Trouble in Paradise São Tomé and Príncipe Grapples with Alleged Alcohol Problem

Alcohol consumption is a problem in many African countries. In the island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe, off Africa's western coast, many residents don't want to hear about, fearing it could damage the country's international image as burgeoning travel destination.
By Anne Backhaus in São Tomé and Príncipe
10 a.m. in São Tomé: Mothers and workers drinking together on the street

10 a.m. in São Tomé: Mothers and workers drinking together on the street

Anne Backhaus/ DER SPIEGEL
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São Tomé and Príncipe was recently recognized by Lonely Planet as a top travel destination, but many on the islands are concerned that news of widespread alcohol abuse in the country could hurt its reputation.

São Tomé and Príncipe was recently recognized by Lonely Planet as a top travel destination, but many on the islands are concerned that news of widespread alcohol abuse in the country could hurt its reputation.

Anne Backhaus/ DER SPIEGEL
Selling alcohol on the streets of São Tomé: The containers are full of palm wine and potent sugarcane spirits.

Selling alcohol on the streets of São Tomé: The containers are full of palm wine and potent sugarcane spirits.

Anne Backhaus/ DER SPIEGEL

Bishop Manuel dos Santos talks to children from his parish. Like many others, he's worried about São Tomé and Príncipe's reputation.

Bishop Manuel dos Santos talks to children from his parish. Like many others, he's worried about São Tomé and Príncipe's reputation.

Anne Backhaus/ DER SPIEGEL
The volcanic formation Pico Cão Grande is one of the tropical island's best known landmarks.

The volcanic formation Pico Cão Grande is one of the tropical island's best known landmarks.

Anne Backhaus/ DER SPIEGEL

Drinking Away Frustration, Pain and Hunger

Anne Backhaus/ DER SPIEGEL

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Drinking Away Frustration, Pain and Hunger

"People want to feel good. Those who have money don't drink."

A local distiller

A man squats behind one of the metal barrels in which he distills homemade sugarcane spirits.

A man squats behind one of the metal barrels in which he distills homemade sugarcane spirits.

Anne Backhaus/ DER SPIEGEL

This piece is part of the Global Societies series. The project runs for three years and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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