The economy of São Tomé and Príncipe is based on plantation agriculture. The main crop on São Tomé is cocoa, representing about 95% of agricultural exports. Other export crops include copra, palm kernels, and coffee.
Other than agriculture, the main economic activities are fishing and a small industrial sector engaged in processing local agricultural products and producing a few basic consumer goods. The scenic islands have potential for tourism, and the government is attempting to improve its rudimentary tourist industry infrastructure. The government sector accounts for about 11% of employment.
Sao Tome and Principe’s economy is dependent on exports of cocoa (93 percent of total exports). Other exports of São Tomé and Príncipe include coffee, coconut oil and palm oil, vehicle parts, chocolate, washing machines, bottling machines and special purpose ships. Sao Tome and Principe main export partners are Belgium and Netherlands, Portugal, United States and Belgium.
São Tomé and Príncipe's economy, while traditionally being based on cocoa, is experiencing considerable changes due to investment in the development of its oil industry in the oil-rich waters of the Gulf of Guinea.
Domestic food-crop production is inadequate to meet local consumption, so the country imports most of its food. 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.
Portugal remains one of São Tomé's major trading partners, particularly as a source of imports. Food, manufactured articles, machinery, and transportation equipment are imported primarily from the EU.
Sao Tome and Principe main imports are food (28 percent of total imports), fuel, capital equipment and construction materials. Sao Tome and Principe imports also refined petroleum, telephones, wine, rice and cars. Main import partners of Sao Tome and Principe are Angola, United States, Taiwan, Belgium and Togo.
Sao Tome and Principe Customs Contacts
Address: Largo das Alfândegas, Caixa Postal 32, São Tomé e Príncipe
Tel: +239 224 2350
Fax: +239 222 2389
Sao Tome and Principe is a Portuguese-speaking island country situated in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa. It is a member of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States, African Union, International Trade Union Confederation, WTO and other international organizations.
Customs duties on imports vary from 5% to 70% as follows:
- 5% for basic products
- 10% for raw materials
- 20% for intermediate products such as most food and cosmetics
- 70% for all alcoholic products and cigarettes
Product certification and labelling
A commercial invoice and a bill of lading must accompany all the imported into Sao Tome and Principe products. Agri-food products, including meat and poultry, require import permits, as well as sanitary and phytosanitary certificates.
Hhazardous products such as weapons, explosives and chemical products also require import permits.
Sao Tome and Principe does not have special labeling or marking requirements.