São Tomé and Príncipe is among the world’s least developed countries. The economy is heavily dependent on plantation agriculture and on an emerging tourism industry, but relies mostly on external cooperation.
Fighting corruption on all levels of society is one of the declared priorities of the government. Also, important progress has been made to improve the business climate, thus enhancing attractiveness to foreign investors.
São Tomé e Príncipe's 2030 development agenda aims to transform the country into an emerging nation focused on sustainable growth and job creation, which goes hand in hand with public finance reform, economic diversification and the modernisation of social and economic infrastructure.
The reference document for programming is the Transformation Agenda 2030 which presents the long-term development strategy of São Tomé and Príncipe (STP). TA aims to transform the country into an emerging nation focused on sustainable growth and job creation through the implementation of public finance reform, economic diversification, and modernization of social and economic infrastructure.
The strategic objectives of the EU-São Tomé and Príncipe cooperation for the Multiannual Indicative Plan (MIP) include the following priority areas:
Governance and Democracy
Improving governance and consolidating the rule of law and democratic institutions are essential elements to carry out the transformation process of STP. Progress in the democratic field has been made, as shown by the last presidential elections, but improved governance could also help attract private investments, mobilize internal financial resources, consolidate regional integration, and ultimately achieve satisfactory levels of sustainable economic growth.
Transition to green economy
In its efforts to establish a model of sustainable economic development, STP is confronted with the need to find a solution to the increasingly urgent problem of the degradation of the environment, while ensuring the development of the economic potential of agriculture, fishing, and tourism. Likewise, it is necessary to ensure that decent jobs are created through the development of value chains that have comparative advantages and have the potential to create opportunities for employment.
Access to basic services, such as access to drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene, remains one of STP's major development challenges, particularly in terms of public health and quality of life. An intervention in the water and sanitation system could contribute to the better management of water resources.
The Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) for São Tomé and Príncipe for 2021-2024 amounts to €13 million.
Priority area 1: ‘’Governance and Democracy’’supports the reform and modernization of the judicial system, improves public finance management, and promotes the development of the local private sector.
Priority area 2: ‘’Transitionto greeneconomy’’ promotes an integrated approach for the protection of the environment and the development of sustainable value chains. It also advances sustainable tourism development and energy production from renewable sources.
Priority area 3: ‘’Human development’’ improves the sustainable and equitable access of the population to drinking water and sanitation and creates networks and basic devices for the distribution of drinking water and basic sanitation facilities.
It should be remembered that it was mainly in the 1990s that civil society organizations (CSOs) began to organize in São Tomé and Príncipe.
Within this framework, three global priorities with a long-term vision have been identified and constitute the Roadmap of the EU's engagement with civil society:
- CS is a recognized player in democratic governance processes.
- CS contributes effectively to national development policy processes.
- CS contributes to inclusive economic growth and the development of a green economy.