Economy of Sao Tome and Principe

The main economic activities developed in the country are agriculture, fishing and tourism, which have contributed to keep the tradition and landscape. The main crop is cocoa and coffee representing almost 100% of the exports.

However, this small, poor island economy has become increasingly dependent on cocoa since independence. But Cocoa production has substantially declined after the independence in 1975 and most plantations dessapeared, subsisting only few ones. 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.


The scenic islands have potential for tourism, and the government is attempting to improve its rudimentary tourist industry infrastructure. The government sector accounts for about 11% of employment.

In 2001, São Tomé and Nigeria reached agreement on joint exploration for petroleum in waters claimed by the two countries of the Niger Delta geologic province. After a lengthy series of negotiations, in April 2003 the joint development zone (JDZ) was opened for bids by international oil firms. The JDZ was divided into nine blocks April 2004, with São Tomé to take in 40% of the $123 million bid, and Nigeria the other 60%. Bids on other blocks were still under consideration in October 2004. São Tomé has received more than $2 million from the bank to develop its petroleum sector, which till just now has brought no effective change to the economy of the country.

TOURISM- A great potential in Sao Tome and Principe

The potentiality of STP in area of tourism is well recognized internationally and is clearly considered as a big economic resource of the country. Investment has been done in this area either by the government and private. High standard hotels have been built. Road infrastructures are recovered as a way to facilitate the journey of the visitors to all attractive points. The airport approach runway lights were rehabilitated as well as all airport facility in order to ensure the aeronautical operation 24 hours a day. But this big potential is still conditioned by the lack of regular and sustainable air connection to link the country to the world.