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The Country

São Tomé e Principe, the second smallest country in Africa, gained independence from Portugal on 12 July 1975.

The country is situated in the Gulf of Guinea 350 km west of the coast of Gabon and consists of two main islands and numerous small islets. The largest island is São Tomé (860 km2) with an estimated 95 % of the population. Principe (140 km2) lies to the north. Close to the southern tip of São Tomé lies a third populated island, Ilhéu das Rolas, which is inhabited by less than 400 people and is crossed by the equator.

The islands are part of a group of islands of volcanic origin, which includes Equatorial Guinea. The soil is fertile and vegetation is rich. The south and west benefit from abundant rainfall. Although there are numerous micro-climates, the general climate conditions consist of a rainy season, from September through May, and a shorter, drier and cooler season from June through August. The main cash crops have traditionally been cocoa and coffee, but production has gone down steadily over the years.

The population is made up of Angolares, descendants of Angolan slaves shipwrecked off the coast of Sao Tome in the 1500’s, now mainly fishermen; Forros, or Filhos da Terra, descendants of the first Portuguese settlers and freed slaves (natives of São Tomé); Serviçais, contract laborers mainly from Portugal’s other colonies, Angola, Cape Verde and Mozambique); and Tongas, descendants of the Serviçais.

 

UNICEF In 1984, UNICEF opened a liaison office in São Tomé, which was attached to the Area Office in Brazzaville. When Luanda became a full representative office in 1985, São Tomé was attached as a sub-office. At the same time, UNICEF Angola became part of the East and Southern Africa Region with its regional office in Nairobi. With the appointment of a new head of office in 1989, relations took on a new dimension. Several posts were established in that year and subsequently in 1993. The ceiling of general resources was almost doubled to reach a level of $ 750,000. In 1995, UNICEF moved in with UNDP, UNFPA and WFP in common premises, the United Nations House, located at Avenida das Naçoes Unidas. In 1999, the title of the head of office was upgraded to Assistant Representative, opening the way to building a stronger UNICEF team for the next century. In October 1999, the São Tomé office officially became part of the West and Central Africa region, reporting directly to the regional office in Abidjan. In October 1999, the regional budget meeting held in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire approved an expanded office structure for the biennium 2000-2001. In April 2000, Dr.Idalecio Neves was appointed Project Officer for the Health, Water and Sanitation Programmes. In August, Fatima Silva was appointed Operations Officer. A new management plan is being elaborated to take into account the requirements of the next country programme 2002-2006.

UNICEF assistance: three distinctive periods:

1984-1990

1991-1994

1995-1999

UNICEF Representation in São Tomé e Principe

Year

Name

Title

Nationality

2000-

 To be appointed

Assistant Representative

 

1997-2000

Boudewijn Mohr

Assistant Representative

The Netherlands

1994-1997

Akhil Iyer

Resident Project Officer

Canada

1991-1994

Roberto de Bernardi

Resident Project Officer

Italy

1989-1991

Per Tamm

Resident Project Officer

Denmark

1987-1988

No representation

n.a.

n.a.

 1986

Filipo Cortalle

Resident Project Officer

Italy

1986

Blanca Abarca

Resident Project Officer

Chile

1984-1985

Giovana Visini

Resident Project Officer

Italy


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