SAO TOME, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Sao Tome and Principe's Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada will pay an official visit to China from April 12 to 18 at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang.
In an interview with Xinhua prior to his visit, Mr. Trovoada noted that the relationship between the two countries and the Sino-African relationship in general is balanced, honest and sincere.
In early 2017, China sent expert delegations to Sao Tome for technical assistance. Trovoada said he was pleased to see "visible results very quickly" in the fields of agriculture, health, energy and education, noting that 55 students from Sao Tome and Principe would study in China.
"I believe that the first few months are very positive, that they prove that there is a real political will to work together, to cooperate, and to truly create this relationship of trust and solidarity between the two countries, the two governments, and to [continue] this very long-standing relationship between peoples, " he said.
Trovoada's visit will be his first official visit to China, but he has already visited the country on several occasions. "It is a beautiful country, it is a great country. I have visited several cities, such as Shanghai and Beijing. It is a joy to be in a country that I love, of which I love the culture and the cooking," he said.
Trovoada noted that it would be very interesting to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and exchange views on China-Africa cooperation and on current issues such as climate, globalization, economic exchanges, trade development and bilateral relations. The visit will also be an opportunity to discuss the bilateral relationship thoroughly with the Chinese Premier, he said.
"China has understood that the African continent needs basic infrastructure, electricity and land, rail, sea and air communications, especially with regional air transport," according to him.
"China is a partner who understands perfectly the development issues and the sequence of development, that is a house is built by the foundations, not by the roof. So I think this approach is correct, first basic infrastructure, then industrialization to create products, and then exchange. This knowledge of China is an advantage for the African continent," he said.
He further stressed that it was in China's interest to trade, to buy and to sell, and that Africa therefore represented a market that could be of interest to China.
"It means that beyond infrastructure, Africa must also advance in the creation of added values, in the creation of products that can be exported to China, and that Africa also has a consumer base who can consume products from China," said Trovoada.
"I believe what President Xi Jinping has implemented from the Johannesburg summit is in the interests of the African people and also in the interests of China," he said.
He added that China had a "solidarity" relationship with Africa. "China has always supported us at a time when Africa was completely colonized, and China has helped us to free ourselves, so it is a balanced, honest and sincere relationship," he said.
Finally, he called on the governments of the two countries to learn more about their respective cultures through cultural exchanges, adding the country has already started to exempt visas for all Chinese who hold official diplomatic and service passports while allowing all Chinese who arrive in Sao Tome to get the visa at the airport.
"I hope we can create other mechanisms of rapprochement and mutual knowledge, "he said.