The Ambassador of Equatorial Guinea in Brussels, Carmelo Nvono-Ncá, has recently been interviewed in the prestigious American media Prisma Reports, about the main challenges of Equatorial Guinea in the current international context, its projection objectives and the socio-economic development plan of the country. The interview begins like this:
Prisma Reports: Could you explain the main axes of the presidential vision for the socioeconomic development of Equatorial Guinea? What are you doing to achieve the goals you have set?
Carmelo Nvono-Ncá: The first thing I am going to do is to establish the starting point so that readers can better understand Equatorial Guinea. Forty years ago, Equatorial Guinea was a very poor country, it was among the three or five poorest countries in the world. However, at this moment, Equatorial Guinea is one of the five countries in Africa whose economies have grown the most in the last ten years. There have even been times when Equatorial Guinea has been the country that grew the most in the world.
Growth cannot be experienced if there isn’t a solid structural base at a political level in the country and if there is no confidence, because — in the end — growth is promoted and produced by entrepreneurs. A country that 40 years ago was one of the poorest in the world, could not have got out of that position without foreign know-how. And for foreign investors to bet on this country and risk their money, there has to be a very strong basis of stability and confidence. That is why I say that we should evaluate Equatorial Guinea’s current situation in a more significant way and, to answer the question, where it wants to go and how it wants to get there.
Equatorial Guinea is a country that has experienced unprecedented economic development on the African continent. Its medium- and long-term goals are to become a country of clear reference in Africa and even at the global level in some international aspects that I will mention throughout the interview.
In principle, we are a country that depends on oil and other natural resources, such as gas and timber. We know that these are finite resources and, therefore, the government has determined to diversify the country’s economy. The administration is trying to make Equatorial Guinea become a more autonomous, independent country. Politically we are very independent but economically we are not.
As an important American media, it is important that you reflect that we want to be more economically autonomous and this is the reason for economic diversification. We are focusing economic development efforts on trying to get the tourism sector going. Equatorial Guinea is a country that is made up of five major areas, islands, and then we have the mainland. We are talking about a country that is practically surrounded by the sea — we have 315,000 square kilometers of maritime extension, something that makes Equatorial Guinea also want to develop its fishing sector as well.
Within our economic diversification, and linking it with the maritime aspect, Equatorial Guinea has the goal of developing more modern and avant-garde logistics capabilities around Equatorial Guinea’s ports. We want to put our ports in the hands of multinationals that are capable, with their knowledge and experience, of making us the logistical center of the Gulf of Guinea area: we are right in its center and we want to be the reference that moves and coordinates all the logistics of this vast maritime and logistical area.
Our goal is to control maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, which unfortunately is an area of interest for pirates and international terrorists, who are coercing and undermining the efforts of the countries in the region. There are countries that have suffered more than we have, but it is a very rich and at the same time insecure area. Our goal is to link our economic development to maritime security and security in general.
I am also Equatorial Guinea’s representative to the International Maritime Organization in London, and this is an aspect that I am dealing with — and I can assure you that my country is taking very serious measures in this respect and that we are trying to reach international cooperation agreements to fight and eradicate this terrorist trend that affects so many countries in Africa.
You can find the entire interview on the website of the prestigious American media Prisma Reports.