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Macao Magazine 54

September 2019

“We are studying how we can help execute this work as quickly as possible,” says Wang Wei, “to improve the infrastructure of this country and have better connections with the outside world. It will practically be one of the most important projects in this country since independence. This, too, is one of São Tomé’s dreams.” More – and more improved – air connections should facilitate tourism, as well as making it more attractive and accessible for business delegations. Wang observes that foreign investors have ‘a strong desire to cooperate with local businesses and to help the people of São Tomé to rise from poverty and have a better life’. “They had the first contact [at the Entrepreneurs Meeting],” he says, “which is essential. Contact is a precondition for finding opportunities for cooperation.” During the two-day event, more than 80 business meetings between Chinese and local businessmen are organised by IPIM and APCI, with dozens of investment projects being presented. On the sidelines, São Tomé politician Carlos Tiny mentions that the São Tomé and Príncipe-China Chamber of Commerce will be launched soon. “In addition to state-to-state relations,” he says, “the private sector interested in cooperation with China – and especially in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative – can and should be structured to also foster this relationship.” Tiny is particularly excited about the Belt and Road Initiative – which is a global development strategy by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investment across the world, including Africa – and laments that most people in São Tomé do not know about it yet ‘because there have been no bilateral diplomatic relations over the last 20 years’.

A bright future In an interview with Macao Magazine, Jorge Bom Jesus says that China and Angola are now his country's two ‘most dynamic’ economic partners. Not only is China supporting the nation with a donation of CNY200 million – about US$30 million or almost MOP230 million – but it’s also pushing forward with the major infrastructure projects. The plans for the 44

airport are ‘already quite advanced’, says the prime minister, with construction beginning ‘by the end of the year or early next year’. As for the nation’s port, the government is discussing financing projects with the public and private sectors. “There is also [an] openness [to financing] by private funds,” says Bom Jesus, “backed by China, Chinese banks and credit lines. Other than that, we are open and we have been persuading investors in the areas of energy, roads, telecommunications and housing.” The prime minister notes that the government also wants to extend cooperation to the rehabilitation of the city of São Tomé, which dates back to the 15th century, ‘to make it available to tourists and posterity’. And, according to the head of the government, another hotspot could be a recently reactivated project to create an offshore free trading zone. And then there’s the gaming industry. Former Prime Minister Rafael Branco says the APCI

Banks on both sides: (above) the Banco Internacional de São Tomé and Príncipe; (right) the Banco Central de São Tomé and Príncipe

Profile for Macaulink

Macao Magazine September 2019  

We have found alarming figures on plastic waste over the course of putting together this issue: 160,000 plastic bags are used every second a...

Macao Magazine September 2019  

We have found alarming figures on plastic waste over the course of putting together this issue: 160,000 plastic bags are used every second a...