Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Equatorial Guinea Continues To Invest In Education And Health Sectors Despite Fluctuations In Oil Prices

The government of Equatorial Guinea continues to heavily invest its oil revenues in the country’s education and health sectors despite of the oil market prices fluctuations, said Secretary of State for Finance and Budgets, Milagrosa Obono Angue during the Sixth Conference of Diplomatic Missions held in Malabo from March 27-30, 2015.

Despite the current economic downturn the West African nation is currently experiencing due to worldwide decline in oil prices, Equatorial Guinea has made new oil discoveries along its coasts and has renewed contracts with oil companies operating in the country, such as Exxon Mobil. It is moving forward with its industrialization plan, which aims to create a guide for the development of sustainable industry and a diversified economy

The conference aimed to review the country’s foreign policy with the assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, diplomatic personnel and their dependents. “It also serves as an avenue to share experiences, concerns and difficulties, to receive the necessary guidance to analyze and strengthen the positions to defend the policy designed by the Government of Equatorial Guinea abroad,” said President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo during the opening ceremony.

The country has made the health and education sectors a top priority. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare launched the first malaria vaccine trial in partnership with Sanaria, a U.S. biotechnology company that produces a vaccine based on an approach to immunization that has already proven highly protective in humans, and the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI),Tanzania’s health research organization.

The country has an adult literacy rate of nearly 100%--the highest in Africa. The Ministry of Education has recently has partnered with StoneHill Education, an educational consultancy firm, to launch the American University of Central Africa in the city of Oyala, Equatorial Guinea, this fall.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Equatorial Guinea Graduates First Class Of Air Traffic Controllers

New professionals are part of a program to upgrade civil aviation.

The government of Equatorial Guinea graduated its first class of air traffic controllers in Madrid last week. Eight new professional air traffic controllers received diplomas after completing a 13-month course conducted by Services and Studies for Air Navigation and Aeronautical Safety (SENASA), a subordinate company of Spain’s Ministry of Development.

The controllers received training on generic aeronautical subjects and intense training control tower and approach simulators. The course had three phases over its 13 months—beginning, advanced and emergency.

The training is part of a program to upgrade the country’s civil-aviation infrastructure as part of the Horizon 2020 development plan. Equatorial Guinea’s fast-growing economy has created increased demand for air travel, and the country recently upgraded the airports serving its two largest cities, Malabo and Bata, and the island of Annobón.  

Fausto Abeso Fuma, Equatorial Guinea’s Delegate Minister of Civil Aviation, attended the diploma-presentation ceremony along with Purificación Angue Ondo, Equatorial Guinea's ambassador to Spain.

Equatorial Guinea’s national carrier, Ceiba International, has been operating for the past two years both with national and international flights to destinations including Spain, Benin, Ghana, Togo, Ivory Coast and Senegal. The country is currently served by major international carriers including Air France, Lufthansa, Iberia, and Ethiopian Airways.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The American University Of Central Africa To Provide International Degrees To Equatoguinean Students

The American University of Central Africa will provide students a degree that is recognized around the world and an education that can be used anywhere in the world, StoneHill Education Senior Projects Manager, Katherine Hilker, said in a recent interview with Focus Washington.

The government of Equatorial Guinea sought advice from StoneHill Education and Boston University School of Education to launch The American University of Central Africa, which will be located in the city of Oyala, Equatorial Guinea.

Equatorial Guinea has the highest literacy rate in Africa, and education has been a top priority for the government. Hilker said that education is strong in Equatorial Guinea. “Public education has been a priority for the government there for many years,” she said.

Hilker said that due to the fact that Equatorial Guinea is somewhat linguistically isolated because it is the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa..“Their literacy is very high, their education is very high, but being able to acquire English language skills, and having a degree that they can use anywhere in the world will benefit the people Equatorial Guinea.”

The partnership with StoneHill Education brings many advantages to the launch to the American University of Central Africa such as an international focus and an international recognition. “We have partnerships with international universities,” Ms. Hilker said. “We have the ability to recruit faculty and staff from around the world and we are seeking international accreditation both in the U.S. and with European accrediting bodies.”

StoneHill Education has been working with the private sector, including international companies that are already present in Equatorial Guinea. “What we have been hearing from day one is that there is a lack of skilled labor in the country that they need in their specific corporations. The American University of Central Africa will help fill this gap, will help support these international corporations that want to work with local labor,” she said.

Ms. Hiulker said that a wide variety of courses will be offered at the university, but the priority is on industry-specific needs. “We have 8 different colleges and 34 different degree programs, everything from arts ad sciences to engineering, chemistry, sciences and all kinds of different degrees but the main focus is on industry needs, she said.”

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.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Government Of Equatorial Guinea Refutes Claims Made By Amnesty International

Report of executions is “false,” allegations of poor prison conditions are disputed.

The Government of Equatorial Guinea has strongly denied allegations about the country contained in Amnesty International’s Annual Report 2014/15, including the allegation that it had executed nine prisoners in January 2014.

In a statement issued by Minister of Information Teobaldo Nchaso Matomba on February 26, the government said, “This information is totally false, since neither in January nor in all of 2014, were any executions carried out in Equatorial Guinea.” AI's report had said, "Nine prisoners were executed in January shortly before a temporary moratorium on the death penalty was declared.”

The government stated that AI did not cite “even one of the names of the people supposedly executed, no dates, no causes, no details,” and officially requested a public correction of the record.

The Government of Equatorial Guinea also denied that it had arrested any political opponents in 2014 and asserted that there had not been “a single case of solitary confinement, much less with the aggravators of denial of trial or medical assistance mentioned by AI. Similarly, we deny the allegations of torture that appear in the report,” the government said.

“Over the past year, the Government of Equatorial Guinea has worked closely with international organizations to improve the conditions of prisoners and prison centers, which now offer good food, television and physicians, doctor offices and other health care,” the government said. “It is also a fact that the representatives of the National Human Rights Commission, the Attorney General, and the International Red Cross made regular inspection visits to prisons, police stations and other holding and/or arrest centers in the Country.”

Minister Nchaso’s statement says that the country’s “National Security Authorities have published manuals in which arrests and torture are strictly prohibited, under penalties and measures that include even the separation from the service and other punishing measures.”
He also noted that the Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva had approved the Universal Periodic Review of Equatorial Guinea. “Our country accepted 80 of the 132 Recommendations and conditioned the ratification of the Rome Statute on grounds that were covered by…the unanimous decision adopted by the African Union.”

The government also clarified the status of some individuals cited in the report, saying that three prisoners that AI reported as having been sentenced to long prison terms had been released under a “general amnesty granted to all those convicted of political crimes and who were in legal proceedings for the same offenses.”

The government said that one person cited by AI as a prisoner of conscience “was tried and convicted years ago for diverting the salary of all the Military members of the Continental Region and attempted rebellion in the army.”

The full test of the government’s statement can be read here.