HRW has presented a report on Equatorial Guinea without anyone from the NGO visiting the country or working with real data or experiences. The Government of Equatorial Guinea condemns the falsehood of this report, which is an inadmissable interference manoeuvre on the part of a specific institution with interests in the matters and independence of our Nation. The real data regarding our country, backed by the United Nations, show a lack of ethics, rigour and good intentions on the part of HRW.
The Government of Equatorial Guinea has become aware of an extensive report that the sectarian NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) -linked to western powers and lobbies and under permanent criticism for its neo-colonialist politics of interference in the affairs of other nations- has presented regarding our country.
Firstly, this Government wishes to clarify that no technician, expert or researcher from HRW travelled to Equatorial Guinea in order to extract the data or compare them, or see the reality of this Nation first hand; this fact speaks for itself regarding the lack of professionalism, rigour, objectivity, credibility and integrity in that institution, which nevertheless grants itself the capacity to judge the world.
Secondly, we can affirm and demonstrate that the majority of their data have been voluntarily undermined and distorted with the sole aim of discrediting this country and its institutions, and influencing and controlling our politics and our Government.
This Government condemns the fact that a private unregulated institution such as HRW believes it has the right to meddle and interfere in the political and social life of an independent country. We recall that there are organisations such as the United Nations -which has worked with the Government of Equatorial Guinea for decades- with participation from all countries in the world, to decide and take sides regarding issues and conflicts which are of international interest. That a private institution, with hidden suspicious interests and financing, sets itself up as judge of the world is a danger for the equilibrium of Nations, and a huge offence to all.
Now we are going to move on to a demonstration of the real data and figures regarding economic and social development in Equatorial Guinea, which have been voluntarily distorted, twisted and manipulated by HRW, with the sole aim of distorting the reality in our country, for its own gains.
Since 1993, Equatorial Guinea has been a multi-party democratic Republic, with registered legal political parties. As demonstrated by the results of elections in recent years, the support for the Government is a total majority, and surpasses 90% as an average in most constituencies. This is also due to the fact that the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea, boosted by its founder president Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, knew how to associate it, at the time, with the traditional form of African clans and tribes. Our party structure forms part of daily social harmony; something that differs from the format of western democracy. An interesting and differentiating trait of African politics that to date no institution, including HRW, has bothered to analyse.
In the constant search for advancement through peaceful political consensus, something which is not easy on our African continent, the Government of Equatorial Guinea has sought continuous alliances with opposition political parties, many of which participate directly in governance and form part of the same.
In this national equilibrium, very few radical opposition parties show their total discrepancy with the system. All these radical groupings are funded, or have been funded, by various political parties from other nations, and are thus maintained by the hidden interests of this external support, and their political activities are wholly influenced and is not disinterested.
Equatorial Guinea has for decades belonged to the United Nations System, and works with all its agencies; in the same way it is currently one of the countries with the most supported and full diplomatic relations in the whole world: it belongs to the African Union, to CEMEC, to the CPLP; to the ACP, and we work side by side with the European Union in order to improve our relationship of cooperation, and reciprocal interests and respect. Recently, Equatorial Guinea has also received the support of a full and total majority of UN countries, for its incorporation within the United Nations Security Council.
Completely false economic and budgetary data
All the economic documentation presented in the HRW report is distorted, or completely false. All the international economic institutions, such as the IMF or the WB, have underlined the impressive rhythm of economic growth and development in our state. To deny this is simply nonsense.
HRW is lying by affirming that the Government of Equatorial Guinea has not invested petroleum resources in the Nation, as is reflected in all the documents and projects carried out by agencies from the United Nations, and is periodically reflected in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report.
It is entirely false that Equatorial Guinea has had to resort to foreign credit. Equatorial Guinea, at present, barely has foreign debt. The economic crisis, caused by the fall in the price of all that has also affected other nations, together with the need to diversify our economy, are currently the biggest challenges facing this Government.
The Government is currently working towards the diversification of the economy, and to that end there are various macro-projects in progress, such as the new industrial city in Mbini, or the huge petrochemical products factory on the Island of Bioko, in alliance with the Government of Saudi Arabia. However, the petroleum sector continues to develop with huge expectations, as demonstrated with the recent signing of a contract with ExxonMobil, for the search for and exploitation of new fields.
The concern of the Government of Equatorial Guinea for clean commercial management agreed under international legitimacy has just been highlighted, with our country joining the Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC), of which our country has been an official member for some weeks.
Taking into account the initial conditions from which the country emerged, Equatorial Guinea has carried out a real feat in the period 2000/2015. The rhythm of progress in the achievement of the MDGs has accelerated rapidly since 2007, and it now leads in many of the indicators in the Central Africa subregion” . (Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, page 23)
In recent years, Equatorial Guinea has shown dynamic growth which began at the start of the petroleum era. Thus, this growth has been the most significant in the world from 200 to 2012, with a GDP which has multiplied by 14. This growth has been the fruit of judicious bold policies of reinvestment for the significant petroleum income, of which 85% was reinvested between 2007 and 2012. Equatorial Guinea is, as such, the African country with the greatest investment effort, with more than 80% of its budget dedicated to this”. (MDGR 2015, page 23)
Petroleum riches have given way to a substantial growth in public income, which have been used for saving and investment. The destination of this investment is mainly is infrastructures of a social nature, civil infrastructures, productivity investment and investment in the Public Administration itself, with social investment the one which has increased most since 2009, at 116%, against a total increase of 78%. This growth has led to the significant development of sectors apart from petroleum, especially construction, energy, finance and trade”. (MDGR 2015, page 23)
The state of the total external debt of Equatorial Guinea was 1,003.11 million US Dollars in 2010, representing 7.26% of the GDP; 1,396 million dollars in 2011 (7,93% of GDP), 1,687 million dollars in 2012 (8.24% of GDP), 1,375 million dollars in 2013 (7.53% of GDP); and the forecast for 2014 rises to 1,179.45 million dollars (6.87% of GDP)indicating a very low level of debt; in part due to bilateral cooperation, with the People’s Republic of China as the major creditor, whose contribution in recent years was above 92% of the ODA granted, and the rest multilateral from sources such as the World Bank, BAD, BADEA and the FIDA”. (MDGR 2015, page 88)
Exxon Mobil has inked a contract to look for oil in a deep-water field off the coast of Equatorial Guinea, the company said Monday. As part of its pact with the West African country’s government, the Texas oil company will operate and get an 80 percent working interest in a deep-water block that spans 307,000 acres about 36 miles west of Malabo, the country’s capital. (Chron, 5-7-2017)
Equatorial Guinea and Arabian Energy work together on Bioko oil and petroleum facility. Gulf of Guinea English Equatorial Guinea has ambitions of leading West Africa with oil storage after the agreement with Arabian Energy. (Image Source: Wikimedia Commons)The Bioko Oil Terminal could become the largest oil and petroleum storage facility in West Africa following the signing of an agreement between the government of Equatorial Guinea and Arabian Energy. (Oil Review- 23-5-2017)
Equatorial Guinea was accepted today by the Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) as member number fourteen, at a short ceremony at the headquarters of the petroleum group. The current OPEC president and Saudi minister for Energy, Jalid al Falih, welcomed the new member during his opening speech of the 172nd ministerial conference of the organisation, held this Thursday in Vienna. At a brief ceremony before the press, Al Falih presented the flag of the organisation to the Equatoguinean minister fro Mines, Industry and Energy, Gabriel Obiang Lima, who expressed gratitude for accepting his country into the group”. (www.eleconomista.es 25-5-2017)
Voluntarily distorted social data
The affirmations that the social sector is not a priority for the Government of Equatorial Guinea are equally false. Contrary to that indicated in the HRW report, between 2012 and 2016 the social area was the second most important section in the Government’s budget, which in this period of years was distributed in the following way: 1st, construction and maintenance of infrastructures 56%. 2nd, social area, 17%; 3rd, productive sector, 14%; 4th, public administration, 13% (Source: General State Budget).
However, the HRW report purposely ignored the fact that Equatorial Guinea is a country that began to build itself only 30 years ago. For that reason, our Government decided to undertake the titanic task of taking running water, electricity, social housing or municipal dependencies to even the most remote populations in the jungle, and it has done this, and continues to do so. That is why the investment in infrastructures is always the largest of the budgets.
By the same token, we are struck by the criticism made during the presentation of this report of the construction of the city of Oyala, a logistical decision which belongs exclusively to the national policies of this country. However, we wish to point out that various countries have moved their capitals, such as happened, for example, in Nigeria, where the conditions provided by the new capital of Abuja have prevented many attacks and Coups, which were previously happening in Lagos, due to the security aims of the Government.
Social improvement: Far from the affirmations of HRW, investment in petroleum wealth has completely changed the situation for the Equatoguinean People, who have gone from being a population in extreme poverty to a population who are mainly middle class, which explains the unprecedented increase in consumption, purchase of vehicles, telephones, the radical growth of our cities, or the presence of migrants from all parts of the world, especially Africans, working in Equatorial Guinea.
Living conditions among the population have improved in recent years, as the proportion of the population living beneath the poverty threshold has gone from 76,8% in 2006 to 43.9% on 2011 (EDSGE, 2011), with a reduction of 32.9%; a reduction of 26.52% is forecast for 2015. The efforts of the Government, in collaboration with its development partners, has managed to reduce the percentage of the population with insufficient incomes to guarantee the acquisition of basic goods and services”. (MDGR 2015, page 23)
The use of cell phones is increasing more and more, and is the most used means of communication in the country, from 0.9% inhabitants in 2000, to 86,4% in 2014. (MDGR 2015, page 28)
Education. Education is basically free throughout the State of Equatorial Guinea in all its forms, with the exception of an initial registration fee.
The Government, in addition to having created the current educational system -practically non-existent in 1979- maintains numerous cooperation conventions with other countries and nations, with associated international centres and universities from other continents, to boost national training.
In recent months, the National University of Equatorial Guinea has added the newly-created Oyala International University, which will allow students from the continent to avoid having to travel to the Island of Malabo to take their degrees.
The educational policy of the Government of Equatorial Guinea was one of the key points which allowed it to surpass the challenge of the MDGs.
A general achievement is the improvement in the legal age for registration for primary school children. Between 2002 and 2011, an increase of 18.65% was recorded. To this general achievement there are specific ones, such as the development of pre-school education programmes in district and municipal capitals in the country”. MDGR 2015, page 25)
Within the specific framework of education, Equatorial Guinea, in 2003 was the first country in Central Africa to adopt a National Plan for the Development of Education for All (EFA), with a long-term vision”. (MDGR 2015, page 38)
With regards to results, an improvement in the legal age of registration for children in primary education stands out, along with the positive evolution of the net registration rates, going from 51% in 202/203, to 59.6% in 2007/2008, to 62.22% in 209/2010, and 69.65% in 2011/2012, meaning an inter-annual increase of 1.86%”. (MDGR 2015, page 38)
A significant change has taken place in the behaviour of the rate of literacy, with a growing trend, going from 88.7% in 2002 to 96.8% in 2011, with evidence of the progress by women, which go from 86.7% to 95.7% for the rate of literacy for the reference period, against men, from 90.8% to 97.7%”. (MDGR 2015, page 39)
Action taken by the Government, promoting the contracting and appointment of teachers, increased by more than 21% the total number of teachers”. (MDGR 2015, page 39)
It is also worth pointing out the improvement in conditions of access to schools, through the setting up of school bus services for integrated centres, and the acquisition of text books and educational materials for the 857 primary school centres”. (MDGR 2015, page 39)
The Minister for Education and Science has created the General Directorate for Special Education, to identify in schools those boys and girls with special educational needs, and support in the design of programmes directed at meeting the educational needs of this group, thus favouring the application of the principle of educational inclusion and social insertion for all. For its part, the Equatoguinean Child Support Committee (CANIGE) has also set itself up as an institution with a true humanitarian vocation on adopting, as one of its main activities, help for disabled people, care for sick children of parents who are economically insolvent, the construction of school centres for children without sufficient social protection, together with the installation of school dining rooms and their use, among other functions”. (MDGR 2015, page 41)
By way of an example, the Ministry for Education and Science used a UNECO and UNDP tender for the design and financing of the Project for Teacher Training in Scientific Matters; the UNESCO co-financed the Pilot Programme for Teacher Training in Family Life, Population and HIV/AIDS Education; UNICEF supported the country with the design and co-financing of Infant and Pre-school Education Projects, the elaboration of the Education for All Plan (EFA), together with the Basic Education Programme and Childhood Protection, while the WHO supported the country in the supply of pointers to reach the heath standards advocated on an international level”. (MDGR 2015, page 41)
Health. Health care is also free throughout the country, with hospitals and public centres often attended by personnel under State cooperation who work with us.
Treatment for pregnant women and AIDS patients are also free.
There are also private hospitals that care for those who opt for private health.
In recent months, for example, the Malabo Public Hospital has been extended, an new psychiatric centre has been opened, and health facilities have been installed in other population centres.
The Government of Equatorial Guinea takes an active financial part in the PfSPZ-CVac vaccination project from Sanaria, currently one of the most promising international projects for the eradication of malaria, the trials for which are taking place in our country.
Mortality amongst children under 5 has been reduced by 38% in Equatorial Guinea since 1990. The EDSGE-2011 data show that in the last fifteen years, mortality among children under 5 has gone down by a significant 38%, going from 182 out of every 1000 live births in 1990, to 113 out of every 1000 live births in the 2007/2011 period. If it is taken into account that the goal for this indicator in 2015 is 85 per every 1000 live births, to date there is a significant gap of 28 percentage points”. (MDGR 2015, page 26)
The efforts by the Government of the country has increased by 15% the proportion of deliveries attended by qualified personnel. Thus the situation has passed from the figure of 53% for births attended by qualified personnel in 2002, to 68% in 2011. There are also advances in the use of contraceptives, from 2.8% in 1994, to 5% in 2002, and 14% in 2015. The incidence of malaria has been reduced, the level of knowledge in the population with respect to HIV has increased, and universal access to treatment is now an accomplishment in Equatorial Guinea. Thanks to decisions and initiatives such as free diagnosis and treatment, an increase in the number of establishments that provide anti-viral treatment, going from 2 in 2003, to 7 in 2014, etc., a greater coverage of the programme to fight against HIV/AIDS has been achieved. However, there are still risky attitudes among the population, basically the low use of the condom, and the culture of multiple sexual partners”. (MDGR 2015, page 27)
In parallel, there have been significant achievements in the control of malaria, with a significant reduction in its incidence, of the prevalence of the parasite, and mortality due to all its causes, this being the result of the successful application of the updated national directorates regarding the diagnosis and treatment of malaria, the programmes of spraying between homes, the distribution of mosquito nets impregnated with long-lasting insecticide, and free services related to the diagnosis and treatment of malaria, above all on the Island of Bioko”. (MDGR 2015, page 27)
Since Equatorial Guinea began its activities as an oil producer, and just as has happened with other nations, our country has been the object of multiple and numerous attempted State Coups, actions to succeed in interfering in our governance, and ambitious attacks of all types which have placed at risk our security, our development, and our stability.
These pathetic attempts (such as, for example, the famous State coup by the fiction-like mercenary Simon Mann) have always originated in western countries and institutions, with the sole aim of taking the power from our Government and, thus, taking control of our oil.
We are conscious that the presentation of this report from HRW, just in the days leading up to the court case in Paris against the Vice-President of this Nation, aims to influence public opinion and possibly the jury against our country. It is thus a new attempt to put an end to our enviable situation of development, peace and prosperity.
The Government of Equatorial Guinea is highlighting this new manoeuvre by the private and self-interested institution that is HRW, against our Sovereign and Independent State. We will continue to unmask and report any coup or destabilising attempt against our State, whether it is carried out by guerilla mercenaries, or by mercenaries through the creation of false data, accusations and reports, in the service of false NGOs, who are no more than wolves in sheep’s clothing.
The Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea
Source: Official Web Page of the Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea