Friday, February 28, 2014

Equatorial Guinea’s Prime Minister Reflects on the Success of the Economic Diversification Summit

Vicente Ehate Tomi, Prime Minister of Equatorial Guinea, discussed the success of the economic diversification summit with World Investment News earlier this week. According to the Prime Minister, the summit helped highlight the growing opportunities Equatorial Guinea has to offer the international community.

For example, Equatorial Guinea’s government recently created a fund to support investment, which will help facilitate investors’ easy access to Government programs.

In addition to the fund, Equatorial Guinea is also working with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Association to increase the number of ambassadors within the country.

These two initiatives reflect the government’s dedication to promoting growth in Equatorial Guinea and strengthen its role in the international community.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Education Tours Schools Across the Country

Lucas Nguema Esono, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Education and Science, recently embarked on a journey across the country to inspect the nation’s schools and promote education development.  

The tour began on the island of Bioko on Friday, February 21, which continued in Malabo afterward.

While visiting the schools, Nguema Esono will perform the following: inspect their foundation, assess their needs and analyze the work of the teachers. The purpose of the tour is to improve the nation’s education system, he said, and the Government is particularly focused on improving the work of teachers.

Touring the schools is one of many ways in which Nguema Esono is helping implement the education goals listed in President Obiang’s Horizon 2020 national development plan. In addition, he has overseen recent infrastructure development with the nation’s primary and secondary schools and an increase in scholarship distribution for university students.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Equatorial Guinea working to protect its sea turtles and preserve biodiversity

Equatorial Guinea is home to five of the seven species of sea turtles that exist throughout the world, along with a number of institutions dedicated to preserving the country’s large population of sea turtles.

One of the institutions devoted to protecting the species is Sea Turtles of Equatorial Guinea (TOMAGE), which is a public organization under the Institute for Forest Development and Management of Protected Areas with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

TOMAGE works along the coast searching for endangered eggs to protect in prefabricated nests that are monitored in order to ensure that the hatchlings survive. They also perform training, analysis, data collection and scientific studies with the support of similar agencies such as Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program and the School of Environment at the National University of Equatorial Guinea.

Maintaining these partnerships is essential for preserving Equatorial Guinea’s rich biodiversity. In addition to its collaboration with the organizations above, Equatorial Guinea is a member of the Commission for the Conservation of Forest Ecosystems in Central Africa and is involved in the United Nations Environment Program.

Equatorial Guinea’s efforts to protect its endangered species and preserve its ecosystems and biodiversity are essential elements of President Obiang’s environmental reform, which he introduced at the 2010 Global Forum in South Africa.

Highlights from Equatorial Guinea's First Economic Diversification Symposium

On February 3rd and 4th, leaders from around the world came together at the Sipopo Convention Center in Equatorial Guinea to discuss economic diversification within the country at the Symposium for Economic Diversification for the Emergence of Equatorial Guinea.

The Symposium was specifically designed to emphasize recent development in some of the nation’s top industries, including agriculture and ranching, fishing, petrochemicals and mining, tourism and financial services.

This event provided the Government an opportunity to showcase its recent growth and promote international investment in order to continue the advancement of its economy and play a more competitive role in the global market.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

President Obiang Addresses Equatorial Guinea's First Economic Diversification Summit

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo addressed Equatorial Guinea's first economic diversification summit, discussing the country's recent development. He specifically mentioned the national development plan, Horizon 2020, and entering the second phase of the initiative. According to President Obiang, the country experienced significant economic growth due to oil production, which they used to promote infrastructure development as well as social and cultural development. Now, the country is working to expand international investment in the private sector in order to diversify the economy.

Equatorial Guinea's Minister of Economy Discusses Plan for Development

During the first economic diversification summit in Equatorial Guinea, the Minister of Economy, Conrado Okenve Nhodo, discussed next steps for development. He mentioned the national development plan, Horizon 2020, and implementing the second phase of the plan, which involves increasing international investment in the private sector. According to the Minister of Economy, this was the main objective of the summit.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Poverty Statistics for Equatorial Guinea Are Outdated, Says World Bank and IMF Experts

World Bank will support establishment of statistics institute in the country.

Perceptions of Equatorial Guinea are skewed by outdated statistical data, said representatives of the World Bank and IMF participating in a panel at the Emerging Equatorial Guinea conference today in Malabo.

“Statistics about Equatorial Guinea are very much outdated, particularly poverty numbers,” said Gregor Binkert, World Bank country director for Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic, Angola, and Sao Tome and Principe. “Some of the figures [cited in public sources] are from as far back as ’05 or ’06,” he said.

Binkert said The World Bank would support the establishment of an official statistics institute and a system for collecting and analyzing statistics in Equatorial Guinea.

Jon Shields, the International Monetary Fund’s mission chief for Equatorial Guinea, agreed with the need to “start collecting statistics and to look at the reliability of the statistics we have.”

The government of Equatorial Guinea has long disputed statistics claiming that the vast majority of its population is extremely poor. Many visitors to the country and expatriates have noted that, while poverty exists, there is no anecdotal evidence to support the kinds of statistics that are generally repeated in news and other reports.

“We look at economic performance based on the information we have, but the figures are unreliable, often suppositions,” Shields said. Statistics on gross domestic product and income distribution need to be reevaluated, he said.

Shields said that statistics need to be gathered to analyze and improve public expenditure—to determine whether it is sustainable and sufficiently controlled, and how it can be improved.

Both men agreed that the lack of reliable statistics is a problem throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but it is particularly acute in Equatorial Guinea, which has experienced enormous growth and development over the past ten years.

Binkert called Equatorial Guinea’s physical infrastructure, in which it has heavily invested its petroleum revenues, “impressive,” and said that he believed Equatorial Guinea has entered a period in which it should place greater emphasis on social investments such as public health and education.

He said that the government had been spending to improve medical care but now needs to shift its emphasis. “Hospitals have been built, but there is a need to develop a full health system.”
Binkert said that The World Bank will develop programs to encourage Equatorial Guinea to study other countries that have transformed their economies or have other experiences that can be helpful, like South Korea, Singapore, Colombia and Costa Rica. These programs would include visits, exchanges and twinnings.
The panel discussion was held as part of the second and final day of the Emerging Equatorial Guinea conference, an investor conference being held in the Sipopo international conference center outside Malabo. Some 700 persons, including 400 international business representatives, attended the opening day’s sessions.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Economic Experts Cite Equatorial Guinea’s Advantages for Investors

Infrastructure, financial controls, political stability and equal treatment of investors all cited as favoring investment.

Economic experts attending the Emerging Equatorial Guinea conference today cited infrastructure, political stability, financial controls and non-discriminatory treatment of investors as advantages for investment in the country.

Lucas Abaga Nchama, president of the Central Bank of Central Africa, called Equatorial Guinea “a bridge to a market of 43 million” consumers in the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States. He said that Equatorial Guinea has a strong currency that has only been devalued once and that its strong regulatory regime governing finance, banking and investments create a “low risk” environment for investors, in part because it has “no debt.”

He said that Equatorial Guinea’s investment in physical and social infrastructure, particularly over the last five years, is well above the average in Africa and that “investors will see the results.”

“Equatorial Guinea now needs to create companies,” he said, and encourage entrepreneurship, particularly among young people. The state has been busy developing infrastructure that has driven the economy, he said, but “young people must understand that the state can’t do everything. Now the people must do it.”

Nchama said that the perception of Equatorial Guinea outside the country is largely erroneous and outdated, but that the country’s dynamism is clear to anyone who visits. “Equatorial Guinea is really the place where investors will find no risk,” he said.

Rodrigo de Rato, a former managing director of the International Monetary Fund who was Spain’s minister of the economy from 199-2004, also praised the country’s investment in infrastructure as setting appropriate conditions for investment. He singled out some of the institutions the government has created to control finances, such as the Court of Accounts, as helping to create a more transparent environment. Mr. De Rato encouraged the country to follow up on its stated desire to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and to continue to shift more of its investment from physical infrastructure to social infrastructure such as education and public health.   

Equatorial Guinea Has Laid the Foundation for a Diversified Economy

“There is no turning back,” President Obiang tells potential investors.

Equatorial Guinea has used income from its natural resources to prepare the country to establish a modern, diversified economy, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo told a attendees at a conference on investment, and is now in the second phase of his Horizon 2020 development plan.

“This is not the same country that turned desperately to donor conferences in the 1980s, when donors asked, ‘Where is this country?’ and ‘What guarantees does it offer?” the president said in his opening address to 700 attendees at the Emerging Equatorial Guinea conference in Malabo’s Sipopo conference center.

“Equatorial Guinea has overcome the barriers that have discouraged private investment,” he said, “and there is no turning back.”

Electric power now covers the entire country, the country’s highway system is 80 percent complete, and has modern ocean ports and airports, he said. The nation has developed organs for more efficient public administration. It has also developed its social infrastructure, totally reforming the education system and creating technical training schools and a modern university. It has built and staffed hospitals, provided potable water, and modernized its telecommunications system, including making the Internet available, he said.

President Obiang said that Equatorial Guinea’s geostrategic position, political stability, and the progress it has made in development create ideal conditions for investment.
He said that the government will have a sovereign wealth fund to participate with investors and was confident that Equatorial Guinea, from its position within the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States, will contribute strongly to growth in Central Africa.

Equatorial Guinea is hosting a two-day conference for investors, including more than 400 international business representatives from countries ranging from Europe, Asia and the Middle East, the Americas, and Africa. Equatorial Guinea has targeted agriculture and ranching, fisheries, petrochemicals and mining, financial services, tourism, aviation, transport and telecommunications.

Conference attendees are learning about development and investment opportunities in Equatorial Guinea and will be able to meet with local counterparts.

President Obiang launched his Horizon 2020 development program in 2008 with the goal of creating an emergent economy in Equatorial Guinea by the year 2020.

Equatorial Guinea Welcomes Business Leaders From Around The World At The Symposium For Economic Diversification

Symposium will showcase investment opportunities in five key sectors

February 3, 2014 - On February 3rd and 4th, leaders from around the world will convene at the Sipopo Convention Center in Equatorial Guinea to discuss economic diversification within the country at the Symposium for Economic Diversification for the Emergence of Equatorial Guinea.

The Symposium is specifically designed to emphasize recent development in some of the nation’s top industries, including agriculture and ranching, fishing, petrochemicals and mining, tourism and financial services.

Keystakeholders, including government officials, private sector executives, financiers, entrepreneurs and industry experts, will attend the symposium, which will begin with a speech from President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

For the last decade, the Government of Equatorial Guinea has been working to diversify its economy by investing in the growth of its private sector. With revenue from the country’s booming petroleum sector, which saw significant growth in the 1990s, the Government financed major infrastructure projects throughout the country. These initiatives were major components in the economic diversification and industrialization plan, PEGI 2020.

This event provides the Government an opportunity to showcase its recent growth and promote international investment in order to continue the advancement of its economy and play a more competitive role in the global market.