Housing Finance in Sao Tome and Principe


This profile is also available in French here.

To download a pdf version of the full 2019 São Tomé and Príncipe country profile, click here.

The Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, is a Portuguese-speaking island nation in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa. With a population of 211 028,  São Tomé and Príncipe is the second-smallest African country. Sao Tome has a land tenure system that is a mixture of private land ownership and usufruct. According to the 2012 Housing and Population Census, sixty eight percent of homes were occupied by their owners, with only 14.6 percent renting, and 16.3 percent living in free accommodation.

The financial sector is highly concentrated with the three largest banks in possession of almost 75 percent of total assets. STP is not yet a mature lending market with only approximately 10800 loans in total as of the end of 2017. The lending market for housing developers and retail developers is largely poorly developed. The need for innovation is even greater in housing finance, as there is clear evidence that little formal housing lending happens.

There has been a growing Chinese involvement in Sao Tome and Principe’s broader economy and the housing sector. In April 2019,  China started construction of the first batch of 60 social apartments in Cantagalo district and Lobata. The social housing projects will cover 200 apartments to be built over the next four years. An increasing challenge is the provision of urban infrastructure and basic services as an estimated 86.6 percent live in slum areas while houses are primarily constructed from wood. Japan has donated construction materials worth an estimated US$ 1.5 million to support Sao Tome and Principe’s private sector.

There are ongoing policy and legislative reforms to stimulate economic growth and reduce poverty by targeting the financial system. Work underway on land and tenure holding reforms involves the introduction of two legal initiatives and bills updating property ownership and cadastre laws.

Find out more information on the housing finance sector of Sao Tome and Principe, including key stakeholders, important policies and housing affordability:

Each year, CAHF publishes its Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook. The profile above is from the 2019 edition, which has up-to-date profiles for 55 African countries.


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