New representatives from Cape Verde and São Tomé and Príncipe took office yesterday at the Permanent Secretariat of the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking countries (Macau) – also known as Forum Macao – according to an announcement by the Forum.
The government of Cape Verde has appointed Nuno Miguel Melo Furtado as the new representative for the country within the Permanent Secretariat. Melo Furtado has previously served as a diplomatic advisor to the President of the National Assembly of Cape Verde.
The government of São Tomé and Principe has appointed Gualter Sousa Pontes de Vera Cruz as its new representative in Macau for the Permanent Secretariat of the Forum. Vera Cruz has previously served as an advisor to the country’s Minister of Finance, Commerce, and the Blue Economy [an expansion of the green economy, promoting sustainability and tackling environmental problems].
It is the first time São Tomé and Príncipe has had formal representation within the Permanent Secretariat of the Forum.
Speaking to Business Daily, Vera Cruz explained that the first contact with the Forum took place in March 2017 – they “have started to define a series of procedures and activities” to enable the participation of the country in the platform.
Until December 2016, São Tomé and Príncipe had formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which made them ineligible for integration into the Forum.
“After we re-established an official relationship with China, the possibility of participating in the Forum became a reality. We are joining it when it has already been operating for several years, but our goal is to be part of this family [… ] and to create the necessary mechanisms to share information and enable commercial exchange within the framework of the Belt and Road,” Vera Cruz told Business Daily.
On the agenda for its debut role in the Forum, the new representative said there are three areas of economic development they would like to foster within the platform between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries.
“One of the things we believe is important at this first stage is tourism. We would also like to find projects for our agricultural and fishing industries. We have 60 times the space of our territorial surface that is water. It is a vast maritime space that we would like to make more valuable for our economic activity,” explained Vera Cruz.
Contacted by Business Daily, the newly appointed representation from Cape Verde said that he was in a meeting with his predecessor, Mário Vicente, discussing the dossiers for the transfer of functions. He said that they will present their plans and strategies for the Forum within the coming days.
The previous representative of Cape Verde at the Permanent Secretariat of the Forum Macao, Mário Vicente, ceased his term in office on July 31, 2017. Vicente had been appointed to the office by the government of Cape Verde in March 2011.