Geographic and Governmental Profile of Sao Tome and Principe

Background
Discovered and claimed by Portugal in the late 15th century, the islands' sugar-based economy gave way to coffee and cocoa in the 19th century - all grown with plantation slave labor, a form of which lingered into the 20th century. While independence was achieved in 1975, democratic reforms were not instituted until the late 1980s. The country held its first free elections in 1991, but frequent internal wrangling between the various political parties precipitated repeated changes in leadership and two failed coup attempts in 1995 and 2003. The recent discovery of oil in the Gulf of Guinea promises to attract increased attention to the small island nation.
Location
Central Africa, islands in the Gulf of Guinea, straddling the Equator, west of Gabon
Geographic coordinates
1 00 N, 7 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Africa
Area
total:
964 sq km
rank:
185
land:
964 sq km
water:
0 sq km
Area - comparative
more than five times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries
0 km
Coastline
209 km
Maritime claims
measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea:
12 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
Climate
tropical; hot, humid; one rainy season (October to May)
Terrain
volcanic, mountainous
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point:
Pico de Sao Tome 2,024 m
Natural resources
fish, hydropower
Land use
arable land:
8.33%
permanent crops:
48.96%
other:
42.71% (2005)
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Irrigated land
100 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards
NA
Environment - current issues
deforestation; soil erosion and exhaustion
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
the smallest country in Africa; the two main islands form part of a chain of extinct volcanoes and both are mountainous
Country name
conventional long form:
Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe
conventional short form:
Sao Tome and Principe
local long form:
Republica Democratica de Sao Tome e Principe
local short form:
Sao Tome e Principe
Government type
republic
Capital
name:
Sao Tome
geographic coordinates:
0 20 N, 6 44 E
time difference:
UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
2 provinces; Principe, Sao Tome
Principe has had self government since 29 April 1995
Independence
12 July 1975 (from Portugal)
Constitution
approved March 1990, effective 10 September 1990
Legal system
mixed legal system of civil law base on the Portuguese model and customary law
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Manuel Pinto DA COSTA (since 3 September 2011)
head of government:
Prime Minister Patrice Emery TROVOADA (since 14 August 2010)
cabinet:
Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the proposal of the prime minister
elections:
president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 17 July and 7 August 2011 (next to be held in 2016); prime minister chosen by the National Assembly and approved by the president
election results:
Manuel PINTO DA COSTA elected president in a run-off election; percent of vote - Manuel PINTO DA COSTA 52.9%, Evaristo CARVALHO 47.1%
Legislative branch
unicameral National Assembly or Assembleia Nacional (55 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections:
last held on 1 August 2010 (next to be held in 2014)
election results:
percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ADI 26, MLSTP-PSD 21, PCD 7, MDFM 1
Judicial branch
Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the National Assembly); Constitutional Court (five judges appointed by the National Assembly for five year terms); Court of First Instance; Audit Court
Political parties and leaders
Force for Change Democratic Movement or MDFM [Tome Soares da VERA CRUZ]; Independent Democratic Action or ADI [Patrice TROVOADA]; Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe-Social Democratic Party or MLSTP-PSD [Rafael BRANCO]; New Way Movement or NR; Party for Democratic Convergence or PCD [Delfim NEVES]; Ue-Kedadji coalition; other small parties
Political pressure groups and leaders
Association of Sao Tome and Principe NGOs or FONG
other:
the media
International organization participation
ACP, AfDB, AOSIS, AU, CPLP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ITU, ITUC, NAM, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Ovidio Manuel Barbosa PEQUENO
chancery:
1211 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036
telephone:
[1] (202) 775-2075, 2076
FAX:
[1] (202) 775-2077
Diplomatic representation from the US
the US does not have an embassy in Sao Tome and Principe; the Ambassador to Gabon is accredited to Sao Tome and Principe on a nonresident basis and makes periodic visits to the islands
Flag description
three horizontal bands of green (top), yellow (double width), and green with two black five-pointed stars placed side by side in the center of the yellow band and a red isosceles triangle based on the hoist side; green stands for the country's rich vegetation, red recalls the struggle for independence, and yellow represents cocoa, one of the country's main agricultural products; the two stars symbolize the two main islands
uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia
National anthem
name:
"Independencia total" (Total Independence)
lyrics/music:
Alda Neves DA GRACA do Espirito Santo/Manuel dos Santos Barreto de Sousa e ALMEIDA
adopted 1975
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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