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Sao Tome and Principe gained independence from Portugal in 1975 through peaceful negotiations. The country’s politics are therefore based on values of peace and non-interference in other countries’ affairs, which has helped it to avoid armed conflicts.1 Since then, Sao Tome and Principe has remained one of the most peaceful and democratic countries in Africa. It has experienced several failed, non-violent coup attempts.2 Levels of armed crimes are low.3 Sao Tome and Principe is not reported to be a source, destination or transit point for human or arms trafficking.4

The country’s guiding gun control legislation comprises the Homeland Security Act of 2017. Sao Tome and Principe has signed and ratified the Arms Trade Treaty.5


1 Sao Tome and Principe, National Report on the Implementation of the Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (PoA) and the International Tracing Instrument (ITI) (New York: Permanent Mission of Sao Tome and Principe to the UN, 2003),

2 “Sao Tome and Principe,” World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), updated December 13, 2022,

3 “Is It Safe to Travel to Sao Tome Principe?” MoAfrika Tours, 2022,

4 “2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: São Tomé and Príncipe,” US Department of State, 2021,

5 Philip Alpers and Miles Lovell, Sao Tome and Principe – Gun Facts, Figures and the Law (, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, 2022),

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Map of Sao Tome and Principe

Further information

Accidental explosions

Since the Small Arms Survey began collecting data in 1979, no accidental explosions have been reported in Sao Tome and Principe.

Source: “Unplanned Explosions at Munitions Sites (UEMS) Database,” Small Arms Survey, updated December 15, 2021,

Cases of diversion

Insufficient information on cases of diversion in Sao Tome and Principe.


Insufficient information on the disposal of ammunition in Sao Tome and Principe.


To further enhance safe and secure ammunition management, the following needs have been identified for Sao Tome and Principe (as of 2003):

  • Development or refinement of standards and procedures on stockpile management; and
  • Capacity development for the destruction of surplus stockpiles.


Source: Sao Tome and Principe, National PoA Report.

Published Date: Monday 21 of August 2023