The amount is to meet immediate cash-flow needs
Portugal provided São Tomé and Príncipe with €15 million in direct support towards the country’s budget in order to “meet immediate needs”, announced the minister of foreign affairs, João Gomes Cravinho last Friday. The funding was done through the Camões cooperation and language institute,
“This amount of €15 million is to meet immediate cash-flow needs. São Tomé and Príncipe is – we can now say that it “was” – on the verge of total collapse in terms of cash flow and it was, therefore, essential that Portugal provided this support now, even before the end of the year,” explained the head of Portuguese diplomacy, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the two countries at the foreign affairs ministry in Lisbon.
Gomes Cravinho said he was unable “at this time” to anticipate whether Portugal would increase the amount of this support, making such an eventuality dependent on talks between the governments of the two countries in early 2023.
“I cannot predict whether there will be another support of this type coming from Portugal,” he told journalists.
“We are working with the São Tomé authorities and, at the beginning of the year, we will travel there to define a strategic plan [for cooperation] for the next few years, so that this amount, and others that may be necessary in the future, will be directed towards a systematic economic recovery plan and in line with the needs in the fields of education, health and the rule of law,” the foreign affairs minister said.
According to the head of Portuguese diplomacy, “there will be a need” to involve other international bodies in supporting São Tomé, “primarily the CPLP, but also the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other bodies that may be identified”.
“With this support of €15 million, we have gained time to work with the São Tomé authorities and with other international bodies to see how we can together meet those needs,” he said.
Gomes Cravinho clarified that Portugal has a cooperation plan with São Tomé, “which will continue. This is an additional amount. However, we anticipate that during 2023 more support will be needed,” he said.
São Tomé ambassador in Lisbon, António Quintas do Espírito Santo, signed the memorandum of understanding on behalf of the São Tome government.
“It is a gesture of a friendly people, of cooperation, it is a gesture that our government is grateful for, and I believe that our authorities will make good use of this sum, which will serve to reduce the difficulties the country is experiencing in terms of foreign exchange reserves and other issues,” the diplomat said.