Sao Tome and Principe Border Map

Yearbook 2003

São Tomé and Príncipe. According to Countryaah.com, São Tomé and Príncipe Independence Day is July 12. The hopes of rising billion-dollar revenues from yet-to-be-discovered oil sources have fueled politics in the small island of São Tomé and Príncipe. In January, President Fradique de Meneze announced the recent election following a conflict with Parliament over constitutional amendments, which basically involved control of the proposed oil revenues. The new election was suspended after Parliament was allowed to hold a referendum on the constitution in 2006.

In July, a group of soldiers took power while the president was abroad. Important buildings were occupied by the soldiers and several ministers were placed under house arrest. The coup makers, many of whom had a past as lego servants in South Africa during the apartheid regime, motivated the takeover of power by prevailing corruption and injustice and promised a “junta for national reconciliation”. However, President de Menezes, who accused the coup men of being out for oil money, was able to return home after a week and regain power after mediators from a large number of countries persuaded the soldiers to give up. The coup men were promised impunity and a new law gave Parliament control over the oil industry. Prime Minister Maria Das Neves Ceita Baptista de Sousa, one of them held hostage for a few days, resigned but was immediately commissioned to form a new government with partially new members.

In October, the oil dream began to come true. Bidding began in the nine offshore areas offered for exploration of São Tomé and Príncipe and Nigeria jointly. Of the expected income, 40% go to São Tomé and Príncipe. However, to the extent that oil is found, it will take several years before any production can begin.

Sao Tome and Principe Border Map