São Tomé and Príncipe’s economic growth does not keep pace with the increase in population. Following the independence of Portugal in 1975, the cocoa plantations were nationalized, with declining productivity as a result of, among other things, about 3,000 Portuguese plantation owners, administrators left the country. Labor market turmoil, drought, soil depletion, plant diseases have contributed to the deteriorating economy. In the second half of the 00s, however, annual growth averaged over 5 percent.
|Gross domestic product (GDP)||$ 686,000,000|
|GDP growth rate||3.90%|
|GDP per capita||$ 3,200|
|GDP by sector|
|Proportion of the population below the national poverty line||66.2%|
|Distribution of household income|
|Top 10%||k. A.|
|Lower 10%||k. A.|
|Industrial production growth rate||4.50%|
|Investment volume||34.5% of GDP|
|National debt||88.40% of GDP|
|Foreign exchange reserves||$ 64,000,000|
|Number of visitors||12,000|
The most dominant agricultural crop is cocoa, which is also the country’s most important export product. Since the plantations for barley crops (in addition to cocoa are also grown coffee, coconuts and oil palm trees) occupy most of the arable land, the country must import most of its food needs.
The industry is undeveloped, and besides agriculture, fishing is an important source of income. As the country’s own fishing fleet is small, a large part of the state budget is financed through the sale of fishing rights to foreign fishing fleets. Oil has been found in the sea off the coast of São Tomé, but no recovery has yet begun. However, licensing money from foreign oil companies is already a significant source of income.
According to Countryaah, the most important trading partner is Portugal, which also accounts for most of the country’s extensive assistance.