Sao Tome and Principe

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 29, 2011
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Location of Sao Tome and Principe
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Introduction

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Discovered and claimed by Portugal in the late 15th century, the islands' sugar-based economy gave way to coffee and cocoa in the 19th century - all grown with plantation slave labor, a form of which lingered into the 20th century. While independence was achieved in 1975, democratic reforms were not instituted until the late 1980s. The country held its first free elections in 1991, but frequent internal wrangling between the various political parties precipitated repeated changes in leadership and two failed coup attempts in 1995 and 2003. The recent discovery of oil in the Gulf of Guinea promises to attract increased attention to the small island nation.
 
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Geography

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Western Africa, islands in the Gulf of Guinea, straddling the Equator, west of Gabon
 
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1 00 N, 7 00 E
 
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total: 964 sq km
country comparison to the world: 185
land: 964 sq km
water: 0 sq km
 
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more than five times the size of Washington, DC
 
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0 km
 
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209 km
 
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measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
 
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tropical; hot, humid; one rainy season (October to May)
 
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volcanic, mountainous
 
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lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico de Sao Tome 2,024 m
 
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fish, hydropower
 
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arable land: 8.33%
permanent crops: 48.96%
other: 42.71% (2005)
 
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100 sq km (2008)
 
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NA
 
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deforestation; soil erosion and exhaustion
 
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party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
 
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the smallest country in Africa; the two main islands form part of a chain of extinct volcanoes and both are mountainous
 
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People and Society

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noun: Sao Tomean(s)
adjective: Sao Tomean
 
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mestico, angolares (descendants of Angolan slaves), forros (descendants of freed slaves), servicais (contract laborers from Angola, Mozambique, and Cape Verde), tongas (children of servicais born on the islands), Europeans (primarily Portuguese)
 
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Portuguese (official)
 
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Catholic 70.3%, Evangelical 3.4%, New Apostolic 2%, Adventist 1.8%, other 3.1%, none 19.4% (2001 census)
 
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179,506 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 186
 
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0-14 years: 44.7% (male 40,777/female 39,386)
15-64 years: 52.2% (male 46,114/female 47,509)
65 years and over: 3.2% (male 2,634/female 3,086) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 17.5 years
male: 17.1 years
female: 18 years (2011 est.)
 
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2.052% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 46
 
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38.03 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 16
 
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8.18 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 95
 
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-9.33 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 210
 
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urban population: 62% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 2.8% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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SAO TOME (capital) 60,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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total: 53.21 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 43
male: 55.3 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 51.07 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 63.11 years
country comparison to the world: 176
male: 61.93 years
female: 64.33 years (2011 est.)
 
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5.08 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
 
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7.1% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 77
 
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0.49 physicians/1,000 population (2004)
country comparison to the world: 125
 
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3.2 beds/1,000 population (2006)
country comparison to the world: 68
 
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improved:
urban: 89% of population
rural: 88% of population
total: 89% of population
unimproved:
urban: 11% of population
rural: 12% of population
total: 11% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 30% of population
rural: 19% of population
total: 26% of population
unimproved:
urban: 70% of population
rural: 81% of population
total: 74% of population (2008)
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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NA
 
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degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)
 
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13.1% (2009)
country comparison to the world: 59
 
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NA
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 84.9%
male: 92.2%
female: 77.9% (2001 census)
 
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total: 11 years
male: 11 years
female: 11 years (2010)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe
conventional short form: Sao Tome and Principe
local long form: Republica Democratica de Sao Tome e Principe
local short form: Sao Tome e Principe
 
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republic
 
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name: Sao Tome
geographic coordinates: 0 12 N, 6 39 E
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
 
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2 provinces; Principe, Sao Tome
note: Principe has had self government since 29 April 1995
 
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12 July 1975 (from Portugal)
 
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Independence Day, 12 July (1975)
 
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approved March 1990, effective 10 September 1990
 
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mixed legal system of civil law base on the Portuguese model and customary law
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
 
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18 years of age; universal
 
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chief of state: President Manuel Pinto DA COSTA (since 3 September 2011)
head of government: Prime Minister Patrice Emery TROVOADA (since 14 August 2010)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president on the proposal of the prime minister
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elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 17 July and 7 August 2011 (next to be held in 2016); prime minister chosen by the National Assembly and approved by the president
election results: Manuel PINTO DA COSTA elected president in a run-off election; percent of vote - Manuel PINTO DA COSTA 52.9%, Evaristo CARVALHO 47.1%
 
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unicameral National Assembly or Assembleia Nacional (55 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 1 August 2010 (next to be held in 2014)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ADI 26, MLSTP-PSD 21, PCD 7, MDFM 1
 
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Supreme Court (judges are appointed by the National Assembly)
 
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Force for Change Democratic Movement or MDFM [Tome Soares da VERA CRUZ]; Independent Democratic Action or ADI [Patrice TROVOADA]; Movement for the Liberation of Sao Tome and Principe-Social Democratic Party or MLSTP-PSD [Rafael BRANCO]; New Way Movement or NR; Party for Democratic Convergence or PCD [Delfim NEVES]; Ue-Kedadji coalition; other small parties
 
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Association of Sao Tome and Principe NGOs or FONG
other: the media
 
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ACP, AfDB, AOSIS, AU, CPLP, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), IPU, ITU, ITUC, NAM, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Ovidio Manuel Barbosa PEQUENO
chancery: 1211 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 775-2075, 2076
FAX: [1] (202) 775-2077
 
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the US does not have an embassy in Sao Tome and Principe; the Ambassador to Gabon is accredited to Sao Tome and Principe on a nonresident basis and makes periodic visits to the islands
 
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three horizontal bands of green (top), yellow (double width), and green with two black five-pointed stars placed side by side in the center of the yellow band and a red isosceles triangle based on the hoist side; green stands for the country's rich vegetation, red recalls the struggle for independence, and yellow represents cocoa, one of the country's main agricultural products; the two stars symbolize the two main islands
note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia
 
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name: "Independencia total" (Total Independence)
lyrics/music: Alda Neves DA GRACA do Espirito Santo/Manuel dos Santos Barreto de Sousa e ALMEIDA
note: adopted 1975
 
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Economy

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This small, poor island economy has become increasingly dependent on cocoa since independence in 1975. Cocoa production has substantially declined in recent years because of drought and mismanagement. Sao Tome and Principe has to import all fuels, most manufactured goods, consumer goods, and a substantial amount of food. Over the years, it has had difficulty servicing its external debt and has relied heavily on concessional aid and debt rescheduling. Sao Tome and Principe benefited from $200 million in debt relief in December 2000 under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program, which helped bring down the country's $300 million debt burden. In August 2005, the government signed on to a new 3-year IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) program worth $4.3 million. Considerable potential exists for development of a tourist industry, and the government has taken steps to expand facilities in recent years. The government also has attempted to reduce price controls and subsidies. Potential exists for the development of petroleum resources in Sao Tome and Principe's territorial waters in the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea, which are being jointly developed in a 60-40 split with Nigeria, but any actual production is at least several years off. The first production licenses were sold in 2004, though a dispute over licensing with Nigeria delayed the country's receipt of more than $20 million in signing bonuses for almost a year.
 
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$311 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 213
$297.8 million (2009 est.)
$286.3 million (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$196 million (2010 est.)
 
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4.5% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
4% (2009 est.)
5.8% (2008 est.)
 
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$1,800 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 194
$1,700 (2009 est.)
$1,700 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 15%
industry: 23.3%
services: 61.6% (2010 est.)
 
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52,490 (2007)
country comparison to the world: 189
 
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note: population mainly engaged in subsistence agriculture and fishing; shortages of skilled workers
 
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NA%
 
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54% (2004 est.)
 
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
 
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44.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 4
 
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revenues: $36.16 million
expenditures: $43.14 million (2010 est.)
 
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18.5% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
 
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-3.6% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
 
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14.4% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 215
17% (2009 est.)
 
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16% (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 5
28% (31 December 2008)
 
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20% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 5
32% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$16.46 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 189
$18.41 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$77.3 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
$67.4 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$16.17 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187
$15.97 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$NA
 
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cocoa, coconuts, palm kernels, copra, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, bananas, papayas, beans; poultry; fish
 
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light construction, textiles, soap, beer, fish processing, timber
 
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7% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
 
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41 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
 
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38.13 million kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 206
 
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0 kWh (2009)
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 200
 
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1,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 196
 
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0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 134
 
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889 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 195
 
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0 bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 200
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
 
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0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 199
 
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-$73.2 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73
-$48.9 million (2009 est.)
 
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$13.5 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 211
$9.7 million (2009 est.)
 
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cocoa 80%, copra, coffee, palm oil
 
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Netherlands 47.6%, Belgium 17.4%, France 5.9%, Thailand 4.9% (2010)
 
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$99.65 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 211
$79.6 million (2009 est.)
 
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machinery and electrical equipment, food products, petroleum products
 
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Portugal 61%, Malaysia 7.4%, Netherlands 5.3%, Gabon 4.6% (2010)
 
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$46.8 million (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 172
$38.6 million (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$185.9 million (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 179
$318 million (2002 est.)
 
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dobras (STD) per US dollar -
19,641 (2010)
16,209 (2009)
14,900 (2008)
13,700 (2007)
12,050 (2006)
 
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Communications

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7,700 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 206
 
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102,500 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 189
 
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general assessment: local telephone network of adequate quality with most lines connected to digital switches
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity roughly 35 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 239; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2008)
 
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1 government-owned TV station; 1 government-owned radio station; 3 independent local radio stations authorized in 2005 with 2 operating at the end of 2006; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available (2007)
 
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.st
 
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1,514 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 158
 
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26,700 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 184
 
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Transportation

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2 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 209
 
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total: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2010)
 
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total: 320 km
country comparison to the world: 202
paved: 218 km
unpaved: 102 km (2000)
 
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total: 3
country comparison to the world: 138
by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 2
foreign-owned: 1 (Greece 1) (2010)
 
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Sao Tome
 
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Military

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Armed Forces of Sao Tome and Principe (Forcas Armadas de Sao Tome e Principe, FASTP): Army, Coast Guard of Sao Tome e Principe (Guarda Costeira de Sao Tome e Principe, GCSTP), Presidential Guard (2010)
 
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18 years of age (est.) (2004)
 
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males age 16-49: 39,182
females age 16-49: 39,845 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 27,310
females age 16-49: 29,279 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 2,076
female: 2,003 (2010 est.)
 
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0.8% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 147
 
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Sao Tome and Principe's army is a tiny force with almost no resources at its disposal and would be wholly ineffective operating unilaterally; infantry equipment is considered simple to operate and maintain but may require refurbishment or replacement after 25 years in tropical climates; poor pay, working conditions, and alleged nepotism in the promotion of officers have been problems in the past, as reflected in the 1995 and 2003 coups; these issues are being addressed with foreign assistance aimed at improving the army and its focus on realistic security concerns; command is exercised from the president, through the Minister of Defense, to the Chief of the Armed Forces staff (2005)
 
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Transnational Issues

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none
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