Sao Tome and Principe

More than a decade ago, cocoa producers in Sao Tome and Principe were suffering because of falling global prices for cocoa. Many of them abandoned their cocoa plantations, while others cut down the trees to clear land for maize or other crops. Thanks to IFAD and its partners, nearly 2,200 farmers are now growing cocoa certified as organic or fair-trade for the international chocolate industry.

President Fradique de Menezes of São Tomé and Príncipe has decreed that local and legislative elections will be held in July and August, after government had been unable to follow the original election schedule.

São Tomé and Príncipe government has charged 38 people for allegedly trying to topple President Fradique de Menezes last Thursday, government has confirmed. Last Friday, justice ministry spokesman Justino Veiga announced the arrest of a group of men after the foiled coup and the confiscation of more than 310 assault rifles in the home of one of the opposition party leaders.

The new hit being sung by everyone in São Tomé and Príncipe goes like this: "Bleguê Bleguê ... A mi na mecê Bleguê, anda com bebê..." The lyrics, in São Tomé's Forro language, have two simple but important messages: when you go out, always take condoms with you, and when you have sex, always use a condom.

The government of São Tomé and Príncipe is brimming with joy over the news that Paris Club has agreed to write off 100 percent of the country’s debts. This was agreed at a meeting of the representatives of the club’s creditor countries today after it was realised that Sao Tome and Principe has reached its completion point under the enhanced initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) in March 2007.