São Tomé & Príncipe
Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe
October 2
Africa


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GEOGRAPHY

Area 1,001 sq.km. Two larger and several smaller islands in the Gulf of Guinea 200 km west of Gabon.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 146,775 +2.06% 147 per sq. km.
2010 175,794 +1.74% 176 per sq. km.
2025 217,146 +1.26% 217 per sq. km.

Capital São Tomé 43,420. Urbanites 44%.

PEOPLES

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.

ECONOMY

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).

POLITICS

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.

RELIGION

Secular state with freedom of religion.

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Christian 92.90 136,354 +2.1%
non-Religious/other 4.70 6,898 +0.8%
Traditional ethnic 2.00 2,936 +2.1%
Muslim 0.30 440 +0.0%
Baha'i 0.10 147 +2.0%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 6 2.66 4 +1.5%
Independent 5 0.55 1 +9.1%
Catholic 1 83.12 122 +2.1%
Marginal 1 0.61 1 +15.9%
Unaffiliated   5.96 8 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Catholic C 12 74,390 122,000
Seventh-day Adventist P 6 1,312 2,500
Assemblies of God [4] P 6 520 1,300
Jehovah's Witnesses M 6 275 900
Pentecostal groups [4] I 6 250 500
other Evangelical [4] P 5 250 500
Deeper Life I 1 150 300
Other denoms [3]   3 70 100
Total Christians [19]   45 77,217 128,100

Trans-bloc Groupings pop. % ,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical 2.2 3 +4.9%
Charismatic 2.3 3 +3.8%
  Pentecostal 1.4 2 +4.5%

Missionaries from Saõ Tomé
P,I,A 20, all in São Tomé.

Missionaries to Saõ Tomé
P,I,A 26 in 6 agencies: Brazil 24.


Challenges for Prayer

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.

3 Less-reached sections of the population are the Príncipe islanders, the rural Angolares and the contract labourers, with each group having its own distinct Creole dialect. Pray for their salvation.

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