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Nchama said that the perception of Equatorial Guinea outside the country is largely erroneous and outdated, but that the country’s dynamism is clear to anyone who visits.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.