Renewed Focus on Asia
Equatorial Guinea owes much of its industrial development to foreign investment. It was, after all, American companies like ExxonMobil, Marathon Oil and Hess that helped the country emerge as an important oil and gas exporter. More recently, Equatorial Guinea has turned its attention to the Far East with the aim of forging stronger economic ties.
“We shouldn’t be just measured by our size, but by our importance” – H.E. Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy Gabriel Obiang Lima
Last August, at the Equatorial Guinea Economic Forum in Washington D.C., Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima made clear that the United States faced stiff competition from multiple suitors. Before an audience of 300 business delegates, the Minister emphasized countries like China, India and Turkey as important investment partners.
The Equatorial Guinea government sees many ways in which it can emulate the success of the Asian tiger economies. Like Hong Kong and Singapore for Southeast Asia, the small West African country can emerge as a gateway for investment in the Gulf of Guinea region. “We shouldn’t be just measured by our size, but by our importance,” Minister Obiang said in Washington D.C. “We do believe that because of its geographical location, Equatorial Guinea can provide a lot of sector services to the neighboring countries.”
Those investment opportunities will be on full display at the Equatorial Guinea-Asia Economic Forum, on April 30 in Dalian, China. The top government leadership, including H.E. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and Minister Obiang Lima, will provide key insights on doing business in the Gulf of Guinea. As Equatorial Guinea works to expand its economy beyond hydrocarbons, the country is opening up large business opportunities in areas like the Mbini Industrial City, which will afford investors special advantages for labor requirements, customs and taxation. The country also offers growing potential in agriculture and health and the government is putting finishing touches on a new investment framework for the mining sector.