Research and consulting in São Tomé and Príncipe
IOA has provided research consulting services involving every aspect of business, economic, political and societal life in São Tomé and Príncipe. Our researchers have found the economy remains as it was during colonial times: based on plantation agricultural output. Despite the islands’ distance from the African mainland and the Portuguese language barrier, tourism to the tropical nation has a promising future.
A mixed economy has resulted from government controls and central economic planning, while economic freedoms are available to investors within these controls. The islands’ main exports are also mixed: manufactured industrial products like aircraft parts, gas turbines and iron parts are exported alongside agricultural items palm oil and cocoa beans.
Key opportunities in São Tomé and Príncipe:
- Economic growth in recent years has been boosted by the construction and manufacturing sectors, as well as investment in services
- Tourism is a major foreign exchange earner and has good growth potential
- Perennial agricultural exports cocoa and palm oil are being augmented by spices and brand-name organic products
Key concerns/risks in São Tomé and Príncipe:
- The country’s distance from the West African mainland has raised transportation and importation costs
- IOA analysts have found that cocoa and other commodities that are the country’s main export revenue earners are vulnerable to global price fluctuations
- Poverty rates are alarmingly high, and government expenditures funded by foreign aid has been the main economic engine in recent years