Equatorial Guinea set to diversify economy
Equatorial Guinea has used income from its natural resources to prepare the country to establish a modern, diversified economy, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo told attendees at a conference on investment, and is now in the second phase of his Horizon 2020 development plan.
"This is not the same country that turned desperately to donor conferences in the 1980s, when donors asked, 'Where is this country?' and 'What guarantees does it offer?" the president said in his opening address to 700 attendees at the Emerging Equatorial Guinea conference in Malabo's Sipopo conference center.
"Equatorial Guinea has overcome the barriers that have discouraged private investment," he said, "and there is no turning back."
Electric power now covers the entire country, the country's highway system is 80 percent complete, and has modern ocean ports and airports, he said. The nation has developed organs for more efficient public administration. It has also developed its social infrastructure, totally reforming the education system and creating technical training schools and a modern university. It has built and staffed hospitals, provided potable water, and modernized its telecommunications system, including making the Internet available, he said.
President Obiang said that Equatorial Guinea's geostrategic position, political stability, and the progress it has made in development create ideal conditions for investment.
He said that the government will have a sovereign wealth fund to participate with investors and was confident that Equatorial Guinea, from its position within the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States, will contribute strongly to growth in Central Africa.
Equatorial Guinea is hosting a two-day conference for investors, including more than 400 international business representatives from countries ranging from Europe, Asia and the Middle East, the Americas, and Africa. Equatorial Guinea has targeted agriculture and ranching, fisheries, petrochemicals and mining, financial services, tourism, aviation, transport and telecommunications.
Conference attendees are learning about development and investment opportunities in Equatorial Guinea and will be able to meet with local counterparts.
President Obiang launched his Horizon 2020 development program in 2008 with the goal of creating an emergent economy in Equatorial Guinea by the year 2020.