Equatorial Guinea Turns to Arabia for New Partners
Equatorial Guinea expansion of ties with Arab countries comes at a key time in the country’s development, as the Government of Equatorial aims to attract investment to grow the economy, especially in the key sectors of downstream oil and gas, agriculture and livestock and fisheries.
The Equatorial Guinea-Saudi Arabia Economic Forum being held May 11 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia also follows Equatorial Guinea hosting the Fourth Arab-Africa Summit in Malabo in November 2016, under the patronage of H.E. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
The Equatorial Guinea-Saudi Arabia Economic Forum will focus on transforming Equatorial Guinea’s economy, and on areas of potential cooperation between the two countries.
Equatorial Guinea has already submitted an application to join the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and is one of the non-OPEC member countries that committed to cutting oil production to stabilize the oil market. Equatorial Guinea and many Arabian countries can cooperate in the hydrocarbons sector, from upstream development to key downstream in the country, such as the the Bioko Oil Terminal, the Fortuna FLNG project, the Riaba Fertilizers plant, compressed natural gas and LNG.
There are also opportunities for cooperation between Equatorial Guinea and Arabian countries outside of oil and gas. Agriculture is especially promising. Equatorial Guinea, located on the Equator and blessed with a favourable climate, plentiful water resources and good soil, has the capacity to produce an abundance of agriculture and livestock products. Many countries in desert region of Arabia, in contrast, suffer from food insecurity. Already, Saudi Arabia is importing about 70 percent of food products. Additionally, Equatorial Guinea has plentiful resources in fisheries, with the countries Bioko Island surrounded by an exclusive economic zone and the country’s mainland abounds in rivers. The Arabian region, continually looking for agricultural partners, and Equatorial Guinea, which is looking for investment partners to develop its agricultural sector, are well-matched.
Equatorial Guinea, which is also seeking to build up its financial sector, can turn to the Arabian debt markets for assistance in key infrastructure and development projects. Already, Islamic financing is playing a key vital funding role as projects across the Sub-Saharan continent progress.
The economic opportunities between Equatorial Guinea and Saudi Arabia are vast. Other efforts to establish political ties, which are the foundation for continuing economic development, are crucial to this development.
To this end, in October 2016, Equatorial Guinea signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Kuwait, seeking to regulate the two countries bilateral relations. Also last year, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Republic of Equatorial Guinea met with Riyadh-Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz in October in Riyadh to further define areas of cooperation.
The efforts in 2017, including the economic forum in Jeddah, are important to building this foundation for economic cooperation.