|São Tomé & Príncipe|
|Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe|
Area 1,001 sq.km. Two larger and several smaller islands in the Gulf of Guinea 200 km west of Gabon.
Capital São Tomé 43,420. Urbanites 44%.
Forro and Angolares 75%. Descendants of African slaves. The Forro are politically dominant, the Angolares more rural. The Moncó live on the island of Príncipe.
Other 25%. Fang from Equatorial Guinea, Mestizo (mixed race), Portuguese and other Europeans. Also many contract labourers from Cape Verde, Angola and Mozambique.
Literacy 74% (in reality closer to 34%). Official Language Portuguese, but three Creole dialects and 3 Angolan langauges also spoken. All languages 6.
Subsistence agriculture; cocoa the major export. Oil speculation in the Gulf of Guinea presents new economic opportunities and risks. Unemployment is very high, possibly above 30%. HDI 0.609; 123rd/174. Public debt 567% of GNP. Income/person $290 (0.9% of USA).
Settled by Portuguese in 1493, and became a major slave transhipment centre. Independent from Portugal in 1975 as a Marxist republic. A multi-party democracy was instituted in January 1991, whose tenure was interrupted for one week in 1995 by a bloodless, but farcical, military coup.
Secular state with freedom of religion.
1 The vast majority of the population is Catholic, but morals on the islands do not reflect this. Ninety percent of children are born illegitimately the world's highest rate. Pray that the Church may experience a renewal that challenges people's empty religion.
2 Evangelical growth has accelerated since independence mainly through the work of the Portuguese Assemblies of God and more recently through Brazilian (YWAM) and Nigerian (Deeper Life) missionaries as well as a number of Pentecostal and other denominations in the late 1990s. Pray that these missionaries might have a great evangelistic and church planting impact on these islands. Pray for the development of locally-led congregations with effectively trained Christian leaders. Pray also for local support for national workers and for the launching of an interdenominational training centre.
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