Government of São Tomé and Príncipe changes business investment rules

23 December 2016

Foreign citizens or companies will have to invest at least US$5 million to be able to carry out commercial activity, São Toméan Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada said on Monday during the parliamentary debate on the state of the nation.

Trovoada explained that priority must be given to national citizens and that “a foreigner can no longer just arrive here and set up a small business that competes with local merchants,” indicates a report from Lusa news agency.

But “if a foreigner wants to invest five million dollars, in money and not via a credit line, then it can be done,” he added.

The prime minister emphasised that he favoured the market economy, “but with limits,” and announced that his government plans to introduce a number of reforms at business sector level to “end excessive liberalisation.”

He said his government was evaluating the possibility of aid to capitalise domestic merchants, many of whom are insolvent while others have lost property to banks where they had contracted loans.

Natives of Lebanon and China dominate the business activity of larger shops in São Tomé and Príncipe, while Nigerians and some Cameroonians dominate the informal market that mainly deals in auto parts and clothing. (Macauhub)