Thursday, February 28, 2013

Equatorial Guinea Hosts 5th Francophonie Conference

President Obiang Recieves Order of Francophonie and Dialogue of Cultures Award

Equatorial Guinea, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, opened the 5th Conference of the Presidents of Assemblies and Sections of the African Region of the Francophonie Parliamentary Assembly (APF) with a call for stronger cooperation aimed at promoting peace as development and stability problems threaten states.

During his welcoming remarks, President Obiang recognized and appreciated the important role of the Parliament of the Francophonie. “We share the same French language, and we welcome your commitment to promote the values and ideas of peace, democracy, stability, and political, economic, social and cultural development with the people of Africa and the world. We are fully convinced that an international association of parliamentarians elected by their own people can discover and become an essential tool in the service of peace and development of nations, and we believe that this association has a great capacity to ensure exchanges and meet the aspirations of their people.”

Equatorial Guinea is the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa, but it has adopted French as an official language. It is surrounded by French-speaking countries and plays an important role in regional organizations—such as the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa—that conduct business in French. 

In his address to the conference, the President of the House of Representatives of Equatorial Guinea, Angel Seriche Dougan, said that the conference offered an opportunity to discuss African issues that affect the people and their development, the preservation of peace, and social stability. He said the conference’s agenda would allow the participating nations to “seek multilateral cooperation measures to promote the development of our resources.”

He also recalled the reform of the Basic Law adopted by the people of Equatorial Guinea, “which introduced new institutions that will allow greater participation in public affairs, and the limitation of the presidential term, which will result in the consolidation of democracy for future generations.”

Rock Marc Christian Kabore, President of the African Regional section of the APF, presented President Obiang with the Grand Cross of the People, the Order of Francophonie and Dialogue of Cultures award for his numerous achievements in the development of Equatorial Guinea and his work in pursuit of the Francophonie.

“The Francophone parliamentary community in general, and the African region in particular, wish to take this opportunity to honor a son of Africa, President and Head of State, with the highest award of the Grand Cross of the People, Order of Francophonie and of Dialogue of Cultures. The Order of the Francophonie has an international vocation intended to recognize the merits of the personalities that are distinguished by their support for the ideals of the Francophonie,” said Kabore.

Referring to the host nation, Kabore said, “Our region has wanted to testify to its solidarity with the people of Equatorial Guinea for their perseverance in the reconstruction and modernization of the country, under the auspices of its democratic institutions.”

In his closing remarks, President Obiang highlighted the reform program undertaken in Equatorial Guinea, through the creation of new institutions and social programs. “As part of these reforms, we are committed to ensure a large participation of our citizens in the management of State affairs, as well as favoring the social integration of women and youth, along with a major boost in education, health and other social sectors.”

Equatorial Guinea held the third ASA Summit last week where Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Heads of State met to increase collaboration between South-South countries. Over the past few years, Malabo has hosted events such as the African Union Summit, African-South America Forum, 9th Leon H. Sullivan Summit, among others in Sipopo.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Equatorial Guinea Closes 3rd ASA Summit by Promoting South-South Cooperation

 President Obiang Promotes Solidarity and Relations Between Africa and South America

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea called for stronger South-South cooperation in the closing ceremony of the third Africa-South America Summit (ASA) held on February 23, 2013 in the capital city of Malabo.

During his closing remarks, President Obiang thanked representatives and Heads of State who participated in the event and proposed expanding the ASA group by including countries from Central America and the Caribbean.

According to President Obiang, expanding the ASA group would promote solidarity and better strengthen relations between the two large regions. He stressed that the ASA group was designed to enhance South-South ties, but that it could not be achieved without the participation of all Latin American countries. 

"The implementation and strengthening of commercial ties, through direct investment, and the creation of social funds for tourism, education, science and technology, etc., constitute the priority of development cooperation that we must establish starting in this summit,” said President Obiang.

“In conclusion,” he continued, “we strongly believe that this summit will be a turning point that vitalizes cooperation between Latin America and Africa, for the emergence of their states and their integration in the developed world.”

This was the third ASA Summit. It lasted four days and included a series of meetings between senior officials and country leaders. Over the course of the event, attendants discussed ways to utilize their resources and stimulate economic growth for the benefit of both regions.  

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ministers of Foreign Affairs Meet to Discuss South-South Cooperation at 3rd ASA Summit

Minister Agapito Mba Mokuy of Equatorial Guinea met with other ministers of foreign affairs yesterday to discuss South-South cooperation as part of the Third ASA Summit, which is being held in Malabo this week.

The ministerial meeting focused on projects proposed in Wednesday’s inaugural Meeting of Senior Officials by representatives from various African and South American countries. The ministers paid particular attention to projects that would promote relations and economic development between the two regions.

According to Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Brazil’s minister of foreign affairs, the Summit presents an opportunity to reaffirm commitment between the two continents. Minister Agapito reiterated the importance of the ASA partnership during his closing speech. He stated that the meetings held during the ASA Summit “have generated excellent ideas and policy initiatives that address the most pressing global challenges.”

During a time of economic hardship, it is critical for countries to work together, Minister Agapito stressed. 

This year’s ASA Summit is the sixth summit of its kind that promotes South-South cooperation. To increase collaboration between the participating countries, heads of state will meet today to bring the summit to a close.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Equatorial Guinea Makes Final Preparations for Third ASA Summit

The Government of Equatorial Guinea is making final preparations for the third Summit of Africa and South America (ASA), which will take place this week in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

After visiting several South American countries two weeks ago, Agapito Mba Mokuy, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, met with those organizing the ASA Summit to discuss the final details.   

The summit will run from Wednesday, February 20th to Saturday, February 23rd. The opening session involves a meeting between Senior Officials followed by the Meeting of Ministers. On Friday, the Heads of States from various African and South American countries will meet to conclude the summit and discuss South-South cooperation. Leaders attending include Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Evo Morales, President of Bolivia.

According to Mba Mokuy, representatives from member countries will be invited to participate in a variety of cultural events that will take place throughout the course of the summit, including art exhibits, film sessions and musical performances.

In addition to promoting cultural expression among the member countries, the summit will also provide businessmen a chance to meet with one another and discuss additional opportunities for exchange and improved relations. 

Equatorial Guinea originally planned to have the ASA Summit in May 2012; however, they had to postpone the event in order to finalize preparations and ensure the summit’s success. In November 2011, Equatorial Guinea hosted the Meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Forum, which involved a meeting between Senior Officials to promote cooperation and solidarity between Africa and South America.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Obiang Orders Housing Officials to Clear Housing Backlog

 Guinean families receive long-awaited keys to public housing

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea ordered the National Property Management Company (ENGI) to immediately turn over publicly-financed housing units to families that had made their down payments months earlier. Nearly seventy families received keys to their properties within two days.

The houses, located in the Buena Esperanza, a public housing community for moderate-income working families in Sipopo, were delivered to the families on February 4.

The families said they had been waiting many months to be able to occupy the units they had purchased from the National Property Management Company, which is responsible for the management and distribution of public housing properties, despite having made their payments.

Their situation was brought to the attention of the president by Minister of Public Works and Infrastructures Juan Nko Nbuna. After meeting with the families, President Obiang called a meeting with ENGI officials on February 2. A visibly angry Obiang reprimanded the officials for the backlog and said that withholding the keys from citizens who had already paid for their housing was tantamount to “graft and social corruption.”

“Buena Esperanza was designed to provide affordable housing to Guinean citizens,” President Obiang said. “It was not developed to promote business, and those of you who have rented these people’s houses for profit may lose your homes.”

He said the government was committed to resolve the matter quickly and assured the families in attendance that they would receive their homes in less than six months. Several families have already received their homes.

President Obiang then prohibited the collection of future payments for housing from the citizens on the waiting list for housing until all those who had made their down payments had received their keys.

"The Government is there to solve the population's problems,” not create obstacles, he said.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

South African Companies Explore Business Opportunities in Equatorial Guinea

Delegation promotes bilateral trade and investment

South Africa’s Vice Minister of Commerce and Industry, Elizabeth Thabethe, brought a South African delegation to Equatorial Guinea this week to explore business opportunities and enhance bilateral relations.

There are a total of 13 representatives from various South African companies participating in the delegation. The group arrived Monday, February 4, 2013 and will be leaving Friday, February 8, 2013.

“This mission will be taking place within the context of South Africa’s strategic engagement with the rest of the continent, aimed at supporting Africa’s economic revival, socioeconomic development and promoting intra-Africa trade,” Thabethe said.

Over the course of the week, the delegates will meet with Equatorial Guinean business representatives and participate in a trade and investment seminar. According to an article in The New Age the program will specifically focus on sectors such as agro-processing, infrastructure, electro-technical and capital and mining equipment.

President Obiang has recently been working to enhance cooperation between African countries in a variety of sectors. In 2011, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo visited South Africa to improve trade and investment relations. The exchange reflects growing cooperation between African countries, specifically Equatorial Guinea and South Africa.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Government Forms Bi-Partisan Committee to Address Institutional Regulations

Obiang promotes constitutional reform through new committee

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea has formed a committee of 30 officials to work on institutional regulations and implement internal projects provided by the Constitutional Reform.

The committee includes a representative from each of the 13 officially recognized political parties; meaning 12 of them are members of the opposition.

Buenaventura Mosuy, General Coordinator of the Social Democratic Coalition Party, stated that the committee will spend seven days in Mongomo, Obiang’s home district, working on the adaptation process for internal projects such as the Senate, Ombudsman, Court of Auditors and the Council of the Republic.

The Constitutional Reform was officially approved in November 2011 after receiving a 97.7 percent approval rate from the Guinean population.