Equatorial Guinea Foreign Minister Agapito Mba Mokuy completed a productive visit to Spain last week that concluded with a new bilateral civil aviation agreement and new possibilities to improve economic and political relations.
Mba Mokuy met with his Spanish counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation José Manuel García-Margallo, as well as with the Spain’s leading business organization, the Confederation of Spanish Business Organizations (CEOE), and visited Spanish cultural institutions.
In a statement, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs called Equatorial Guinea “a critical partner" to Spain and pledged to maintain a "critical, constructive and ongoing dialogue" with its former colony.
Garcia-Margallo and Mba Mokuy signed a new civil aviation agreement that more than doubles the number of flights each week between Madrid and Malabo for both Iberia Airlines and the Equatoguinean national carrier, Ceiba Intercontinental. Spanish government sources described the terms of the new agreement as "completely open and flexible," allowing the designated airlines of both countries to freely select flight destinations and intermediate stops.
Garcia-Magallo inquired about the domestic political situation in Equatorial Guinea and stressed that "it is necessary to deepen the democratic mechanisms” in order to build strong and developed societies.
The two ministers discussed the "close relations" between the countries in development programs between the two countries and reiterated their desire to strengthen them, particularly in traditional priority areas for Spain such as health, education, and strengthening the rule of law, and new areas such as the modernization of public administration, strengthening civil society and cultural cooperation.
The two governments are studying ways to facilitate travel between the countries. Mba Mokuy also said that within the next few months, “an agreement could be signed to eliminate official visas, and we can then look for ways to speed up the rest of the cases.”
In his meeting with CEOE, Mba Mokuy reminded his audience that the two countries have a bilateral investment treaty in force, and he encouraged Spanish companies to do more business in Equatorial Guinea. He also announced that Banco Santander has been invited to establish locations in Equatorial Guinea. He said it "would be of great help to Spanish businessmen working in our country have a Spanish bank."
"The political stability and economic progress achieved [in Equatorial Guinea] can serve as a platform for Spanish companies to boost investment in the country and from there gain access to the African continent," he added.