Key points concerning relations between the EU and São Tomé and Príncipe
São Tomé and Príncipe is a member of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and an observer of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). It is also Executive Secretary of the Gulf of Guinea Commission (GGC) and, in May 2009, signed a technical agreement with Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon under the aegis of the Council for Peace and Security in Central Africa (COPAX) and the ECCAS for the joint surveillance of maritime security.
The strategic objectives of the EU-São Tomé and Príncipe cooperation include:
- Strengthening political dialogue, improving democratic processes and promoting respect for human rights, peace and stability.
- Promoting economic integration in regional markets, including trade into development strategies, facilitating public/private partnerships.
- Sustaining the implementation of the National Poverty Reduction Strategy.
The EU has opened an antenna office in São Tomé and Príncipe that monitors the situation in the country and which is managed under the supervision of the European Union Delegation in Gabon.
Sustainable fisheries partnership agreement
The fisheries partnership agreement between the EU and São Tomé and Príncipe was concluded in 2007. The current protocol to the fisheries partnership agreement covers the period 19.12.2019 - 18.12.2024 with a financial contribution of €840 000 per year during 5 years, out of which a specific contribution of €440 000 is dedicated to the support of the fisheries policy of São Tomé and Príncipe.
This fisheries agreement allows EU vessels mainly from Spain, Portugal and France to fish in the São Tomé and Príncipe waters and is part of the tuna network fisheries agreements in West and Central Africa.
Development cooperation between the EU and São Tomé and Príncipe
The European Union (EU) is one of the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe’s most important partners.
Their relations are based on a regular political dialogue organised in accordance with the Cotonou Agreement.
Under the current programming period (2014-2020), €35 million are allocated to São Tomé e Príncipe across the following sectors:
- Water and sanitation: to strengthen sector policy, improve drinking water accessibility and the sanitation system at the local level in a sustainable way.
- Reinforcement of agricultural exports: to promote conditions for economic recovery and job creation, and to provide institutional support.
Further transversal action will focus on 'Fighting gender-based inequalities and inequities, gender-based violence and domestic violence'.
The country also benefits from the EU’s cooperation programme with Portuguese-speaking African countries and Timor Leste (PALOP-TL), with a global allocation of €30 million in the fields of employment generation in the creative industries, and capacity development to enhance governance.
Support to São Tomé e Príncipe's civil society organisations as actors of governance is channelled through the thematic programmes targeting civil society Organisations (CSO) and through the European Initiative on Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) totalling €1.22 million for 2018-2020.
The country also participates in Regional programmes for Central Africa and in particular in the fields of sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity as well as port infrastructure upgrading.
EU support to fight against Covid-19
As part of the fight against Covid-19, the EU has mobilized in favour of Sao Tome and Principe:
Between March and June 2021, the COVAX Initiative delivered 96,000 doses of vaccines to São Tomé and Príncipe;
- 5,250,000 EUR (128,572,500 dobras) to create additional budgetary space in the state budget in order to fight against the pandemic and mitigate its socio-economic consequences, through disbursements under the current EU / STP budget support program in the water and sanitation sector;
- New Technical Cooperation Facility / ON Support (FCT / ON-II) - total EUR 872,500 from the balances of ON Support, FCT-I and Agricultural Sectors: Includes objective related to COVID-19 (equipment, technical assistance, training, information/communication)
- EIDHR allocation 2020 - EUR 120,000: Direct allocation of subsidy for specific COVID-19 actions: EIDHR / 2020 / 417-309 - Urgent medidas de mitigação do impacto do COVID19 nos setores económicos e sociais mais afetados - Associazione Alisei
- CSO allocations 2019 + 2020 - total EUR 602,092 via direct allocation of subsidies (actions related to COVID-19: training, information campaigns, health equipment and services, mitigation of the economic impact on the most vulnerable.