São Tomé and Príncipe - Economic development

With the help of the United Nations Development Programme, the government hopes to stabilize cocoa production through long-lease arrangements with private-sector management companies. A shift to black pepper and arabica coffee could revitalize the coffee sector. Food self-sufficiency depends on the success of the government's policy of turning fringe cocoa land over to mixed-agriculture family farmers. Projects to export plantains, cocoyam, and citrus fruits to Gabon are under study. The pork herds are to be reestablished. The fishing, forestry, and tourist industries are being revitalized. The government plans to promote the development of additional food-processing and construction material industries, as well as to improve the paved road network.

A three-year International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement approved in 2000 provided for the reduction of public service employees, the organization of ports and customs, and the privatization of government industry, in order to help alleviate the growing debt. Also in 2000, the country became eligible for $200 million in debt service relief under the IMF/World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Privatization of the state-owned agricultural and industrial sectors has been a government priority.

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