Sao Tome makes US$52 million at its round table meeting

11 December 2006

Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 11 Dec – Sao Tome and Principe is set to make over US$52 million from its round table meeting with international donors, in order to fight poverty on the archipelago, an official statement said.

According to the statement, issued after the round table meeting held in the capital of Sao tome, international donors pledged to contribute US$25 million to be invested in developing infrastructure, US$20 million in education and training and US$7 million in a good governance program.

Amongst the international contributions are those of the World Bank (US$6.2 million), the African Development Bank (US$4.8 million), the European Union (US$4.2 million), Portugal (US$4 million), the United Nations (US$3.2 million), Taiwan (US$3 million) and France (US$1 million).

The funds announced by the donors will be used by the Sao Tome authorities over the next three years, according to projects initially estimated to cost US$121 million.

In terms of infrastructure the main expenditure will be a project to improve the quality of energy costing some US$31 million, the road building plan estimated to cost US$14 million, and the tapping and distribution of water valued at US$4 million.

In education, amongst other projects, there is a program for increasing the length of compulsory schooling estimated to cost US$13.3 million, the reform of basic schooling budgeted at US$9.2 million and training in higher education with a cost of some US$4.2 million.

In the area of improving governance, the development of the private sector is a priority in a project estimated to cost US$4 million, together with programs of reform of public administration and the justice system, valued at US$4 and US$ 3 million, respectively.

At the last round table meeting held last December in Brussels, Sao Tome and Principe netted over US$60 million from international donors.

With foreign debt totaling over US$300 million, it is estimated that more than 50 percent of the population of Sao tome and Principe lives below the poverty line on less than a dollar a day. (macauhub)

MACAUHUB FRENCH