Thursday, July 23, 2015

Equatorial Guinea Hosts International Conference On Africa's Fight Against Ebola

Obiang Announces Three Million Dollar Contribution to Help Countries Affected by Virus

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo yesterday announced that Equatorial Guinea would contribute US$3 million to assist countries affected by the Ebola outbreak in Africa. He made the announcement at the opening ceremony of the International Conference on Africa's Fight Against Ebola, aimed at taking action, obtaining help and the necessary resources to fight Ebola.

The Government of Equatorial Guinea offered to organize this conference so that African nations could adopt common measures to deal with the disease. President Obiang said, "African countries should lead the efforts to find solutions to the problems that affect them. We must act together in the absence of an effective treatment of this disease, because only with an agreement of solidarity can we help the affected countries."

Obiang also referred to the solutions taken in Equatorial Guinea to prevent the disease, and reported that the country now has valuable laboratories and specialized staff working in this area. The government of Equatorial Guinea has spent more than US$13 million in recent weeks to fight the Ebola virus, according to the Ministry of Health. The government took a number of preventive measures after it formed a national commission to lead anti-Ebola efforts.

Equatorial Guinea has taken a proactive approach to the Ebola threat as it continues to affect neighboring regions at a reduced level. It has purchased special ambulances, ambulatory hospitals (tents) and thermographic cameras for airports (which will be used to detect whether an arrival has had a fever in the prior 72 hours), trained health personnel assigned to these health units, and purchased drugs for palliative treatment and laser thermometers for all the borders, among other initiatives.

President Obiang also recalled the success that African countries have had in dealing with the problem of hunger in the Horn of Africa.

He called on neighboring countries to support the creation of an African Center for Prevention and Control of Endemic Diseases, an organization that was suggested and approved in previous days by the ministers of health of the continent.

The president of Zimbabwe and acting chairman of the African Union (AU), Robert Mugabe, said, "We must work in reinforcing the measures of surveillance in order to avoid any epidemic situation." He also said there was a need to accelerate the establishment of early-warning and response systems, such as systems to aid in early diagnosis of diseases. Mugabe also urged cancellation of the debts of the affected countries, with the aim of establishing normality in the sectors of education and agriculture, and the reestablishment of international activities, which were all but eliminated by the disease.

"We want to assure that each cent that we have collected is going to count in alleviating the suffering of our brothers and fight the disease," he said. We must concentrate on the lessons learned in the fight against Ebola and any disease, and continue promoting our cooperation to maintain the drive in the fight against it."
He concluded, "We must see this situation in multiple ways and address the reconstruction of a regional emergence to strengthen our health systems. Together, we must unite our efforts to combat this evil. We need to find the conditions for ending this pandemic. For now, prevention is the only cure; we must be alert and accelerate our investment to work on health care."

The representatives of the countries most affected by the Ebola virus, including Sierra Leone, Liberia and Republic of Guinea Conakry, briefed the conference on the measures their countries are taking in response to the disease. They explained their social recovery program and their initiatives to reinforce their health systems.

The majority of delegations attending the conference offered economic aid in the fight against Ebola. The representative of the People's Republic of China assured an economic contribution of US$5 million, plus another two million dollars for the Fund of the Fight Against Diseases of the AU. China has helped the affected countries by building portable laboratories in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea that carried out more than five thousand tests to detect the disease.

The representative of the United States announced a donation of US$6 million to work to improve the ability of the affected countries to respond to potential epidemics. The representative of the African Development Bank (AfDB) said that the bank had already allocated US$60 million to the affected countries and one hundred fifty million dollars for the AU. In addition, it has committed another US$300 million, which will fund an epidemiological surveillance network.

The African Union and the Government of Equatorial Guinea sponsored the International Conference on Africa's Fight Against Ebola, which was held at the Sipopo Conference Center in the capital city of Malabo. African Heads of State and representatives of major international institutions attended the conference on July 21.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Equatorial Guinea Partners With Microsoft To Computerize Public Administration Of The Nation


Agreement Marks Milestone in the Country’s Efforts to Advance its Public Administration 

The government of Equatorial Guinea has partnered with American company, Microsoft, to computerize the public administration of the country.

This milestone agreement is part of the West African nation’s efforts to achieve the goals set forth in the Horizon 2020 Development Plan. The government is investing the country’s resources to become an emergent economy by implementing aggressive initiatives.

Microsoft will be working closely with the Board of the National Center for Public Administration of the Computerization of Equatorial Guinea (CNIAPGE) in the computerization of the country’s public administration. The agreement took place on June 23.

Equatorial Guinea is Polio-Free, International Health Experts Report


Independent experts from several different organizations have declared the central African country to be free of the wild poliovirus, which causes poliomyelitis.

The experts, from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others, arrived in Equatorial Guinea on June 4 to assess the county’s efforts to stem the spread of poliomyelitis.

The disease entered the country from Cameroon in the first quarter of 2015, and international laboratories had confirmed five cases. The government of Equatorial Guinea quickly declared the polio epidemic a national public health emergency and launched eight campaigns to educate and immunize the population and conduct epidemiological surveillance and research. In the process, the country’s systems for epidemiological surveillance and routine vaccinations were strengthened.

On May 14, during the relaunching of the National Vaccination Campaign against Poliomyelitis, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Juan Ndong Nguema, stressed the importance that the Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea gives to the health sector, as cornerstone of human development.

The World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory reported that Equatorial Guinea spends more per capita on health and healthcare that any other country in Africa, a total of USD 555 in 2013.

Results Of Obiang’s China Visit Are A Triumph For Equatorial Guinea’s Diplomacy


China to help finance power production and industrial development as part of overall strengthening of ties.  

Equatorial Guinea’s president, Obiang Nguema Mbasoso, returned to his west African country after a five-day state visit to China with financing for his ambitious development program, the promise of closer cooperation with China, and a boost to his position as an emerging leader in Africa.

China rolled out the red carpet for Obiang during five days of meetings and ceremonies with the country’s top leaders, and Equatorial Guinea showcased investment opportunities to a conference of business executives from throughout Asia.

The visit was a highlight of Equatorial Guinea’s diplomacy, which over the last few years has been characterized by greater leadership in Africa, targeted engagement outside the region, and success in attracting foreign investment.

Equatorial Guinea signed several agreements with Chinese companies to increase generation of electrical power and develop its industrial sector, a key goal of the government’s plan to diversify its economy and reduce dependence on oil production. The largest was a $2 billion agreement with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China's biggest lender by assets, to providing financial support to Equatorial Guinea's government and Chinese businesses operating in the country.

That agreement was signed on April 30 following a meeting in Beijing between Obiang and his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping.

45 Years of Diplomatic Relations

The two nations also commemorated the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations attended by China's top political advisor, Yu Zhengsheng, and President Obiang at which Yu praised the “strong friendship” the two nations have developed in the past 45 years. Equatorial Guinea became an independent nation in 1968.

China has sent about 500 medical workers to Equatorial Guinea over the past four decades. Equatorial Guinea donated one million euros to Sichuan Province following the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008. Equatorial Guinea has also contributed cash to relief efforts after disasters and humanitarian emergencies in Ethiopia, Japan, Haiti and the Congo Republic.
During the reception, Yu and Obiang jointly inaugurated the China-Equatorial Guinea Friendship Primary School, which will be built in Yunnan's Jinping County with funding from Equatorial Guinea. The nations also signed an agreement to jointly build schools in China and Equatorial Guinea.

Obiang thanked China for its assistance to Equatorial Guinea, saying his country is willing to beef up cooperation with China in areas including the economy and trade, finance and personnel training. Equatorial Guinea hopes for support from China in its industrialization process and welcomes investment from Chinese companies, said the president.

“The establishment of various cooperation agreements and continuous partnership between Equatorial Guinea and China marks a transcendental point for our bilateral relations and our commitment to promoting and extending the cooperation for the mutual benefit of our nations,” Obiang said. 

China Sees “Bright” Prospects for Development

Several Chinese firms are among the many foreign companies working on the various infrastructure-development projects in Equatorial Guinea, and the agreements were a clear signal by the Chinese government that it sees strong potential in the way the central African country is managing its development.

“Equatorial Guinea is a central African country that has developed relatively well,” said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who held separate talks with President Obiang on April 29. “The government in recent years has supported expanded investment into infrastructure development, and the need for infrastructure projects is enormous. There are growing numbers of cooperation areas between our two countries, and the prospects are very bright.”

In addition, Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy signed three memoranda of understanding (MOU) to develop projects in the country, including one with the China Dalian International Cooperation Group (CDIG) to start preliminary technical studies for developing the western industrial city of Mbini.

Mbini, which lies on the mouth of the Benito River close to the country’s coast, is “planned to be a key reference point for investment in West Africa and an important component in Equatorial Guinea's plans to diversify its economy,” the ministry said in a statement.

In other agreements, the China State Construction Engineering Corporation will support the development of a planned petroleum industrial facility in the city of Luba, which, like the capital, is located on Bioko Island. Already an important oil port, the expanded and redesigned port in Luba will be the logistics hub for the oil and gas industry and other industrial activities.

The ministry said that it will work with China’s Sinohydro Corporation on a feasibility study for a new hydroelectric plant on Equatorial Guinea’s Wele River. Equatorial Guinea’s investment in power generation has paid off, and electricity is now available throughout the national territory. The new plant will allow for growth and increased industrial production.

Importantly, Chinese leaders also pledged to support training programs that Equatorial Guinea hopes will develop industrial skills and improve local capacity to manage and develop home-grown industries.

Investment Forum

During the visit, the Government of Equatorial Guinea also hosted the Equatorial Guinea-Asia Economic Forum jointly with the government of Dalian, an opportunity for investors in Asia to meet the country’s leadership and learn about the top investment opportunities. President Obiang delivered the forum’s keynote address, and the economic ministers gave briefings on their sectors.

The government emphasized key investment opportunities available in Horizon 2020, the development plan to diversify the economy and promote industrialization.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Equatorial Guinea’s Capital Is In A Constant State Of Improvement, Says Malabo’s Mayor




The capital city of Equatorial Guinea, Malabo, is in a state of constant improvement, says Mayor Maria Coloma Edjang Bengono. Every year, it seems to be cleaner, bigger, more modern, and more orderly.

The mayor of Malabo discussed in a recent interview the capital’s continual improvement and the city government’s major accomplishments. “What you have seen today is not what you will see tomorrow because the government of the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea [governing party] is constantly working to improve not only the capital city of Malabo but the country as a whole.”

She said that the residents of Malabo now have water, power, roads, and a sewage system. The government has already designed these projects and they are already running. “Our most important goal is to make sure all these services reach all citizens. Now our goal is for every citizen to have water, power, and environment sanitation access, among other things in their homes. That's the main goal because the most important thing for a human being is water and then later come the other things. There is potable water, and now this year’s goal is for every citizen to have it [in their homes].”

 “The biggest challenge I have had as mayor has been to clean this city, because it was decaying. My biggest challenge was to educate the people on how to handle the garbage and how to make the city clean. Where there is hygiene, there is life. I feel very proud to have an increasingly clean city.”

Monday, April 27, 2015

Equatorial Guinea’s Minister Of Social Affairs And Gender Equality Discusses Ministry’s Initiative To Build Social Assistance Centers




The Government of Equatorial Guinea has designed a project to fund social development in order to better assist the country’s elderly population.

Mari Carmen Ecoro, Minister of Social Affairs and Gender Equality, discussed in a recent interview the Ministry’s initiative to build social assistance centers. “We have invited companies to provide designs as terms of reference on how to build a social center. A social center must have programs that meet the needs of society.”

Minister Ecoro said the project will place an emphasis on the elderly. “Often times we keep them at home due to our culture, and they do not go out or have activities. A social center can serve as a morning services center, where they are picked up in a bus and go to the center to learn art, dance, celebrate their birthdays, or reconnect with others they may not have seen in years.

She continued to say that if the elderly attending the social centers do not have access to medical services, they may receive medical attention there. “They will find doctors, dentists, opticians, etc., that can provide these free services. It would be a way to make their lives dignified.”

When talking about the children and youth, she said, “There are many who have no recreation. ... After school they can go to these centers to learn something new or study with mentors who can help them with homework. They can also have food without being asked about their economic status.”

A woman with low income can also go to these centers and receive social assistance. Minister Ecoro said, “The center will help her help herself. These centers are very important for this ministry and the people of Equatorial Guinea to serve as the first place one goes when one seeks information, help, support, etc.”

These projects have been redefined. The Ministry is about to present this project to the government to assess whether the conditions and the terms of reference are in line with the requirements set forth by the World Bank and the nation’s development plan, known as Horizon 2020. They hope to provide these centers in their all seven provinces.

During the interview, Minister Ecoro also discussed the country’s initiatives to create better conditions for the disabled. The Minister said the country’s First Lady, Constancia Mangue de Obiang, supports this sector. “She has built homes, has donated tricycles.” She talked about the social struggle the country experiences to integrate this vulnerable social group into society. “A senator who has a disability was recently appointed. It's similar to the trajectory of women. After ensuring that women are educated and prepared, the second priority is to give people with disabilities a better place in society. A lot has been done, but there is still much left to do. It is a minority that must be represented in all sectors.”

Friday, April 24, 2015

Women In Equatorial Guinea Have Strong Leadership Role In Government And Business, Say Top Women Political Leaders




Women in Equatorial Guinea are playing a major role in government and the private sector, say two of the country’s top women leaders. While the United Nations recently criticized the lack of women in leadership positions in most countries, women in Equatorial Guinea have long been present at senior levels, according to Mari Carmen Ecoro, Minister of Social Affairs and Gender Equality, and Maria Coloma Edjang Bengono, Mayor of Malabo.  

Minister Ecoro said in a recent interview that her government has many women in political leadership positions due to the country’s community spirit and the president’s personal commitment to gender equality. “The president of the republic says that everyone has value. [A woman] should be trained and given the opportunity to contribute as a member of society. Maybe that's where [Equatorial] Guinea should be a model,” she said.

Minister Ecoro said there is a struggle; there are still things to improve. “The change must always be continuous, from generation to generation. I am glad that [Equatorial] Guinea can be distinguished as a leader in integrating women in political decision-making positions. There is still much to be done but we are making strides.”

Mayor Edjang Bengono also discussed Equatorial Guinea’s efforts to place women in political leadership positions. The mayor said the government follows the example President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo sets in showing how he values women in the country. “In the first place, the president respects his wife as a woman and he wants to see the importance he sees in his wife in every woman, wants all women to have the same rights as a man because here there is gender equality.”

She said 2015 is the year of empowerment, and the government is giving citizens the strength to see that they are all needed, both women and men. “It gives us opportunities in the sense that everyone is equal in their chosen field. Equal opportunities, equal rights.”

Equatorial Guinea has heavily invested in education and training for its citizens, for both men and women. Mayor Edjang Bengono said that it was critical for women to be educated and trained, and that the country counts on women in political leadership positions. “He [President Obiang] has always advised the woman to be educated and trained so she doesn’t have to depend on a man… There are women in Parliament, there are women in the Senate, the Senate president is a woman, there are women in government, there are women in the [governing] political party. There are women in all social sectors and government departments. We do not have that problem. We are given importance in this country,” she said.