Equatorial Guinea’s leadership expressed the belief that the naming of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) international prize for research in the life science in the nation’s honor would recommit the nation to its international humanitarian work.
President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo stated that Equatorial Guinea will continue to help millions of people through humanitarian initiatives whenever possible. It considers the UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea Prize for Research in Life Sciences to be one more way way to show President Obiang’s priority to help promote research to cure African endemic diseases.
Officials point out that malaria will be a priority focus of the humanitarian fund. The disease continues to affect many inhabitants of the country and African continent. Because Equatorial Guinea currently does not have the specialists or infrastructure to carry out this research, working through an agency dedicated to science and culture, such as UNESCO, is the best way to scale the country’s investment while contributing to the advancement of science and eradication of disease throughout Africa.
The government considers the approval of the prize by the Executive Board of UNESCO to be a remarkable victory, considering the pressure campaign mounted by some non-governmental organizations to urge UNESCO member nations to reject the prize.
The Equatorial Guinea government believes the nation is not being given credit for progress it has made in developing infrastructure and economic opportunities or for recent political reforms, and it considers the opposition to the prize to be unjust.
Equatorial Guinea has contributed to a number of humanitarian initiatives since it began generating oil revenue in earnest some ten years ago. Its most recent contribution was to the neighboring Republic of Congo to help those affected by the disaster caused by the explosion of an ammunition depot. In March of last year, the government sent $500,000 to Japan for earthquake and tsunami relief, and contributed 2 million euros for famine relief in Somalia in August. In 2009, Equatorial Guinea sent a donation of $2 million to assist Haitian earthquake victims, and in 2008, the country made a donation for the earthquake relief in Sichuan, China.
Equatorial Guinea, sent aid to the United States in 2005 to support relief efforts after the city of New Orleans was devastated by tropical hurricane Katrina. Equatorial Guinea’s aid also reached fellow African nations, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali and Senegal after the floods that inundated entire villages in 2009. In August 2011, the nation donated two million euros to combat famine in the Horn of Africa.