Thursday, January 31, 2013

Survey Provides Statistics On Equatorial Guinean Households

Government obtains data needed for planning social projects.

The Government of Equatorial Guinea has released information on the overall status of the country’s households, which was obtained via the Demographic and Health Survey of Equatorial Guinea (EDSGE-I), conducted between July and November 2011.

The survey was conducted through the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) with support from the European Commission and the African Development Bank (ADB).

The survey showed that the average household in Equatorial Guinea consists of 4.6 people.  Two thirds of the population have access to electric lighting and drinking water, and own a mobile phone as well as a television. It also showed that urban households have more material comforts that rural ones. For example, 82 percent of households in urban areas have access to drinking water, compared to only 33 percent of households in rural areas.

The Government conducted the survey in order to gain a statistical base for to improve living conditions in the country and to address the disparity between urban and rural households. Earlier this year, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, Second Vice President, supervised the national zinc roof tour, which involved the donation of thousands of zinc sheets to families living in rural communities for improved roofs and living conditions.

The government has also launched an extensive program to build publicly financed, low-cost housing. Thousands of units have been built in the main urban centers. The housing will be turned over to the bank of Equatorial Guinea, which will lead credit and financing efforts. Equatoguinean citizens will need to present proof of employment and other documentation—as well as a modest down payment—to be eligible for a low-cost mortgage. The bank will provide mortgage loans of 20 to 30 years’ duration, as is the practice in many other countries. Some Equatoguinean citizens are already living in public housing–for example, the community of Nueva Esperanza in Malabo.

Equatorial Guinea Holds Seminar to Strengthen the National Gas Company

Government works to diversify economy

Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, the Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy in Equatorial Guinea, recently led a seminar on promoting the National Gas Company (Sonagas) as a leading contributor to the country’s economy.

The seminar, officially titled “The Local Company as an Economic Motor of the Country,” was held from January 24 to 25, 2013 at the Sonagas building in Malabo. Professionals from local businesses participated in discussions and analysis of ways to improve the nation’s energy, industry and mining sectors.

Specifically, the attendees addressed issues such as the current business situation in the hydrocarbon sector; policies to promote business and development; and the organization of companies and funding sources.

The seminar is an example of the Government of Equatorial Guinea’s efforts to leverage the success of its oil industry to improve the country’s economy. The oil sector has driven growth in other industries and provided revenue that has allowed the Government to invest in infrastructure development such as highways, ports and airports.  

Equatorial Guinea Donates Us$500,000 To Efforts In Mali

Nation continues policy of support for African initiatives

Equatorial Guinea will donate US$500,000 to support African forces in Mali. President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo announced this donation at the end of the African Union Summit, which took place in Addis Ababa from January 26 to 28.

In an interview, President Obiang said that, “Equatorial Guinea has pledged support to the African forces in Mali with a financial contribution of US$500,000. When an allied country suffers, we must support them and make a contribution.” He said that although Equatorial Guinea will not contribute troops to the effort to stabilize Mali, he hope international community” recognizes the contribution that we are offering to our allied African countries.”

In 2012, Equatorial Guinea gave US$30 million to the Food and agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to assist African countries with food shortages and improve food security across Africa. Equatorial Guinea also sent a humanitarian aid shipment to the Republic of Congo in 2012, donated 2 million Euros to Somalia famine victims in 2011, and contributed $500,000 to Japan after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. It previously contributed to earthquake-relief efforts in Haiti in 2010 and Sichuan, China, in 2008.

“African countries have to take the lead in their own development, take a responsible political path, and strive for growth,” President Obiang said. “What we are doing in Equatorial Guinea is an example of a country of reference, because we are working to achieve a level of respect.”

He also announced that Equatorial has been chosen as a member of the Security Council of Africa.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Ministers Convene in Malabo to Discuss Public Health Issues

Delegates meet for Fourth Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of Health

Health ministers from ten African countries met Thursday, January 24, 2013 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea to discuss a number of public health issues within the region.

Members of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) prepared the agenda during the 4th Ordinary Session of the Ministers of Health Council, which began January 21, 2013. Overall, the meeting was held to enhance regional integration among the member countries and promote public health development throughout Central Africa.

Specifically, the meeting addressed issues such as diseases, vaccinations and prevention campaigns against AIDS and malaria.

“These are the challenges and priorities of the subregion,” said Tom├ís Mecheba, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Health and Social Welfare while addressing the council. “We should start a common approach to the AIDS problem, while remembering to take into account the problems of malaria, which is a source of concern for our countries.”

Following Mecheba, Equatorial Guinea’s Vice President of the Republic, Head of Presidential Affairs, Ignacio Milam Tang, spoke on behalf of President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, stating that the government hoped for strong collaboration on public health strategies.

In addition, he mentioned the government’s recent investment in major health projects in Equatorial Guinea. Earlier this year, the government provided technical assistance to the local United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and began improved local training courses for future health care professionals. 
Equatorial Guinea’s effort to improve the public health sector was officially recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) in its 2012 report, which showed that Equatorial Guinea was leading Africa in per capita investments in health care. 


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ecobank Opens New Branch in Equatorial Guinea

Pan-African Bank to aid West African nation’s efforts to integrate its financial market with the rest of the continent

Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), a pan-African bank based in Togo with operations in West, Central, East and Southern Africa, has opened an affiliate in the capital city of Malabo to serve as a credit institution in Equatorial Guinea. The licensing of Ecobank is part of the government’s efforts to integrate the country’s economy more closely with other African states, support the development of the economy, and improve access to financing. 

The opening of Ecobank aligns with the government's implementation of the industrialization project and economic development plans, diversification of the economy to reduce poverty, strengthening transparency in public finance management and good governance, said Vicente Ehate Tomi, Equatorial Guinea’s Prime Minister.

“We are pleased that the authorities of Equatorial Guinea have issued Ecobank with a license to operate as the fifth bank in the country and to support the development of the economy with access to financing,” said Thierry Tanoh, Ecobank’s Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Tanoh said that Ecobank Equatorial Guinea completed the bank’s presence in all the member states of the Monetary and Economic Community of Central Africa. “Additionally, our presence in Equatorial Guinea will give the citizens access to Ecobank’s footprint across Africa.” 

Ecobank currently operates in 32 countries throughout the African continent. It has a licensed operation in Paris and representatives in Johannesburg, Dubai and London. Ecobank Equatorial Guinea is the 33rd affiliate of the Group in Africa.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Equatorial Guinea Rejects Suggestion that it was Responsible for Journalist's Death

 Minister of Information calls insinuation by Reporters Without Borders “baseless” and “unfair.”

The government of Equatorial Guinea today rejected what it termed “baseless and unfair insinuations” by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) that it may have been responsible for the death of a local journalist.

In a letter to RSF, Minister of Information Agustin Nze Nfumu challenged the underlying allegations cited by RSF in the case of Manuel Nze Nsongo, who died unexpectedly in late November. He said, “…the insinuation by Reporters Without Borders that Manuel may have been poisoned by the government is baseless and unfair, and the facts you cite to support your insinuation are wrong.”

RSF had said that Mr. Nze Nsongo had died two days after attending a working lunch with the minister of information. In its statement, RSF said that his relatives suspected he was poisoned, but added that “there is no evidence to support their claims.”

Minister Nze Nfumu said that there had been no working lunch.

“I had an official meeting with him in my office, in the presence of two representatives of UNESCO and my chief of staff,” Minister Nze Nfumu said in his letter. “Two days later, in a public ceremony at the Equatoguinean Cultural Center, we opened a seminar together on HIV/AIDS awareness for journalists.

“Manuel fell ill ten days later, and we did not see each other during those ten days.”

The minister described Manuel Nze Nsongo as “my very good friend of many years and the godfather to one of my children.” He said, “Manuel’s unexpected death was a painful blow to his many friends in Equatorial Guinea, including many people in government who had collaborated and worked with him over the years.”

Nze Nsongo had held high-level government positions for many years. He was chief of protocol for President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo from 1979 to 1991 and at the foreign ministry from 1991 to 1994. He later dedicated himself to journalism and became the president of the Equatorial Guinea Press Association (ASOPGE).

RSF had said, “The circumstances of his death have raised many questions and prompted various interpretations,” which it attributed to the lack of an autopsy. It also said that “rumours of poisoning are not unusual in Malabo after a government opponent suddenly dies,” but cited no source and named no other cases of poisoning.

Minister Nze Nfumu said he was “deeply offended personally—a sense of offense that I share with my government—to have been indirectly accused through a baseless and reckless insinuation of responsibility for my friend’s death.”

He said he was committed to the development of a more professional press in Equatorial Guinea and called on Reporters Without Borders to set an example for seriousness, integrity and truth.

“After all,” he said, “if an organization like yours can engage in such sensationalism, what can one expect of journalists with much less experience, preparation, and professionalism?” 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Minister Agapito Mba Mokuy of Equatorial Guinea Calls for Stronger South-South Cooperation

Equatorial Guinean Foreign Minister, Agapito Mba Mokuy, opened the 96th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers with a call for stronger South-South cooperation aimed at improving the living standards of people in developing countries.

Ministers and delegates from the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of nations (ACP) gathered on December 10, 2012, in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, for the 7th Summit for African Caribbean and Pacific Heads of State and Government (ACP).  Heads of government will meet December 13-14.

This is the first time that Equatorial Guinea has hosted the ACP Summit. Over the past two years, Malabo has hosted events such as the African Union Summit, African-South America Forum, 9th Leon H. Sullivan Summit, among others in Sipopo.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

President Obama’s Grandmother Flies To Equatorial Guinea For Surgery

State-of-the-art hospital’s reputation for high-quality health services grows in Africa

La Paz Hospital, located in the capital city of Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, recently treated United States President Barack Obama’s step-grandmother, Sarah Onyango Obama.

Sarah Obama traveled from Kenya to Equatorial Guinea to have emergency eye surgery. She is currently making a full recovery.

During her stay in Equatorial Guinea she said, “All of Africa is talking about your hospital and of the fact that you don’t need to fly to Europe to get medical treatment.”

La Paz is a full-service hospital offering expertise in radiology, emergency and intensive care, urology, pediatrics, gynecology obstetrics, surgery, dentistry, and ophthalmology. With close to 130 beds, the Medical Center's delivery rooms, recovery rooms, laboratories, pharmacies, and clinics allow highly trained medical staff to serve those in need.

La Paz hospital is one of the many investments the government of Equatorial Guinea has made in recent years to promote improved public health. The hospital is an asset for foreign investment because it provides a guarantee of high-quality medical care for many thousands of foreign workers in the country. It also provides valuable training for Equatorial Guinea’s medical professionals and is helping to raise the standards for hospital care in the country.

La Paz is not a private hospital that is required to treat emergency cases and other cases that are beyond the capacity of the nation’s other hospitals. In 2011, surgeons at La Paz reattached an Equatoguinean man’s severed hand.

The hospital is a joint venture between the government of Equatorial Guinea and Medical Services International Inc, and operates under the guidance of Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, Israel's national medical center and the most comprehensive medical center in the Middle East.