Sao Tome and Principe to strengthen ties with ITC after successful framework programme
Sao Tome and Principe will strengthen its cooperation with ITC following an integrated framework programme that enabled Africa's second-smallest nation to create a trade and investment promotion agency and improve its business environment over the last two years. The country's planning and development minister met with ITC representatives in Geneva during the WTO's Eighth Ministerial Conference to discuss the success.
The Portuguese-speaking island nation off the western equatorial coast of central Africa benefited between from the program, administered by the ITC and the United Nations Development Programme. Sao Tome and Principe's main export is cocoa, representing about 95% of shipments overseas, as well as copra, palm kernels and coffee. The country also is building up its services industries, especially tourism.
As part of the integrated framework programme, the country also established a trade and investment promotion agency (TIPA), a Trade Information Reference Centre within the department of trade and simplified the business-registration procedures for small and medium-sized enterprises.
'The business environment in Sao Tome and Principe has improved,' Planning and Development Minister Agostino Fernandes said after a 14 December meeting with the ITC in Geneva. 'The country is ready to take advantage of the Enhanced Integrated Framework to strengthen the business environment for the benefit of the Santomese private sector.'
Friedrich von Kirchbach, director of ITC’s Division of Country Programmes, said the ITC remains committed to Sao Tome, among the world's least-developed countries. The ITC aims to consolidate its previous intervention and strengthen its partnership with Sao Tome, he said.