In the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa, the island is a former Portuguese colony, which gained independence in 1975. The new president, elected in 2011 promised to focus on ensuring political stability and ending corruption. The recent discovery of oil in the Gulf of Guinea provided new hope for improving the country’s economy. According to the 2012 census, the population of São Tomé and Príncipe is 187,356 inhabitants, the estimate from 2013 of the US government is around 190,000 inhabitants. About 85% are Catholics, 12% are Protestants and less than 2% are Muslims. The increasing number of migrants from Nigeria and Cameroon in the last 10 years led to an increase in Muslims in São Tomé and Príncipe.

Mostly Satisfactory
Free and Equal

Constitution and government

The constitution of São Tomé and Príncipe guarantees freedom of conscience, religion and worship. Article 8 explicitly stipulates that São Tomé and Príncipe is a secular state and that all religious institutions are separated from state institutions.

Religious groups have to register with the government. The registration process begins by sending a letter requesting authorization to the Ministry of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.

After obtaining authorization, the organization must send a package of documents to a notary and to pay the notarial fees. A public gazette publishes an announcement and the registered group can then begin its activities.

Freedom of expression, advocacy of humanist values

The state controls a press agency, as well as radio and television stations. However, no law forbids independent broadcasting. Oppositional parties receive free airtime and there are newspapers and pamphlets which freely criticize the government.