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Sao Tomé and Principe Economy

27 January 2010
São Tomé e Príncipe Home Page
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The country's economy is extremely fragile.

The production base is diversified, as historically based solely on the export of cocoa and on international aid.

The country also has no natural resources.

The economic structure is mainly characterized by the services sector constituted by the public and the commerce that represent 61% of GDP, while agriculture and industry respectively, contribute for  20% and 19% to the formation of GDP.

Agricultural productivity is low and the sector suffers from low availability of raw materials.

The manufacturing sector represents less than 5% of GDP.

There are no significant foreign investment outside the tourism sector.


In February 2004 the Parliament approved the financial law, the law provides a specific program of macroeconomic stabilization.

Through this law  there is the aim to recover the competitiveness of the national economy by correcting the imbalances in the economy of the country.

However, the government is committed to strengthening the private sector through privatization of public enterprises, regulation of the banking system and improvement of services and infrastructure needed to potenziamneto investment.


Good opportunities could be offered by the telecommunications industry, both to meet the objective needs of the country in terms of rehabilitation, modernization and completion of the network, both for the recent liberalization process started.

In the short and medium term, the same opportunities could be offered by the sector of water and electricity, as well as an analysis of the possibilities for agricultural use for the production of bio-energy.

Currently, apart from the presence of an Italian company in the production and trade of coffee and cocoa, there is not indicated the presence of Italian companies.

Other areas of specific interest for investment in the country are agriculture (an obvious reference to cocoa and coffee) and tourism  because the country with remarkable natural beauties is still unspoiled. An area in expansion is that of  oil, thanks to the discovery of great oilfields in the territorial waters of the country. Besides the exploitation of crude oil, should be considered the prospect of gas fields.

Interestingly it can also be the fishing industry.



In recent years have been introduced significant trade liberalization measures.

The fare structure of imports has been reduced to just three categories and the duties are these: 5% on primary goods, 20% on luxury goods and 10% on all other goods, especially machinery and equipment.

Some imports are subject to surcharges for petroleum products, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and used vehicles. All export taxes were eliminated.


All non-tariff barriers have been eliminated.



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