Sao Tome foreign minister to visit India

New Delhi, Nov 27 ( After the visit of the Cape Verde foreign minister last week, a high-level delegation from yet another small African country will be visiting India, that of Sao Tome and Principe.

The tiny island nation’s foreign minister, Carlos Tiny, will make a four-day official trip next week. Spread over 1000 square km with a population of a little over 200,000 in the Gulf of Guinea with a huge potential of hydrocarbons, it is yet another African country that is responding to India’s quest to develop stronger relations with the continent that is increasingly seeing competition from big powers like China and the United States to woo its rapidly transforming societies and economies.

“This is the first high-level visit on either side, since the island nation got its independence from Portugal in 1975,” it said.

During his visit, Tiny will hold discussions with Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor Tuesday.

While this may be the first bilateral visit, both members of the non-aligned movement have been cooperating in the international fora. Sao Tome and Principe has also supported India’s candidature for non-permanent seat of United Nations Security Council for 2011-12.

“Sao Tome and Principe wants to diversify relations with India and has sought assistance in the economic and social development of its people. Mainly an agricultural economy, producing cocoa, coconuts, palm, banana, papaya, pepper and cinnamon, it needs expertise in processing and packaging and creation of employment through small-scale enterprises,” according to the press release.

During the visit, Tiny will also visit the Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd to learn about the Pan-African network, which runs virtual classrooms in Africa with eminent Indian universities and medical institutions here. He will also have a meeting with Indian industry to invite investments to his country.