Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Equatorial Guinea: Past, Present and Future

On the second day of the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation Summit, Agapito Mba Mokuy, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Agustin Nze Nfumu, Minister of Information, Press and Radio discussed the past, present and future of Equatorial Guinea in an open forum titled “De-mystifying Equatorial Guinea.”

Former President of Ghana at IX Sullivan Summit

“Equatorial Guinea is committed to move forward. We have heavily invested in infrastructure, education, health care, and human capital, among other things. This year UNESCO reported a 93% literacy rate in Equatorial Guinea, the best in the region. We have La Paz Hospital, a state-of-the-art facility,” said Minister Mba Mokuy.

He also disputed charges of lack of political freedom in the country, saying, “Our country has political freedom. We count with 13 political parties, many of which are in the government.”

The Foreign Minister highlighted the country’s increased growing international involvement. Fifteen years ago, he said no one knew where Equatorial Guinea was; he said now everyone knows. He said the people support President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo because he brought them out of misery.

“Equatorial Guinea is setting an example for Africa on how to effectively use oil resources to move forward,” said, Minister Nze Nfumu, adding, “After our independence [in 1968], we had three professionals in the country; today we have a national university that graduates hundreds of students every year.”

Both ministers stressed that Equatorial Guinea is open to the media. They invited guests to come to the country and see with their own eyes what the country has to offer. The Horizon 2020 development plan is President Obiang’s vision to prepare the country for the decline of oil production and strengthen the physical, intellectual, and institutional infrastructure for a diverse economy.

Today’s agenda was focused on Africa’s intensified efforts to develop its human capital. Discussions at the plenary session dealt with innovative approaches to African-led partnerships in relation to peacekeeping, post-conflict reconciliation and the protection of citizens for socio-economic growth. The second day also focused on increasing youth involvement, investing in higher education, and leadership-training programs for building effective sustainable education programs.