Country Economic Memorandum

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    Turning Smallness into Uniqueness: Six Key Challenges to Unlock Sao Tome and Principe Growth’s Potential
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-07-24) World Bank
    Economic growth in Sao Tome and Príncipe (STP) has long been driven by an unsustainable reliance on public expenditures, especially grant- and loan-financed public investment. STP needs to turn its smallness into uniqueness to unlock its growth potential. To accomplish this transformation, this image must be matched by a more balanced growth in which the private sector plays a larger role and with a more effective government. Tourism, agriculture, and fisheries could drive the country’s transition to a more balanced growth pattern. This Country Economic Memorandum (CEM) highlights six key challenges that STP must overcome as it transitions to a more balanced growth pattern and it offers policy recommendations for addressing each challenge. Accomplishing this rebalancing will require STP to address six key challenges at the macroeconomic, structural, and sectoral level. These include: (i) The twin budget and current-account deficits; (ii) Weak trade connectivity by both air and sea; (iii) Credit constraints caused by a high level of non-performing loans and difficulties enforcing commercial contracts; (iv) Uncertainty surrounding property rights and land tenure; (v) Poor-quality infrastructure, especially in the energy and transportation sector; and (vi) The overexploitation of marine resources.
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    Country Economic Memorandum for Sao Tome and Principe - Background Note 7: What are the Bottlenecks on Land Governance and How to Remove Them to Support Tourism and Agriculture Development?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-06-26) Moreno Horta, Ivonne ; Pardo, Camilo
    This note explores land governance-related constraints holding back the growth potential of the agriculture and tourism sectors in the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe (STP). The absence of a proper land information system and a weak land governance framework are identified as the major constraints to rural development and tourism. This note provides insights, identifies the most salient weaknesses, and presents recommendations to address these issues. The first section describes the history of land tenure in the country. The second section focuses on the positive impacts that the establishment of a land information system can have for rural development and the tourism sectors and describes the institutions in charge of land management and related legislation. The fourth section identifies the main inefficiencies in land administration affecting economic growth. The final sections outline the activities currently in execution to address such issues and present policy recommendations.
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    Country Economic Memorandum for Sao Tome and Principe - Background Note 11: What is the Potential and Hindrances for the Tourism Sector in Sao Tome and Príncipe?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-06-26) Monte-Rojas, Gabriel
    The purpose of this paper is to empirically evaluate the tourism performance of STP with respect to the main determinants that have been found in the literature. Tourism is clearly a comparative advantage of STP and already an important economic activity, however, STP is far from the characterization of a tourism-dependent small economy. Tourism represents 10.8 percent of GDP and the ratio between international inbound tourists and population is at 14.5 percent. For a summary of how STP relates to other destinations. This puts STP as the twelfth country in terms of size of direct contribution of the tourism sector to GDP and the eighteenth in terms of the ratio between tourists and population. Using data from different sources, this note analyzes STP’s tourism-related characteristics and uses different empirical tools to evaluate them vis-à-vis its peers. Economic literature shows that tourism demand is affected by price and income but also by a host of other factors such as air connectivity, language, and culture among others. First, there is an extensive research agenda on measuring price and income elasticities of tourism, which is specific for different types of tourism destination. Second, there is a myriad of characteristics that are found to be important to the tourism industry, such as remoteness, language, culture, air connectivity, bilateral trade, etc. More recently, there has been many studies emphasizing the role of digital media and digital presence1 as a key determinant of tourist decisions.