Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Equatorial Guinea Participates in 67th World Health Assembly

Diosdado Nsue Milang, Equatorial Guinea’s Minister of Health and Social Welfare, participated in the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) meeting and other sessions at the 67th World Health Assembly (WHA), held in Geneva, Switzerland on May 19-24, 2014.

The Equatorial Guinea delegation joined more than 3000 delegates from all WHO Member States at the WHA. The Assembly focused on the fight against tuberculosis, improving the health of newborn babies, prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, health systems, access to medicine, and the overall reform of the organization.

Minister Nsue Milang shared his country’s appreciation for the technical assistance carried out by the WHO on the emergency plan to address the epidemic of poliomyelitis while addressing the Assembly.

He also reiterated the commitment of President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo to overcome the health challenges of the country by strengthening the national health system,and he shared the country’s strategy, which has been in place since January of this year, to provide first aid and  health care for all citizens.

Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Benin and Cape Verde were elected as committee members for Africa’s Regional Office. The delegation also participated in the ECCAS meeting in which the Democratic Republic of Congo, represented by Dr. Jean Marie Okwo Bele, was nominated to the post for Africa’s Regional Director of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Director-General of Public Health and Health Planning, Valero Ondo, and the Permanent Ambassador of Equatorial Guinea to the United Nations, Anatolio Ndong Mba, were also part of the Equatorial Guinea delegation.

The government of Equatorial Guinea has implemented a number of health initiatives to improve the overall healthcare in the country. Most recently, the government launched a campaign to immunize the nation’s children against polio following outbreaks in the country. The government has been working closely with World Health Organization (WHO)UNICEFUnited Nations (UN),Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Atlanta, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others to implement this proactive campaign.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast and Ghana Take First Steps to Establish Regional Gas Company

The government of Equatorial Guinea has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ivory Coast and Ghana under which they will begin discussions to create a regional gas company.

Gabriel Mbega Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy of Equatorial Guinea, joined Adama Toungara, Minister of Petroleum and Energy of Ivory Coast, and Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, Minister of Energy and Petroleum of Ghana, on May 16 in Abidjan, the Ivorian capital, to review the benefits that would result from this initiative. Those benefits would include new sources of revenue, job creation and greater access to this energy source for power plants, industries and households.

The governments of Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast and Ghana have agreed to share the cost of a feasibility study on the project in the coming months. The result of this study will guide their next steps.

During the meeting, Adama Toungara said, “I'm happy with the progress that has been accomplished so far to promote this project. I hope that all parties work closely to accelerate the completion of the Memorandum of Understanding for the next month, under which my Government will continue to work with our partners to fulfill our obligation as set forth in this Memorandum of Understanding.”

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

U.S. Embassy Program Spurs Discussion Of Environment And Sustainable Development In Equatorial Guinea

Roundtables bring government officials, students and U.S. experts together

Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Fisheries and Environment, the National University of Equatorial Guinea (UNGE), the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program (BBPP), and other institutions in the country participated in two timely environmental programs hosted by the Embassy of the United States in Malabo this month.

The programs, part of a series of Ambassador’s Roundtables, focused on ecology, conservation and sustainable development, both on the island of Bioko and continental Rio Muni. The U.S. Embassy in Malabo hosted the roundtables on May 6-7.

Dr. Santiago Francisco Engonga, Director General of Environment for the Ministry of Fisheries and the Environment, discussed the importance of conserving the unique biodiversity of the island of Bioko, and the country’s climate change, carbon emissions reductions, biosecurity and sustainable energy efforts.

“Equatorial Guinea is undertaking many initiatives to address biodiversity conservation, climate change, and sustainable development, among other things, because we are committed to improving the environment, mitigating climate change and conserving our biodiversity,” said the Director General at the first Ambassador’s Roundtable, which took place on May 6 at the Hotel 3 de Agosto in Malabo.

Dr. Engonga joined Matthew Cassetta, the Washington-based Facilitator for the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP); José Manuel Esara Echube, Dean of the Faculty of the Environment at UNGE; and Dr. David Fernández, In-Country Manager of the BBPP in a discussion of government regulation, the management of the country’s protected areas, the environmental legal framework in the country, and how UNGE and NGOs can assist them in their efforts to protect the environment. Following the presentations, the panelists answered questions from and exchanged ideas with many of the more than 100 attendees, including many students.

U.S. Ambassador Mark L. Asquino opened the roundtable in Malabo, which was moderated by Joyce Namde, Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) of the U.S. Embassy. Sam Healy, a Regional Environmental, Science, Technology, and Health Officer based in Accra, was also present at the roundtables.

The second roundtable, held on May 7 at the Equatoguinean Cultural Center of French Expression in Bata, on the African continental mainland, focused on the forests of Rio Muni and issues related to their conservation and sustainable development. Mr. Cassetta and Ms. Namde were joined in this session by Director General Ramón Mituy Abaga of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Director General Fidel Esono Mba of the National Institute Nacional de Forest Development (INDEFOR), and Director Gabriel Ngua Ayecaba of Friends of Nature and Development of Equatorial Guinea Ecuatorial (ANDEGE).

Panelists discussed ecotourism, practical forest stewardship, and interactions between animals and Equatorial Guinea’s human population in Rio Muni, Equatorial Guinea’s continental territory.

Ambassador’s Roundtable series was launched by the U.S. Embassy Malabo in December 2012, and is aimed at offering Equatoguineans an opportunity to interact with representatives of the U.S. and Equatoguinean governments, as well as a variety of other speakers, on important and topical issues including human and civil rights, culture and cultural preservation, and environmental protection.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Equatorial Guinea is Investing its Resources in Improving Lives and Creating Opportunities, Says Ambassador

The government of Equatorial Guinea has heavily invested its oil revenues in the country by focusing on improving education, developing human capital and diversifying its economy, Equatorial Guinea's Ambassador to the United States, Ruben Maye Nsue Mangue, said in a recent interview with Focus Washington.

Ambassador Nsue Mangue called improved education one of his country’s most important accomplishments since independence. “Since 1979, the government committed to develop professional education and human development. When we gained our independence, we did not have any universities, but now we have two universities, and the president is building another university in the new town of Oyala.”

Education has been a top priority for the government. Equatorial Guinean has an adult literacy rate of nearly 100%--the highest in Africa.. Since 1979, citizens of Equatorial Guinea have received more than 500,000 scholarships to study in universities and professional and technical-training programs outside the country. This figure includes multiple scholarship recipients and people who have remained outside the country.

The West African nation has also experienced significant economic growth, and it has learned how to best use its oil revenues from the positive and negative experiences of other countries.

“When we discovered oil in 1992, we learned from the mistakes from other countries…,” Ambassador Nsue Mangue said. “In 1997, the country organized the first economic conference, which was really a national consultation with all governments, political parties, civil society and community leaders to know how effectively and efficiently we could use the oil revenues. The first national economic conference established the goal of building human capacity, education and basic infrastructure for the development of our country.”

The country subsequently moved to a more comprehensive development plan that could be financed through oil revenues once extraction began producing sufficient revenue. The infrastructure and economic diversification the country has experienced in recent years are established in the Horizon 2020 development plan, which was established in 2007 to diversify its economy.

Rapid development creates its own need for adjustment and reform, and Equatorial Guinean President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has made legal reform a priority, including a new constitution that modernized the institutions of government.

“With this new constitution, we have the Senate, the Council of Republic, the Supreme Council of judiciary power, the Ombudsman, the socio-economic council of the Republic and the Court of Accounts” he said.

Equatorial Guinea’s success has encouraged many African leaders to visit the country and consult with the government on development strategies, but Equatorial Guinea offers advice with a light hand.

“We cannot impose other countries to follow our model,” Ambassador Nsue Mangue said. “Equatorial Guinea’s advice should be that every country sees its reality and also to seek good partners.”

Equatorial Guinea has achieved many of its goals because of the country’s unity and the good relationships it enjoys with its partners. “We have worked altogether regardless of our political orientation, and we have found good international partners like the United States, American government and American private companies.”

Equatorial Guinea and the United States enjoy good bilateral relations, he says, and the two governments work together well. “I have been well received by the State Department and we [the Embassy] are working together on issues of mutual concern to both our countries and people,” he said.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Equatorial Guinea Reaches Maternal Mortality Reduction Target, Says World Health Organization

The government of Equatorial Guinea has reached a 75% reduction in maternal mortality, reaching its UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target a full two years before the end of 2015, the deadline set by the UN, said a recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The report said, “Sub-Saharan Africa is still the riskiest region in the world for dying of complications in pregnancy and childbirth.”

Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and other agencies have  carried out several programs to raise the health standards in the country, which has seen vast improvements over the last 15 years. These include initiatives to eradicate malaria, improve food safety, build and staff hospitals and local clinics, train medical personnel overseas, provide potable water and electricity, and improve public sanitation.

According to new UN data, there has been a steady progress worldwide in maternal mortality reduction. Equatorial Guinea is one of eleven countries with high levels of maternal mortality in 1990 to have already reached the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of a 75% reduction from the 1990 rate by 2015. The others are Bhutan, Cambodia, Cabo Verde, Eritrea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Maldives, Nepal, Romania, Rwanda, and Timor-Leste.

Equatorial Guinea has experienced significant economic growth over the past few years, and it has made maternal health and access to quality health care for women a top priority as it invests the income it receives from its natural resources. This milestone is aligned with the President Obiang’s national development plan ‘Horizon 2020,’ which includes many of the benchmarks set in the UN Millennium Development Goals.

The government is also leading a polio immunization campaign throughout the country aimed at vaccinating the nation’s children against polio following recent outbreaks. The country has been working with WHO, UNICEF, UN, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Atlanta, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others to implement this proactive campaign.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Equatorial Guinea Launches Environmental Training Program

Plan supports country’s social development initiatives

The government of Equatorial Guinea has launched an environmental training program to form technicians who will work to ensure that Bioko Island’s environment and natural habitat are monitored in order to protect its biodiversity and the species that are unique to the country.

The program has trained 30 Equatoguineans through the Support Program for the Management and Conservation of the Living Resources of the National Park Pico Basile. The environmental training program complements the education and environmental awareness course, called EcoGuinea 2014, aimed at providing training for environmental monitors, which took place last month in the Papaya Cultural Center of Bata in which another thirty people participated. This latest course is the first course where students will be able to monitor the country's environment.

The program has been supported by the National University of Equatorial Guinea (UNGE) through the School of Environment, the National Institute for Forest Development and Management of Protected Areas (INDEFORAP) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and the nongovernmental organization Ecotono.

Scientists and environmental experts who have worked in and know Equatorial Guinea first hand have borne witness to  the country’s unique nature and biodiversity. The West African nation has species unique to the country, such as monkeys, frogs, and the marine turtles that nest on the beaches of Equatorial Guinea. New species have recently been discovered, adding to the knowledge of the country’s biodiversity, from familiar species on land and in surrounding waters, such as whales and elephants, to other species, which have yet to be categorized.

The program is part of the government’s efforts to educate its citizens on the country’s natural wealth and to support social development initiatives in the countr.y The government works with foreign companies such as Marathon Oil, which has funded this program through the National Content Funds for the Social Development of Equatorial Guinea.