Equatorial Guinea Puts All Sectors on Display As It Expands Invest Ties With Arabian Gulf
Malabo – Equatorial Guinea, Sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest oil and gas producer, is seeking new partners to grow and diversify the country’s economy, especially in the crucial sectors of downstream oil and gas, fisheries and agriculture. The Government of Equatorial Guinea is in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia this week for the first Equatorial Guinea-Saudi Arabia Economic Forum. H.E. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has an audience with His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and other officials to discuss joint areas of cooperation, especially in the sectors of hydrocarbons, agriculture, fisheries and mining.
Oil and gas have been the bedrock of Equatorial Guinea’s economy and continue to be an important springboard for attracting new partners. The Economic Forum in Saudi Arabia is the first chance to cement crucial new relationships in the Arabian Gulf and extend an olive branch to neighboring countries.
“The Republic of Equatorial Guinea intends to drastically improve economic relations with the Arabian Gulf countries. And for them we have started with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.,” said H.E Gabriel MBAGA OBIANG LIMA, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons.
Equatorial Guinea offers investors a safe and attractive place for investment, with a well-established hydrocarbons industry that has hosted key international oil companies for decades; and it boasts some of the best infrastructure capacity in West Africa, from highways, ports and airports to electricity access and strong communications systems.
“Equatorial Guinea has just liberalized its telecommunications market, built a Next Generation Network based on fiber optic technology and aims to be a benchmark in Central Africa,” said H.E Maximiliano Martin MECO AVEME, Minister of Telecommunication and New Technologies.
Now, the country seeks to build on its success in oil and gas and develop sectors that have great potential in Equatorial Guinea. The expansion of Equatorial Guinea’s downstream sector has already taken off, with investors from around the world coming to the country. Upcoming projects include the Bioko Oil Terminal, a petroleum storage facility that will increase Equatorial Guinea’s energy independence; REPEGE, a petrochemicals revolution project that paves the way for Equatorial Guinea to export downstream products; and the Fortuna Floating LNG project, a world-class liquefied natural gas project expected to reach FID in mid-2017 and first gas by 2020.
The government is also focused on developing other sectors that have great potential in Equatorial Guinea. Bioko Island, located in the Gulf of Guinea, combined with mainland Equatorial Guinea, contain 644 kilometers of coastline and 314,000 kilometers of exclusive economic zone. The country’s ocean waters are rich in marine life, and it is flush with rivers. Opportunities include development of aquaculture, fisheries production, building and supply of fishing vessels, artisanal fishing, installation and repair of fishing nets and gear and seafood processing plants.
“The time has come to develop the blue economy in Equatorial Guinea through the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the framework of economic diversification,” said H.E Estanislao DON MALAVO, Minister of Fisheries and Water Resources.
Additionally, located in a favorable climate and containing fertile soil, consistent rainfall and abundant water reserves, the country has great potential for the development of agriculture and livestock. Opportunities in agriculture include production and processing of cocoa, coffee, juices, palm oil, coconut oil, cassava and sugarcane, as well as the manufacturing and refining of soap, fertilizers and salt.
There is certainly a wealth of opportunities for export of these products, especially to countries like Saudi Arabia that suffer from food insecurity due to inhospitable climates and soils.
“Agriculture in Saudi Arabia is focused on the export of dates, dairy products, eggs, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables and flowers to market around the world. Still, Saudi Arabia is dependent on imports to meet 70 percent of its food requirement. The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food is now committed and focused to accelerate the development process of the commercial green agriculture of the Private Agro-sector of Equatorial Guinea; to start in seven months the exportation of vegetables and fruits and later lamb and goats meat to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said H.E Victor GRANGE MEILE, Minister of Agriculture, Livestocks and Foods.
To see these various economic diversification initiatives through, the Government of Equatorial Guinea created Holding Equatorial Guinea, which oversees the government’s emergency plan to diversify the economy. In addition to downstream hydrocarbons development, fisheries and agriculture, the strategic industries promoted by Holding Equatorial Guinea include mining, transportation and tourism.
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