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Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Sao Tome and Principe

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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. 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. The recent discovery of oil in the Gulf of Guinea promises to attract increased attention to the small island nation. (from the CIA)


Economic 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 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 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, sao tome 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. sao tome is optimistic about the development of petroleum resources in its territorial waters in the oil-rich gulf of guinea, which are being jointly developed in a 60-40 split with nigeria. the first production licenses were sold in 2004, though a dispute over licensing with nigeria delayed sao tome's receipt of more than $20 million in signing bonuses for almost a year. real gdp growth exceeded 6% in 2007, as a result of increases in public expenditures and oil-related capital investment.

Environmental Issues

Deforestation; soil erosion and exhaustion

Government Type



206,178 (july 2008 est.)


Western africa, islands in the gulf of guinea, straddling the equator, west of gabon


Total: 1,001 sq km land: 1,001 sq km water: 0 sq km

More than five times the size of washington, dc

Country Aliases

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


Name: sao tome geographic coordinates: 0 12 n, 6 39 e time difference: utc 0 (5 hours ahead of washington, dc during standard time)

Military Service

18 years of age (est.) (2004)

International Disputes


Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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