Definition of Youth

São Tomé and Príncipe is a signatory of the African Youth Charter (2006), which defines youth as between 15-35 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 16
  • XX
  • Female
  • 18
  • 14
  • XX

  • Homosexual acts illegal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  Penal Code of São Tomé and Príncipe

Majority Age


Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 84.00% Male (15-24) %
  • 82.28% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 29.73%Male %
  • 33.89% Female %

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • -- Male (13-15) %
  • -- Female (13-15) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
São Tomé and Príncipe has no national youth policy. A 2012 brief­ing focuses on unemployment.

São Tomé and Príncipe has no national youth policy, nor youth strategy.

São Tomé and Príncipe is a signatory to the African Youth Charter (2006), which provides a multi-level strategic framework for youth empowerment and development activities. The charter includes a thematic focus on employment, sustainable livelihoods, education, skills development, health, youth participation, peace and security, and youth with disabilities.

A press release on 7 March 2013 outlined the priorities of the Ministry of Youth & Sports for 2013/2014 as housing, employment and vocational training.

A youth unemployment briefing (2012) concludes that youth suffer “from the absence of a youth employment policy” which should focus on skill training, information between job seekers and employers and vocational training.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The list of Ministries page of the Official Website of the Government of São Tomé and Príncipe, notes the existence of the Ministry of Social Communication, Youth & Sports. However, a press release on 27 August 2013 and an article from 24 March 2014refer to the Ministry as only that of “Youth & Sports.” No online presence for the Ministry could be found.

A press release on 7 March 2013 described five priorities to be implemented by 2014, including building 400 homes for young people, creating 1000 jobs, developing a sports policy and technical training.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
No national youth association can be found online, nor referenced in any reports or media outlets. Furthermore, no youth NGOs nor student associations could be found online.

The National Youth Parliament for Water is a “vibrant and creative Youth society, which participates effectively in matters relating to the water sector” as well as “promoting youth participation in the democratic process.” The project is a collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and is the only youth engagement project that could be found online.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
No documentation on the budget for youth in São Tomé and Príncipe could be found online. According to the World Bank, São Tomé and Príncipe spent 19.32% of its government expenditure and 9.48% of its GDP on education provision in 2010.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed May 2014).

Additional Background

From the Sao Tome and Principe Overview (2013) by the World Bank:
The Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe (STP) is a small and fragile island state. A lower middle-income country and an archipelago of just over 1,000 square kilometers in the Gulf of Guinea, STP is one of the smallest economies in Africa with over 180,000 inhabitants and a per capita Gross National Income (GNI) of about US$2,080 (2011, PPP, current international $). It is highly dependent on external support, with over 85% of its budget financed by Development Partners. The country’s economic outlook remains positive though the near term outlook is challenging. The economy remains vulnerable to external and domestic shocks and growth has been revised downward from 5.5 to 4% in 2012, given the global uncertainties and the related slowdown in FDI. The annual average rate of inflation has trended down from 26% in 2008 to 14% in 2010, to a single digit percentage of 9.6 in 2012 and 7-to-9% in 2013. [...]
Despite those remarkable achievements, the country is rated Fragile State as assessed using the Multilateral Development Bank’s based mainly by economic vulnerability and insularity, and it remains highly vulnerable to unpredictable shocks, such as food shortages, climate change, and the impact of the recent global financial crisis. With limited progress in poverty reduction, unemployment continues to be high, especially among women and youth population, and gaps in terms of chronic malnutrition, infant mortality and secondary education are also high.
The Youth Unemployment Briefing (2012) outlines the challenges of youth employment:
An important challenge to São Tomé and Principe’s economic development is youth unemployment. Given that youths (between the ages of 15 and 24) represent 52% of the population, this situation is a matter for concern. According to the 2011 world economic outlook produced by the IMF, the unemployment rate in STP stood at 15.1% in 2010. The government’s inability to generate employment makes youth the most vulnerable segment of the population.
In 2009, the government set a minimum wage for youths below that for those with similar qualifications but greater experience. The initiative, which was intended to foster youth employment, was conceived in partnership with the private sector with the authorities paying half the youth’s salary. However, the scheme failed to have an impact due to the lack of a legal framework to sustain the arrangement. [...]
Youth integration into the labour market suffers from the absence of a youth employment policy and the lack of an information exchange mechanism between job seekers and employers. Underlining these challenges is the average post-graduation period of inactivity, which is five years. A potential solution would be to increase job opportunities so as to capitalise on the gains in literacy rates. Providing targeted skills training, improving the flow of information in labour markets and facilitating access to vocational training are also imperative. Policy should be focused on enhancing good governance, improving the business environment, and easing access to credit for microenterprises with a view to creating jobs, in particular for youth entering the market for the first time. The government should also maximise its potential in tourism by investing in infrastructure, which can be an important source of employment. Greater public-private co-operation aimed at linking national youth employment programmes to projected needs for skilled workers in sectors such as those of construction and oil, could ensure that labour demand will be matched with adequate supply.