Wednesday, June 30, 2010
"Through this Fund, we are investing in our children, our schools, our teachers, health care, tourism, housing, potable water supply, road infrastructure, telecommunications, development of natural sciences, job creation and development of democratic institutions. In short, we are increasing investment in our most valuable resource: our people," President Obiang said in his speech.
President Obiang also promised to better communicate the country's statistics so that the international community is better informed on what Equatorial Guinea is doing and where money is being spent. In 2009, the Government made expenditures in excess of one billion dollars to develop the social sector, including investments in health, education, and housing.
Equatorial Guinea has already made significant progress in various areas including education and health. A national university has been created, the first university with campuses in Malabo and Bata, with programs in arts and social science, medicine and the environment. In 2008, the Medical School graduated 110 new physicians in Bata. Scholarship programs have also been established with universities in the United States, Cuba, China, Morocco, Russia, Ukraine, Egypt and Senegal. In regard to health, President Obiang described two new modern hospitals with advanced technology in Malabo and Bata that opened to prevent the need to transfer patients to Europe and the renovation of old hospitals to protect the health of the population.
The Government has also partnered with businesses such as the Hess Corporation and the Academy for Educational Development (AED) to establish an education program of $40 million to train teachers in modern techniques of child development. And the literacy level has been raised to 80 percent thanks to a number of cultural and literacy organizations that have come to Equatorial Guinea.
In his speech, President Obiang vowed to continue these programs and create new ones to change the country's makeup. This is part of a greater effort by President Obiang and his Government to reform and move the country forward.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
"We will continue trying to qualify as a candidate for compliance with the rules of the EITI, while unilaterally establishing policies to exceed EITI auditing standards and do more than is necessary to ensure that transparency and accountability are as mandatory for the Government as they are for civil society," President Obiang said in a speech to world leaders, CEOs and media. "We believe this is a shared responsibility for everyone."
President Obiang vowed to continue building upon reforms established in 2008 and to move the country forward in full compliance with international standards.
"We have voluntarily decided to do so, not for international merit, but by our conviction that it is a discipline that will ensure full compliance with the recommendations of the II National Economic Conference," President Obiang said.
Equatorial Guinea has made significant progress in the areas of transparency, accountability, social services, health and education and is committed to continue these reforms.
"We have made a commitment to the People of Equatorial Guinea and we solemnly announce this commitment to the world today."
The two met before President Obiang's historic speech in South Africa that outlined a five-point reform and transparency program for Equatorial Guinea. Numerous world leaders, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton, and hundreds of international businesses leaders and investors assembled in Cape Town for the three-day event.
During the meeting, President Obiang and Archbishop Desmond Tutu discussed various issues, including African current affairs. Most importantly, it was an opportunity for the two to meet each other personally and discuss the possibility of future meetings and collaboration.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is world famous for his fight against apartheid, and for being the first South African that was ordained as an Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.
Good morning, dear friends
I would like to begin the presentation of my country, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, by expressing our deep satisfaction and the honor we feel to be surrounded by eminent and distinguished world leaders of politics, economics, trade, culture and defenders of human freedoms.
I would like to thank Fortune, Time-Warner, CNN, and all the sponsors of this conference including Trilogy Enterprises, Guinea Roth, Steve Roth, and the entire Roth Organization for working with us and providing us this opportunity. Indeed, this conference is an opportunity that is presented to the business world to get to know each other, exchange experiences and contribute to understanding humanity’s progress.
I would also like to thank Lanny Davis for working with me in the cause of the reforms we have undertaken with enthusiasm for the people of Equatorial Guinea, following its uncertain path during the two centuries of colonial oppression and the repression of an eleven-year dictatorship.
Lastly, I would like to thank all attendees for their participation and invite them personally to visit the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, a country that many only know by an uninformed press. Hardly any of you has been able to compare the information you hear about my country with information you would collect on the ground that would give you a correct perspective of the real evolution of my country.
Most important of all, I extend a formal invitation to business leaders around the world to invest in and engage with my government and other partners operating in the country in the grand plan for its development. By 2020 we aspire to become an "emerging" country.
Today, all of Equatorial Guinea is a worksite in which capital and technology from around the world participate without discrimination regardless of origin. Our objective is to create an atmosphere of peace, political stability, legal and administrative institutions, and transparency in government.
We are confident that this objective is attainable with the reforms we are introducing, because we have wealth consisting of our people’s positive cultural values, our natural resources, and our determination to complete the program of reforms that began with the recommendations of the II National Economic Conference held in Equatorial Guinea in 2007.
These reforms include basically promoting an environment of political and economic freedom, building trust between the Government and the various political forces of the nation, respecting the rule of law, and promoting consensus and the solidarity of all political actors to protect the interests of the people. We also want to create trust with investors and provide fair treatment and opportunity to enjoy a reasonable rate of return.
II. Historical Background
As you all know, it has been years since my government ended the dictatorship of a regime that had wiped out what little intellectual and political class we had when we obtained independence, ruined our economic infrastructure, employed taxation and degrading methods against the population, thus bringing about foreign exile for one third of our people. Today, the majority of them have returned to our country and find themselves among us.
In 1995, Equatorial Guinea declared itself for the first time a producer of oil, after a fruitless effort lasting 12 years at the end of which Spain declared that Equatorial Guinea had no oil.
During that time, the country suffered an unprecedented economic crisis that lasted 16 years because it was punished by the withdrawal of cooperation programs with Spain, which were the only way we had to address the most essential social services such as education and health at that time. The Spanish press used headlines to describe this punishment like “Carrot and stick” and “Block and tackle.”
The discovery of oil in 1992, thanks to a North American technical team, was severely criticized by pressure groups living in Spain who wanted to continue the punishment against Equatorial Guinea, even when the Government had initiated a program to transition to a multiparty system in 1989.
In difficult circumstances since 1989, and without economic resources, the Government launched a multi-party political system, with 14 registered political parties. The Government itself provided public financing of all political parties under the law and promoted a permanent dialogue through the Binding Political Accord signed with all political parties of the opposition.
Since then, we have celebrated successive municipal, legislative, and presidential elections to form political institutions with the participation of opposition political parties. We have much more to do, but we are heartened that the U.S. State Department’s Country Note on Equatorial Guinea, while noting some election irregularities, states as follows about our May 8, 2008, legislative elections: “International elections observers reported that the elections were generally conducted in a free and fair manner.”
The First National Economic Conference held in 1997, shortly after declaring the country an oil producer, was aimed at the rational use of oil resources. Positive experience with the resulting Program caused us to hold the Second National Economic Conference in 2007, which gave rise to reforms on which we are committing at this conference to redouble our efforts.
We know that the task is not easy and we have a long way to go, because this is about developing a country that started from nowhere. It is about changing mindsets rooted in underdevelopment, and banishing habits that are opposed to modern development, such as corruption, illiteracy, tribalism, political opportunism, and on and on.
Our program seeks to capitalize on a society that is economically dispossessed. It is about enriching a society with a technical and scientific culture, with patriotic feeling; about cultivating new habits from new technologies for development facilitated by regulation.
In short, it is about creating a new society in which freedom, democracy, and justice are interpreted as ensuring the common good of consensus and the solidarity of the People in the task of Nation Building.
However, we must remember that Equatorial Guinea is a relatively young nation, inexperienced and, just like a ship, our comprehensive program of reforms will take some time to turn us around, in time for what is called Horizon 2020.
III. Commitment to Reform
Our reforms have been underway and reinforced since 2008. We have made a commitment to the People of Equatorial Guinea and we solemnly announce this commitment to the world today.
These reforms affect mainly the following five areas:
a) Rational use of resources
We will continue to use the resources that we are provided by oil, natural gas and other extractive industries in compliance with the rules of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) headed by Dr. Peter Eigen.
We have voluntarily decided to do so, not for international merit, but by our conviction that it is a discipline that will ensure full compliance with the recommendations of the II National Economic Conference. Dr. Eigen has informed us, through our technical advisors, that he is willing to commit his personal credibility to this effort with Equatorial Guinea, including visiting our country if circumstances require.
We will continue trying to qualify as a candidate for compliance with the rules of the EITI, while unilaterally establishing policies to exceed EITI auditing standards and do more than is necessary to ensure that transparency and accountability are as mandatory for the Government as they are for civil society. We believe this is a shared responsibility for everyone.
The computerization and digitization of public and private administration is absolutely indispensable to ensure effective government regulation of economic activity.
b) Social Sector Development
- We have established a Social Development Fund and we are prepared beyond that to use the resources of oil and other natural resources for the benefit of our people.
Through this Fund, we are investing in our children, our schools, our teachers, health care, tourism, housing, potable water supply, road infrastructure, telecommunications, development of natural sciences, job creation and development of democratic institutions. In short, we are increasing investment in our most valuable resource: our people.
There are a lot of old statistics still being used internationally about Equatorial Guinea, in part because we ourselves have not made sufficiently effective efforts to communicate what we have been doing. We are doing our part to correct this here and now. In substance, to develop the social sector, the Government has made expenditures in excess of one billion dollars during 2009, including the following highlights which I repeat are for 2009:
Health ... ... .. US$105,396,000
Education ... US$111,190,000
Housing ... US$173,600,000
Energy ... .. US$147,168,000
Potable Water ... US$75,558,000
Roads ... US$218,216,000
Social Security .... US$84,644,000
Telecommunications ... US$18,346,000
Tourism ... US$5,107,000 to US$10,214,000.
We have made great progress in some of these initiatives that change the country's makeup. For example:
- We have created a National University, the first university with campuses in Malabo and Bata and has the Faculties of Arts and Social Sciences, Medical Science and the Environment, in addition to the University Schools of Management, Teacher Training, Agricultural Studies, Technical Engineering, Health and Environment. In 2008 the Faculty of Medicine graduated 110 new physicians in Bata, Equatorial Guinea.
- We have established scholarship programs with Universities in the United States, Cuba, China, Morocco, Russia, Ukraine, Egypt, Senegal, and others. Graduates are hired by the Public Administration.
- We have opened two modern hospitals with advanced technology in Bata and Malabo to prevent the need to evacuate patients to Europe, and others are in the planning stages. The renovation of old hospitals is going on throughout the country to ensure the health of the population.
- The Government has also partnered with business and others, such as the Hess Corporation and the Academy for Educational Development (AED) to establish an education program of 40 million dollars to train teachers in modern techniques of child development. This is going on across the country.
- In recent years a number of cultural and literacy organizations have come to our country, and we have reached a literacy level of 80 percent.
c) The Reform of Legal Institutions
- We will invite a delegation from the African Union to help us review and continue the reforms we have already initiated of our legal institutions, and to prepare and adopt a new legal code that drives the country into the future and ensure judicial credibility.
- Press freedom is guaranteed by law. Accordingly, we have the Free Press Association of Equatorial Guinea (ASOPGE). The Government will take measures to support the financing of their activities to allow it to act with independence and freedom.
d) Relations with Human Rights Organizations
- The Government will invite the International Red Cross to install its headquarters in Equatorial Guinea and assist in reviewing and assessing all allegations of human rights violations in the country. We will also ask for your help in monitoring our Criminal Justice System and prisons to ensure the humane treatment and appropriate for those convicted of crimes.
In this regard, we report that the Government has upgraded the jails and has adopted regulations and standards as an ongoing effort to meet international requirements.
e) Environmental Conservation
Equatorial Guinea is a member of the Commission for the Conservation of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa (COMIFAC) and as such has been declared as a reserve in its forests and biodiversity protection zones such as Monte Alen (ECOFAC) and Ureca. We have reduced wood export to below that of oil exploitation. Indeed, the government asked the African Union to monitor and intervene in the activities of NGOs interested in the environment to ensure we have a program for preservation.
- We will continue to take other protective measures already in place, such as the prohibition of hunting of monkeys and other endangered species. We will ask for assistance from interested organizations to support the population that is affected by these measures.
I am sure many of you who have criticized us in the past for whatever reasons will retain your skepticism. Here I have not tried to say that all is well in Equatorial Guinea, but simply present what is available and what we aspire to achieve. We therefore ask the skeptics and critics to change their attitude, because it is not constructive. We ask for trust and faith in my government and Equatorial Guinea society, with a presumption of good faith, because this particular program is not mine, but rather, it came from consensus with the People and all political institutions.
Evaluate us by our actions, not only by these words. Instead, verify our actions on the ground and by legitimate means and not according to the flow of news from negative sources, which are sometimes resentful, strident and full of sensationalism.
We repeat that we have a long way to go to achieve this ambitious program of reform and transparency. In many ways we have to fundamentally change the course of our history and parts of our culture. It will not be easy. We ask for your patience, especially that of the community of NGOs from around the world.
IV. INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT
As we continue to develop our democratic society and the rule of law, we also hope to encourage investment. It is well-known that economic development can not be promoted unless it is adequately supported by a political basis for harmonizing society. This is why our government from a principle of action adopted a policy of ongoing reform, taking into consideration the dynamic nature of society and the tendency of the economy to fluctuate.
This is the basis of the theory of "democratic experiment" that guides the political behavior of the society of Equatorial Guinea in the circumstances of the moment. Today, the economic situation requires us to make reforms.
Besides oil, Equatorial Guinea has many natural resources including a tropical climate, fertile soils, abundant marine resources, deep seaports and airports. We hope to develop industries based on these resources, and we invite investors from around the world to consider the possibilities of working with us.
Equatorial Guinea is a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA). The stated purpose of this initiative is to facilitate and encourage both domestic and foreign investment in member countries. OHADA laws are exclusively related to companies operating in Africa.
The OHADA Treaty has created a supranational court to ensure uniformity and consistency of legal interpretation of its rules by Member Countries. We believe this is an important step to encourage more international investment in Equatorial Guinea and our laws are consistent with those of the OHADA.
I am aware of recent criticism against my government and even against my family. Many of these criticisms, based on hearsay and innuendo, and published without a full assessment of the facts, are not true. They do not refer to our promoting democracy, dialogue, good governance and economic development, peace, political stability, the good life of citizens and the influx of investments from different countries that are all going on in Equatorial Guinea.
I am aware of recent criticism against my government and even against my family. Many of these criticisms, based on hearsay and innuendo, and published without a full assessment of the facts, are not true. They do not refer to our promoting democracy, dialogue, good governance and economic development, peace, political stability, the good life of citizens and the influx of investments from different countries that are all going on in Equatorial Guinea.
Critics should agree with me that in a regime of dictatorship and oppression public trials do not occur, death sentences are not commuted, and foreign terrorists and mercenaries convicted of international crimes are not pardoned, as occurs in Equatorial Guinea.
A government that diverts state funds and practices corruption does not subject itself to parliamentary control, nor voluntarily agrees to audit and publish its accounts according to the rules of EITI.
The allegation of a lack of economic freedoms is belied by the current competition for foreign investment in Equatorial Guinea.
In short, esteemed Friends, these critics should agree with me that a government that does not care about human rights would not provide resources to mitigate the effects of natural disasters in the world, as in the case of Hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami, the famine in Niger, the Nigerian pipeline explosion, the volcano's eruption in Cameroon's Victoria Peak, or the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, among many others. My government has provided such humanitarian support for the welfare of the world.
However, I want to extend a friendly invitation to all these critics who visit the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, to observe reality, not by comments of circles and people influenced by unacknowledged fears and interests, but rather to live very closely people's reality. They all deserve my indulgence and that of the People of Equatorial Guinea.
We want and expect to be treated fairly by the world community based on real events, with updated information, which is why we hope to establish a new census and evaluation, and not rely on old statistics. The critical report from Equatorial Guinea in 1995 remains in force today in the international media. We hope and trust that our actions speak louder than our words, while we embark on 10 years of reforms.
We will not ask the global advocacy groups that have criticized us to look the other way and stop their criticisms, but we ask the international community to help us to help ourselves and help us implement this reform program so that we become partners with the world's democracies.
We are members of the International Covenant of Political Rights, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and through our will and determination we will reach the fullness of these rights with existing financial resources and full participation of our citizens, so as to honor the democracy and human values.
We know, again, this will not be easy. We must take into account that we are a country only 42 years old. But we are determined to move forward and progress, and we ask the world community and all of you to help us move forward, so that individual acts of progress can produce dynamic effects to create a better and more prosperous Guinea over the next 10 years , surpassing previous years.
I will conclude, dear friends, noting that the society of Equatorial Guinea has a strong faith and hope in this initiative we have taken, and they are determined to participate in their entirety. We hope the future will give us the reason.
Thank you very much
Monday, June 28, 2010
EQUATORIAL GUINEAN PRESIDENT TEODORO OBIANG, IN MAJOR SPEECH BEFORE CAPE TOWN GLOBAL FORUM CALLS FOR “TURNING THE PAGE”
President Obiang committed himself personally and his government to implement this 10-year program in close cooperation with the world community, the African Union and non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”), inviting their technical assistance and cooperation. He asked his audience of the world’s business leaders to see this reform program as further reason to see Equatorial Guinea (“EG”) as a destination for investment and just and reliable treatment under a reformed legal system.
President Obiang’s five-point program includes:
• Extractive Industries Transparency Reform – Continuing an effort to qualify for membership of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and at the same time unilaterally instituting policies that would be in full compliance with the EITI criteria, doing more than necessary to ensure transparency and accountability.
• Social Development Fund -- Expand the current Social Development Fund by investing substantial resources from oil exploration revenues and other natural resources into “our children, our schools, our teachers, health care, tourism, housing, potable water supply, road infrastructure, telecommunications, development of natural sciences, job creation and development of democratic institutions. In short, we are increasing investment in our most valuable resource: our people.”
• Continue Comprehensive Legal Reform/Civil and Human Rights Protections. “Invite a delegation from the African Union to help review and continue the reforms we have already initiated of our legal institutions, and to prepare and adopt a new legal code that drives the country into the future and ensure judicial credibility.” The Government will take measures to support EG’s free press association, (ASOPGE) to allow it to act with independence and freedom.
• International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). “The Government will invite the International Red Cross to install its headquarters in Equatorial Guinea and assist in reviewing and assessing all allegations of human rights violations in the country. We will also ask for [its] help in monitoring our Criminal Justice System and prisons to ensure the humane treatment and appropriate for those convicted of crimes.”
• Preserve Our Environment and Protect Endangered Species. The government asked the African Union to monitor and intervene in the activities of NGOs interested in the environment to ensure it has a program for preservation. “We will continue to enforce other protective measures already in place,” President Obiang said, “such as our ban on the hunting of monkeys in our national parklands and forests.”
President Obiang, addressing an audience comprised of many of the world’s leading companies and business leaders, also emphasized his desire to make EG a business-friendly destination for investment, tourism, and the development of health facilities and research projects.
“In addition to oil, Equatorial Guinea has other largely unexploited human and natural resources,” President Obiang said, “including a tropical climate, fertile soils, rich expanse of water, and deepwater ports.”
“We hope to develop a variety of industries through these resources and we invite investors from across the globe to consider the exciting possibilities with us,” he said. The EG president pointed out that his country is a member of the Organization of the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (“OHADA”), which facilitates and encourages both domestic and foreign investment in member states and which commits EG, by treaty, to a supranational court to ensure uniformity and consistent legal interpretations across the member countries.
President Obiang stated he was aware of “criticisms of my government and even of my family,” many of which he believed to be untrue and published without full assessment of the facts.” But he added, “We have a long way to go to achieve this ambitious program of reform and transparency. In many ways we have to fundamentally change the course of our history and parts of our culture. It will not be easy. We ask for your patience, especially that of the community of NGOs from around the world.”
“We will not ask the global advocacy groups that have criticized us to look the other way and stop their criticisms,” he said, “but we ask the international community to help us to help ourselves and help us implement this reform program so that we become partners with the world's democracies.” He recognized that “this won’t be easy – we are a country that is only 42 years old. But we are determined to move forward and progress, and we ask the world community and all of you to help us move forward, so that individual acts of progress can produce dynamic effects to create a better and more prosperous Guinea over the next 10 years.”
Friday, June 25, 2010
Among the topics discussed was the possible admittance of Equatorial Guinea to the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, something Pedro Pires and his government fully support. Tourism collaboration, civil aviation, airport security and job training were also addressed. Equatorial Guinea and Cape Verde have enjoyed a collaborative relationship since 1975.
President Obiang was accompanied by the Minister of Transportation, Technology, Post and Telecommunications, Vicente Ehati Tomi, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Francophone, Eustaquio Nseng Esono and the Secretary of State for Culture and Tourism, Jose Mba Obama.
Equatorial Guinea is committed to improving its relationships with the international community and continues to make significant progress strengthening foreign relations.
The two parties addressed current law and cooperation in regard to immigration as well as the current guidelines for granting visas for citizens from both countries. The need to exchange information and undertake actions of awareness and flexibility was also discussed.
The meeting between the Secretary of State and the Ambassador was part of a broader of effort by the government to enhance relations with the international community and initiate global partnerships.
Equatorial Guinea's Director General of the Diplomatic Information Office, Domingo Nguema Edu, and the Director General of Consular Affairs, Sinforiano Ela also attended the meeting along with the Second Chief of Embassy, Tada Eizaguirre Bastida.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Equatorial Guinea has a rich environment with a variety of precious wild animal species and bio-geographical regions. The country possesses a high degree of biological diversity, complex vegetation zones, and water sources, making the country a natural fit for CMS, whose mission is to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species.
As part of its effort to conserve these species and their habitats, Equatorial Guinea is a member of several relevant treaties and conventions, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the International Tropical Timber Organization. It is also an active member of the Inter-African Association of Forest Industries (Association IFIA).
Equatorial Guinea is looking forward to working with the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals and furthering the country's preservation and conservation efforts.
After the meeting and a press conference, officials from both universities explained that their goal is to further look into the development of agreements between the academic institutions, based on the exchange of students and strengthening pedagogical matters. This is part of a broader effort by the government of Equatorial Guinea (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) to further improve its education. Manuela Roca told reporters the positive contribution Las Palmas University can make to the UNGE on the development of new approaches in teaching.
Additionally, the meeting served to expose the UNGE to the opportunity and benefits of participating in the Third International Workshop of African Universities to be held on September 10th -14th in Las Palmas of Gran Canaria. Equatorial Guinea's university officials looked at this proposal with great interest.
The meeting was also attended by other officials and teachers of the UNGE.
Friday, June 18, 2010
The Republic of Equatorial Guinea (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial, along with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), is working to strengthen and equip health facilities throughout the country to boost access to reproductive health services. The rebuilding process includes the construction and renovation of health centers and maternity units as well as proper training for medical students.
"As part of our partnerships with the international community, we are sending our medical students to countries like Mali to study obstetrics, and to other countries, like Germany, Spain and Cuba to receive advanced medical training," Francisco-Pascual Obama Asue, Equatorial Guinea's Minister of Health and Social Welfare said in an interview.
This exchange program was set up to address the rising concern of fistula and cervical cancer. To further address the issue, a campaign was launched by the First Lady to encourage women to receive proper care and early screening for cervical cancer. The campaign was immensely successful and led to the surgical intervention of fistula cases. Because of this, informational tools on fistula are now integrated into the minimum health care package.
"Today, we are just starting to develop our medical training and capacity, but we are working every day to build up our resources and improve our skills. I think that by 2020, Equatorial Guinea will not be completely rid of all its obstacles, but my hope as Minister of Health is that we have medical facilities and conditions that meet the needs of our people and to have acceptable health centers and sanitary conditions," Minister Francisco-Pasual Obama Asue said.
"Ultimately, our goal is to provide access to health care for all, fully funded by our government."
Pastor Micha Ondo Bile was accompanied by the Minister of
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and his Egyptian counterpart signed several agreements which included the establishment of a joint committee for the cooperation in culture, science and economics between the two countries. This is part of a broader effort by the government of Equatorial Guinea to further improve its relations with the international community. The parties established a joint strategy for cooperation between the two countries.
Relations between Egypt and Equatorial Guinea have evolved significantly in recent years, which has encouraged more engagement between the two countries. Egyptian companies such as Arab Contractors are overseeing large infrastructure projects in Equatorial Guinea, such as the construction of a running water system in Malabo, new roads from Malabo to Pico Basile, other infrastructure projects in Baney and subsidized housing in Buena Esperanza and in Malabo.
The progress of the relationship between the two countries was highlighted in a recent hearing held by Ondo Bile with the Egyptian Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, Ibrahim Maher Yousiff, in which the Equatorial Guinean diplomat praised the advancement between the countries. The meeting also addressed the trading situation between the two nations.
The Government of Equatorial Guinea is also seeking Egypt's support for the organization of the African Union Summit to be held in Equatorial Guinea in 2011.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Equatorial Guinea Statement on UNESCO Decision to Delay the Award of the UNESCO-Obiang Mbasogo Prize
"The Government of Equatorial Guinea expresses gratitude to the Director-General of UNESCO for the prudence shown in dealing with matters surrounding the UNESCO-Obiang Prize, which is intended to contribute significantly to science, research and the preservation of life worldwide. Further, we extend our sincere appreciation and thanks to the African community for its unwavering support of the prize.
"Although the UNESCO controversy has highlighted the fact that Equatorial Guinea faces many challenges, which is true, the situation is being viewed through an outdated understanding of what our Government is and what Equatorial Guinea is like. The real challenges that exist for us are in improving the health, education, culture and professional skills of our citizens—so that in the future we as a nation can successfully achieve our goals.
"Equatorial Guinea is working both to improve itself and contribute to the international community—thanks to the blessing of our recently discovered natural resources. The UNESCO-Obiang Prize is a part of this effort. We are also now taking steps to be more transparent and proactive in communicating the progress we are making as we strive to transform from the poor country that we were into an emergent, sustainable economy.
"Our hope is that the Executive Council, over the next few months, will come to a final determination, based on the original principles laid forth and approved by UNESCO for the prize when it was established more than 2 years ago, that will release these critical funds to the scientific community and will provide the resources they need to make discoveries that will benefit all humanity."
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
"The Government of Equatorial Guinea deeply regrets the controversy currently taking place in the international community regarding the UNESCO Prize -- particularly among friendly nations such as France, which have even recently praised us for our progress. There exists a great deal of misperception about Equatorial Guinea, an issue that is partly our fault since we have not always responded to inaccuracies that have appeared in the international press or have been perpetuated by our critics. This will now change.
"Equatorial Guinea is working both to improve itself and contribute to the international community -- thanks to the blessing of our recently discovered natural resources. The UNESCO Prize is a part of this effort. We are also now taking steps to be more transparent and proactive in communicating the progress we are making as we strive to transform from the poor country that we were into an emergent, sustainable economy.
"Although the UNESCO controversy has highlighted the fact that Equatorial Guinea faces many challenges, which is true, the situation is being viewed through an outdated understanding of what our Government is and what Equatorial Guinea is like. The real challenges that exist for us are in improving the health, education, culture and professional skills of our citizens -- so that in the future we as a nation can successfully achieve our goals. We now ask that the international community and media give us a second look and chance to explain what is occurring within our nation. We further ask that the UNESCO Prize be looked at for what positive contributions it will be making to benefit all of humanity."
"The people of Equatorial Guinea are being served well by this modern medical facility," said Minister of Health and Social Welfare Francisco-Pascual Obama Asue. "La Paz hospital is just one of the many investments the government of Equatorial Guinea has made in recent years to promote improved public health. There are numerous hospitals being constructed all throughout the country."
La Paz is a full-service hospital offering expertise in radiology, emergency and intensive care, urology, pediatrics, gynecology obstetrics, surgery, dentistry, and ophthalmology. With close to 130 beds, the Medical Center's delivery rooms, recovery rooms, laboratories, pharmacies, and clinics allow highly trained medical staff to serve those in need.
The hospital is a joint venture between the government of Equatorial Guinea and Medical Services International Inc, and operates under the guidance of Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, Israel's national medical center and the most comprehensive medical center in the Middle East.
With this state of the art hospital, Equatorial Guinea will be able to provide high quality health services throughout the country and region. It is also just one of several modern hospitals and medical facilities being constructed in Equatorial Guinea as a part of the government's investment in public health.
Friday, June 11, 2010
"This is the first time I have been to your country but it will definitely not be the last. You have so many development projects going on that I will almost certainly have to come back," Blatter said.
Joining Blatter at the opening was a number of national dignitaries, including the Minister for Education, Science and Sport Filiberto Ntutumu Nguema, the Secretary of State for Sport Ruslang Obiang Nsue, and FEGUIFUT President Bonifacio Manga Obiang.
Mr. Manga Obiang said, "We have been able to open these headquarters thanks to FIFA, who, as a result of this project, have given us the opportunity to operate effectively. I must say that all the programes that FIFA has put in place, such as the Financial Assistance Programe, Goal and Win in Africa with Africa, are playing their part in the gradual development of the game of football."
Equatorial Guinea is hosting the CAF African Cup of Nations in 2012.
"The opposition to this prize is not because the award is not positive, it's simply because the international community does not want to advocate on behalf of 'President Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea.' But they have no reason to oppose the prize. We created the award with the goal of preserving human life. We have allocated significant funding for this prize in order for scientists to conduct studies and so they have the resources they need to find cures -- for the health and well-being of people everywhere, including in Equatorial Guinea. The Government of Equatorial Guinea understands that it is far from perfect and that it still has a great deal of work to do to further improve the lives of its people. The UNESCO prize is a part of that work."
Equatorial Guinea, which up until the late 1990s, was one of the poorest nations in Africa, is currently investing the wealth derived from its recently-discovered natural resources in its infrastructure and citizenry. This effort includes development projects in health and education, as well as an emphasis on promoting agriculture and tourism as a way to diversify the country's economy. The government is also currently working to update out-dated statistical information about the country and its quality of life indicators.
"This new system will provide the people of Malabo with improved sanitary and safety conditions," said Jeronimo Osa Osa Ecoro, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism. "The government of Equatorial Guinea is committed to investing in the betterment of the country as a whole, and this project is just one of many that are ongoing."
The Ministry of Public Works and Infrastructure is overseeing the project, with the Directorate General of Public Works responsible for its completion. Drinking water projects are underway across Equatorial Guinea. In different localities, such as Bata and Mongomo, the government has also undertaken the construction of water treatment plants that will provide potable running water to the population. The government has partnered with international companies such as Hyundai for these large-scale infrastructure projects.
The project will serve Malabo's more than 100,000 residents, roughly one-sixth of the country's population. Equatorial Guinea continues to make investments in the country through use of funds related to its natural resources. For example, the government has placed a priority on developing the agriculture and tourism sectors to diversify the economy and create jobs for its citizens. This is intended to open the country to increased foreign investment and interest.
Other ministries, such as the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, are also completing and commencing development projects in their respective sectors.
A $250 million contract has been awarded to US-based private security firm Military Professional Resources Initiative (MPRI), an L-3 Communications company, by the Government of Equatorial Guinea to protect the country's vast aquatic resources, according to Vanguard.
The contract will establish a network of surveillance sites and operation centers at different points along the country's coast to protect against piracy and other maritime concerns that exist in the region.
The Government of Equatorial Guinea recognizes the strategic importance of promoting safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea region -- for stakeholders, multinational oil and gas companies, and surrounding oil producing nations. Over the last two years, 12 attacks have occurred off the coast of West and Central Africa, resulting in abductions, loss of life, and a surmounting threat to the peace and stability of the Gulf of Guinea nations. Attacks in the Gulf of Guinea are not on the scale of those in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, but the region is becoming increasingly important because of its energy reserves.
Equatorial Guinea has a number of partnerships with American businesses, and it has a long-standing relationship with MPRI, which they previously contracted to conduct extensive best practice training with the country's police and security forces.
The current contract with MPRI is part of Equatorial Guinea's Maritime Security Enhancement Program and is designed to provide nationwide coastal surveillance coverage and long-term stability for the entire region. It is a part of Equatorial Guinea's commitment to contributing to the positive development of its part of West Africa.
MPRI is set to operate the site for three years, followed by another two years of sustenance and maintenance support.
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The Deputy Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Maria de la Vida Asue Ndong, invited participants to engage in this effort to improve health in the country, a key aspect of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo's health sector project, Horizon 2020: "Health for All."
The project was launched at the Spanish Cultural Center in Malabo, and was supported by the Deputy Minister of Health and Social Welfare, the Ambassador of Spain, Manuel Gomez-Acebo Rodriguez-Spiteri, the Minister of Social Affairs, Maria Leonor Epam Biribe, Representatives from Civil Service, Minister of Education, and the Foundation for the Development of Nursing (FUDEB), among others.
The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare is also leading the efforts for development projects, such as construction of Hospital Maternal -- a new maternity center. Equatorial Guinea continues to make investments in the country through use of funds related to its natural resources. The health infrastructure has some 300 clinics and several hospitals managed by Social Security or INSESO, which covers half of the medical expenses of the policyholders.
The new hospital complex in Bata, La Paz Medical Center, opened in May 2007. It is one of the most sophisticated and advanced hospitals in West Africa. Its advanced technology and highly qualified personnel that meet the highest standards in the matter is destined to become a destination for health care throughout the region. The hospital is able to serve over 100,000 people and is considered to be one of the most advanced in Africa.
Equatorial Guinea's (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) Minister of Education, Science, and Sports, Filiberto Ntutumu Nguema congratulated Matinga Ragatz—a native-born Equatorial Guinean and resident of the State of Michigan—for being named the 2010-11 Michigan "Teacher of the Year."
"We are very proud of Ms. Ragatz, one of our own, for her achievements in the field of teaching and for earning this prestigious award in the United States," said Minister Nguema. "Matinga is leading by example. Her innovative spirit and contributions, both to her students in the United States and in Equatorial Guinea, are to be commended and praised. She is making an impact in the lives of youth in both countries that shall pay great dividends as these students move toward advanced studies and eventually join the workforce."
Since 1993, Ragatz has taught world history and global studies at Grand Ledge High School, in Grand Ledge, Michigan. She was selected from 20 regional semifinalists for her advanced methods of teaching, focused on the use of technology and producing better outcomes for her students. Michigan has nearly 100,000 teachers and only 300 were selected to compete for this award. Grand Ledge High School will receive a monetary award of $1,000 in honor of Ragatz's recognition.
Ragatz travels frequently to Equatorial Guinea, where she is working on various education projects, in particular, foreign language education, and is working on a proposal to open a teaching center for students who want to learn English in the capital of Malabo. She is also the daughter of author and university professor, Morgades Trinidad, the first woman from Equatorial Guinea to earn a college degree.
The government of Equatorial Guinea has made education and improving healthcare systems two priorities and goals of the "Horizon 2020" development plan, which was set in motion by President Obiang to move the country toward a sustainable and emergent economy. The opening of new schools and training of new teachers are just some of the activities undertaken under this plan.
Since beginning the large-scale export of oil from Equatorial Guinea, and in cooperation with international organizations, Equatorial Guinea opened its first national university, the National University of Equatorial Guinea, and graduated more than 13,000 students since its founding in 1995. The level of education in Equatorial Guinea is improving as well as the number of matriculations.