NEW YORK, April 25, 2014
Africa’s Growing Economic Power Leading to Social and Political Progress, Says Equatorial Guinea’s U.N. Permanent Representative
The government of Equatorial Guinea has been a leader in the African continent and has established successful reforms and programs in the country, and its neighbors are doing the same, Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba, permanent representative of Equatorial Guinea to the United Nations, told attendees at a panel on “African Solutions, African Problems,” held at the Peace Islands Institute in partnership with the Journalists and Writers Foundation.
Ambassador Ndong Mba discussed the Africa paradigm and said it is important that Africa and its 54 countries be regarded as equal partners on the world stage. Africa will be exerting its influence for a more fair and equitable benefit from its natural resources. Africa seeks an even greater economic diversification; this means that while Africa extends the value it receives from her natural resources, at the same time, there is a movement to increase diversification into other sectors for greater national and continental resiliency, making the continent less susceptible to oil shocks and volatility in the world commodity markets.
“Equatorial Guinea is using income from its natural resources to expand [and]develop infrastructure and other sectors. Equatorial Guinea has experienced significant growth over the past few years. Another important goal we have is towards economic diversification, which will reduce our reliance on oil revenues by converting revenues from oil into large public works projects and a portfolio of agro-industry, fisheries projects and tourism.”
As Africa continues to make significant progress in the political, social and economic spheres, the continent demands an even greater role on the world stage. Ambassador Ndong Mba said that Africa welcomes partnerships but Africans must lead Africa’s development, and African solutions must be applied to African problems.
During the panel, Ambassador Ndong Mba discussed Africa’s growing influence on the global stage and the growing number of countries on the continent that are embarking on policies of diversification and infrastructural development to attract investors and build a solid foundation for development.
“According to The Economist, six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies of the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa, and many African countries have enjoyed growth in income per person of more than 5% a year since 2007,” he said. “Africa’s rise on the global stage is palpable. The continent’s emerging middle class with increasing disposable income is slowly being recognized. According to the Ernst & Young’s attractiveness survey Africa 2013, the size of the African economy has more than tripled since 2000. Moreover, a number of African economies are predicted to remain among the fastest growing in the world. To site another source, a McKinsey Global Institute analysis indicated that four sectors in Africa namely – consumer products and services, infrastructure, agriculture and natural resources will together be worth $2.6 trillion in annual revenue by 2020.”
This trend is seen clearly in the rapid development of Equatorial Guinea over the last several years.
“In my country, Equatorial Guinea, the President of the Republic set in motion a long-term development plan, Horizon 2020, which aims to invest in important sectors, which will in turn strengthen economic growth to ensure a transparent social climate, build important infrastructure to support a modern nation state, and improve social welfare and reduce poverty. A billion dollars have been set aside to support this initiative,” he said.
Ambassador Ndong Mba said that Africa’s growing economic power should be met with growing political power on the world stage.
“Africa requires a greater say in the management and governance of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund…,” he said. “Since Africa is becoming an important driver of future global economic growth, since Africa is home to a billion inhabitants and growing, since Africa is growing in its strategic importance to the rest of the world, it is time to validate Africa’s growing importance. It is now time that Africa occupies permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council.”
The institute’s Ambassadors Series panel on African Solutions to African Problems covered education, health, economy, culture and peace and security and served as a platform to bring diplomats accredited to the United Nations together with academics, experts and civil society to engage with one another, and to discuss global issues and exchange multiple perspectives. The panel was moderated by H.E Antonio Tete, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations, and featured presentations by Ambassador Kingsley Mamabolo, permanent representative of South Africa to the UN, and Ambassador Osama Abdelkhalek, deputy permanent representative of the Republic of Egypt to the UN, in addition to Ambassador Ndong Mba.