Sao Tome and Principe Country Report
The Independent Democratic Action (Acção Democrática Independente: ADI) confirmed its status as the dominant party when Evaristo Carvalho won the presidential election run-off in August 2016. The ADI is likely to strengthen its grip on power after the upcoming October parliamentary election. Political stability is likely to be used to promote tourism, as well as associated construction and transport projects. With the 2014 oil crash that led to a crisis in key investor Angola, other investors, particularly China, are being strongly encouraged with tax incentives and decade-long concessions to invest in São Tomé.
The government's commitment to attracting foreign investment in order to raise living standards has been underlined by the adoption of key legislation adhering to international standards, relating to investment guarantees and low oil prices that make drilling unattractive. Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada's ambition to turn the country into an IT and telecoms hub is undermined by São Tomé's geographical isolation, undiversified economy, relatively unskilled workforce, institutionalised bureaucracy, and poor infrastructure. The lack of deep-water transshipment services, in particular, shows no sign of ending soon as new port plans stall.
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 in the past year. 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 neighboring countries to improve surveillance and anti-piracy measures.
The only possible threat of civil war could be driven by divisions within the army; however, the army no longer poses a serious risk of mounting a coup. Rising dissatisfaction over the army's salary structure and disciplinary concerns were largely addressed when former president Manuel Pinto da Costa in February 2014 dismissed Brigadier Felisberto Maria Segundo as chief of staff of the armed forces after "acts of insubordination" by some army units. 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.
High food prices and poor service provision are occasional motivating factors that trigger protests. A key ADI promise during its successful electoral campaign was to make imported rice cheaper and more available. In February 2017, the first popular protest against the Trovoada-led government 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 capital city São Tomé.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz