China wants to support São Tomé and Príncipe to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy

China is willing to help São Tomé and Príncipe replace the use of fossil fuels with renewable energy, such as wind and solar, in order to preserve the environment and with the aim of promoting tourism in the archipelago, the new Chinese ambassador said on Thursday in São Tomé.

Wang Wei said in an interview with Macauhub that at an early stage the costs associated with this change may be higher, but added that in the long term “the use of renewable energy will turn out to be more economical than the production of electricity using fossil fuels.”

“São Tomé and Príncipe can count on China’s help in the energy sector, because energy is fundamental to increase the country’s productive capacity,” said the diplomat, who called for, “promoting São Tomé and Príncipe’s sustainable development,” as one of the essential areas of cooperation between the two countries.

The ambassador restated Beijing’s willingness to participate in the construction of the deep-water port and the modernisation of the international airport and gave assurances that “China does not rule out any kind of financing, which will ultimately depend on economic feasibility studies as well as on the priority given to such projects.”

Welcoming the São Tomé government’s decision to grant facilities for entry visas to Chinese citizens, Wang Wei said that China has already started the exchange of professionals from sectors in which São Tomé e Príncipe has potential, given its “geostrategic location” in the Gulf of Guinea.

Asked about aid announced for the archipelago estimated at about US$146 million, the new Chinese ambassador said that “we are not going to limit ourselves to this amount and the support may be higher, depending on the projects to be approved by both parties.”

The diplomat also said that China’s funding to São Tomé e Príncipe could take the form of investment loans or grants, adding that it could be provided by, “banks or by companies and public-private partnerships.” He also noted that “We are working expeditiously to approve and implement the projects that were deemed feasible.”

Following the reestablishment of diplomatic relations last December, São Tomé and Príncipe and China signed a general cooperation programme in April in Beijing in the economic, scientific and cultural fields, as well as a number of specific agreements in the areas of energy, tourism, health and technical assistance. (macauhub)

MACAUHUB FRENCH