Thursday, November 4, 2010

Equatorial Guinea Seeks To Expand Social Development Programs And Cooperation with USAID

Prime Minister Meets with Regional USAID Representative to Discuss Progress and Expansion of Social Development Fund

As part of Equatorial Guinea’s (República de Guinea Ecuatorial) efforts to boost social development and move the country toward an emergent economy, the government is seeking further cooperation with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In a meeting between Ignacio Milam Tang, prime minister of Equatorial Guinea and Henderson Patrick, regional director for the West African mission of the USAID, the two discussed progress on projects started in 2005 and the continuity of technical assistance from the development agency.

Click here to see the latest videos of development projects across the country, including the new airport and port facilities on Annobón.

In 2005, the government of Equatorial Guinea established a fund for social development to support the government in the implementation of programs across various sectors, including Education, Fishing, Health, Social Affairs and the Promotion of Women, as well as Planning and Economic Development. The Prime Minister is the president of the Administrative Council of the Social Development Fund, while Mr. Patrick is in charge of supporting the execution of social development programs paid for by the fund. This fund is fully funded from the country’s oil revenues and is supported by technical expertise from USAID.

During the course of the meeting, Prime Minister Milam Tang discussed the present state of the social programs and the approval of other new investments during the next three years. The Administrative Council of the Social Development Fund recently decided that the government would free up funds to finance a total of 18 new projects, within the departments of Fishing and Environment, and Internal Affairs and Local Cooperation.

Earlier this year, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, during his address to the 2010 TIME/Fortune/CNN Global Forum in Cape Town, committed to investing in the country’s various social development programs and vowing to enhance the existing Social Development Fund that uses oil resources for the benefit of the people of Equatorial Guinea.

Through the fund, Equatorial Guinea is investing in schools, teachers, health care, tourism, housing, potable water supply, road infrastructure, telecommunications, development of natural sciences, job creation and development of democratic institutions.

The country has already made significant progress in various areas including education and health. A national university has been created, the first university with campuses in Malabo and Bata, with programs in arts and social science, medicine and the environment. In 2008, the Medical School graduated 110 new physicians in Bata. Scholarship programs have also been established with universities in the United States, Cuba, China, Morocco, Russia, Ukraine, Egypt and Senegal. In regard to health, President Obiang described two new modern hospitals with advanced technology in Malabo and Bata that opened to prevent the need to transfer patients to Europe and the renovation of old hospitals to protect the health of the population. In 2009, the government made expenditures in excess of 1 billion dollars to develop the social sector, including investments in health, education and housing.

The minister of internal affairs and local cooperation, Clemente Engonga Nguema Onguene, the minister of external affairs, international cooperation and francophonie, Pastor Micha Ondo Bilé, and the United States ambassador in Equatorial Guinea, Alberto Fernandez, were among the other guests present during the meeting.