How To Start A Business in Sao Tome & Principle


Starting a Business in Sao Tome and Principe

Starting a business, or company, in Sao Tome and Principe takes approximately 144 days as compared to about 46 days for the Sub-Saharan Africa region. This piece outlines the general technical procedures for starting a company in Sao Tome and Principe, according to the database by the World Bank. It includes details and requirements to be in good standing with all relevant agencies beyond the company registrar like social security agencies.

Use this as a guide while you complete the process and consult with agents carrying out work on your behalf.  Additional notes may be found here.

Technical Procedures

The steps involved in registering a company(Private Limited Company) in Sao Tome and Principe are:

  1. Check the uniqueness of the proposed company name and reserve a name.
  2. Notarize the company statutes.
  3. Deposit the legally required initial capital in a bank and obtain deposit evidence.
  4. Apply for advertising of the incorporation notice in the official gazette (Diário da República).
  5. Advertise the incorporation notice in a national newspaper.
  6. Register the company with the Commercial Registry.
  7. Apply for a commercial operations permit (alvará).
  8. Apply for tax payer identification number.
  9. Register employees with the social security authorities.

Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in São Tomé and Príncipe. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with between 10 and 50 employees and start-up capital of 10 times the economy's per-capita gross national income.


This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 189 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2015.

No.ProcedureTime to CompleteAssociated Costs
 1Check the uniqueness of the proposed company name, reserve a name, register the company, obtain a tax payer identification number, and publish the incorporation record
Agency: Guiché Único (Registry)

The incorporation of the Company at the Guiché Único requires the presentation of the following documents:
- Application form duly completed;
- Certificate attesting the uniqueness of the company name (which may be obtained at the Guiché Único);
- Signed copy of the by-laws (the Guiché Único provides model by-laws that must be used, but the parties may opt to use a different model of by-laws other than those offered by the Guichet Único)
- Evidence of payment of the single fee for the incorporation of the company
- Document attesting the identity of the signatories or the identity of their representative.

Regarding the advertising of the incorporation, the company may opt to advertise its incorporation in the Official Gazette of the OSS or in a national newspaper. The copy of the published record can be obtained as early as the day following the incorporation in the Guiché Único.
4 days on average STD 5,150,000
*2Obtain and legalize the special company books
Agency: Judicial Court

Companies must obtain and legalize mandatory books. Some books (i.e., the general assembly and the board of directors' books) must be initialized by the court of first instance. As stated in Article 32 of the Commercial Code, “the accounting books should be presented to the president judge at the court of the company’s jurisdiction, so that the court officers can number and sign each of the pages, and prepare the opening and closing pages.”
1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge
 3Register the employer and employees with the Social Security Authority
Agency: Social Security Authority

Employers must register employees with the relevant social security authority within 30 days of tax registration.
1 day no charge

  * Takes place simultaneously with another procedure.