Sao Tome prime minister travels to Brussels seeking funding from EU

19 October 2009

Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 19 Oct – The prime minister of Sao Tome and Principe, Rafael Branco, is due to meet with the president of the European Commission Monday to discuss “structural projects” that may be eligible for funding from the European Union (EU).

Before heading off to Brussels, the first stage of a tour that also includes Portugal, Branco said that his meeting with José Manuel Durão Barroso aimed to “try to mobilise resources to some of the country’s structural projects.”

Sao Tome and Principe currently benefits from EU funding in three areas: Transport, road refurbishment and fisheries.

Branco said that he would request institutional and legal support from the EU to call to task the owners of eight ships abandoned in Sao Tome since 2008 by Spanish company Asti Pesca.

Although he noted that this process could be drawn out, the head of the government said he was convinced that the significant damage caused to the environment and to hundreds of Sao Tome’s residents could be compensated.

Also as part of this visit to Europe, Branco has scheduled meetings with Portuguese businesspeople that plan to invest in Sao Tome and Principe.

At these meetings, the focus will be the energy sector, Branco said, due to the deep energy crisis felt on the archipelago, mainly since, a week ago, a fire at the capital’s power station destroyed two groups of generators, reducing production capacity by around 40 percent. (macauhub)