A small group of islands in the Gulf of Guinea, São Tomé e Príncipe is among the world’s least developed counties (LDC). The economy is heavily dependent on plantation agriculture, with cocoa representing the bulk of exports.
Its national currency (Dobra) was secured in January 2010 with the Euro via an agreement with Portugal which helped contain inflation. The country is politically stable and it is following an active strategy to reduce poverty. EU support focuses on improving the state of national road networks and ports (10th EDF) and water and sanitation (11th EDF).
The Country Strategy Paper for São Tomé e Príncipe (2008-2013) and a multi-annual indicative programme detail priorities for €18.2 million of funding under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).
The focus was on maintenance of transport infrastructure (both paved and unpaved roads) and the technical studies for upgrading of port facilities. Additional funding has been available to improve public sector institutions and to support the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement – a free trade area with Central Africa – to assist the regional integration process.
The country also benefits from the EU’s cooperation programme for Portuguese-speaking African countries (PALOP). In addition, São Tomé e Príncipe received €1.7 million of funding under the EU’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) initiative to reduce maternal and child mortality.
For the 11th EDF (€28 millions), the main intervention sector focuses on water and sanitation. Furthermore, a specific programme will support the strenghtening of agricultural exports.
All EU activities in São Tomé e Príncipe take account of cross-cutting issues such as good governance, gender, the environment and human rights.