MALABO, Equatorial Guinea – October 19, 2012 – President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea called for an improvement in social welfare during the second day of the International Leadership Conference, which took place this week in the capital city of Malabo. U.S. experts and African leaders were invited to address a variety of topics, such as education, health and tourism, and ways in which the sectors could be further enhanced within the country and the African region.
“These sessions were designed to bring together specialists from the United States and Africa and promote discussion on a number of issues,” President Obiang said. “I believe that we can gain valuable insight and knowledge from our guests, which I hope will contribute to a better future for Equatorial Guinea and for Africa.”
The first group of meetings on the second day focused on Ecotourism, Art and Culture, during which leaders, such as Mayor James L. Walls, President of the World Conference of Mayors, and Jose Mba Obama, Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism, presented ideas on how to increase American tourism to Africa and enhance the sector nationally through continued infrastructure development. Ken Johnson, Director of the Institute for Intercultural African Management, talked about the strategic importance of ecotourism and how it diversifies and enhances the economy.
Later in the day, representatives from Equatorial Guinea and health experts from the U.S. convened to discuss major health issues in Africa, specifically in Equatorial Guinea, and how U.S. involvement can help combat such problems.
“The U.S. has valuable expertise and resources to offer in this particular field,” said Equatorial Guinea’s Vice-Minister of Health, Miguel Obiang Abeso, “and we greatly appreciate their support.”
The Vice-Minister said that Equatorial Guinea has made major strides in combating national health problems, referencing the country’s significant decline in infant mortality and the free distribution of malaria drugs among the population.
He stated that in order to effectively prevent the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, the country’s leaders needed to work together in educating the public and changing social behavior as well as making pharmaceuticals more accessible. David Wutoh, President of Healthcare Consulting and Logistic in Laurel, MD, United States, discussed local production of pharmaceuticals and how it benefits the community.
Following the health meeting was a session on education, which permitted teachers and specialists from different American universities to focus on the critical role education plays in the progress of a country. Robert Jennings, the President of Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, among others, addressed the development of the education sector for African Americans in the United States, and how their experiences could be applied to Equatorial Guinea.
In addition, they talked about the value of educational exchanges between Africa and North America. In fact, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Education, Maria del Carmen Ecoro, later met with education specialists from the U.S. to develop agreements with African educational institutions that would increase bilateral cooperation.
Throughout the remaining days of the International Leadership Conference, the U.S. and African participants will continue to share knowledge and promote collaborative efforts. They will utilize the expertise and experiences of the U.S. representatives to find solutions to current issues and promote development within Equatorial Guinea and Africa.