The official name is the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe (DRSTP) (Republica Democratica de Sao Tome e Principe, Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe).
It is located on the islands of Sao Tome (836 km2), Principe (128 km2), Pedras Tignosas, Rolas in the Gulf of Guinea off the western coast of Central Africa (250-300 km northwest of Gabon). The total area is 1001 km2, the population is 170.4 thousand people. (2002). The official language is Portuguese. The capital is the city of Sao Tome (53.3 thousand people, 2002). Public holiday – Independence Day July 12 (since 1975). The monetary unit is good (equal to 100 centimos).
Member of the UN (since 1975), AU (since 1975), etc.
Geography of Sao Tome and Principe
It is located between 6°38′ and 7°28′ East longitude, 0° and Г40′ North latitude. Washed by the Atlantic Ocean. The islands are of volcanic origin. The relief is formed by the cones of extinct volcanoes up to 2024 m high (Mount Sao Tome). The shores of the islands are heavily indented, rocky with few natural harbors. There are no industrial minerals in the country, active prospecting and exploration work is carried out (according to forecasts, there are offshore oil reserves). Climate: on Principe – humid, on Sao Tome – transitional from tropical to equatorial. The average monthly temperature is +23-27°С. Precipitation falls from 1000 to 2000 mm per year. Equatorial forests predominate. The animal world is not rich: monkeys, birds, many reptiles are found in the forests.
Population of Sao Tome and Principe
According to Countryaah, the average annual growth rate (2000-02) is 2.4%. Population density 170 people. per 1 km2. Birth rate 42.35%, mortality 7.32%, infant mortality 48 people. per 1000 newborns. Life expectancy – 66 years (men – 65; women – 67). Sex and age structure: 0-14 years – 47.7% (ratio of men and women 1.03); 15-64 years old – 48.39% (0.93); 65 years and older – 4.0% (0.85). The ratio of men and women in the entire population is 0.97. Among the adult population, 26.5% are illiterate (men – 15%, women – 38%).
The indigenous people are the descendants of immigrants from West Africa. Of the local languages, Foru, Monko, Angolar, which arose as a result of mixing Portuguese and African languages, are common.
Christians make up approx. 90% of the population (Catholics, Protestants), the rest are Muslims and adherents of traditional beliefs.
History of Sao Tome and Principe
The islands were discovered by the Portuguese in 1470 and in 1471 declared a colony of Portugal. Throughout the entire presence of the colonialists in the country, the local population actively resisted the regime. The national liberation movement acquired an organized character by the 1960s, when it was headed by the Committee for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe (in 1972 it was transformed into the Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe – DOSP). In 1951, the islands received the status of “overseas province” of Portugal, and in 1972 “local autonomy”. After the overthrow of the fascist regime in Portugal in April 1974, the new Portuguese government recognized the right of the islands to self-determination. A transitional government was set up in December 1974, elections to the National Assembly were held in July 1975, and on July 12, 1975, the independent Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe was proclaimed. In 1975-89 the government was headed by M. Pinto da Costa, Secretary General of the DOSP. The 1990 constitutional referendum called for the country’s transition to a multi-party system. In the first multi-party elections in 1991, M. Trovoada became the president of the country, in 1995 he was removed from power as a result of a military coup, but soon (after the intervention of Angola) he again took his post. In 1996, Trovoada was re-elected president for a new term, and in July 2001, FB Melu de Menezes became president of the DRSTP. On July 16, 2003, an attempted military coup was made, but the constitutional order in the country was quickly restored. in 1995, as a result of a military coup, he was removed from power, but soon (after the intervention of Angola) he again took his post. In 1996, Trovoada was re-elected president for a new term, and in July 2001, FB Melu de Menezes became president of the DRSTP. On July 16, 2003, an attempted military coup was made, but the constitutional order in the country was quickly restored. in 1995, as a result of a military coup, he was removed from power, but soon (after the intervention of Angola) he again took his post. In 1996, Trovoada was re-elected president for a new term, and in July 2001, FB Melu de Menezes became president of the DRSTP. On July 16, 2003, an attempted military coup was made, but the constitutional order in the country was quickly restored.
State structure and political system of Sao Tome and Principe
DRSTP is a presidential republic. In accordance with the 1990 Constitution, the head of state is the president, who is the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces. The President is elected by universal direct and secret suffrage for a term of 5 years and can be re-elected once. Legislative power in the country is exercised by a unicameral parliament – the National Assembly consisting of 55 deputies elected by universal direct, secret ballot for 4 years. Executive power is exercised by the government, headed by the prime minister, who is appointed by the president. The National Assembly, elected in March 2002, is formed from representatives of the Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe – the Social Democratic Party (MSTP-PSD) – 24 seats, the Independent Democratic Alliance – 23 seats and the Oue Kedaji Coalition – 8 seats.
The Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe—the Social Democratic Party (DOSTP—SDP)—was founded in 1960 as the Committee for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe; from 1972–90 it was called the Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe. In 1972-90 it was the only party, in 1990 a multi-party system was introduced in the country. Democratic Convergence Party founded in 1990
(PDK), in 1992 – the Independent Democratic Movement (NDM). The trade union movement in the country is led by the National Workers’ Organization of Sao Tome and Principe (established in 1989) and the General Union of Workers of Sao Tome and Principe.
The government of the DRSTP is pursuing a policy of non-alignment and cooperation. In recent years, there has been an increased interest in the United States and Western European countries.
The armed forces number 900 people. Military service is compulsory and lasts 30 months.
DRSTP has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (established with the USSR on August 9, 1975).
Economy of Sao Tome and Principe
GDP $46.9 million, or $310 per capita (2001). The average annual GDP growth rate in 2000–01 was 3.0%. 25% of GDP is formed in agriculture, 10% in industry, and 65% in services. 15.3% of the country’s economically active population is employed in agriculture, 36.5% in industry, trade and services, and 11.5% in public institutions. Since 1985, a policy has been pursued to liberalize the economy and attract foreign investment (in 2001, the inflow of foreign direct investment amounted to 5.5 million US dollars).
Agriculture is focused on growing crops of export value: cocoa (3,000 tons in 2002), coffee (45 tons), coconut and oil palms (coconuts, 29,000 tons; palm kernels, 2,000 tons). Corn (4,000 tons), sweet potato, and cassava (3,000 tons) are cultivated for local consumption. Animal husbandry is poorly developed: livestock (thousand heads) of cattle – 4, sheep – 3, goats – 5, pigs – 2. Industry is represented by small enterprises processing agricultural raw materials and producing food products, woodworking, brick factories, clothing production, enterprises producing ceramic products.
The leading mode of transport on the islands is automobile. The length of the roads is 320 km, incl. 218 km paved. There are no railroads. The development of navigation is complicated by shallow water and dangerous bottom topography. The main ports are Sao Tome, Santo Antonio and Nevis. There are two airports, incl. one (in Sao Tome) of international class.
The structure of exports, which in 2000 reached $4.1 million in value terms, is dominated by agricultural products – cocoa (90%), copra, coffee, and palm oil. The main import items ($40 million, US 2000) are machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products, and chemical industry products. The main export partners of the DRSTP are Portugal (33.3%), the Netherlands (8.3%), Spain (8.3%); imports – Portugal (43%), France (15.7%), Great Britain (13.7%).
The DRSTP is one of the largest recipients of Western aid on a per capita basis. The state budget (revenues $58 million, expenditures $111 million) and the balance of payments are in deficit. External debt 100 million US dollars, payments on account of its repayment – 22.9% of proceeds from exports of goods and services (2002).
The standard of living of the population is low. Unemployment is up to 80% (mainly among young people). Inflation 7% (2001).
Science and culture Sao Tome and Principe
Primary education is compulsory for children up to the age of 14. In the system of higher education, there is only one educational institution – the Higher Polytechnic Institute.