|The Courier N° 136 - Nov-Dec 1992 - Dossier Humanitarian Aid - Country Reports: Soa Tomé- Principe- Senegal (EC Courier, 1992, 96 p.)|
|Sao Tome & Principe: An alternative to cocoa?|
by Neil CRUMBIE
The Democratic Republic of Sao Tomnd Principe joined the Lom Convention in 1978, two years after its accession to independence. There have therefore been almost 15 years of cooperation with the Community. An Off´ce of the EEC was opened in Sao Tomn 1979, from where a Resident Adviser reports to the Delegation of the Commission in Libreville and acts as a link with the Government.
The National Indicative Programme of the LomV Convention was signed in December 1990 by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the National Authorising Officer of the Democratic Republic of Sao Tomnd Principe, Mr Guilherme Posser, and by Mr Jean Delorme on behalf of the Commission of the European Economic Community. The details of this programme are explained later in this article.
Member States accredited to Sao Tomnd Principe are Belgium, Italy, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. Portugal, of course, is represented by an Ambassador who exercises the Presidency 'itre permanent' for the Community, being the only Member State Ambassador resident in Sao TomThe others exercise their accreditation either from Luanda in Angola or Libreville in Gabon.
Sao Tomnd Principe has benefited principally from Community aid in the form of interventions under the National Indicative Programmes of Lom, II and III and now under the LomV Programme which is starting in 1992. To this must also be added transfers made under the system of Stabex as compensation for loss of receipts following the export of basic products, cacao in the case of Sao Tomnd Principe, when prices fell below those that had been forecast. The total amount of Stabex transfers was more than ECU 9 million between 1981 and 1991.
Sao Tomnd Principe has also benefited from regional programmes in the Gulf of Guinea as well as aid financed by the European Investment Bank.
Over the last few years, therefore, the EEC has been one of the principal sources of development aid for Sao Tomnd Principe together with Portugal, France, Italy, Sweden, Angola, the World Bank and the United Nations.
Development aid under Lom, II and III has been allocated in support of the development aims of Sao Tomnd Principe.
The development of agriculture and fishing
A project including the planting of a 600 hectare palm plantation to supply a palm oil factory which was financed by risk capital managed by the European Investment Bank was completed and is now in operation. The aim of this project was to provide a capacity for import substitution ensuring a regular supply to the local market while at the same time providing for savings m foreign exchange.
A refrigeration project consisting of four cold storage units was also financed to provide commercial support and a distribution facility to the fishing industry, an important element in the day-today life of the Saotomense people. In time these were supported by two ice-making units.
Finally Sao Tomill benefit from a regional project designed to develop small fishing in the Gulf of Guinea. This will be located at Neves and will involve the rehabilitation of the boatyard.
Projects to provide urban water supplies to Trinidade and Agolares have both been completed as has the structural rehabilitator of the hospital on the island of Principe, which was completed in conjunction with the Portuguese NGO AMI in late 1991.
Other current activities include the construction of a blood bank in conjunction with French and Portuguese aid, in the capital of Sao Tome.
Development of international transport links
A major project has been the rehabilitation of the Port of Sao Tomofinanced with German aid (KFW), who have provided a powertug and two of the four barges, and the United Nations Equipment Programme, which has provided cranes. The Community rehabilitated the quays, and provided for lift trucks and technical assistance.
As part of a regional programme the Community funded the provision of a 200-tonne merchant vessel now named 'Pague' which trades in the Gulf of Guinea between the islands of Sao Tomnd Principe and Cameroun, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. This vessel cost ECU 430 000.
This programme was in support of the balance of payments programme of Sao Tomnd Principe and included the supply of basic products such as soap, caustic soda, powdered and condensed milk and sugar.
A 1000 KVA generator and 8000 meters were also provided to support the islands" infrastructure and facilitate cost recovery.
The 1000 KVA generator, provided by ABC in Brussels, Belgium, still continues to make a very significant contribution to the supply of energy in Sao Tom
Community food aid principally involved the supply of wheat, corn and rice which Sao Tomnd Principe needed as they were unable to produce sufficient quantities of basic foodstuffs for the national diet. The principle involved is that the sale of food and other supplies to the population builds up counterpart funds which are then managed jointly by the Government and the Commission to finance labour-intensive projects in the programme to achieve food security, improve health, education, sanitation and provide for the construction of schools. One such school will shortly be opening in Sao Joao dos Angolares.
The Fishing Agreement between the Community and Sao Tomnd Principe permits fishing licences principally for tuna to be given to Member States' fishing boats. Currently, 30 licences are in operation, for which the Government receives the sum of ECU 1.65 million over a three-year period that started on I June 1990, ECU 150 000 for scientific and technical programmes and ECU 375 000 for commitments to more general fishing and maritime activities.
Of all the health threats to Sao Tomnd Principe, that of malaria remains the greatest and this is now subject to World Bank interventions. During the period of Lom11, the Community provided emergency aid in the fight against malaria amounting to ECU 465 000.
The LomV Convention entered into being in September 1991 and consists of two main sectors which are:
1. The consolidation of the palm oil project in Ribeira Peixe by the rehabilitation of the road between Ribeira Peixe and Sao Joao dos Angolares for an estimated ECU 1.3 million. The African Development Bank, as part of its programme, is financing the rehabilitation of the road between Sao Tomnd Sao Joao dos Angolares.
2. A major project to improve the water supply, drainage and sewage systems in the capital Sao Tomtself for an estimated ECU 3.9 million.
The technical studies for both these major projects have been completed and invitations to tender will be published later in 1992 with works starting in late 1992 and early 1993.
Further funding amounting to ECU 1.3 million will also be made available for agricultural diversification, assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises and the provision of technical assistance.
Finally, discussions are under way concerning the ECU 1.5 million available to Sao Tomnd Principe under the programme for structural adjustment and the ECU 1.5 million available as risk capital from the European Investment Bank.