‘Diversification of Productive and Economic Activities’ presentation at MAO Forum

The presentation was given by Friend Eucario Bacale, and co-presented by Friend Honorato Evita Oma, with Friend Nicolas Akapo Utondji as moderator.

The speaker and co-speaker said they were honoured to have the chance to present and offer their views on the diversification of the production of economic activities.

During the presentation, the speaker referred to the speech by Sergio Abeso, who pointed out that there can be no economy without law, and added, I believe our views now are along those lines. We are a country blessed with natural resources and productive sectors”.

In addition, the speaker focussed his views on the following questions:

What should be the main concern for politicians regarding the citizens or the population?

Is it a curse to depend on natural resources?

Is a diversified economy synonymous with economic and social development?

Does the diversification of productive activity guarantee the creation of jobs?

How can we solve the problem of employment?

Is political and social stability, in addition to the availability of economic and social infrastructures, sufficient guarantee of economic development?

What are inclusive economic institutions?

How can these inclusive economic institutions be created and strengthened within a national context?

Furthermore, he recalled that in 2007 the Horizonte 2020 Equatorial Guinea National Plan for Economic and Social Development was adopted, and the structure of our gross domestic product was the following: the extraction and production of refined Petroleum products represented 74.3% in 2007; public administration and social security represented 6.3% of the national wealth; business and trade services 6.5%; construction 5.6%, transport and communication 2.6%, agriculture, livestock, forestry and hunting represented 1.2%; fishing and fish farming 0.1%; industry in general 1.1%; electricity, gas and water, 0.3%; financial activities 0.7%; social activities in health and education, 0.9%, and restaurants and hotels, 0.4%.

Ten years after the execution of the plan, the structure of our GDP is the following: the extraction and production of refined Petroleum products represents 45.4%; public administration and social security represents 21.8%; business and trade services 9.3%; construction 5.3%, transport and communication 6.8%, agriculture, livestock, forestry and hunting represented 2%; fishing and fish farming 0.3%; industry 4.3%; electricity, gas and water, 0.9%; financial activities 1%; private social activities 1.7%, and restaurants and hotels stands at 0.5%.

Through these data it can clearly be seen that the extractive activities and refined products sector has lost some weight in the generation of national wealth, falling from 74.3% to 45.3%. At the same time, economic activity within the public administration and social security has increased enormously, rising from 6.3% to 21.8%, thanks to a large extent to the use of oil resources for public investment in infrastructures and consumption.

However, there has been very little diversification in the productive sources of wealth. The greatest weight in the generation of national wealth continues to be that of the hydrocarbons sector.

Furthermore, over 80% of public income continues to come from natural resources, in particular hydrocarbons. Thus, ten years after adopting and executing the national plan, we continue to meet the three criteria of high dependence on natural resources.

Does this mean we have not made progress in the fulfilment of the ambitions we set out in 2007? Does it mean we have failed? The answer is obviously no, and it is a clear no, taking into account the starting conditions in the country in 2007. The Government has pulled off a true feat regarding economic and social development in the period from 2007 to 2017.

In 2007 it was estimated that 76.8% of the population were living below the national poverty threshold, while in 2017 this percentage is estimated at only 17%, and these are not data we have invented; these are data published by international organisations.

During the same period infant mortality has been reduced; maternal mortality has also fallen, and the highest rates of literacy in Central Africa have been achieved. In addition, life expectancy has risen by 6 years for Equatoguinean citizens.

Put another way, and still without a diversified economy, we have managed to make enormous improvements to the standard of living of the population, which in our view is the supreme and ultimate goal of a State.

We have clearly established the difference between the diversification of productive and economic activities, and economic and social development or collective well-being.

As you can see, none of the aspects I have just mentioned have anything to do with the diversification of productive activities, but are connected with the setting up of prudent management mechanisms in public finance, as it is an economy which is highly dependent on natural resources; it is connected with mechanisms for the provision of essential local services, quality education and health care, and the regulation of private activities in order to guarantee competition and transparency; what we call the business climate.

Furthermore, economic diversification has become a magic bullet that international development organisations always prescribe for underdeveloped countries, particularly in African countries with abundant natural resources, for their integration within the global economy and the achievement of job creation, prosperity, and the elimination of poverty.

The overall logic is that, if your country is politically and socially stable, you have excellent infrastructures and are blessed with human resources, you are almost guaranteed to achieve the inflow of capital and the generation of employment”.

Source: Official Web Page of the Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea

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