Friday, May 27, 2011
The United States government broke ground last week on a new embassy compound in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea. The new complex, located close to downtown Malabo in a neighborhood planned for other diplomatic missions and United Nations agencies, will make a strong contribution to the city’s increasingly modern urban landscape.
Equatorial Guinea’s Second Deputy Prime Minister in Charge of Political Affairs and Democracy, Demetrio Eló Ndong Nsefumu, presided over the groundbreaking ceremony on May 17 on behalf of President and African Union chairman Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
“Equatorial Guinea has always considered the U.S. as an ally, for believing in the values of justice, freedom, democracy, unity and economic prosperity, the path that Equatorial Guinea is determined to follow,” said Deputy Prime Minister Ndong.
Mr. Ndong highlighted the cooperative relations between Equatorial Guinea and the United States, stating that American investment, especially in the oil and gas sectors, has significantly helped the government’s efforts to carry out major public works projects and develop social infrastructure that has improved the standard of living for Equatorial Guinea citizens.
The U.S. Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, Alberto Fernandez, and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Susan Page were also present at the ceremony. “Just like there is a place in Equatorial Guinea called ‘Campo Alba’ (Field of Dawn) so we hope that this new embassy will be the dawn of a deeper and stronger relationship, not just with the government, but with all the people of Equatorial Guinea,” said Ambassador Fernandez.
The new embassy complex, to be built by Caddell Construction Company of Montgomery, Alabama, will occupy a 12-acre site close to downtown Malabo. It will include housing for diplomats and staff and provide work space for approximately 67 embassy employees. The estimated cost of the new embassy, which is expected to be completed by 2013, is $53 million.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Minister of Agriculture says new Zinc Roofs will Improve Health and Living Standards
The government of Equatorial Guinea has launched a project to replace improve traditional housing by installing zinc roofs on more than 30,000 houses. Roughly 100,000 Equatorial Guineans will benefit from zinc roofs, which will replace traditional roofs made of the fronds of the nipa palm.
The project, which arose as a result of a survey carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, under Minister Teodoro Nguema Obiang, is aimed at upgrading homes in rural areas and will be carried out throughout the national territory.
Zinc roofs last longer than nipa roofs and allow better protection from the elements. Nipa roofs also can harbor rats, insects, and other vermin and can pose a health hazard to residents, particularly children.
“This is an important project that will quickly improve the standard of living in rural areas,” said Minister Nguema. “Through efforts like these, Equatorial Guinea is rapidly developing its infrastructure. Improving health and opportunity in rural areas is a top priority for the Ministry of Agriculture. We hope this will serve as an example for other countries to follow.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Equatorial Guinea’s United Nations permanent Representative, Anatolio Ndong Mba, said last week that the country has achieved some of its major development goals by eradicating malaria in more than a third of the population, and making significant improvements in the country’s infrastructure, education and public health. Moving the country toward a sustainable and emergent economy is part of the ambitious goals set by President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in his Horizon 2020 development plan.
“The goals of the Horizon 2020 development plan were put in place to establish sustainable development for Equatorial Guinea by 2020 that means potable water, education, health, food, security, communication, infrastructure, tourism development, environment preservation in the country,” said Ambassador Ndong on an interview with South South News.
Ambassador Ndong highlighted how Equatorial Guinea has one of the highest alphabetization levels in Africa, has worked with HIV advocacy, and how it has collaborated with international NGOs on endangered species preservation. He also pointed out how the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, is working with the private sector to establish cooperatives to help farmers develop agriculture by providing technical assistance from the government and other countries. Ambassador Ndong went on to highlight how important is it to invest in training and education in order to move toward a more sustainable economy.
Next month, Equatorial Guinea is hosting the African Union Summit, where 57 head of states will attend and be able to see the significant progress the country has made in infrastructure and other areas.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Government Partnership Develops $15.8 Million Initiative to Reduce Malaria
The Republic of Equatorial Guinea has decreased the prevalence of the malaria parasite in children by 57% in just four years and has increased the number of children protected by bed nets or indoor spraying of insecticides from 4% to 95% in that same period, according to a report by Roll Back Malaria. Research carried out on the Island of Bioko, funded by the government of Equatorial Guinea and a private consortium led by Marathon Oil Corporation, showed a reduction in infant mortality in nearly one third of the population. The program to control malaria is part of a broader effort by the government, through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, to improve public health in the West African nation.
The anti-malaria project is currently focused on the island of Bioko, where more than half the population of Equatorial Guinea lives, and has been extended to 2013 to develop local capacity and enable the campaign to reach the mainland. The project has won numerous high-profile awards for social responsibility and good citizenship.
The sixth report on Business Investing in Malaria Control: Economic Returns and a Healthy Workforce for Africa showcases how malaria control investment has significantly improved in Africa. “Companies in Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Mozambique, and Zambia have worked to prevent malaria among their workers and workers' dependents and have seen an excellent return on investment, with significant reductions in malaria-related illnesses and deaths, worker absenteeism, and malaria related spending.”
The Malaria Control Project is a fundamental part of the government-wide effort to meet the goals of the Horizon 2020 development plan set by President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Equatorial Guinea has heavily invested in public health. The government has donated $1.5 million and a headquarters facility to the World Health Organization (WHO) to support research for global health. It has also provided technical assistance to the local United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to improve the effectiveness of its Assistance Program as well as the implementation of a host of health programs geared towards improving the health of Equatorial Guineans.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
The Republic of Equatorial Guinea launched its first workshop, on May 4-7, aimed at developing a system to analyze teaching strategies and assess children’s progress at the elementary-school level. The workshop, attended by teachers and regional administrators, is part of the ‘Equatorial Guinea, My Country’ project, whose broader aim is to evaluate the current education system and institute policies for improvement.
The project will evaluate general elementary-school strategies and will develop training to enable teachers to more effectively assess children’s progress. The new programs will be implemented by the Educational Development Program of Equatorial Guinea (PRODEGE), which is supported by the Ministry of Education. “Elementary School education should be given special attention as it is the pillar of children’s education,” said Crisantos Ondo Asumu Mia, PRODEGE Deputy Director.
Education is one of the priorities outlined in Equatorial Guinea’s Horizon 2020 development plan, which was set in motion by President Obiang to move the country toward a sustainable and emergent economy. The plan includes the development of new schools and teacher training.
Since beginning the large-scale export of oil from Equatorial Guinea, and in cooperation with international organizations, the country opened its first national university, the National University of Equatorial Guinea (UNGE), and has graduated more than 13,000 students since its founding in 1995. The level of education in Equatorial Guinea is improving, and the country enjoys an enrollment rate of nearly 5,000 students at the college level.
Monday, May 9, 2011
South South News interviews Anatolio Ndong Mba, UN Ambassador of Equatorial Guinea
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Leads Promotion and Development of Private Sector
Equatorial Guinea’s (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, led by Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, recently chaired the Chamber of Commerce Forum between the Chambers of Equatorial Guinea and the economic entities to discuss the promotion and development of the private sector.
Agriculture as well as the private and economic sector development are at the forefront of Equatorial Guinea’s efforts to diversify its economy and meet the goals of the government’s Horizon 2020 development plan. The country is working to become an emergent and sustainable economy by 2020.
The meeting focused on the importance of the Chamber of Commerce of Equatorial Guinea, trade, commerce and inflation, and the rights and obligations of employers and employees. By developing the private and economic sector, Equatorial Guinea is ensuring an enduring national economy that will lead to further business development in the country.
Equatorial Guinea’s fertile soil and tropical climate are conducive to high yield agriculture. The country produces a diversity of crops today, including coffee and cacao and other products such as lumber and coconut oil. The country also has extensive coastline and fisheries and untapped mineral resources.
Monday, May 2, 2011
The Republic of Equatorial Guinea recently appeared in an EPIC Global Media documentary. Portrait of a Nation aired on CNBC. This piece shows an extraordinary view into “one of the world's least known countries”. EPIC’s work tests negative and incorrect labels by showcasing positive narratives and growth from all over the world, with the end goal of “encouraging fresh dialogue and debate” in the only Spanish speaking country in Africa.
Portrait of a Nation can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/22568459
The 30 minute video portrays stories by ministers, healthcare providers, soccer players and pop stars. Equatorial Guinea will host the African Union Summit this summer in the capital of Malabo and co-host the African Cup of Nations Soccer match next year. EPIC’s piece does a great job at highlighting Equatorial Guinea’s developing infrastructure which offers its viewers an inside look of the country.
As part of the country’s effort to improve the international opinion of the country, the government has provided the funds to produce the Portrait of a Nation. The production has a positive message and highlights how Equatorial Guinea still faces challenges as any other developing nation.
“Our hope is that people will see images and hear perspectives that encourage them to take a real interest in the people of this country, and in the country's future,” stated Producer James Brown.