and Jewish children who had been separated from their parents and expelled from Portugal) and brought African slaves (slavery) to the islands to grow sugar.

      During the 16th century São Tomé was for a brief time the world's largest producer of sugar, but the rise of Brazilian competition and the poor quality of São Tomé's badly dried product virtually destroyed this industry. The economic decline was accentuated by social instability as slaves escaped to the mountains and raided the plantations. Amador, the self-proclaimed king of the slaves who nearly overran the whole island of São Tomé in 1595, is now regarded by many as a national hero. Foreign pirates were another hazard, and the Dutch briefly captured São Tomé in 1641, only to be expelled seven years later.

      After the collapse of the sugar economy, the colony served as an entrepôt for the Portuguese slave trade to Brazil; the cargoes of small slave ships were transferred to larger vessels for the Atlantic voyage, and provisions such as water were obtained. The islanders produced food crops for these ships and for themselves. Because of the frequent political unrest in São Tomé, the capital was moved in 1753 to Santo António on Príncipe, whose harbour was the site of much activity. In 1778 the Portuguese ceded the islands of Fernando Pó (Bioko) (Bioko) and Annobón (Pagalu) (Annobón), on either side of São Tomé and Príncipe, to the Spaniards, who wished to develop their own African slave trade.

      The independence of Brazil in 1822, the suppression of the slave trade in the Portuguese territories, and the introduction of coffee and cacao (the source of cocoa beans) cultivation in the 19th century shifted the economic centre of gravity back to São Tomé, and in 1852 São Tomé city once again became the capital. Cacao replaced coffee as the main cash crop in the 1890s, and during the first two decades of the 20th century the colony was in some years the world's largest producer of the commodity. This led to the maximum expansion of the plantations on the islands. When slavery was legally abolished in 1875, the Portuguese recruited contract workers from such places as Angola, Cape Verde, and Mozambique. However, until 1910 the living and working conditions of these indentured labourers often were little different from slavery.

      Cocoa production fell after World War I, and the islands became isolated and notorious for the brutality and corruption that reigned on the plantations belonging to absentee planters and corporations. Attempts to force the local Forros to work on the plantations led to the Batepá Massacre in 1953, an event later often cited by São Toméans in their demands for independence as an example of the violence under Portuguese rule. The Committee for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe was set up in exile in 1960; it changed its name to the Movement for the Liberation of São Tomé and Príncipe (MLSTP) in 1972. However, it consisted of only a small group of exiles, who were unable to mount a guerrilla challenge to the Portuguese on the islands.

      The government that took power in Portugal after a coup in 1974 agreed to hand over power to the MLSTP in 1975, and virtually all Portuguese colonists fled to Portugal, fearing an independent black and communist government. Independence was granted on July 12, 1975.

After independence
      The country's first president, Manuel Pinto da Costa of the MLSTP, was elected in 1975. The government initially followed eastern European models of political and economic organization. Economic decline and popular dissatisfaction, however, led to a process of liberalization that started in 1985 and culminated in the establishment of a multiparty democracy in 1990.

      Pinto da Costa was succeeded in 1991 by Miguel Trovoada, a former prime minister who ran for the presidency unopposed in the first free elections in the country's history. In August 1995 Trovoada was deposed in a bloodless coup orchestrated by the military. However, coup leaders reconsidered their demands when faced with the immediate threat of the loss of foreign aid, and Trovoada was reinstated as president a week later.

 Trovoada was reelected in 1996 but was barred from seeking a third term in the 2001 election. He was succeeded by businessman Fradique de Menezes of the Independent Democratic Action (ADI), the party with which Trovoada had been affiliated since 1994. Within months of de Menezes's election, a power struggle erupted between the new president and the MLSTP-dominated National Assembly, establishing a pattern of political conflict that continued for some time. In 2003 de Menezes was deposed in a military coup, but international negotiations were successful in guaranteeing his reinstatement on the condition that the coup leaders would not be punished for their actions. De Menezes was reelected in 2006, representing the Democratic Movement of Forces for Change, the party that had splinted off from the ADI in late 2001.

William Gervase Clarence-Smith Gerhard Seibert Ed.
      Although several fair and peaceful legislative and presidential elections were held in the 1990s and 2000s, they did not immediately transform the country's oversized and inefficient public administration from a centre of cronyism and corruption into an efficient bureaucracy that could provide the structural conditions of a functioning market economy. Consequently, the country's tremendous social and economic problems were far from resolved at the start of the 21st century, although the earnings from petroleum concessions beginning in the mid-2000s and the potential for future oil revenues brought a sense of optimism, as did significant debt relief granted in 2007.

Gerhard Seibert Ed.

Additional Reading

Kathleen Becker, São Tomé and Príncipe: The Bradt Travel Guide (2008), provides an accessible overview of the country. Although dated, Francisco Tenreiro, A ilha de São Tomé (1961), is still a standard geographic text that includes much historical, economic, and anthropological data; and Arthur Wallis Exell, Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of S. Tomé (with Príncipe and Annobon) (1944), is a classic text still useful in discussion of the island's flora. Patrice Christy and William V. Clarke, Guide des oiseaux de São Tomé et Príncipe/Guia dos pássaros de São Tomé e Príncipe (1998), is a guide in French and Portuguese to the archipelago's notable ornithology. Luiz Ivens Ferraz, The Creole of São Tomé (1979), analyzes the local language. Pablo B. Eyzaguirre, “The Ecology of Swidden Agriculture and Agrarian History in São Tomé,” Cahiers d'Études Africaines, 26(1–2):113–129 (1986); and Tony Hodges, “São Tomé and Príncipe: Combating Cocoa Colonialism,” Africa Report, 13:61–66 (1986), discuss agricultural issues and history. Jędrzej George Frynas, Geoffrey Wood, and Ricardo M.S. Soares de Oliveira, “Business in São Tomé and Príncipe: From Cocoa Monoculture to Petro-State,” African Affairs, 102:51–80 (2003), examines the changing economy. Economist Intelligence Unit, Country Profile: São Tomé and Príncipe (annual), provides up-to-date information on the economy, resources, and industry.

Gerhard Seibert, Comrades, Clients, and Cousins: Colonialism, Socialism, and Democratization in São Tomé and Príncipe, 2nd ed. (2006), is a comprehensive study of the country's history, economy, society, and politics. Tony Hodges and Malyn Newitt, São Tomé and Príncipe: From Plantation Colony to Microstate (1988), is a general study of the country. Gervase Clarence-Smith, The Third Portuguese Empire, 1825–1975: A Study in Economic Imperialism (1985), provides the Portuguese colonial context for the 19th and 20th centuries. Stewart Lloyd-Jones and António Costa Pinto, The Last Empire: Thirty Years of Portuguese Decolonization (2003), focuses on the transition to democracy in São Tomé and Príncipe and other former Portuguese colonies. James Duffy, A Question of Slavery (1967), includes a detailed study of the labour system in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Robert Garfield, A History of São Tomé Island, 1470–1655: The Key to Guinea (1992), is a thorough study of the country's early history.William Gervase Clarence-Smith Gerhard Seibert

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Universalium. 2010.

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