Country Reports

Sao Tome and Principe Country Report

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Risk Level

Very High


Executive Summary

A coalition led by the MLSTP/PSD took power on 3 December 2018 after eight weeks of competition over who would from the government following legislative polls on 7 October. The administration led by Jorge Bom Jesus has only a single seat majority, but a peaceful transition of power from the former ruling ADI, which remains the largest party, underlines the relative strength of São Tomé’s parliamentary democracy.The change of power is bringing a rapprochement with long-term ally Angola at the expense of China, which no longer appears to be interested in the construction of a proposed USD800-million deepwater port in Fernão Dias. Angola and state oil company Sonangol have a prominent role in the economy and in providing budgetary support for a country that will raise less than 3% of the USD150-million budget announced in April 2019 from domestic revenues.The previous government headed by Miguel Trovoada had claimed to have frustrated two coup attempts in mid-2018, but actual coup risks are minimal as the military has stepped back from its previous tendency to become involved in politics. The new defence minister said in December 2018 that the government had staged the coup attempts to boost its waning popularity and all those arrested for alleged involvement have been released. Real GDP growth is forecast at 4.5% and 4.9% in 2019 and 2020, respectively, driven by the implementation of infrastructure projects that will support the construction, services, and agricultural sectors. However, the country’s heavy reliance on external sources of financing and delays in donor disbursements could severely undermine growth prospects.
Last update: April 25, 2019

Operational Outlook

Long-held ambitions to turn the country into an IT and telecoms hub have been undermined by São Tomé's geographical isolation, undiversified economy, relatively unskilled workforce, institutionalised bureaucracy and poor infrastructure. Elite level corruption has been illustrated by an ongoing case over an allegedly illegal USD30-million loan contracted by the former ADI government from the China International Fund. The Attorney-General has named the former prime minister, public works minister and finance minister as defendants, with the latter ordered to be held in pre-trial detention in April 2019. Strikes by teachers, judges and health service workers are common due to shortages of state funding, but the private sector employs few people.

Last update: April 25, 2019



Piracy is a threat throughout the Gulf of Guinea, and São Tomé and Principe's geographical proximity to the Niger Delta, where many piracy groups are based, raises the risk of attacks on vessels serving the island nation in general and the nascent oil industry in particular. However, no major attacks have been registered near São Toméan waters for years, and the piracy risk is now heavily focused on kidnap for ransom in coastal waters. Nevertheless, the government is fully engaged with efforts by regional organisations such as the Economic Community of West African States and the Economic Community of Central African States and neighbouring countries to improve surveillance and anti-piracy measures.

Last update: June 21, 2019

War Risks

The government headed by Patrice Trovoada had claimed to have frustrated two coup attempts in mid-2018, but actual coup risks are minimal as the military has stepped back from its previous long-standing tendency to become involved in politics. Oscar Sousa, defence minister under the new Jorge Bom Jesus administration, said in December 2018 that the previous government had staged the coup attempts to boost its waning popularity, and all those arrested for alleged involvement have been released. São Tomé's geographical isolation as an island nation and friendly relations with Gulf of Guinea countries mean there is very little risk of interstate war.

Last update: April 25, 2019

Social Stability


High food prices and poor service provision are occasional motivating factors that trigger protests. In February 2017, the first popular protest against the Patrice Trovoada-led government elected in 2014 took place in the capital city, but the protests failed to mobilise a significant number of people. Working conditions and salaries in the civil service have also occasionally been the source of protests, such as the April 2017 strike and demonstration held by police officers in São Tomé. City. Protests are likely to scale down in 2019 as the Trovoada administration paid the price for broken promises when it lost power in late 2018 to a coalition headed by the MLSTP/PSD.

Last update: April 25, 2019

Health Risk


Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for all travelers over one year of age entering the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information


The climate of Sao Tomé and Principe is equatorial; the island nation receives abundant rain and experiences high temperatures and high levels of humidity. Ocean breezes however often lower air temperatures. The dry season lasts from June until September; the month of January also sees a respite from rain (during the “Pequenha Gravana”). The south of the country's main island is mountainous and sees higher annual rainfall (7 meters) than the north (2 meters).

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +239
Police: 22 22 22


Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz


Last update: April 5, 2019