The Sao Tome government wants to settle a debt of around 300 million euros with Angola, under the terms of a new economic cooperation agreement signed with representatives of the Angolan government, in the capital of Sao Tome, it was announced today.
“In the agreement signed, we plan from this stage to develop a new strategy in the economic area so that there is greater productivity for both sides, so that, at the end of the day, we can halt the growing debt and be able to implement businesses in other areas,” said the Sao Tome Finance Minister, Genésio da Mata, at the end of three days of work with an Angolan ministerial delegation that was in Sao Tome.
Genésio da Mata noted that Angola was one of Sao Tome’s “main partners and creditors,” and during these days of work the sides had sought to refocus “a new strategy of cooperation in the economic field.
According to the Sao Tomean Finance Minister, during the work, the sides recognised the bilateral debt between the two states, as well as the fuel debt that the Sao Tomean Water and Electricity Company (Emae) has to the National Fuel and Oil Company (Enco), of which the Angolan state is the biggest shareholder, via Sonangol.
“The bilateral debt with Angola is currently estimated at around US$68 million [63.5 million euros] and [Emae’s] commercial debt is around US$252 million [235.6 million euros],” Genésio da Mata said.
The São Tomense Finance Minister noted the desire to halt the growth of debt to Angola, and noted the need to “adopt measures to stop the wave of debt,” at all levels.
“We have a debt capacity limit that should be respected and we should adopt a strategy to work towards wealth creation to deal with the current debts,” said the Sao Tomean leader.
The Angolan delegation was headed by the Minister of State for Economic Coordination, Manuel Nunes Júnior, and also included the ministers for Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas, Diamantino Pedro Azevedo, for Foreign Relations, Téte António, for Culture and Tourism, Filipe Silvino de Pina Zau, as well as the secretaries of State for International Cooperation and Angolan Communities, Custódio Vieira Lopes, and for Civil Aviation, Maritime and Port, Emílio Londa.
Also part of the delegation were the deputy governor of the National Bank of Angola, the chairman of the Private Investment and Export Promotion Agency, the chairman of Sonangol, the chairman of the Board of the Institute for Asset Management and State Participation and the chairman of the National Oil and Gas Agency.
After the signing of the agreement, no Angolan representative made statements to journalists.
After the meeting with the São Tomense President, Carlos Vila Nova, the Angolan Foreign Minister, Téte António, stressed the good relations between the two countries.
“What we really want is to transform these excellent relations from a political point of view into economically solid relations from a business point of view as well. There is a set of business opportunities that will certainly interest both countries, we will continue to deepen these investment and business opportunities,” said the head of Angolan diplomacy.
“All this will contribute to São Tomé’s economy growing more, also so that Angola can benefit from this growth in São Tomé that is certainly expected. I would say that we have come here to deal with strategic cooperation so that both sides win,” Téte António noted.