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Sao Tome and Principe Economy Profile 2017

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Economy - overviewThis small, poor island economy has become increasingly dependent on cocoa since independence in 1975. Cocoa production has substantially declined in recent years because of drought and mismanagement. Sao Tome and Principe has to import fuels, most manufactured goods, consumer goods, and food, making it vulnerable to fluctuations in global commodity prices. Maintaining control of inflation, fiscal discipline, and increasing flows of foreign direct investment into the nascent oil sector are major economic problems facing the country. The government also has attempted to reduce price controls and subsidies.

Over the years, Sao Tome and Principe has had difficulty servicing its external debt and has relied heavily on concessional aid and debt rescheduling. It benefited from $200 million in debt relief in December 2000 under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries program, which helped bring down the country's $300 million debt burden. In April 2011, the country completed a Threshold Country Program with The Millennium Challenge Corporation to help increase tax revenues, reform customs, and improve the business environment. In 2016, Sao Tome and Portugal signed a five-year cooperation agreement worth approximately $64 million, some of which will be provided as loans.

Considerable potential exists for development of a tourist industry, and the government has taken steps to expand facilities in recent years. Potential also exists for the development of petroleum resources in Sao Tome and Principe's territorial waters in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea, which are being jointly developed in a 60-40 split with Nigeria, but any actual production is at least several years off. Volatile aid and investment inflows, even with a growing tourism sector, have kept growth moderate at around 4% annually, which is insufficient to alleviate poverty. The IMF in late 2016 expressed concern about the country’s banking sector vulnerabilities.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$694 million (2016 est.)
$667.3 million (2015 est.)
$641.6 million (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$351 million (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate4% (2016 est.)
4% (2015 est.)
4.5% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$3,300 (2016 est.)
$3,300 (2015 est.)
$3,200 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving19.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
16% of GDP (2015 est.)
3.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 85.2%
government consumption: 14.9%
investment in fixed capital: 48.5%
investment in inventories: 0.5%
exports of goods and services: 9.6%
imports of goods and services: -58.7% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 22.4%
industry: 10.3%
services: 67.4% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line66.2% (2009 est.)
Labor force70,620 (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 26.1%
industry: 21.4%
services: 52.5% (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate13.5% (2014 est.)
13.7% (2013 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budgetrevenues: $108.6 million
expenditures: $127 million (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues30.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-5.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt89.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
81.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)5.1% (2016 est.)
5.3% (2015 est.)
Central bank discount rate16% (31 December 2009)
28% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate15% (31 December 2016 est.)
15% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$71.57 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$63.82 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$139.4 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$126.6 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$73.47 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$72.7 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
Agriculture - productscocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, copra, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, bananas, papayas, beans; poultry; fish
Industrieslight construction, textiles, soap, beer, fish processing, timber
Industrial production growth rate4.5% (2016 est.)
Current Account Balance-$28 million (2016 est.)
-$41 million (2015 est.)
Exports$11 million (2016 est.)
$11.3 million (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiescocoa 80%, copra, coffee, palm oil (2010 est.)
Exports - partnersNetherlands 29.1%, Belgium 22.3%, Spain 15.4%, US 6.6%, Nigeria 5.1% (2015)
Imports$116.8 million (2016 est.)
$118.9 million (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and electrical equipment, food products, petroleum products
Imports - partnersPortugal 65.4%, China 8.1%, Gabon 7.3% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$68.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$72.86 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external$236.5 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$219 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$389.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$369.3 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$4.14 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.5 million (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesdobras (STD) per US dollar -
22,624 (2016 est.)
22,091 (2015 est.)
22,091 (2014 est.)
18,466 (2013 est.)
19,068 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on July 9, 2017