Sao Tome and Principe launches series of public meetings about oil exploration

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, July 6 -- The African island nation of Sao Tome and Principe has inaugurated a series of public meetings to discuss future oil exploration in the country's territorial waters and to determine spending preferences for any future oil revenues.

"The idea is to give the people a set of realistic expectations for the future, and to give the government a better understanding of the popular will. I hope our National Forum can help Sao Tome and Principe avoid the problems that have plagued our oil-rich neighbors," said President Fradique de Menezes. "We want to keep any oil revenues from creating social divisions or destroying our common resources."

The National Forum came about as part of an agreement that diffused a coup attempt in 2002. Since then, the forum has become a tool for helping citizens decide the country's future.

During the 55 public meetings, citizens will learn the details of the country's new Oil Revenue Management Law. The National Forum process will culminate in a consensus Plan of Action for sustainable economic development during the next 5 years.

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