São Tomé and Príncipe Sustainability Issues

The critical environmental and sustainability issues of São Tomé and Príncipe:

  1. Undernutrition

More than one-third of child deaths in the country are caused by undernutrition, mostly from the increased severity of diseases as a complication of such. Children up to age 2 are prone to cognitive development impairment. About 65 percent of newborns in the country do not receive breast milk within one hour of birth. During the period of switching between breast milk and solid foods (between six and nine months of age), 40 percent of infants are not fed appropriately with breast milk and solid foods.


  1. Education

Primary schooling in São Tomé and Príncipe is mandatory. The adult literacy rate in the country is 74.9 percent, according to the CIA World Factbook. According to Global Partnership for Education (GPE), around 60 percent of teachers are underqualified. Approximately 44 percent of the population is made up by children under 14. While about 97 percent of children attend primary school, the rate of secondary school attendance has fallen drastically to 38 percent.


  1. Poverty

São Tomé and Príncipe is a small island located off the African coast near the equator. It has a population of 190,344 and is the second-smallest country in Africa. The country is often not thought of when it comes to poverty, but about 62 % of citizens live below the poverty line. In 2015, the HDI ranked São Tomé and Príncipe as 142 out of 188 countries. With an HDI value of 0.574, the country falls below the average score of other countries in the medium human development group.


  1. Diseases

Another issue that plagues São Tomé and Príncipe is personal health and protection from diseases such as malaria and HIV. In 2009, malaria was reported in a total of 33.8 percent out of 1,000 people. However, thanks to relief efforts, this number had drastically declined to 9.7 percent per 1,000 people by 2014.


  1. Economy

Roughly 60 percent of the nation’s employment is in the rural sector and as of 2016, the unemployment rate was just under 14 percent. Since the nation is so small, the economy doesn’t have much room to grow — it increases approximately four percent per year. This growth is not enough for the country to sustain itself, due to the lack of sustainable agriculture.