Sao Tome and Principe nets US$70 million for development projects

9 December 2005

Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 09 Dec – Sao Tome and Principe has received pledges of financial support to a total of US$70 million (60 million euros) from international donors for development projects on the archipelago, government radio reported Thursday.

The commitment was made following a presentation of the Sao Tome projects for the next three years, given in Brussels by the country’s Prime Minister, Maria do Carmo Silveira, to representatives of international donor countries such as Portugal, the United States and France.

The figure represents around half of the external aid the Sao Tome government expected to garner as a result of the meeting.

The priority action program for the 2006-2008 period sets investments in infrastructures, health and education as priorities for the West African archipelago.

The country proposes to invest in the energy sector, particularly in building hydroelectric dams, as well as building a deep water port and expand the international airport.

The fundamental objective of the program is to reduce poverty on the archipelago by half by 2010. The government’s plan for fighting poverty is supported by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Sao Tome has also said it is seeking a pardon for its US$300 million foreign debt.

The economy of Sao Tome and Principe is projected to grow 3.2 percent in 2005, representing a slowdown of 0.06 percentage points in relation to 2004, according to the latest figures from the IMF.

In 2006 the IMF forecasts that the growth rate of Sao tome’s gross domestic product (GDP) will increase to 4.5 percent, and 5.5 percent the year after that. (macauhub)