The Capital is São Tomé. The islands state of Sao Tome and Principe is one of the smallest country in Africa. It is located in the Gulf of Guinea just north of Equator and 300 km west of Gabon. It comprises two islands – São Tomé (859 sq Kms) Príncipe (142 sq Kms) and some uninhabited rocky islets, off of the northwestern coast of Gabon. Sao Tome and Principe has a tropical climate characterized by hot and humid conditions that are influenced and modified by the mountainous topography.

The Economy dependents on cocoa, represents about 95% of exports. Other export crops include copra, palm, kernels, and coffee. Efforts have been made by the government in recent years to expand food production, and several projects have been undertaken, largely financed by foreign donors. Sao Tome has to import all fuels, most manufactured goods, consumer goods, and a significant amount of food. The scenic islands have potential for tourism, and the government is attempting to improve its tourist industry infrastructure. The building of a new oil terminal and investment in existing port, road and airport infrastructure will boost the construction sector.

Annual Indicators

2013(a) 2014(a) 2015(a) 2016(b)
Area Sq Km 1.001 1.001 1.001 1.001
Population (‘000) 182 186 190 194
GDP (US$ m) 305.6 337.4 299.6(b) 339.2
Real GDP growth (%) 4.2 4.5 4.0(b) 4.4
Exports of goods fob (US$ m) 12.9 17.2 11.3 11.7
Imports of goods (US$ m) 128.6 144.6 118.9 124.5
Consumer Price Inflation (av; %) 8.1 6.4 5.2 5.4
Current Account Balance (US$ m) -74.9 -104.0 -68.6 -70.8
Exchange Rate (av); Db:US$ 18,450.0 18,466.4 22,090.6 22,084.7

(a) Actual (b) EIU estimates

Principal Exports (2015) US$ m Principal Imports (2015) US$ m
Cocoa 7.9 Investment goods 27.9
Re-exports 2,2 Food products 25.7
Other 1,2 Petroleum products 31.3
Others 34

Main Destinations of Exports and Imports (2015)

Main Destinations of Exports (a) % of total
Netherlands 29.2
Belgium 22.4
Spain 15.5
Nigeria 9.5
US 6.6
Main Origins of Imports (a) % of total
Portugal 65.1
China 8.0
Gabon 7.3
Netherlands 2.6
Spain 1.7

(a) Derived from partners’ trade returns

Mainland China-Sao Tome & Principle Bilateral Trade (US$ 10,000)

Year Total Exports* Imports**
2014 573 573 0
2015 599 596 3

* China’s export value to Sao Tome & Principe
** China’s import value from Sao Tome & Principe

Its closest friendship are with the other Portuguese-Speaking African countries and with Portugal itself, the main trading partner.


  • Guide for Countries and Regions on Overseas Investment and Co-operation – Sao Tome and Principe
  • Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Co-operation of Ministry of Commerce
  • Investment Promotion Agency of Ministry of Commerce
  • Economic and Commercial Counselor’s Office of the Embassy of China in Sao Tome and Principe
  • China Statistical Yearbook 2016
  • The Economic Intelligence Unit – Country Report
  • The Macau Statistics and Census Department