Strategic positioning of Sao Tome and Principe
National flag
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Basic Information São Tomé and Príncipe is an island country in the southeast of the Gulf of Guinea on the central western side of Africa, with an area of about 1,001 square kilometres. It is composed of 14 isles including São Tomé, Príncipe, Rolas, and Caroço. The population is about 204,000, 90% of them are Bantu people. The capital city São Tomé is the largest city of the country.
Investment Environment

In recent years, the government of São Tomé and Príncipe has taken pro-active measures to reduce tariffs, improve the investment environment and establish free trade zones to attract foreign investment. It focuses on investment in infrastructure such as ports and electricity, and actively develops new industries such as tourism. These moves have allowed the economy to maintain moderate growth.

According to Doing Business 2020, the World Bank’s report on business environment, in terms of starting up businesses, it takes only 6 procedures and takes an average of 7 days to start a business in São Tomé and Príncipe; in terms of construction permits, it only takes an average of 67 days in São Tomé and Príncipe and costs only 2.2% of the warehouse value.

In terms of industrial structure, 51% of the population is engaged in agricultural production. The main cash crop is cocoa, accounting for more than 20% of GDP. The unique geographical location, coupled with the beautiful natural landscape, provides São Tomé and Príncipe with rich tourism resources. In 2017, tourism and other service industries accounted for 65% of GDP.

Trade Overview

The main export destinations of São Tomé and Príncipe are the Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium and Germany, and the main export goods are cocoa, steel products, coffee, dried coconut and palm kernels. The main origins for imports are Portugal, Angola, China, and Brazil. The main import goods are grain, fuel, industrial products, and consumer goods.

In 2019, the total trade volume of commodities between China and São Tomé and Príncipe was US$ 8.934 million. Chinese exports took a larger part. The main export goods were flat rolled iron or non-alloy steel, small passenger cars and steel plates.