MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, Oct. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The unicameral Assembly of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea recently made Portuguese the West African nation’s third official language following Spanish and French. This is an effort by the government to improve its communications, trade, and bilateral relations with Portuguese-speaking countries.
The government expects this designation to contribute to Equatorial Guinea’s greater economic integration with neighboring countries that are members of Community of Portuguese Language Countries (PALOP), including Angola, Sao Tome and Principe, Cape Verde, and Guinea-Bissau. It is “a political decision which is justified by cultural and strategic ties that bind Equatorial Guinea with Portuguese-speaking countries,” said the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Francophonie, Eustaquio Esono Nseng.
Ninety-nine out of 100 members of parliament approved the Portuguese language proposal, which was submitted by Deputy Minister Esono Nseng. French became the country’s second official language in 1997 as part of a successful effort to improve Equatorial Guinea’s relations and foster economic integration with the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) and the Bank of Central African States (BEAC). Equatorial Guinea hopes to enjoy similar success from the Portuguese language addition as from the improved relations with French speaking countries in Africa.