- The national airliner of Angola, TAAG, is reported to eye a possibility of buying a majority shareholding in the just established airliner of São Tomé and Príncipe, STP Airways. With a looming oil boom in São Tomé, the island nation has become an interesting site to invest, especially in the transport sector.
The pro-government newspaper 'Jornal de Angola' reports that TAAG has shown its interest in obtaining a controlling position of the new São Toméan airliner, with which it recently reached an agreement of joint flights to Portugal. TAAG however has not wanted to confirm its interest in STP Airways.
STP Airways was only recently founded, to fill in the gap after the state company Air São Tomé was grounded. The new national airliner unites both state and private capital in an effort to keep the archipelago connected domestically and with the outside world, in addition to reduce dependence on Portuguese airliner TAP. The São Tomé government has indicated that it prefers private capital to control STP Airways.
The new airliner already is totally dependent on its comprehensive business deal with TAAG. The São Toméan company, since recently setting off on its virgin flight, has leased most of its equipment and aircrafts from its Angolan counterpart.
Only this month, an even closer cooperation between TAAG and STP Airways was announced. The two airliners are to jointly operate a new route between the Angolan and Portuguese capitals, Luanda and Lisbon, making a stopover in São Tomé. The new connection with the ex-colonial power will be the first-ever competition with Portugal's TAP, which now runs a weekly flight between São Tomé and Lisbon.
TAP late last year became unpopular with the São Toméan government as the airliner threatened to cancel the archipelago's only intercontinental flight connection if authorities did not improve runways on the São Tomé airport within a given deadline. Authorities immediately found Taiwanese funding to do the necessary repairs, which are now being implemented. But the embarrassing incident also demonstrated São Tomé's total dependence on TAP in a time when the country's gears up to become an oil exporter.
Neither the TAAG/STP Airways route to Lisbon via São Tomé nor the Angolan investment in the new airliner are secured, however. Sources speaking to 'Jornal de Angola' had indicated all would depend on whether the new Luanda-Lisbon connection proved profitable. If not, TAAG would find it difficult to take over a major part of STP Airways shares, the newspaper had understood.
But if everything goes according to the ambitious plans, STP Airways in cooperation with TAAG will carry out flights from the archipelago to Lisbon twice a week, each Monday and Friday. TAP, which flies to every Portuguese speaking country, has strongly indicated it will stick to its once-a-week flights between the two capitals on Saturdays.
Flight connections between São Tomé and Lisbon will thus triple, even before the oil boom has taken its grip on the archipelago and while efforts to boost tourism have yet to succeed. Analysts question the market for this large amount of flights to the islands of only 120,000 inhabitants.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.