Equatorial Guinea President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo called on the world to support Africa’s economic and technological development, which he described as an important underpinning for the development of democracy on the continent. President Obiang, who is also the rotating president of the African Union, addressed the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly today in both capacities.
“The use of force [to resolve] conflicts is not a factor of agglutination but of division and destruction,” President Obiang said, adding that it often adds to the suffering of the people affected.
Turning to the situations in Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia, he said, “The African Union recognizes the victory of the National Transition Council of Libya in its struggle against totalitarianism, and recommends that the government undertake a transition program to carry out free and transparent elections in which, for legitimacy, all groups that comprise the community of the Libyan people must participate. With regard to the situation in Tunisia and Egypt, we also urge their governments to adopt legal and administrative structures that guarantee democratic processes in state institutions.”
President Obiang urged nations to respect local traditions as they promote the spread of democracy, arguing that for democracy to succeed it must respond to the wishes of local communities.
“On the political side,” he said, “we cannot transplant the cultural values of a country or a group of countries for those of another, just because of globalization and the politics of globalization. Rather, we must promote dialogue and the cohabitation of cultures and civilizations, because if we do not, the principle of free self-determination of peoples would be automatically suppressed.
“Democracy is noble,” President Obiang said, “and it applies to any cultural value practiced and accepted by the people. Anything else would betray the spirit of democracy, which must evolve consistent with the cultures of the peoples concerned.”
President Obiang argued that economic development and technological advancement will be critical to establishing stable democracies in Africa, which he said had been driven by “fratricidal conflicts.”
Calling Africa’s one-percent share of the world market “ridiculous, he noted “the economic and human potential of the continent that scholars describe as the future salvation of mankind.”
“Africa calls for the solidarity of the developed countries to activate its economy, as part of this planet,” President Obiang said. “Africa does not request a handout. Africa needs economic and technological support capable of transforming its vast resources that contribute to economic stability. This requires profound changes in the philosophy of the system and a readjustment of current methods and procedures in international economic exchanges. The social order is determined by the political order. But the political order can’t develop all without the economic- development component.”
He said that many countries had become enmeshed in fratricidal conflicts because their governments had failed to address themselves to fulfilling the basic needs of their citizens.
Turning to the situation in his own country, the Horizon 2020 Program, which has established concrete objectives infrastructure development, education, health, and sustainability by the year 2020. Equatorial Guinea hopes to attain the status of “emerging economy” by the year 2020. At the same time, Equatorial Guinea is pursuing legal and constitutional reforms that will guarantee more transparency, better public administration, and broader participation in the political system.