Sao Tome, 6 September 2022 (TDI): Armed Forces Day (Dia das Forças Armadas) is a public holiday on the island nation of Sao Tome and Príncipe observed on September 6th each year.

The main initiative that marks Armed Forces Day is the swearing-in act of new recruits to the army. The Day is celebrated with military parades, which are held in the capital city of Sao Tome.

The Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Príncipe is a small island country in Central Africa. It gained independence from Portugal in 1975. The country’s military is the Armed Forces of Sao Tome and Príncipe (FASTP). Moreover, the FASTP is the smallest armed force in Africa. They primarily ensure internal security and carry out paramilitary duties.

Armed Forces

The Armed Forces of Sao Tome and Príncipe are the armed forces of the island nation of Sao Tome and Príncipe, off the coast of West Africa. The islands’ military consists of small land and naval contingent, with a limited budget.

The FASTP remains a very small force, consisting of four branches: Army (Exército), Coast Guard (Guarda Costeira also called “Navy”), Presidential Guard (Guarda Presidencial), and the National Guard. There is no air force. Since the end of the Cold War, the nation’s military budget has steadily decreased.

However, sitting adjacent to a strategically important sea lane of communication in the Gulf of Guinea and due to recent concerns about regional security issues including security for oil tankers transiting the area, the US military and other foreign navies have increased their engagement with the FASTP. It significantly provide the country with assistance in the form of construction projects and training missions, as well as integration into international information and intelligence sharing programs.

Sao Tome
Sao Tomean personnel undergo medical training with US Naval corpsmen

Moreover, Portugal has provided communications training, while France, the United Kingdom, China, and South Africa have also provided military and technical assistance.