The islands were uninhabited until they were discovered in the 15th century by Portuguese explorers. Throughout the 16th century, they were gradually conquered and inhabited by Portugal and functioned as a key economic and trading hub for the Atlantic slave traffic. So Tomé and Prncipe’s fertile volcanic soil and closeness to the equator made it excellent for sugar farming, which was subsequently followed by cash crops like as coffee and cocoa; the wealthy plantation economy was highly reliant on imported African slaves. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, cycles of social upheaval and economic insecurity culminated in peaceful independence in 1975. Since then, So Tomé and Prncipe has remained one of Africa’s most stable and democratic nations.
Sao Tomé and Principe, with a population of 192,993 (2013 Census), is the second-smallest African country after Seychelles, as well as the smallest Portuguese-speaking country. Its population are primarily of African and mestiço origin, with the majority practicing Roman Catholicism. The legacy of Portuguese control may also be seen in the country’s culture, customs, and music, which include European and African elements.
Since its independence in 1975, this tiny, impoverished island’s economy has grown more reliant on cocoa. However, due to drought and mismanagement, cocoa output has significantly decreased. The resultant scarcity of cocoa for export has resulted in a long-term balance-of-payments issue. As a result, Tomé must import all energy, the majority of manufacturing products, consumer goods, and a significant quantity of food. It has been unable to pay its foreign debt and has had to rely on concessional assistance and debt rescheduling throughout the years.
Sao Tomé received $200 million in debt relief from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program in December 2000. International funders praised So Tomé’s achievement in enacting structural changes by pledging greater aid in 2001. There is significant potential for the development of a tourism sector, and the government has recently made efforts to enhance infrastructure. In addition, the government has tried to remove price restrictions and subsidies. Sao Tomé is likewise hopeful about significant petroleum finds in its territorial seas in the oil-rich waters of the Gulf of Guinea. Corruption scandals continue to erode the economy’s strength.