October 9, 2003

Cooperation accords signed with São Tome / taxi strike

After a three-days official visit of prime minister of São Tome and Principe Maria das Neves Ceita to Angola, three legal instruments outlining the framework for a strategic partnership on the economic cooperation between Angola and São Tome and Principe had been signed in Luanda. The instruments are the "Verbal Process", an accord in the field of tourism on the one side and a cooperation protocol in the area of oil on the other.

The third one, signed by Angolan oil minister, Desidério Costa and by the São Tomese minister of natural resources, Tomás Vera Cruz, is seen as the "corollary of a wish reaffirmed by the (two) parties to set up a strategic partnership concerning the exploration, production and trade of hydrocarbons."

To this end, actions for the strengthening of the said cooperation have already been outlined. They are actions in the fields of fisheries, agriculture, oil, trade, industry, customs, tourism, public works, transports and public order. Social communication (radio, television, press agency and newspaper), education, culture, sports, employment and health were the other areas mentioned in the mentioned 19 points document.

The parities also agreed to create mechanisms assisting with contacts among the public and private economic operators and the civil society of the respective countries.

Meanwhile, the taxi drivers in Luanda went on a general strike in the first hours of Monday, Oct 6, alleging that the rate to obtain the taxi licence is beyond their possibilities. According to some taxi drivers the strike was due to the impossibility to pay the amount asked by the Finance Ministry, estimated at more than U$1.000 a year. "We do not have access to banking institutions, when it comes to loans for a class like ours, because of this we ask the government, through the taxi association, to work with the banks to make possible support," said Barros da Costa, a taxi driver.

The taxi drivers were concentrated in the major stops of the city, such as Rocha Pinto, Airport, Mutamba, São Paulo, Triangle of Cuca and others. Solidarity with the strikers were given by their collectors that were on the streets, stopping any taxi from violating the strike. (Angola Press Agency, Luanda)

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