Monday, October 31, 2011

How Oil Was Discovered in Equatorial Guinea

An interview with Equatorial Guinea's Ambassador to the United States, Purificacion Angue Ondo.

How Oil Was Discovered in Equatorial Guinea from Embassy of Equatorial Guinea on Vimeo.

Ambassador Purificacion Angue Ondo On Languages Spoken in Equatorial Guinea

Ambassador: Like I've always said, we did not choose the Spanish language. In reality, it's a language that was imposed upon us. Every colony imposed its language. For us, without ever asking, it was our lot to be colonized by Spain. That's the reason why we're the only Spanish-speaking country on the African continent.

Nevertheless, we feel proud of our language and we will maintain it forever as our official language. Even though at the national level there are indigenous languages, the shared vehicle for communicating with each all of us in Equatorial guinea is the Spanish language. Well, some of us speak Fang. A second group are the Bubis. Then there's a third a group called Ndowe. Then there's also the Vicio and the Annobonese on the island of Annobon.

Then finally there is a tiny group we call Fernandinos who are descendants of freed slaves. Their language is 'pichin ingles' which is like a deformed English that fuses some Spanish phrases native tongues.

Ambassador Purificacion Angue Ondo On Languages Spoken in Equatorial Guinea from Embassy of Equatorial Guinea on Vimeo.

Equatorial Guinea Hosts Africa Cup Of Nations Tournament Draw

Only months after Equatorial Guinea's seamless execution of the 17th African Union Summit, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and Gabon’s President, Ali Bongo Ondimba, co-hosted the Africa Cup of Nations tournament draw in the nation’s capital of Malabo. At this event, the 16 countries that qualified for the Africa Cup learned who their opponents would be.

Equatorial Guinea made its debut in the Africa Cup and was seeded with co-host Gabon in Pot 1 of the draw with four-time winner Ghana and Ivory Coast, the 1992 champions.

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mangue, who has been supporting the tournament’s efforts said, “Equatorial Guinea is ready to co-host next year’s Africa Cup of Nations, the continent’s biggest football tournament.”

Equatorial Guinea’s hosting of the Africa Cup comes on the heels of the nation’s hosting successful African Union Summit. “The challenges associated with hosting the Africa Cup of Nations are quite different,” said Minister of Youth and Sports Francisco Eyegue Obama Asue.

Soccer matches for the Africa Cup will based in the Equatorial Guinea cities of Malabo and Bata and the Gabonese cities of Libreville and Franceville.

Equatorial Guinea has built a modern conference city, Sipopo, outside its capital Malabo for the hosting of large-scale international events. Sipopo will also host the events associated with the African-South American Summit, bringing together ministers of foreign affairs from 65 countries this November and heads of state next year.

The Africa Cup of Nations is another chance for Equatorial Guinea to show the entire world what the country has accomplished and the progress it continues to make.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Equatorial Guinea Launches National Campaign For Constitutional Reforms

Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue Urges Citizens to Vote

The Republic of Equatorial Guinea today launched a national campaign to urge citizens to approve a package of proposed constitutional reforms. The referendum will take place on November 13.

Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue was elected National Director of the campaign by the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE), Equatorial Guinea’s majority party. Minister Nguema, who holds the vice-presidency of the PDGE, led the campaign launch efforts in Conference Center Banapa in Malabo, the nation’s capital.

The reforms are intended to increase government transparency, create a bicameral legislature, limit presidential terms and expand representational democracy will be voted on in referendum on November 13, 2011.

“The new constitutional reforms will preserve democracy and will make Equatorial Guinea a better country. Let’s help drive the country toward a better future together as a united nation,” said Minister Nguema. “These reforms will improve our country’s representation within a democratic framework.”

Mr. Nguema, who is also Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, has travelled throughout the country on a campaign to build awareness and support for the constitutional reform package and encourage all citizens to vote in the upcoming referendum.

“These are very important reforms for improving political, social and economic rights. Voting ‘yes’ is voting towards progress and development in Equatorial Guinea and a better future for all,” said Minister Nguema.

The constitutional reforms, proposed by President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, include a proposal to create a Senate, which would convert the nation’s parliament from a unicameral to a bicameral legislature. The reforms would establish the office of vice-president and limit the president to two seven-year terms of office. The changes would also institute oversight bodies to improve the effectiveness of the economy and create Court of Auditors to oversee government programs, contracts and expenditures. A proposed National Ombudsman (Defensor del Pueblo) would give citizens increased access to appeal matters before the government.

Citizens in districts throughout the country caucused to revise and propose changes to the nation’s constitutional and fundamental law. Both government officials and political opposition parties urged Equatoguineans to take a stand and vote on the proposed constitution reforms.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Equatorial Guinea Strengthens Bilateral Relations With South Africa

In a new era of cooperation between Equatorial Guinea and the Republic of South Africa, two presidents met to promise greater cooperation between their public and private sectors. President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo met with South African president Jacob Zuma to discuss investment opportunities in the energy, agriculture, mining and transportation sectors between the two countries to foster a “model of South-South cooperation,” said President Obiang.

“This official visit reaffirms the political commitment of Equatorial Guinea and South Africa and our mutual goal to achieve peace, security and international cooperation,” said President Obiang. He continued to say, “The signing of new agreements shows the strong cooperative relations our countries enjoy.”

President Obiang highlighted the progress the country has made since they met a few months ago during the 17th African Union Summit. Equatorial Guinea has invested substantially in infrastructure, education, energy, health and agriculture, and the progress is obvious to everyone who visits the West African nation. The official visit further focused on improving the business relationships between the two countries, especially in the defense and security sectors.

President Zuma expressed his recognition for Equatorial Guinea’s government efforts toward Africa’s commitment to help the West African nation succeed and reach its Horizon 2020 development goals.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Equatorial Guinea To Vote November 13 On Constitutional Reform

The government of Equatorial Guinea has set November 13, 2011, for a national referendum on a package of proposed constitutional reforms.

The proposed reforms include the creation of supervisory bodies to improve the effectiveness of the economy and government, such as a Court of Auditors to oversee government programs and expenditures and an Ombudsman (Defensor del Pueblo) to give citizens greater redress in matters before the government. The package includes a proposal to create a Senate, which would convert the nation’s Parliament from a unicameral to a bicameral legislature, and establishes the office of vice-president. Finally, it limits the president to two seven-year terms of office. Currently, the president serves a seven-year term with no limit to the number of terms he can serve.

President Obiang traveled the country extensively in August and September to rally support for the reforms and consulted closely with the nation’s legally constituted political parties. A blue-ribbon panel consisting of representatives of most of the country’s political parties met this past summer in the city of San Antonio de Pale, the provincial capital of Annob√≥n, to study the constitution and recommend reforms.

In a decree issued on October 14, the government announced that the referendum campaign would begin on October 28 and conclude on November 11, two days before the vote. President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo will continue to speak around the country during the campaign period to urge citizens to approve for his proposed reforms.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Equatorial Guinea Adds Portuguese As The Country’s Third Official Language

The unicameral Assembly of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea recently made Portuguese the West African nation’s third official,language following Spanish and French. This is an effort by the government to improve its communications, trade, and bilateral relations with Portuguese-speaking countries.

The government expects this designation to contribute to Equatorial Guinea’s greater economic integration with neighboring countries that are members of Community of Portuguese Language Countries (PALOP), including Angola, Sao Tome and Principe, Cape Verde, and Guinea-Bissau. It is “a political decision which is justified by cultural and strategic ties that bind Equatorial Guinea with Portuguese-speaking countries,” said the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Francophonie, Eustaquio Esono Nseng.

Ninety-nine out of 100 members of parliament approved the Portuguese language proposal, which was submitted by Deputy Minister Esono Nseng. French became the country’s second official language in 1997 as part of a successful effort to improve Equatorial Guinea’s relations and foster economic integration with the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) and the Bank of Central African States (BEAC). Equatorial Guinea hopes to enjoy similar success from the Portuguese language addition as from the improved relations with French speaking countries in Africa.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Equatorial Guinea Identifies Obstacles To Keeping Girls In School

The government of Equatorial Guinea has issued a report identifying the principal obstacles to keeping the country’s girls in school until graduation. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Advancement of Women conducted the research and issued the report.

The report found that the student-teacher- ratio is high, especially in Bata and Malabo, where 77.7% of secondary-level students live. The report also found that there are inadequate school furnishings in many schools and external problems such as inadequate diet, poor health and an increase in sexually transmitted diseases, among others, keeping girls out of school. The country is already discouraging teen pregnancy through a public awareness campaign.

The report also pointed out factors in the socio-cultural environment that work against girls getting a complete education. Traditionally, parents assign specific roles to girls such as marriage, housekeeping, and cooking, and view education as less desirable or necessary for girls than for boys.

The government is expected to use these findings to direct educational and social resources toward a renewed effort to ensure that the country’s female population is not left behind economically and that women can contribute equally to the country’s development. It is the government’s goal to improve public education in the country and to offer more workshops to improve teaching skills and encourage teachers to follow a detailed curriculum and develop learning strategies to keep students motivated.

Government officials say that education is essential to developing the human capital the nation needs to manage its resources and transform its economy. The government of Equatorial Guinea has made education a top priority 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 West African nation was the first nation in Africa to establish a cabinet ministry devoted to women’s affairs.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Equatorial Guinea Launches Program To Boost Agricultural Production

Modern Farming Will Reduce Poverty, Encourage Consumption of Local Products

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has launched a program to encourage production and consumption of locally produced agricultural products by creating modern farms. Equatorial Guinea has been investing substantially in agriculture projects, including projects aimed at increasing agricultural production and encouraging conservation, throughout the country.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, led by Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, has been working with the private sector to establish cooperatives to help farmers develop agriculture by providing technical assistance from the government and other countries. The Ministry has also launched a project to replace traditional housing by installing zinc roofs on more than 30,000 houses, in order to upgrade homes in rural areas throughout the national territory.

A new network of paved roads is improving rural communities’ access to markets and will encourage domestic trade in agricultural products. The eradication of hunger and poverty is one of the government’s priorities to improve the country’s standard of living,” said Vice Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Sergio Osa Mongomo. He continued, “The government is implementing numerous projects in the agriculture sector to provide opportunities for the rural labor force and establish rural trade.”

The Vice Minister of Agriculture and Forestry has been inspecting farms throughout the continental region to assess the progress of farming. He was able to meet with farmers and assess labor and farm maintenance needs.

The country produces a diversity of crops today, including coffee and cacao and other products such as lumber and coconut oil. The country also has extensive coastal fisheries and untapped mineral resources.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Equatorial Guinea Will Continue to Offer Funds for Medical Research

UNESCO Prize Will Help Find Cures for Sicknesses Affecting Africa

The government of Equatorial Guinea has announced that it will maintain its offer to UNESCO to create a prize to encourage research into illnesses and health problems on the African continent. The government of Equatorial Guinea donated $3 million to UNESCO in 2008 for the creation of an annual Obiang Nguema Mbasogo-UNESCO Life Sciences Prize. UNESCO initially accepted the donation but then declined under pressure from human rights organizations and other critics of the government.

In a statement issued on September 30, the government of Equatorial Guinea said the prize’s “sole purpose is to encourage research on diseases and health problems on the African continent.” The government said that through this proposal, “Equatorial Guinea wishes to share a part of its wealth with other less fortunate states on the continent.”

Equatorial Guinea has made defeat of endemic diseases a priority and has achieved great success in combating malaria, according to the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership. Equatorial Guinea has reduced the incidence of malaria by 57% in four years, according to the most recent report by RBM.

In an address before the United Nations General Assembly in September 2010, Equatorial Guinea’s foreign minister, Pastor Micha Ondo, said the prize was “aimed at the international scientific community and has as a goal the search for solutions and remedies for the great pandemics and diseases that today assault the world in general and the African continent in particular.”

Equatorial Guinea was once one of the poorest countries in Africa, but since oil was discovered offshore in the 1990s, it has experienced significant economic growth and has used its oil income to improve infrastructure, education, health facilities, and housing in the country.

President Obiang’s Horizon 2020 development plan established sustainable development goals for Equatorial Guinea to be completed by the year by 2020 in the areas of potable water, education, health, food, security, communication, infrastructure, tourism development, and environmental conservation.