The economy of São Tomé and Príncipe, while traditionally dependent on cocoa, is experiencing considerable changes due to investment in the development of its oil industry in the oil-rich waters of the Gulf of Guinea.


Under Portuguese colonial rule, sugar plantations were set up, and the islands were used for the transshipment of slaves.

Oil reserves

Geologists estimate that the Gulf of Guinea zone (Niger Delta province) holds more than 10 billion barrels (1.6 km³) of oil, although no reserves have yet been proven. A joint oil project with Nigeria in 2005 is likely to contribute $50 million of revenues to the government from the exploration licence signing fees. This represents four times government revenues in 2004. São Tomé is optimistic that significant petroleum discoveries under the exploration licence are forthcoming. In 2006, the first tests in the deep-water block struck oil, but not in commercially viable quantities.


Since the 1800s, the economy of São Tomé and Príncipe has been based on plantation agriculture. At the time of independence, Portuguese-owned plantations occupied 90% of the cultivated area. After independence, control of these plantations passed to various state-owned agricultural enterprises. The dominant crop on São Tomé is cocoa, representing about 95% of exports. Other export crops include copra, palm kernels, and coffee. Coffee Grower.jpg Sao Tome Monteforte Cocoa Beans Drying 2 (16062855549).jpg Coconut Picker.jpg Sao Tome Praia Inhame Harpooned Fish 5 (16248199912).jpg

Economic issues

The government has an economic program that is supported by the IMF, via its Extended Credit Facility arrangement.


Gross domestic product: purchasing power parity - $316.9 million (2010 est.), $214 million (2003 est.) GDP - real growth rate: 6% (2010 est.), 5% (2004 est.) GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,800 (2010 est.), $1,200 (2003 est.) Unemployment rate: 50% in the formal business sector (1998 est.) Budget: *''revenues:'' $58 million *''expenditures:'' $114 million, including capital expenditures of $54 million (1993 est.) Industries: light construction, textiles, soap, beer; fish processing; timber Agriculture - products: cocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, copra, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, bananas, papayas, beans; poultry; fish Exports: $13 million (2010 est.) Exports - commodities: cocoa 80%, copra, coffee, palm oil (2009) Exports - partners: United Kingdom 32.99%, Netherlands 26.93%, Belgium 21.04%, Portugal 4.31% (2009) Imports: $99 million (2010 est.) Petroleum - it needs to import all of its required petroleum

See also

* Cuisine of São Tomé and Príncipe * United Nations Economic Commission for Africa


External links

São Tome and Principe latest trade data on ITC Trade MapAgência Nacional do Petróleo de São Tomé e PríncipeCIA - The World Factbook -- Sao Tome and Principe
{{DEFAULTSORT:Economy Of Sao Tome And Principe São Tomé and Príncipe