posted by www.equatorialguineaonline.com
The Head of State starred in the opening of the Conference of Industrialization, held during November 21 and 22 in the Sipopo Conference Center in Malabo. An event attended by hundreds of delegates from many countries and that inaugurates the large project of the government to industrialize the country.
Once again, the Sipopo Conference Center in Malabo is the center of a major international event that, in this case, serves to inaugurate the broad and ambitious industrialization project to diversify the economy. This is the First National Industrialization Conference, organized by the Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy, during which the national and international public opinion will receive an explanation of the objectives of the PEGI 2020, the broad Industrialization Plan, which aims to develop all sectors of national industry, to achieve diversification of the economy and to end dependence on oil.
The Conference began on the morning of Monday, November 21, with an opening ceremony during which various speakers intervened, such as the mayor of Malabo, Maria Coloma Edjang Mbengono, as well as representatives from Punta Europa, from the civil society, from political parties and from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Secretary-General of the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE), Lucas Nguema Esono, said that the initiative of the Conference, led by the Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy is the “correct choice of the government.”
The head of the PDGE also stressed the importance of promoting job creation. “Education and training is a fundamental task in developing the country’s competitiveness,” said Nguema Esono.
Following the Secretary-General, the audience was addressed by the Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy, Marcelino Owono Edu, who began by weighing the capacity of the nation: “Equatorial Guinea is a country small in size, but very large in initiatives and ambition.”
Then Marcelino Owono made a summary of the economic development of the country, from colonial times, to end by underscoring the government’s intentions to “harness the power of oil to boost the national economy”. The Minister also highlighted the Ministries that have participated in the design of the PEGI Industrialization Plan 2020: Economy, Commerce and Business Development; Planning, Economic Development and Public Investment; Labor and Social Security; Finance and Budgets; Justice, Religious Affairs and Penitentiary Institutions; Agriculture and Forestry; Public Works and Infrastructures; Education, Science and Sports; Fisheries and the Environment; Information and Tourism, and Transportation, Technology, Posts and Telecommunications.
The Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy summarized the main objectives of the National Industrialization Plan, PEGI 2020, to reduce dependence on the oil industry, to influence the improvement of the society and achieve the objectives of a Better Guinea. “Reducing dependence is ensuring our independence,” he said.
For his part, the President of the Republic, H.E. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, also spoke at the inauguration of the Conference. “To consolidate peace, unity and justice has required more effort than we ever believed,” began the Head of State, who recalled that the first two economic conferences were organized, among other reasons, to avoid the evils of oil production that had occurred elsewhere. “We have not met all the objectives of the conference,” explained the President, “but many have been achieved.”
In addition, H.E. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who noted that this Industrialization Conference was an initiative that was completely his, also stated that “we have an opportunity for basic industrialization of the country, adapting ourselves to our needs and possibilities. We will design an industry made to our measure and we need our creative spirit to eliminate the current situation of dependency”. The Head of State recalled that currently Equatorial Guinea imports nearly everything, unlike what happened in the past when our ancestors lived on their own resources: “They created their own utensils with their own tools and resources.”
President Obiang also recalled that while the country was now in a period of economic prosperity, this may change in the future: “Reducing dependence on imports and transforming our natural resources will allow us to ensure our independence and our credit in a globalized world”. He added that “we can boast that we are rich, but if we are not professionally prepared, we cannot become successful.” To achieve this goal, he stressed the need to work on the training of professional resources.
Thus, H.E. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo expressed his expectation that the Conference will serve to analyze and enrich the PEGI 2020 that, in his words, should give priority to sectors such as agriculture, tourism, mining, health, etc. The President also invited international investors to come to Equatorial Guinea: “We invite representatives of other countries to raise awareness among businessmen to participate through direct investment, or with the funds that the Government will enable for the realization of the Plan”.
Also, the Head of State said the Government will co-finance the development of plans for industrialization, but also called for national banks to support investors in the country, since, in his words, “national operators suffer hardships, because they often are not supported by the banks.”
For this reason, he insisted on the security of Equatorial Guinea for foreign investors: “The investment climate here is guaranteed, it is a safe climate. Economic operators should not qualify Equatorial Guinea as a country at risk. Here there is no risk. There are deficiencies, but we are able to guarantee foreign capital.”
Finally, the President wanted to extend an invitation to investors, not only of Equatorial Guinea, but also the entire African continent because “the raw materials from Africa could do great good towards resolving the international crisis.”
They subsequently proceeded to the establishment of the Conference panel, chaired by Prime Minister Ignacio Milam Tang.