Sao Tome and Principe: Chinese businesspeople analyze possibility of investing in the archipelago

18 March 2008

Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 18 March – Chinese businesspeople are researching the Sao Tome and Principe market with the aim of investing, mainly in infrastructure and oil, Sao Tome weekly newspaper Correio da Semana reported.

Despite the break in diplomatic relations 01 years ago due to Sao Tome’s diplomatic recognition of Taiwan, the paper said that a Chinese business delegation had been in Sao Tome for the last two weeks in order to research the market for potential investments.

“They were mainly businessmen researching the investment opportunities in Sao Tome and Principe. It seems they are interested in the infrastructure and oil sectors”, the paper said, confirming the presence of two Chinese business groups, a few days ago, in Sao Tome.

As well as having reported that no “concrete projects” had been formally presented by the Chinese businesspeople, Correio da Semana, citing official sources, said that an engineering team from Beijing was interested in building a deep water port on the Sao Tome archipelago.

The People’s Republic of China decided in May 1997 to break off its 20-year diplomatic relations with Sao Tome and Principe due to the archipelago’s establishment of diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

China has never recognized Taiwan as a sovereign state, as it considers it to be part of its territory.

As well as Correio da Semana, a Sao Toem magazine, O Parvo, published an article Monday entitled “Diplomatic Wooing of People’s China,” in an allusion to the visit by the president of the Angolan parliament, Roberto de Almeida, to Sao Tome last week as part of bilateral cooperation.

The magazine said that the Angolan official’s presence in Sao Tome was also linked to information reported by the Africa Monitor newsletter that Angola was supporting China’s initiative and that relations with Sao Tome could be re-established.

Friday, in an interview with Sao Tome television, TVS, the prime minister of Sao Tome and Principe, Patrice Trovoada said that “we do not consider China an adversary or an enemy,” adding that “if our traders have the possibility of buying products from China, this is not a problem at all.”

As well as inviting Sao Tome and Principe to take part in the Lusophone games and the forum for China-Africa economic cooperation, Chinese oil company Sinopec won the right to operate an oil bloc in a joint oil exploration area between the Sao Tome archipelago and Nigeria. (macauhub)