- The Government of Japan has decided to extend grant aid (food aid) of 250 million JPY to the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe. Notes to this effect were exchanged on January 15 (Fri) (local time: January 14 [Thu]) in Sao Tome (capital of Sao Tome and Principe) between Mr. Motoi Kato, Ambassador of Japan to the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe (serves in the Gabonese Republic as Ambassador to the Gabonese Republic as well), and M. Carlos Alberto Pires Tiny, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Communities of the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe.
2. Sao Tome and Principe's fragile economy is largely dependent upon cacao production. It was seriously damaged by the primary product price slump of the 1980's, and economic stagnation has grown ever since. The price of cacao has continued to decline over the long term, and recent sudden price jumps in crude oil and food as well as increased dependence on food from external sources have had a large influence on the decline in income and standard of living in Sao Tome and Principe. Sao Tome and Principe is working towards the expansion and diversification of agricultural production, but the production of foodstuffs is still low, and cannot satisfy the needs of its citizens. In light of this situation, the government of Sao Tome and Principe has requested food aid (rice) from the Government of Japan.
3. This food aid is part of Japan's commitment to Africa announced at the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) held in 2008 to strengthen cooperation towards efforts in the agricultural and food production sectors of African countries. This aid is expected to provide opportunities for even poor citizens to purchase food, as well as contribute to stabilizing the price of food and reducing poverty in Sao Tome and Principe.
The Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe is located in Western Africa in the Gulf of Guinea, covers a land area of approximately 960 square kilometers, has a population of approximately 160,000 people (World Bank, 2008), and a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of 1,020 USD (World Bank, 2008).