A delegation led by Mr Ding Tian, Deputy Secretary-General of the Permanent Secretariat of the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, visited São Tomé and Príncipe from July 8 to 11 to take part in the “Entrepreneurs Meeting for Commercial and Economic Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries – 2019″.
The event was organised by: the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade; the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM); and São Tomé and Príncipe’s Commerce and Investment Promotion Agency (APCI). It featured discussions about furthering cooperation in a number of fields, such as tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure development and the services sector. More than 300 people – officials from economic and investment departments and entrepreneurs – attended the meeting.
During a speech at the event’s opening ceremony, the Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe, Mr Jorge Bom Jesus, said the country’s location – in the Atlantic Ocean – gave it an advantageous position as a bridge linking different parts of the globe. Mr Bom Jesus said he hoped participants in the meeting would better understand the business and investment environments of São Tomé e Príncipe, and that the event would help companies from Chinese provinces and from Portuguese-speaking Countries connect, and so attract further investment to São Tomé e Príncipe.
Forum Macao’s Deputy Secretary-General Mr Ding pointed out in his speech that the Entrepreneurs Meeting was one of the important economic and commercial events promoted by Forum Macao. He added that the event had become an effective platform to further communication and cooperation between representatives of Forum Macao and entrepreneurs from the participating countries. Entrepreneurs were the core force in promoting cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries, said Mr Ding. He expressed a wish to make use of the Entrepreneurs Meeting as a platform, aiming to explore fresh opportunities in business cooperation and to strengthen the friendship among all of the participating countries.
Other officials giving speeches during the event’s opening ceremony included: APCI’s Director, Rafael Branco; the Vice Secretary of the Party Committee of the China Chamber of International Commerce, Xu Yanbo; and the President of IPIM, Irene Va Kuan Lau.
During the visit to São Tomé and Príncipe, the delegation met with Prime Minister Bom Jesus, who said he highly appreciated the fruitful outcome from the work conducted by Forum Macao. He emphasised that Macao was acting as a door for companies from São Tomé and Príncipe to enter Mainland China. Additionally, Mr Bom Jesus gave the delegation a brief introduction about several of his country’s industries, namely manufacturing, the energy sector, agriculture and tourism.
Both sides exchanged views on a number of topics, including: Forum Macao as a cooperation platform; Macao’s role as a Commercial and Trade Cooperation Service Platform between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries; and the preparation work for the 6th Ministerial Conference of Forum Macao. The two sides expressed a wish to continue taking advantage of the role of Macao as a platform to help deepen the relationship between China and São Tomé and Príncipe and make a closer link between both sides in various fields.
During the meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to São Tomé and Príncipe, Wang Wei, both sides agreed that Macao played an important role as a bridge between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries. The key way to strengthen the relationship between China and São Tomé and Príncipe was to increase communication, as investors were keen in understanding better the actual business environment in São Tomé and Príncipe. The Ambassador said that São Tomé and Príncipe should make use of its unique characteristics, implement beneficial policies for investment and provide more information about development projects, in order to attract investors and foster cooperation in several areas.
The Forum Macao delegation also visited some projects in the agricultural, tourism and processing sectors in São Tomé and Príncipe, including: a palm oil and rubber producer, Agripalma LDA; a hotel, Roça Santo António; and a brewery, Rosema.