Politic in Sao Tome and Principe
The Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe (STP) is Africa's smallest economy. Its gross domestic product (GDP) for 2009 is estimated at
around 190 million US dollars (USD), with a GDP per capita of USD 1 160. GDP growth slowed to an estimated 4.1% in 2009, from 5.8% in 2008.
For 2010 and 2011 GDP growth is forecast to increase by 4.6% and 5.1%. Construction and commerce drove economic activity in 2009, compensating
for the drop in foreign direct investment (FDI) and tourism caused by the international crisis. Inflation is largely determined by imported
food and oil prices, coupled with the strong inflow of foreign currency related to aid and oil-exploration activities. The inflation rate
declined to around 17.3% in 2009, down from 26.1% in 2008, and the aim is to reduce it further in the mid term.
In May 2009, Prime Minister Rafael Branco launched a "New Strategic Plan for National Development". It foresees an evolution towards a
service-based economy depending on two pillars of growth: the promotion of high-end ecotourism; and the servicing of the transport sector and
oil exploration and extraction activities in the Gulf of Guinea. This vision includes the future establishment of a free-trade zone, port
transhipment activities, promotion of fisheries and the building of a new deepwater port facility in Fernjo Dias in the district of Lobata.
According to the government's Poverty Profile Survey from 2001, approximately 54% of the 150 000 Séo Tomeans are poor and 15% live in
extreme poverty. Social indicators are weak and improving only slowly, especially in rural areas. Incomes are low and the country ranks
131st out of 177 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index.
Sao Tome Business comments