Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Anatolio Ndong Mba, Permanent Representative of Equatorial Guinea to the UN talks future of Africa


Ambassador Ambassador said Africa’s growing economic power is leading to social and political progress. He also called for stronger African participation in global organizations.

Equatorial Guinea Launched First Phase of Polio Immunization Campaign

The government of Equatorial Guinea launched the first phase of a campaign to immunize the nation’s children against polio last week. The government has been working closely with World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, United Nations (UN), Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Atlanta, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others to implement this proactive campaign.

Leo Heileman, UN Resident Coordinator, has stressed the importance of the campaign and noted that all UN agencies are supporting it. “The WHO and UNICEF have mobilized technical support in order to have experienced consultants to accompany the national teams, and execute the planned activities to carry out quality vaccination campaigns,” he said.  

“Polio is a highly contagious disease that mostly affects children under five years old but also adults with a low immunity produced by the vaccine or a previous exposure to the disease,” said Diosdado Vicente Nsue Milang, Minister of Health and Social Welfare. “It can cause total or partial paralysis; thus far, the vaccine is the only effective preventive tool and the tool has achieved its eradication in Western countries.”

Equatorial Guinea has not recorded any cases of wild poliovirus since 1999, Nsue Milang said. In a strong plea for citizens to vaccinate their children, he said,  “Poliomyelitis cannot be cured but can be prevented by a vaccine that is easily administered. Its eradication requires that all children under fifteen years old be vaccinated to prevent any further outbreaks.”

The government of Equatorial Guinea launched information campaigns to educate citizens about the need to take preventive measures against polio prior to the launch of the first phase, following a recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO).

During the informational campaigns and launch ceremony of the first phase, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo stressed the importance of the vaccine and encouraged all parents to vaccinate their children under fifteen years old. Government officials, delegates, chairpersons of village councils and neighborhood communities were at the ceremony aimed at sharing this message with all parents, in order to complete the eradication of the disease in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.

A second phase will take place from May 23 to 26 and a third from June 10 to 13, sponsored by the government.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

President Obiang Attends John XXIII And John Paul II Canonizations

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea attended the canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II in the Vatican last week and met with Pope Francis.

The President of Equatorial Guinea was one of the 24 heads of state, who attended the canonization, along with prime ministers and other senior representatives of countries and international institutions. There were more than ninety official delegations.

He was accompanied by Constancia Mangue de Obiang, the First Lady of Equatorial Guinea. Approximately one million people attended the ceremony.

Last year, President Obiang met with Pope Francis at the Vatican and exchanged with Vatican officials the instruments of ratification of an agreement with the Holy See on relations between the Catholic Church and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. The agreement confirmed the good bilateral relations between the two states, recognized the legal personality of the church and its institutions, and covered canonical marriage, places of worship, educational institutions, and spiritual assistance to the Catholic faithful in hospitals and prisons.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Equatorial Guinea Develops Climate Change Plan to Reduce Carbon Emissions and Mitigate Climate Change

Plan supports sustainable energy and Fund for Climate Change in Africa

The government of Equatorial Guinea has developed a national climate change plan aimed at reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change.

“We understand climate change has an impact on every region. The national climate change plan allows us to implement projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions, support sustainable energy, among others,” said Santiago Francisco Engonga, Director General of Environment for the Ministry of Fisheries and Environment. “The African continent is the most vulnerable when it comes to climate change and we are doing our share to help.”

Equatorial Guinea is undertaking many initiatives to address climate change in the country. The Ministry of Fisheries and Environment and the Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy are working together on a sustainable energy project that focuses on solar, wind and marine energy. This project is being implemented as a result of the national climate change adaptation plan.

In addition, the climate change regulatory law in Equatorial Guinea has established the National Fund for Climate Change (FONAMA), which undertakes initiatives to improve the environment, such as  conserving biodiversity and protecting migratory species.

Engonga sees the recently approved aid to the Fund for Climate Change in Africa (FCCA) as a positive milestone for the African continent, which has not received significant financial aid to combat climate change and its effects.

“This fund will help ease the access of countries to the financing they need to protect their economies and environmental assets in view of climate change,” said Alex Rugamba, President of the Coordination Committee of Climate Change of the African Development Bank.

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo called for the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of nations (ACP) to strengthen cooperation to face energy problems, climate change and challenges delivered from globalization together at the 7th ACP Summit held in Malabo in 2012.

Africa’s Growing Economic Power Leading To Social And Political Progress, Says Equatorial Guinea’s U.N. Permanent Representative

Ambassador calls for stronger African participation in global organizations.

The government of Equatorial Guinea has been a leader in the African continent and has established successful reforms and programs in the country, and its neighbors are doing the same, Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba, permanent representative of Equatorial Guinea to the United Nations, told attendees at a panel on “African Solutions, African Problems,” held at the Peace Islands Institute in partnership with the Journalists and Writers Foundation.

Ambassador Ndong Mba discussed the Africa paradigm and said it is important that Africa and its 54 countries be regarded as equal partners on the world stage. Africa will be exerting its influence for a more fair and equitable benefit from its natural resources. Africa seeks an even greater economic diversification; this means that while Africa extends the value it receives from her natural resources, at the same time, there is a movement to increase diversification into other sectors for greater national and continental resiliency, making the continent less susceptible to oil shocks and volatility in the world commodity markets.

“Equatorial Guinea is using income from its natural resources to expand [and] develop infrastructure and other sectors. Equatorial Guinea has experienced significant growth over the past few years. Another important goal we have is towards economic diversification, which will reduce our reliance on oil revenues by converting revenues from oil into large public works projects and a portfolio of agro-industry, fisheries projects and tourism.”

As Africa continues to make significant progress in the political, social and economic spheres, the continent demands an even greater role on the world stage. Ambassador Ndong Mba said that Africa welcomes partnerships but Africans must lead Africa’s development, and African solutions must be applied to African problems.  

During the panel, Ambassador Ndong Mba discussed Africa’s growing influence on the global stage and the growing number of countries on the continent that are embarking on policies of diversification and infrastructural development to attract investors and build a solid foundation for development.

“According to The Economist, six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies of the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa, and many African countries have enjoyed growth in income per person of more than 5% a year since 2007,” he said.  “Africa’s rise on the global stage is palpable.  The continent’s emerging middle class with increasing disposable income is slowly being recognized.  According to the Ernst & Young’s attractiveness survey Africa 2013, the size of the African economy has more than tripled since 2000. Moreover, a number of African economies are predicted to remain among the fastest growing in the world.  To site another source, a McKinsey Global Institute analysis indicated that four sectors in Africa namely – consumer products and services, infrastructure, agriculture and natural resources will together be worth $2.6 trillion in annual revenue by 2020.”

This trend is seen clearly in the rapid development of Equatorial Guinea over the last several years.

“In my country, Equatorial Guinea, the President of the Republic set in motion a long-term development plan, Horizon 2020, which aims to invest in important sectors, which will in turn strengthen economic growth to ensure a transparent social climate, build important infrastructure to support a modern nation state, and improve social welfare and reduce poverty. A billion dollars have been set aside to support this initiative,” he said. 

Ambassador Ndong Mba said that Africa’s growing economic power should be met with growing political power on the world stage.

“Africa requires a greater say in the management and governance of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund…,” he said. “Since Africa is becoming an important driver of future global economic growth, since Africa is home to a billion inhabitants and growing, since Africa is growing in its strategic importance to the rest of the world, it is time to validate Africa’s growing importance.  It is now time that Africa occupies permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council.”

The institute’s Ambassadors Series panel on African Solutions to African Problems covered education, health, economy, culture and peace and security and served as a platform to bring diplomats accredited to the United Nations together with academics, experts and civil society to engage with one another, and to discuss global issues and exchange multiple perspectives. The panel was moderated by H.E Antonio Tete, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations, and featured presentations by Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo, permanent representative of South Africa to the UN, and Ambassador Osama Abdelkhalek, deputy permanent representative of the Republic of Egypt to the UN, in addition to Ambassador Ndong Mba.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Equatorial Guinea Develops Industrial Plan in Drive to Diversify Economy

Industrialization Plan 2020 will help reduce dependence on imports, build sustainable economic activity

The government of Equatorial Guinea has established the Industrialization Plan of Equatorial Guinea (PEGI) 2020, aimed at creating a guide for the development of sustainable industry and a diversified economy.

“Reducing dependence on imports and transforming our natural resources will allow us to ensure our independence and solvency in a globalized world,” said President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo when talking about the plan. Equatorial Guinea's economy is heavily dependent on the production of oil and natural gas. The plan is aimed at reducing this dependency. The government has identified four priority sectors for development, one of which remains oil and energy. The others are agriculture, livestock and agro-industry; fisheries and aquaculture; and services—especially tourism and financial services.

The government announced a number of new foreign investments in these priority areas at an investment conference in Malabo in early February.

The different industrial projects will contribute to reducing the rural exodus, creating high-quality jobs, and raising the standard of living of the population.

The PEGI-2020 was adopted at the industrialization conference held in 2011. This plan supports the national development plan ‘Horizon 2020’ as part of development of the industry to ensure economic diversification.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Equatorial Guinea Leads Polio Immunization Campaign Throughout Continental Region

Secretary of State for Public Health meets with healthcare providers in the country’s continental region to plan for next week’s campaign launch

The Secretary of State for Public Health in Equatorial Guinea, Práxedes Rabat Macambo, led an informational meeting from the country’s continental region (also known as Rio Muni or Mbini) to brief healthcare providers on the polio immunization campaign that will be launched next week. The campaign is aimed at vaccinating the nation’s children against polio following two recent outbreaks.

The purpose of the meeting was to provide information to hospital managers, health centers managers and vaccination program leaders about the three phases of the polio preventive campaign the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare will lead on April 21.
Next week, the first phase of the preventive campaign, sponsored by the government of Equatorial Guinea, WHO, UNICEF and others, will treat children up to fifteen years old. A second phase will take place next month and a third in June.

Last month, the government created a crisis committee to search for immediate solutions to prevent the spread of polio infection in Equatorial Guinea. The result was the upcoming immunization campaign.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Equatorial Guinea Launches Polio Immunization Campaign

West African Nation works with World Health Organization and Others to Implement Proactive Campaign

The government of Equatorial Guinea has launched a campaign to immunize the nation’s children against polio following some recent outbreaks.

The first case of polio was detected on February 6, 2014 in the district of Niefang, it was an acute flaccid paralysis diagnosed in a two-year old child who was never vaccinated. On March 19, confirmation was received from laboratories in Atlanta (United States) that it is a case of type I poliovirus. Its sequence has shown that it is related to the poliovirus circulating in the central region of Cameroon for the last six months. This is the first case of wild poliovirus reported in Equatorial Guinea since 1999. The vicinity of this country with ours is a threat for Equatoguineans.

The government immediately created a crisis committee to look into solutions to prevent the spread of the disease.

Following the World Health Organization (WHO)’s recommendation, the government of Equatorial Guinea has launched informational campaigns to educate citizens about the need to take preventive measures against the disease.

On April 21-24, the first phase of the preventive campaign, sponsored by the government of Equatorial Guinea, WHO, UNICEF and others, will treat children ages one to fifteen. A second phase will take place from May 12 to 15 and a third from June 9 to 12, sponsored by the government. Children under five years old will be immunized in these phases. After the three phases are completed, the Ministry expects to have all children vaccinated. This strategy, which was also recommended by the WHO, has already produced good results in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad and Angola.

The Ministry of Health, led by Diosdado Vicente Nsue Milang, is overseeing the campaign.

Cameroon, the country most affected with three cases of wild poliovirus since the beginning of 2014 and seven since last year, has reported that it will begin the campaign on April 11.

The Ministry also requested the appropriate technical support to implement the campaign, which will be provided by six technical experts from the WHO and a team from the CDC.

The United Nations agencies accredited to Equatorial Guinea praised the government for its prompt reaction to the outbreak and its commitment to prevent further infections. The agencies also provided the organizational support to the campaign.

The crisis committee, which was formed to search for immediate solutions to prevent the spread of polio infection in Equatorial Guinea, included the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare; Ministry of Education and Science; Ministry of Social Affairs and Gender Equality; Ministry of Transportation, Technology, Postal Affairs and Telecommunications; Ministry of Internal Affairs and Local Corporations; Ministry of Defense and National Security; Ministry of Information, Press and Radio; the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF).

Friday, April 11, 2014

National University Of Equatorial Guinea And Drexel University Enjoy Long-Term, Growing Partnership

Dr. Gail Hearn talks about her experience as former Director of the Country’s Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program

The academic partnership between the National University of Equatorial Guinea (UNGE) and Drexel University began in 1999 with a few initiatives such as training UNGE professors and providing UNGE with its initial Internet connection to its current well-integrated collaboration.  

Dr. Gail Hearn, Professor and former Director of the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program (BBPP) at Drexel University, said that Drexel University’s Study Abroad program brings American undergraduates together with UNGE students to work on common research projects.  “Graduate students from my lab, including a Drexel Ph.D. candidate from Equatorial Guinea (Demetrio Bocuma Mene), have carried out in-depth studies focused on Bioko Island’s biodiversity. Monitoring activities done in conjunction with UNGE, like enumerating forest wildlife (since 1996) and nesting sea turtles (since 2000), provide a baseline for future studies that will measure the effects of human activities and climate change on Bioko’s natural ecosystems.”  

Dr. Hearn said the Equatorial Guinea has great biodiversity consisting of unique species despite being geographically small. “West/Central Africa holds more than 20% of earth’s entire biodiversity, partly because several different ecosystems converge near the volcanic chain that begins in Cameroon and stretches from the African continent to Bioko Island and Annobón [Island].  In addition to the many Congo Basin species found in Rio Muni, Bioko Island adds a different assortment of species that are more characteristic of the so-called Guinean forests to the north, and because it is an island, Bioko adds unique species.  The best known of these Bioko Island endemic species is Pennant’s red colobus, a critically endangered (IUCN Red List) monkey found only in the southwestern corner of Bioko Island.”

Dr. Hearn said the people in Equatorial Guinea “were always unusually thoughtful and forgiving of cultural differences. For example, the people of Ureca village [on the southern end of Bioko Island] kept me and my students safe from all kinds of hazards when we were working in the forests near their village, including many things we might not have thought of ourselves: safely cooked meals; protection against ants and snakes; identifying potable water. I always felt entirely safe in the forest because of their protection.”

As UNGE and Drexel University continue to work together, Dr. Hearn believes that UNGE has the opportunity to become a regional leader in researching and protecting one of the most biologically diverse parts of the world.

As Dr. Hearn’s time with BBPP comes to an end, Dr. Katy Gonder, a tenured associate professor who is newly recruited to Drexel University, will take over the director position and continue many of the BBPP programs that have already proven to be successful. She will also bring new vigor to the UNGE/Drexel partnership with international collaborations through the Central African Biodiversity Alliance (“CABAlliance”), an organization that she helped to establish.  

UNGE recently honored Dr. Gail Hearn for her dedication to the conservation and management of biodiversity on the Island of Bioko.

Equatorial Guinea And Hess Corporation Strengthen Growing Partnership

Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Equatorial Guinea’s President, met with John Barnett Hess, Hess Corporation CEO, to strengthen the long-term and growing partnership between the company and the West African Nation.

During the meeting, President Obiang and Mr. Hess discussed the company’s continued investment in the country’s energy, education and science sectors. Hess representatives praised the socio-economic development the country is experiencing.

Gabriel Mbega Obiang Lima, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy, Gregory P. Hill, Hess Corporation President and COO of Exploration and Production, Brian David, International Vice President were also present at the meeting.

“Hess is an exemplary company that has been working and collaborating in the development of Equatorial Guinea for years, and that has professionally trained many Equatoguineans,” said Minister Mbega Obiang Lima at a press conference.  He also alluded to the educational and social contribution the company has made to the country. Hess sponsors projects such as the National Program for Educational Development of Equatorial Guinea (PRODEGE), whose second phase was just approved, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Science, which will train students at the primary and secondary level.

Minister Mbega Obiang Lima expressed the desire of Equatorial Guinea and Hess Corporation to collaborate on exploitation of the oil fields of Okume and Ceiba, where both expatriate professionals and Equatoguineans work, and on long-term production and extended investment to other sectors.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Equatorial Guinea Hosts Regional Economic Meeting

Equatorial Guinea hosted a meeting of the Ministers of Finance of the nations of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) CFA franc countries as well as members of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The meeting took place in the Sipopo Conference Center of the capital city of Malabo from April 2 - 3.

Marcelino Owono Edu, the Minister of Finance and Budget of Equatorial Guinea, stated that the Ministers of Finance meeting was designed to analyze the overall economic situation of these countries.

The event occurs twice a year and includes the participation of more than 50 technicians.

The Minister of Finance and Budget worked with other members of the Government to design a program that encourages cooperation among the central banks of the Central Franc Zone and economic growth of member countries.

Equatorial Guinea is taking on an increasingly active role in international affairs, particularly in Africa, and the Sipopo Conference Center has become a frequent venue for regional economic, business, cultural, political, and other events.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The National University of Equatorial Guinea Honors American Researcher for her Contributions to Biodiversity Conservation in the Country

Researcher worked on the island for over 20 years

The National University of Equatorial Guinea (UNGE) recently honored Dr. Gail Hearn, Professor and Director of the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program at Drexel University, with a gold medal for her dedication to the conservation and management of biodiversity on the Island of Bioko.

During the award ceremony earlier this year, Carlos Nze Nsuga, UNGE Rector, praised Dr. Hearn’s work in leading Bioko Island’s biodiversity protection program. Dr. Hearn has worked with UNGE since 1997. “Dr. Hearn has directed the program that has allowed the biodiversity of Equatorial Guinea to be known worldwide. Thanks to her, we have conducted research and have found four new species of frogs and butterflies, amongst others,” said Rector Nze Nsuga.

Dr. Hearn started her journey toward the conservation of biodiversity on the island at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania. She founded the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program in partnership with UNGE, aimed at promoting the conservation of Bioko Island’s wildlife through self-sustaining programs in education, research and conservation. 

“We are very proud of all the work the people and the government of Equatorial Guinea have done in recent years, and we have high hopes that within a very few years no more primates in Bioko will be endangered,” said Dr. Hearn.

Dr. Hear said that Bioko Island was a unique and rich environment.  “My best memory of Equatorial Guinea lies in the southern forests of the island of Bioko, which remain as they were a thousand years ago. With its trees, birds, monkeys, turtles, and these are resources that make Equatorial Guinea unique despite being geographically small. I hope that Equatorial Guinea makes an effort to preserve this great biodiversity wealth, even export it to assist in the economy of the developing country.”

The educational and conservation efforts of the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program have expanded considerable since 1986. UNGE and Drexel University's Study Abroad Office lead programs during spring and fall semesters.

During her time on Bioko Island, Dr. Hearn’s research has focused on the population decline of primate species on the island due to bushmeat hunting, the island’s biogeography, wildlife, monkeys, conservation challenges, and marine turtles to name a few.

Mark Asquino, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea joined Dr. Hearn at the award ceremony.

President Obiang attends Fourth EU-Africa Summit

Equatorial Guinea’s President, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, attended the fourth EU-African Summit held in Brussels on April 3-4. Obiang joined more than 60 leaders from the European Union and Africa in a two-day summit aimed at strengthening security, commerce and migration control ties.

The summit discussed security issues affecting the African continent. Attendees focused on the crisis in the Central African Republic and the situations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Sudan and Somalia, which have serious problems of instability and violence.

President Obiang met with Antonio Tajani, Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, to discuss the promotion of foreign investment in Equatorial Guinea and broader African-European industrial relations. He also held bilateral meetings with business representatives from Belgium, Luxembourg and other European states.

While in Brussels, President Obiang gave a lecture at the Cervantes Institute, the public institution created by Spain in 1991 to promote and teach the Spanish language and the other official languages ​​of Spain and to disseminate Spanish and Latin American culture, where he spoke on the role of the Spanish language in Africa. During his address, the Head of State emphasized Equatorial Guinea’s commitment to the preservation of the Spanish language within the international community. Obiang has ensured that Spanish was adopted as a working language within the African Union, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the Gulf of Guinea Commission.

“The summit has demonstrated how wide and deep our relationship is, and how shared values and a shared vision…enable us to face the challenges of the present,” said Herman Van Rompuy, European Council President, in the final news conference. “Our partnership of equals has come of age.”

“African and European leaders have spoken, said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President of the Commission of the African Union. “We have demonstrated that there is much that we can and must do together to confront common challenges and take advantage of opportunities.”

The summit concluded with a three-year plan to frame EU-African relations for 2014-2017, which includes 5 topics, peace and security, democracy, good governance and human rights, human development, sustainable and inclusive development and growth and continental integration, global and emerging issues.

Earlier this week, President Obiang accompanied by the First Lady, Constancia Mangue de Obiang, traveled to Spain to attend the memorial service for the former Spanish President Adolfo Suarez. Obiang was the only Head of State, Besides King Juan Carlos, present at the funeral.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Equatorial Guinea to Host CFA Franc Summit

Equatorial Guinea will host a summit for the CFA franc countries as well as members of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which will take place in the Sipopo Conference Center of the capital city of Malabo from April 2 - 3.

Marcelino Owono Edu, the Minister of Finance and Budget of Equatorial Guinea, announced the upcoming summit during a meeting, stating that the summit was designed to analyze the overall economic situation of these countries.

The event occurs twice a year and includes the participation of more than 50 technicians.

In preparation of the summit, Marcelino Owono Edu held a preliminary meeting on March 30 to discuss the organization of the Meeting of Ministers of Finance of the Franc Zone.

Alongside other members of the Government, the Minister of Finance and Budget worked to design a program that encourages cooperation among the central banks of the Central Franc Zone and economic growth of member countries.

Equatorial Guinea is working to play a greater role in the international community, and it is using events such as this summit as opportunities to showcase leadership and promote economic development within the region.