São Tomé e Príncipe
São Tomé e Príncipe, a small group of islands in the Gulf of Guinea, is one of the less-developed counties (LDC), with a per capita GDP among the lowest in Africa. The economy is chronically dependent on plantation agriculture, with cocoa representing nearly 80% of exports. More than half of the export revenue is swallowed to service the national debt, and inflation is rife. On the positive side, the country is politically stable and it is following an active strategy to reduce poverty. It is eligible for debt relief and has offshore oil reserves that could come on stream by 2015.
The Country Strategy Paper for São Tomé e Príncipe (2008-2013) presents the strategic framework for cooperation between the European Commission (EC) and São Tomé e Príncipe under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). EC assistance will concentrate on a single field of intervention: roads. This takes the form of institutional support, reconstruction and upgrading of roads and road infrastructures, and a regional development plan. This EC support will improve the state of the national road network, bridges and civil engineering works.
Additional aid will be granted for action to improve public sector institutions and to support the implementation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the regional integration process and the cooperation programme for Portuguese-speaking African countries (PALOP).
The multi-annual indicative programme for São Tomé e Príncipe under the 10th EDF allocates €18.2 million to these priorities.
An additional € 3,4 million has been granted to reinforce our intervention in the road sector and additional € 1,7 million have been allocated under the MDG initiative to reduce maternal and child mortality.
All EC interventions in São Tomé e Príncipe also take account of cross-cutting issues like good governance, gender, the environment and human rights.
EC development cooperation with São Tomé e Príncipe under the 8th EDF concentrated on infrastructure, in particular electricity generation (the Rio Contador power station), water supply (3 drinking water supply systems) and rural roads (upgrading of rural tracks).
The Country Strategy Paper for São Tomé e Príncipe (2002-2007) gave priority to one single sector of intervention under 9th EDF funding: road construction. €14.8 million was allocated for this purpose.
The main ongoing road-building project aims at permanently improving the transport of goods and people in isolated regions by:
- restructuring the public body responsible for the road system,
- upgrading roads, and
- developing a system enabling local communities to maintain their roads.
Civil society bodies have been fully involved in this project, with very positive results, in particular in reducing poverty in isolated rural areas.
For more information on projects and programmes in Sao Tomé e Principe financed by the European Development Fund and the EU's general budget of the EU, contact the project section of the Delegation of the European Union to Sao Tomé e Principe.
Other sources of information
More information on EU relations with Sao Tomé e Principe is available on the pages of the Delegation of the European Union to Gabon, which is also responsible for co-operation activities with Sao Tomé e Principe.