During his official March 2022 visit to Lisbon, Portugal, His Excellency Jorge Bom Jesus, Prime Minister of São Tomé e Príncipe, met in audience with Frei Fernando Ventura (Franciscan Capuchin friar) and a delegation of the Templar Corps International with TCI lawyer Marcelo Katter and TCI CEO Luis de Matos.
São Tomé e Príncipe is is an island country in the Gulf of Guinea, off the western equatorial coast of Central Africa. It consists of two archipelagos around the two main islands of São Tomé and Príncipe. In the past few years, the economy of São Tomé and Príncipe has grown, driven by agriculture, tourism and foreign investments. São Tomé and Príncipe outperforms the sub-Saharan Africa average on the Human Development Index and has made great progress on most social indicators. All children in São Tomé and Príncipe are enrolled in the education system, life expectancy has increased to 70 years, the infant mortality rate has decreased dramatically and the vast majority of the population already has access to piped water and access to electricity. The Island of Príncipe is part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserve since 2012, a prime eco-tourism destination.
Frei Ventura has spearheaded a few Humanitarian Projects in São Tomé e Príncipe in the last decade, with a significant impact on the local community. The Templar Corps International has been advocating for these projects, listing them as a priority and helping to gather resources and volunteers. The Banco de Leite (Milk Bank) has been helping young mothers who have difficulties to feed their young children in the earliest and important months of their lives. Casa Betânia [link in Portuguese], a home for the elderly, is another important project that is in the final stages of raising funds. Other projects are in early stages of development.
During the meeting the Prime Minister was informed about each of the ongoing projects and plans for 2022. These include areas such as heath care and fire prevention, with the donation of fully equipped medical vehicles, medicines, training and certification to be provided by the Templar Corps International unit of the Algarve, Portugal.
Frei Fernando Ventura was the Invited Speaker of the Global Forum of the Templar Corps titled “Poverty in Africa – The numbers, the action”.