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Sao Tome and Principe: Economy#

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 fuels, most manufactured goods, consumer goods, and a substantial amount of food, making it vulnerable to fluctuations in global commodity prices. 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. In April 2011 the country completed a Threshold Country Program with The Millennium Challenge Corporation to help increase tax revenues, reform customs, and improve the business environment. 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. Maintaining control of inflation, fiscal discipline, and increasing flows of foreign direct investment into the oil sector are the major economic problems facing the country.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$421 million (2013 est.)
$402.4 million (2012 est.)
$387.8 million (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP - real growth rate4.5% (2013 est.)
4% (2012 est.)
4.9% (2011 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$2,200 (2013 est.)
$2,200 (2012 est.)
$2,300 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 13.7%
industry: 19.5%
services: 66.8% (2013 est.)
Population below poverty line66.2% (2009 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Labor force - by occupationnote: population mainly engaged in subsistence agriculture and fishing; shortages of skilled workers
Exports - commoditiescocoa 80%, copra, coffee, palm oil
Exports - partnersNetherlands 33.3%, Belgium 21.8%, Spain 11%, Nigeria 5.6%, US 5.1% (2012)
Agriculture - productscocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, copra, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, bananas, papayas, beans; poultry; fish
Budgetrevenues: $83.94 million
expenditures: $120.3 million (2013 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and electrical equipment, food products, petroleum products
Imports - partnersPortugal 63.1%, Gabon 5.4% (2012)
Exchange ratesdobras (STD) per US dollar -
18,702 (2013 est.)
19,068 (2012 est.)
18,499 (2010 est.)
16,209 (2009)
14,900 (2008)
Exports$12.1 million (2013 est.)
$12.2 million (2012 est.)
Debt - external$406.8 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$313.3 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Imports$112.8 million (2013 est.)
$115.1 million (2012 est.)
Industrial production growth rate4% (2013 est.)
Industrieslight construction, textiles, soap, beer, fish processing, timber
Inflation rate (consumer prices)8.7% (2013 est.)
10.6% (2012 est.)
Labor force52,490 (2007)
Unemployment rateNA%
Public debt65.5% of GDP (2013 est.)
75.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
Current account balance-$59 million (2013 est.)
-$58.7 million (2012 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$46.6 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$51.59 million (31 December 2012 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$311 million (2013 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
Central bank discount rate16% (31 December 2009)
28% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate26% (31 December 2013 est.)
26% (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$97.37 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$94.99 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of narrow money$47.43 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$38.63 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of broad money$109.9 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$99.74 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Taxes and other revenues27% of GDP (2013 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-11.7% of GDP (2013 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 137.6%
government consumption: 12%
investment in fixed capital: 53.1%
investment in inventories: -1.4%
exports of goods and services: 13.2%
imports of goods and services: -114.5%
(2013 est.)
Gross national saving32.7% of GDP (2013 est.)
27.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
16.8% of GDP (2011 est.)