Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Equatorial Guinea's Minister of Foreign Affairs Describes the Harsh Conditions in the Country Before the Presidency of Obiang Nguema Mbasogo

Agapito Mba Mokuy, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation participated on an open forum to demystify Equatorial Guinea at the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation Summit, held on August 20-23 in the capital city of Malabo.

Minister of Foreign Affairs said that it's easy to judge a country but to judge a country, to judge a man; people have to look at its historical context. “Equatorial Guinea comes from 200 years of colonial slavery. In 1968, when Equatorial Guinea gained its independence, the country only had three professionals with graduate level. I say it again, three professionals, it was a historical scandal. This is how Equatorial Guinea was left in 1968.”

“We had no universities, no schools, we had no professionals. Equatorial Guinea gained its independence and went through 11 years of the strongest dictatorship history has ever known. Personally, I say it was predictable. A country that was left with only three professionals, with no college, what did people expect,” continued to say Minister Mokuy.

In 1979, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo inherited this country from the ruin, from utter ruin and he began to do everything possible to restore the dignity of the Equatoguineans. There were no schools, no universities, no intellectuals. Everything they had was destroyed, they had no religious freedoms. Churches were closed. Nor had they means, they had no oil.

The Guinean economy depended mainly on cocoa and coffee, which was not much. Production in those years was 36,000 to 40,000 metric tons. This production was described as intellectual work. Settlers, Nigerians who lived in Equatorial Guinea, produced the cocoa in those days. Minister Mokuy said, “But who took over the production after they left? The colonists didn’t prepare the Guineans professionally, nor did we have the manpower. Guinea did not have much. What happens? Cocoa production declines, those are the things the President had to go through, all these difficulties, this everyday thinking of ‘What can I do to lift the economy?’ It is this persistence that leads us to discover oil at the end.”