The double equation of economic diversification and structural transformation in Sao Tome and Principe

A panel discussion on the structural transformation and economic diversification of São Tomé and Príncipe: the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and tax reforms will be organized in Yaoundé on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (THIS). ).

As an island microstate, São Tomé and Príncipe (STP) faces many challenges that seriously hinder its development process. Their governance capacity must be strengthened to enable the development of development policies capable of meeting their current needs in a relevant and coherent manner.

The country’s infrastructure deficit (in areas such as transport, water, health, and electricity) amid dispersed populations contributes to high levels of government spending. This situation is aggravated by the high costs of production and distribution of goods and services. The relatively weak private sector is unable to make a significant contribution to meeting the needs of the population.

With an economy largely dependent on cocoa, palm oil and tourism, diversification is imperative for the archipelago to achieve its development ambitions and rank among the continent’s thriving economies. The weak economic diversification leads to a strong dependence on imports to satisfy domestic demand, particularly for strategic products (oil) and consumer goods. This situation increases the country’s vulnerability to exogenous shocks, thus aggravating the level of poverty which affects 66.2% of its population.

The priority for São Tomé and Príncipe is the diversification of sources of growth, exports and trading partners, as well as the development of value chains.

In accordance with its mandate to promote economic diversification and structural transformation for inclusive and sustainable development in Central Africa, and after the exploratory mission carried out by one of its teams from February 28 to March 3, 2022 in STP, the Office ECA sub-regional for Central Africa is organizing an online roundtable to seek appropriate and operational solutions to the economic problems of STP.

Scheduled for Tuesday, April 19, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (CET), the STP Roundtable on Structural Transformation and Economic Diversification: Benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and Tax Reforms, will be open to the general public. The virtual meeting will be moderated by ECA experts and Sao Tome academics and will highlight opportunities for green and blue economy development, as well as possibilities for STP fiscal policy reforms to take advantage of the ZLECAf.

The event will raise awareness of the opportunities and challenges of the AfCFTA for STP, explore opportunities to promote the diversification and development of the country’s blue and green economy, explore approaches to maximize the positive effects of the AfCFTA and reduce the negative impacts it can have, particularly in the country’s tax revenues. It will also be an opportunity to explore ways to strengthen the links between the CAE and the academic community at STP.

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