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CCA President Praises Return of Democracy
in Sao Tome and Principe

Hayes applauds the role of Nigeria and African Union. He urges the U.S. corporate sector to support economic development.

WASHINGTON, DC &endash; President Fradique de Menezes returned to his country, Sao Tome and Principe, on Wednesday, July 23, 2003 after a week-long bloodless coup ended with an accord between the rebel leaders and President Menezes. The president was accompanied by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo. The terms of the accord stipulate that Menezes will resume his role as President, and a new government of national unity will be created with commitments to greater transparency of oil dealings, respect of financial rules and the establishment of a national forum. Under the agreement, coup leaders will receive general amnesty and withdraw their barracks.

CCA President Stephen Hayes commended the quick action that has been taken, stating, "We are pleased that the crisis in Sao Tome & Principe has ended not only peacefully, but with a full return to democracy. President de Menezes was and is the democratically elected president, and it is important that the democratic process prevail. We are especially happy that the crisis was resolved with the active participation of other African leaders, especially President Obasanjo of Nigeria and the President of the African Union, Mozambique President Chissano. The collapse of the coup can only be to the credit of Africa and its leadership. Regardless of any perceived mistakes of any political administration, it is a sign of progress that these differences are resolved openly in a democratic society."

Hayes pointed out that the swift restoration of peace on the island country is an encouragement to U.S. investors in the region. He called upon the American investment community to seize the opportunity. "It is now up to the corporate sector to become more actively engaged with Sao Tome & Principe than ever before. Neither President de Menezes, nor any other leader, will be able to fully address the issues at the root of instability in the absence of economic development. Moreover, if there is any country that can work properly through sound economic development it is country the size of Sao Tome & Principe. If we can't make a difference there, then how can we make a difference in countries operating on a much larger scale? Now is the time for us to become more engaged."

The situation in Sao Tome and Principe demonstrated the potential influence of individual African leaders and the African Union. Hayes urges these leaders to capitalize on their influence in other continental crises. "I think the African Union must now focus on ending the Liberia conflict, working to insure a transition to a genuine, transparent democracy. Resolving the Liberia conflict is crucial to ensuring continued peaceful economic development throughout West Africa."

CCA, established in 1993, is a nonpartisan 501 (c) (3) membership organization of over 160 U.S. companies dedicated to strengthening the commercial relationship between the U.S. and Africa. CCA members represent nearly 85 percent of total U.S. private sector investments in Africa. CCA's website is at