afrol News, 6 April - A high speed ferry between São Tomé and Cape Verde is planned for operations already in June this year, according to an announcement by the Cape Verdean government.
The plans were revealed during the three-day visit of Cape Verdean Prime Minister José Maria Neves to São Tomé and Príncipe today. PM Neves headed a larger delegation of Cape Verdean ministers and businessmen to the fellow Portuguese speaking archipelago, agreeing to "assume a strategic partnership with São Tomé."
The ferry plans were agreed by Cape Verdean entrepreneur Felisberto Furtado and São Toméan businessman Aurélio Martins in the presence of the prime ministers of the two countries. The two businessmen signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly establish the ferry company Expresso LDA, which is to operate the new maritime link.
The vessel that is to ensure the ferry link is already on the Cape Verdean island São Vicente. According to Mr Furtado, the vessel is "a fast boat, capable of making the trip in five days, while a normal vessel would use up to eight days."
Mr Furtado further explained that the ferry has a capacity of 800 passengers and about 400 beds, with cinema and garden and a playground for children. The vessel would focus on passenger traffic between the two popular holiday resort archipelagos.
According to the memorandum signed in the presence of the prime ministers of Cape Verde and São Tomé and Príncipe, the ship's inauguration trip on this route will start as early as June this year, "opening up great possibilities for relations and trade between the two countries."
While passenger freight is the main scope of the project, the speed boat also was to transport goods between the two island nations. Especially the government of São Tomé sees the new maritime connection as a great opportunity of increasing its tropical agricultural exports to Cape Verde and beyond.
The three-day visit of Prime Minister Neves also resulted in the signing of an agreement of a strategic partnership between the two nations, with a special aim of assisting São Tomé and Príncipe in its economic development.
Cape Verde, which is already a mid-income nation, is to assist the impoverished "brother country" São Tomé to develop several economic sectors, with a first main focus on the fisheries and agriculture. Also, the two countries would open full-fledged embassies in each other's capitals, PM Neves and his São Toméan counterpart Rafael Branco announced.
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