An official website of the United States government Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Executive Summary

The island nation of Sao Tome and Principe (STP) is located in the equatorial Atlantic in the Gulf of Guinea.  STP is taking positive steps toward improving its investment climate and making the country a more attractive destination for foreign direct investment (FDI).  STP is a stable, multi-party democracy and the government is working to combat corruption and create an open and transparent business environment. The country’s first Public Private Partnership (PPP) law, the new Notary Code, and the Commercial Register Code all entered into force in 2018.    An anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing law adopted in 2013 brought STP into compliance with international standards. With limited domestic capital, STP continues to rely heavily on outside investment and as such is committed to taking necessary reforms to improve its investment climate.

STP requires considerable FDI to realize its development goals and potential.  Foreign investors, however, face challenges identifying viable investment opportunities due to STP’s weak domestic economy, inadequate infrastructure, small market, slow justice system, high cost of obtaining credit, and limited access as well as the high cost of electricity.  STP is a developing country. The World Bank estimates STP’s population at roughly 204,327 and its gross domestic product (GDP) at around USD 392.5 million in 2017. Due to STP’s limited revenue sources, foreign donors finance roughly 90 percent of its budget. For the 2018 state budget, STP’s main sources of foreign assistance were China, Portugal, Japan, the World Bank, European Union, and the African Development Bank.  Creating “robust economic growth” is one of the four axes of the government program approved in December 2018 by the parliament for the next four years. Special attention will be also given to traditional sectors, mainly agriculture, livestock and marine resources. The STP’s extensive maritime domain (160,000 km2) might present opportunities for hydrocarbon production.  The government announced advanced negotiations with China for the construction of a multifunctional commercial port in order to modernize its port infrastructure and capitalize its fishing potential.  STP will also upgrade the airport with Chinese funding in 2020. With USD 29 million Word Bank support, STP will rehabilitate 27 km of road linking the capital to the north of Sao Tome. As a former Portuguese colony, STP has strong economic ties with Portugal and other Lusophone countries including Angola and Brazil.

STP is politically stable, and the government and business community appear focused on building consensus to develop the country economically and to improve basic social services for the country’s young and growing population.  STP had peaceful demonstrations with a recent history of smooth political transitions. Free and fair legislative and municipal elections held in October 2018 led to a formation of new government led by the Movement of Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe/Social Democratic Party (MLSTP/PSD) in coalition with the PCD-MDFM-UDD coalition.  Prime Minister Jorge Bom Jesus, who took office in December 2018, is focused on fighting corruption, improving the business environment, attracting FDI and promoting economic growth. In July 2016, STP elected the president, Evaristo Carvalho, a member of the Independent Democratic Action party (ADI). President Carvalho supports increased foreign investment and welcomes closer U.S. engagement on economic matters.

Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings

Measure Year Index/Rank Website Address
TI Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 64 of 180 https://www.transparency.org/cpi2018 
World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2019 170 of 190 http://www.doingbusiness.org/en/rankings
Global Innovation Index 2018 Not Ranked https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/analysis-indicator 
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) 2017 $21 http://www.bea.gov/international/factsheet/ 
World Bank GNI per capita 2017 $1,770 https://data.worldbank.org/country/sao-tome-and-principe?view=chart

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

Sao Tome and Principe is taking steps toward sustainable economic growth.  Its economic prospects likely depend on the government’s ability to attract sustained FDI.  Therefore, the government is anxious to improve the country’s investment climate to make it a more attractive destination for foreign investors.  Under Article 14 of the Investment Code, the State guarantees equal and non-discriminatory treatment to both foreign and domestic investors operating in the country.  The Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (APCI), housed under the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Blue Economy, promotes and facilitates investment through single-window service and multi-sectoral coordination.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

According to Article 4 of the Investment Code, both domestic and foreign investors are free to establish and own business enterprises, as well as engage in all forms of business activity in STP, except in the sectors defined by law as reserved for the state, specifically military and paramilitary activities and as well as the Central Bank operations.  STP is gradually moving toward open competition in all sectors of the economy, and competitive equality is the official standard applied to private enterprises in competition with public enterprises with respect to access to markets, credit, and other business operations. The government has eliminated former public monopolies in farming, banking, insurance, airline services, telecommunications, and trade (export and import).

There are no limits on foreign ownership or control except for activities customarily reserved for the state, including military, paramilitary, and central bank activities. The form of public participation, namely the percentage of government ownership in joint ventures, varies with each agreement.  Based on Article 8 of the Regulation of the Investment Code, all inbound investment proposals must be screened and approved by the applicable ministry for the economic sector in coordination with APCI. According to Article 14, an investment proposal can be rejected if it threatens national security, public health, or ecological equilibrium and if the proposal has a negative effect or insufficient contribution to country’s economy.  However, these mechanisms do not go beyond the law’s mandate and are not considered barriers to investment.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

The government has not conducted any investment policy reviews through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).  Neither the World Trade Organization (WTO) nor United National Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has conducted a review. STP has observer status with WTO and is a member of UNCTAD.

Business Facilitation

STP has taken steps to facilitate investment and improve the business environment in recent years.  The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) worked with STP from 2007 to 2011 on a Threshold Country Program to improve investment opportunities, including creating a “one-stop shop” to help encourage new investments by making it easier and cheaper to import and export goods, reducing the time required to start a new business and improving STP’s tax and customs clearance administration.  Currently a business can be registered within one to five days. These business facilitation services, including the “one-stop-shop” for business registration, offer equal treatment for women and underrepresented minorities in the economy; however, there is no special assistance provided to these groups. The Single Window website   (http://gue-stp.net/spip.php?article24  ; Portuguese language only) provides information and application form on creating and registering companies in STP.

Outward Investment

While STP’s government does not actively promote outward investment, it does not restrict domestic investors from investing abroad.

2. Bilateral Investment Agreements and Taxation Treaties

STP and Portugal signed a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) and a Double Tax Agreement in 1995 and 2015 respectively.  Both documents are still pending ratification. STP has not signed either a BIT or bilateral taxation treaty with the United States. There were no ongoing systemic tax disputes between the government and foreign investors or any taxation issues concerning U.S. investors.

3. Legal Regime

Transparency of the Regulatory System

The laws and regulations that affect direct investment, including environmental, health, and safety rules and regulations, apply equally to foreign and domestic firms.  STP tax laws reward citizens who return to the home country to invest, while also containing provisions for attracting foreigners to invest in STP. The STP legal code is based on Portuguese law, and laws and regulations are applied at the national level.  Rule-making and regulatory authority exists at the national level and regulations are developed at the ministerial level, approved by the National Assembly and promulgated by the president. The ministry concerned is responsible for any regulatory enforcement mechanisms.  Drafted bills or regulations are rarely made available for public comment. Copies of most regulations can be purchased online at https://www.legis-palop.org/   or directly at the Ministry of Justice, Public Administration and Human Rights in the format of the Official Gazette.

International Regulatory Considerations

STP is a member of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).  ECCAS’s fundamental goal is to promote exchange and collaboration among the member countries and give an institutional and legal framework to their cooperation.  ECCAS is the largest economic community in Central Africa, including Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) member states (Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo, and Equatorial Guinea), as well as Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Rwanda, and Sao Tome and Principe.  Covering an area of 6,640,600 square kilometers, ECCAS has a total population of approximately 130 million. STP is not a member of the WTO, but has observer status. STP is among the forty-four African Nations that signed the agreement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Legal System and Judicial Independence

Disputes are generally resolved through negotiations between parties without litigation, and there are few known instances of disagreements involving foreign investors reaching international courts.  One notable exception is a 10-year dispute between a local businessman and Angolan investors over a brewery, which led to the Parliament’s dismissal of Supreme Court justices in 2018. The country has a written commercial law but does not have specialized courts.  Overall, the legal system is perceived to act independently. The judicial process is procedurally fair but is subject to manipulation on occasion. All regulations or enforcement actions are appealable to the Supreme Court.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

In April 2018, the country’s first Public Private Partnership (PPP) Law (Law 06/2018) entered into force.  In addition, both the new Commercial Registry Code (Law no. 13/2018 of July 3) and the Code of Notaries (Law 14/2018 of July 4) were approved in 2018, entering into force on January 4, 2019, revoking the old codes (Law no. 47619, March 31, 1967), and the Decrees 42644 and 42645, both of November 14, 1959.

Now, a new business can obtain expedited registration within 24 hours for approximately USD 470 or between three to five days for around USD 240.  STP ranks 148 out of 190 in terms of starting a new business according to the 2019 Doing Business Report, the same rank as in 2018.

Although no online business registration process exists, companies can easily register their businesses at the counter.  The following is a general description of how a foreign company can establish a local office:

  1. Provide full company documentation, translated into Portuguese.
  2. Check the uniqueness of the proposed company name and reserve a name.
  3. Notarize the company statutes with the registration office at the Ministry of Justice.
  4. File a company declaration with the Tax Administration Office at the Ministry of Finance, Commerce, and Blue Economy.
  5. Register with the Social Security Office at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.
  6. Publish an incorporation notice in the official government gazette (Diario da Republica).
  7. Publish the incorporation notice in a national newspaper.
  8. Register the company with the Commercial Registry Office at the Ministry of Finance, Commerce, and Blue Economy.
  9. Apply for a commercial operations permit (also known as an “alvara”).
  10. Apply for a taxpayer identification number with the Office of Tax Administration at the Ministry of Finance, Commerce, and Blue Economy.
  11. Register employees with the Social Security Office.

Other required documents include: 1) copies of the by-laws of the parent company and of the minutes of the meeting of the board of directors in which the opening of the STP branch is approved; 2) a certificate of appointment of the general manager for the STP office; 3) a copy of any agreement signed with a Sao Tomean company or with the STP government; 4) two copies of permits from the Court authorization to operate; and 5) two photographs and a copy of the passport of the General Manager.

In addition, the Single Window website (http://www.gue-stp.net/spip.php?article24  ; Portuguese language only) provides information on creating and registering companies in STP.

There are no agencies or brokers that provide services to simplify the procedures for establishing an office in STP.  Some companies hire a legal office for assistance.

Competition and Anti-Trust Laws

AGER (General Regulation Authority of the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe) was created to promote competition, as well as to prevent operator abuses in the water, electricity, telecommunications sectors as well as in the postal service.  AGER was established in 2005 and is housed under the Ministry of Public Works, Infrastructures, Natural Resources, and Environment. AGER supervision does not go beyond its mandate. For other economic sectors, STP does not have specific agencies that review transactions for competition-related concerns.

Expropriation and Compensation

The law permits the government to expropriate private property only if it is deemed to be in the national public interest and only with adequate compensation.  There is no evidence to suggest that the government would undertake expropriation in a discriminatory manner or in violation of established principles of international law and standards.

Aside from a massive land expropriation from colonial farmers in 1976 – later recognized by the government as detrimental to STP’s economy – there have not been any documented cases of expropriation of foreign-owned properties.  The government has reportedly considered expropriating land to expand the runway at the international airport, but thus far has been reluctant to do so out of concern that any expropriation could be a deterrent to new investment.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

STP is a member of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID Convention) and the convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958 New York Convention).

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

STP does not have a Bilateral Investment Treaty with the United States.  In May 2018, a dispute between a local businessman and Angolan investor over a brewery, led to government intervention. There are no reports of investor-state disputes that have involved a U.S. person in the past 10 years.  The STP courts recognize and enforce foreign arbitral awards issued against the government.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

STP does not have any conflict mediation system but the country has a Voluntary Arbitration Law (LAV).  The LAV is largely based on the Portuguese Arbitration Act of 1986. Many of the principles of the UNCITRAL Model Law are incorporated into the LAV.  The Arbitration Center, which was housed under the Chamber of Commerce, has ceased activities. STP’s legal system recognizes international arbitration, and local courts recognize foreign arbitral awards, though enforcement may be difficult.  No state-owned enterprise (SOE) is currently involved in an investment dispute.

Bankruptcy Regulations

STP has a bankruptcy law, but it is not well developed.  In the World Bank’s 2019 Doing Business Report, STP ranks 168 out of 190 economies on the ease of resolving insolvency.

4. Industrial Policies

Investment Incentives

According to the 2016 Investment Code, all investments above 50,000 Euros are eligible for guarantees and benefits, including fiscal incentives stated in the Fiscal Benefits and Incentives Code of November 2016.  Examples of such incentives include tax deductions for corporate tax, stamp tax, taxes on banking operations, and withholding tax. Other incentives include the reduction or exemption of import and re-export tariffs.  The government also provides incentives for human resources training, as well as other benefits. Based on Article 31 of the Fiscal Benefits and Incentives Code, the incentives are granted through the Private Investment Registration Certificate (CRIP) issued by the Trade and Investment Promotion Agency on approval of the investment project.  However, unlike in the 2008 Investment Code, the 2016 Code does not provide access to State-owned land and facilities as incentives to invest. The government did not adopt any significant measures in 2018 to incentivize investments.

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

STP currently has no free trade zones or free ports.

Under Article 33 of the Fiscal Benefits and Incentives Code, the government defines the districts of Cantagalo, Lemba, Lobata and Caue, as well as Principe, as Special Development Zones.  Therefore, any new investment established in these areas under the Investment Code can qualify for special incentives. According to Article 14 of the Investment Code, the state assures fair, non-discriminatory, and equal treatment of all investment in the national territory.  Companies that qualify may benefit from reductions or exemptions of taxes under the conditions set forth in the Code of Free and Offshore Activities.

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

The government encourages but does not mandate local employment.  STP has no specific performance requirements as a condition for establishing, maintaining, or expanding investment.  However, the government offers better incentives for those companies that choose to reinvest or expand their investment.  There are no requirements for investors to buy local products, to export a certain percentage of output, or to invest in a specific geographical area.  There is no blanket requirement that nationals own shares in foreign investments in STP. The visa application process is straightforward and transparent and visas or work permits are usually easy to obtain if companies meet all the requirements.   Nevertheless, there are few Sao Tomean embassies worldwide to process visa applications. Under the Legal Regime of Foreign Citizens in STP, STP lifted visa requirements for citizens of the United States, EU, Canada, and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries.  Also, any foreign citizen holding a valid passport with a valid Schengen or U.S. visa can enter and stay in the country up to 15 days. STP recently began accepting online visa applications. Information regarding procedures to submit an online visa application is available (Portuguese and English) at http://www.smf.st/evisa/index.php  .

5. Protection of Property Rights

Real Property

Based on Article 46 of the Constitution, the state guarantees private property rights.  According to Article 13 of the Expropriation Code, authorities must provide fair, adequate, and effective payment at market value in advance before expropriating any private property.  The government owns the vast majority of land in the country, most of which is agricultural land granted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fishing and Rural Development through concession of land titles under the Land Reform Law.  Less than 10 percent of land is held by private owners. Foreigners cannot purchase land, although they can purchase structures. The 2019 World Bank’s Doing Business Report ranks STP 173 out 190 economies in terms of registering properties.  The new Notary Law approved in 2018 ensures judicial security and is intended to improve the speed and accuracy of notarial acts. U.S. companies have not raised property rights concerns with the Embassy.

Intellectual Property Rights

U.S. companies have not raised intellectual property rights (IPR) concerns with the Embassy.  During the past year, STP did not enact any new IPR related laws or regulations. All copyright and industrial property rights proceedings are covered by the Directorate of Industry in collaboration with National Directorate of Culture, both under the Ministry Tourism, Culture, Commerce and Industry.

STP is not listed in USTR’s Special 301 Report or Notorious Markets List.  STP is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The Regulation on Industrial Property regulates the enforcement of IP, including geographical indications, patents, and trademarks.  STP does not report on seizures of counterfeit goods. For additional information about treaty obligations and points of contact at local IP offices, please see WIPO’s country profiles at http://www.wipo.int/directory/en/  .

6. Financial Sector

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

Portfolio investment is undeveloped.  The Central Bank of STP (BCSTP) issued Treasury bills (T-bills) for the first time on June 29, 2015 for 75 million Dobras (around USD 3.7 million) at the fixed interest rate of 6.2 percent, with a maturity of six months.  The demand was 20 percent higher than the offer, resulting from the participation of three domestic banks. The most recent issuance occurred on March 15, 2018. STP does not have a stock market. Articles 13 and 14 of the Foreign Exchange Regulations facilitate the free flow of financial resources under the supervision of the Central Bank.

Foreign investors are able to get credit on the local market; however, access to credit is difficult due to the limited variety of credit instruments, high interest rates, and the number of guarantees requested by the commercial banks.  The World Bank Doing Business Report 2019 ranks STP 161 out 190 economies regarding access to credit, a two point drop from 2018. There are currently few significant U.S. investors active in STP.

Money and Banking System

STP has four private commercial banks.  Portuguese, Nigerian, Angolan, Cameroonian, Gabonese and Togolese interests (as well as those of STP) are represented in the ownership and management of the commercial banks.  In early 2018, the Central Bank (BCSTP) declared commercial bank “Private Bank” insolvent and opened a public tender to liquidate its assets and liabilities. The Gabonese investment bank BGFI opened its Sao Tomean operation in March 2012.  Banking services are available in the capital with a few smaller branches in cities in the north, south, and center of the country, as well as in Principe.

In addition to retail banking, commercial banks offer most corporate banking services, or can procure them from overseas.  Local credit to the private sector is limited and expensive, but available to both foreign and local investors on equal terms.  The country’s main economic actors finance themselves outside STP. Foreigners must establish residency to open a bank account.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

The Central Bank supervises the national financial system and defines monetary and exchange rate policies in the country.  Among other responsibilities, the Central Bank sells hard currency and establishes the reference rate. Access to foreign currency is limited; however, there is no official norm restricting access.  The Article 18 of the Investment Code, foreign investors are allowed to transfer or repatriate funds associated with an investment.

The Dobra, denoted by DB is the country’s national currency.  In July 2009, STP and Portugal signed an economic cooperation agreement to peg the Dobra to the Euro rather than a weighted basket of currencies.  As a result, since 2010, the Dobra has been pegged to the Euro. The Central Bank introduced the new currency in January 2018 to modernize and strengthen the country’s financial system.  The exchange rate is currently 1 euro to 24.5 DB. This peg offers credible parity, minimizes monetary instability costs, and provides better credibility for the exchange rate and monetary policy.  As of April 2019, USD 1 was equivalent to about DB 21.7.

Remittance Policies

Repatriation of capital is possible with prior authorization.  According to both the Foreign Exchange Law and the Investment Code, transfer of profits outside the country is also allowed after the deductions for legal and statutory reserves and the payment of existing taxes owed.  The government encourages reinvestments with associated reductions in income taxes.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

STP has a National Oil Account (NOA).  The NOA was previously funded by signing bonuses paid by energy and oil companies to gain rights to conduct exploration and production activities.  The Petroleum Law allows the government to withdraw up to 20 percent of the balance of the NOA every year as calculated on June 30 of the previous year.  Details are available on the state budget and under NOA online.

7. State-Owned Enterprises

When STP’s cocoa plantations were shut down in the late 1980s, most SOEs also closed.  EMAE (Water and Power Supply Company), ENAPORT (Port Authority Company), ENASA (National Company for Airports and Air Safety), and Empresa dos Correios (Post Office) are 100 percent state-owned enterprises with some financial autonomy.  Through a joint venture, the government holds 49 percent of CST (Santomean Telecommunication Company) while the largest Brazilian telecommunication company, OI, owns 51 percent. All four fully-owned state enterprises are subject to audits by the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Blue Economy and the Audit Court.  They have financial autonomy, but largely depend on funds from the state budget.

Privatization Program

STP does not have an active privatization program.  The IMF has recommended privatization through periodic reports.

8. Responsible Business Conduct

There are no rules or legislation pertaining to responsible business conduct (RBC) in STP.  Companies generally act in accordance with labor, environment, flora and fauna protection, consumer protection, taxation, and other related laws.  There is limited awareness of expectations of or standards for responsible business conduct. STP participates in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

9. Corruption

STP has an overall positive trajectory in combating corruption due to reforms the government has undertaken in recent years; ranking 64 out of 180 countries and territories on Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perception Index.  The government adopted an anti-corruption law in 2012. To reduce corruption by civil servants and to track the flow of money, authorities put in place a new requirement that all payments to government entities over USDUSD 5 be made directly at the Central Bank and all salary payments to civil servants be paid directly to the employees’ accounts at commercial banks.  The government has denounced corruption and pledged to take necessary steps to prevent and combat it.

In 2013, the parliament adopted an anti-money laundering/counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) law in compliance with international standards.  The law includes a clear description of the crimes involving money laundering and terrorism financing activities, specifies the persons and entities that authorities can hold criminally responsible, describes the sanctions that authorities can impose and the assets they can confiscate in connection with the criminal activities, and establishes STP’s regulatory structure.  The law designates the Financial Information Unit (Unidade de Informaçao Financeira) as the central agency in STP with responsibility for investigating suspect transactions.  STP was removed from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) 2013 list of countries that have strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT standards.  STP is a member of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, a FATF-style regional body.

According to the 2016 Investment Code, all investment proposals must be submitted to the APCI, which coordinates the analysis and approval of investment projects.  The law limits contacts between investors and officials involved in the approval process. The law allots time for each investment approval procedure to limit the potential opportunities for corruption and bribery.

STP signed and ratified the UN Anticorruption Convention.  STP is not party to the Economic Co-operation and Development Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

STP does not have a designated agency responsible for combatting corruption.

Resources to Report Corruption

Deodato Capela, President
Centro de Integridade Pública de Sao Tome e Principe (STP Public Integrity Center) – Anticorruption, Transparency and Integrity -NGO
P.C: 330, Almeirim-Sao Tome; Sao Tome e Principe
Telephone: + 239 991 1116
Email: cipstp.org@gmail.com
http://cipstp.st/  

10. Political and Security Environment

STP is relatively stable, has no ethnic tensions, and has a relaxed lifestyle which locals refer to in local dialect as leve-leve (“take it easy”).  Since democratic reforms in 1990, the archipelago has been a good example of democracy in the sub-region with a history of the peaceful transfer of power and consensus in decision making.  Protests in early 2018 over the creation of the Constitutional Court highlighted the lack of consensus in that decision. Close legislative elections in October 2018 raised tensions; however, the courts certified the original vote counts and in December opposition parties formed a new coalition government in a peaceful transfer of power.

The National Assembly is made up of 55 seats. Currently, Independent Democratic Action holds 25 seats, the MLSTP/PSD, 23 seats, the coalition PCD-MDFM-UDD, 5 seats, and the Sao Tome and Principe Independent Citizen Movement (MCISTP), 2 seats.

STP has a generally good human rights record and demonstrates a respect for citizens’ and workers’ rights.  Strikes are not the primary means to settle labor disputes and labor strikes have been sporadic in recent times.

Since independence in 1975, there have been no incidents of politically motivated attacks on projects or installations.  There is no anti-American sentiment and instances of civil disorder are rare. Piracy and potential for terrorist acts exist in the Gulf of Guinea, but the impact on STP and its territorial waters has been limited.  STP has sought to be an active partner in regional maritime security efforts, although its capacity and resources are minimal due to budget constraints. Violent crime is low.

11. Labor Policies and Practices

A significant portion of STP’s workforce is young, relatively well-educated, and multilingual (Portuguese and French).  Further training of the workforce is needed, however, for the economy to continue development. The percentage of foreign/migrant workers is low.  The government encourages companies to hire nationals, but does not require it. The government set the national minimum wage for private and public sectors in 2016.  The basic salary varies by the size of the enterprise and will increase over time. For micro enterprises or family businesses, the minimum wage is around USD 37 per month, small business USD 47, medium enterprise USD 60 and large enterprise USD 74.  The basic salary for the public sector is approximately USD 50. Minimum wage, workday, overtime, paid annual vacations, and holidays are established in labor laws. Women are entitled to state-funded maternity leave for a period of 30 days before and 30 days after childbirth.  The law recognizes the right of workers to form and join independent unions, conduct legal strikes, and bargain collectively. While the law provides for the right to strike, including by government employees and other essential workers, the law strictly regulates this right. The law does not prohibit anti-union discrimination or retaliation against strikers.  Labor laws, including occupational health and safety standards, are poorly enforced due to a lack of resources. Workers’ collective bargaining agreements remain relatively weak due to the government’s role as the principal employer and key interlocutor in labor matters, including wages.

12. OPIC and Other Investment Insurance Programs

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is authorized to do business in STP, but it has not been active in the country.

13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy

Host Country Statistical Source* USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
Economic Data Year Amount Year Amount
Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD) 2017 $393.3 2017 $392.5 https://data.worldbank.org/country/sao-tome-and-principe  

https://www.financas.gov.st/index.php/publicacoes/documentos/file/854-2-oge2019-lei-relatorio-pdf  

Foreign Direct Investment Host Country Statistical Source* USG or International Statistical Source USG or International Source of Data:
BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other
U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A 2017 $21 BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/direct-investment-and-multinational-enterprises-comprehensive-data  
Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions) N/A N/A N/A N/A BEA data available at https://www.bea.gov/international/direct-investment-and-multinational-enterprises-comprehensive-data  
Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP N/A N/A 2017 40.4% UNCTAD data available at

https://unctad.org/en/Pages/DIAE/World%20Investment%20Report/Country-Fact-Sheets.aspx    

* Source for Host Country Data: Ministry of Planning, Finance and Blue Economy, 2019


Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI

Data not available.


Table 4: Sources of Portfolio Investment

Data not available.

14. Contact for More Information

Diana Costa
Political/Economic Officer
U.S. Embassy Libreville
Telephone: +241 0145 7000
Email: LibrevilleEconomic@state.gov

2019 Investment Climate Statements: Sao Tome and Principe
Build a Custom Report

01 / Select A Year

02 / Select Sections

03 / Select Countries You can add more than one country or area.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future