Housing Finance in Sao Tome and Principe


This profile is also available in French here.

To download a pdf version of the full 2023 São Tomé and Príncipe country profile, click here.

The population of Sao Tomé and Principe in 2020 was 210–240. In 2017, 138 758 people (66%) lived in poverty.In 2021, 75% of So Tomé and Principe’s population resided in cities, while 86% lived in slums. The country and economy are unable to sustainably finance housing projects or meet housing needs.

The real GDP of Sao Tomé and Principe fell by 6.4% in 2020, the first loss in a decade. Economic sectors such as tourism and service businesses were dented, while border closures hampered cocoa exports. In May 2022, inflation was 14.9%, up from 6.8% in May 2021. The government is researching economic policy options, including increasing the independence of the central bank to increase access to finance.

According to a 2012 national poll, 66.1% of urban residents own their homes, 17.5% rent, 15.2% live in free housing, and 1.2% have alternate housing. Non-performing loans declined from 29.6% in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 28.6% in the fourth quarter of 2021 as a result of the central bank imposing new limits in order to minimise non-performing loans in the financial industry by April 2022. Housing/construction, consumption, and trade received 37.4%, 19.6%, and 19.4% of loans, respectively, according to the central bank’s 2020 annual report.

In terms of housing supply, Sao Tomé and Prncipe have signed an agreement with China to construct 200 social housing units. On the island of So Tomé, 60 new homes are being built in the Cantagalo and Lobata regions.

Due to heavy rains and extensive cultivation on steep hillsides, So Tomé and Principe are prone to landslides. Torrential rains flooded 61 homes in Principe in May 2022, displacing 350 people. The current climate conditions have harmed the services industry the most, followed by the housing sector.

The government upgraded its payment systems in May 2021 by integrating VISA and MasterCard. Economic growth could be boosted by a post-pandemic tourism resurgence and macroeconomic stability.

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 2023 edition, which has up-to-date profiles for 55 African countries.


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