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. In 2003, the government agreed to a Joint Development Zone over the area which gives Sao Tome 40% of revenues.
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[when?] $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.
GDP - real growth rate: 6% (2010 est.), 5% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,800 (2010 est.), $1,200 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: (2010 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 13% (2010 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: population mainly engaged in subsistence agriculture and fishing
note: shortages of skilled workers
Unemployment rate: 50% in the formal business sector (1998 est.)
Industries: light construction, textiles, soap, beer; fish processing; timber
Electricity - production: 15 million kWh (1998)
Electricity - production by source:
Electricity - consumption: 14 GWh (1998)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)
Exports: $13 million (2010 est.)
Imports: $99 million (2010 est.)