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    Sao Tome and Principe Economy - 1991

      Overview: The economy has remained dependent on cocoa since the country gained independence nearly 15 years ago. Since then, however, cocoa production has gradually deteriorated because of drought and mismanagement, so that by 1987 output had fallen to less than 50% of its former levels. As a result, a shortage of cocoa for export has created a serious balance-of-payments problem. Production of less important crops, such as coffee, copra, and palm kernels, has also declined. The value of imports generally exceeds that of exports by a ratio of 4 to 1. The emphasis on cocoa production at the expense of other food crops has meant that Sao Tome has to import 90% of food needs. It also has to import all fuels and most manufactured goods. Over the years, Sao Tome has been unable to service its external debt, which amounts to roughly 80% of export earnings. Considerable potential exists for development of a tourist industry, and the government has taken steps to expand facilities in recent years. The government also implemented a Five-Year Plan covering 1986-90 to restructure the economy and reschedule external debt service payments in cooperation with the International Development Association and Western lenders.

      GDP: $46.0 million, per capita $380; real growth rate 1.5% (1989)

      Inflation rate (consumer prices): 36% (1989 est.)

      Unemployment rate: NA%

      Budget: revenues $10.2 million; expenditures $36.8 million, including capital expenditures of $22.5 million (1989)

      Exports: $5.9 million (f.o.b., 1989 est.); commodities--cocoa 85%, copra, coffee, palm oil; partners--FRG, GDR, Netherlands, China

      Imports: $26.8 million (f.o.b., 1989 est.); commodities--machinery and electrical equipment 54%, food products 23%, other 23%; partners--Portugal, GDR, Angola, China

      External debt: $110 million (1990 est.)

      Industrial production: growth rate 7.1% (1986)

      Electricity: 5,000 kW capacity; 12 million kWh produced, 100 kWh per capita (1990)

      Industries: light construction, shirts, soap, beer, fisheries, shrimp processing

      Agriculture: dominant sector of economy, primary source of exports; cash crops--cocoa (85%), coconuts, palm kernels, coffee; food products--bananas, papaya, beans, poultry, fish; not self-sufficient in food grain and meat

      Economic aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-89), $8 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $59 million

      Currency: dobra (plural--dobras); 1 dobra (Db) = 100 centimos

      Exchange rates: dobras (Db) per US$1--122.48 (December 1988), 72.827 (1987), 36.993 (1986), 41.195 (1985)

      Fiscal year: calendar year

      NOTE: The information regarding Sao Tome and Principe on this page is re-published from the 1991 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Sao Tome and Principe Economy 1991 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Sao Tome and Principe Economy 1991 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 08-Feb-03
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