Mr. Faustino Nsang Anvene Madja elaborates on the key role of the youth in Equatorial Guinea, the sectors of the future and US-EG ties
You were telling us about how you are integrating young people in the state apparatus.
I would like to thank Globus Vision for the opportunity they give me and their great interest in Equatorial Guinea and its youth. I think before we talk about the integration of the youth in the public administration of Equatorial Guinea, we should break down the concept of youth, which is a term derived from Latin (iuventus) which identifies the period that lies between childhood and adulthood.
The United Nations (known as UN) has defined youth as the stage that starts when every human being is 15 and lasts until they are 25 years old, although there are no precise limits. Longer life expectancies mean that, in some respects, individuals who are more than 40 years old... might be considered young, so for me, youth, rather than a question of age, is a social category, if we remember that in 1960 Kennedy became the youngest president of his country, with 43 years of age, youth is synonymous with energy, vigor and freshness, so that politically youth will have a different length depending on the physical conditions and social category of a person.
With regard to your question, Equatorial Guinea is a country that after its independence has been subjected to a dictatorial regime we remember very sadly where you could not talk about a youth that I call politically smart socio-culturally. Until 1979, an Equatorial Guinean of goodwill, with a patriotic spirit and young age (37 years) freed these people from slavery. This not being a legend since it is an interview I would also say that youth depends on the social climate, health and cultural age and the characteristics of the citizens. The integration of our youth in the government was difficult before that, because the development of an independent country depends largely on their cultural actors, conditions were not good for the government to help their young because the President of the Republic H.E. Obiang Nguema took office in a bankrupt country.
Young people growing mediocrely from 1968 to 1979 clearly could not contribute to the progress of a young nation, until President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo had to reopen primary and secondary schools, churches, professional centers, special centers for adult learning, thus giving scholarships to young Guineans in different universities and colleges abroad.
Remember that after this training promoted by H.E. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and after a great awareness to the people of Equatorial Guinea for the integration of the youth in the country and their value in the public and private key positions you, yourself, without going further, are eyewitnesses of the progress under the auspices of the President of the Republic today in Equatorial Guinea. If we have to compare, at the time of the independence this country had no more than two university graduates, while currently the number of national and international university graduates has increased to thousands and thousands of young Guineans.
The same person being interviewed is a palpable example of this youth situation in Equatorial Guinea (he has studied in an international university and occupies a position in the central government) and like me, several young men and women with the same characteristics hold different positions in the state and private apparatus no matter what their origin or region is.
We know that a huge investment has been made in education, with the new campuses opened in Malabo and Bata and the University of Oyala. What can you tell us about the development of education in Equatorial Guinea in recent years?
I love it when the international press sees the reality of the country and makes real documentaries, not imaginative reports, because my reality is the one I'm talking about and the one you are seeing in Equatorial Guinea, not what is published online or on imperialist channels.
Before 1979 there were no schools, institutes of secondary education, no teachers, no professors, there was no capacity, Guineans were not well trained to perform those jobs. Today, the country already has academic infrastructure for all levels. Today, thanks to President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, there are schools, colleges and universities.
Which are, for you, the sectors of the future if we talk about diversification? In what sectors can you see the greatest potential?
Education, Health and Youth, because, for a country, to strengthen these areas is a key factor for development, as the government itself has been doing since the 80s because by 2020 Equatorial Guinea will be self-sufficient, but in order for that to happen, the country should go through phases in which the Equatorial Guineans must endorse the laudable government action and this development project from the Government is already palpable, for example, when traveling a bit around the country you may note the infrastructural, economic and socio-cultural development all over the country, which is not only seen in major cities like Malabo and Bata.
This country now has the best health, educational and sports facilities, I want my vision to accompany your own reality in this sense, I would invite you to go along our roads throughout the nation and you will see that they are all tarred, which was impossible 10 years ago.
Equatorial Guinea stands out for its peace and tranquility, which make it an example in the African context and opens all windows for business for expatriates.
And the country's relations with the United States are very good.
Sure, they are excellent in all fields in my humble reality. Thanks to the United States, Equatorial Guinea has escalated economically and has changed from a poor country to a rich country, thanks to the good political management of the President of the Republic. We had to live only on the exploitation of wood, coffee and cocoa, but today we export oil. Although a Spanish company, which arrived here and studied the country for over a decade confirmed that there was no oil in Equatorial Guinea. Despite this defection the President did not leave his country in poverty, he went on, until he made contact with an American company, Walter International, which came here and confirmed that there was indeed oil in Equatorial Guinea and from that moment everything changed. Equatorial Guinea and the United States are friendly countries and therefore they have very good diplomatic, bilateral, economic and academic relations.
The United States is also a long-term partner.
America is a partner of honor to Equatorial Guinea, for the story I have told you in previous paragraphs.
The President met with the Ambassador of the United States and among the issues discussed is the investment of US companies in sectors other than hydrocarbons. What can you tell us about that meeting and US investment in other sectors?
I can reply that the president always makes a general invitation to all the countries in the world to come and undertake their economic activities in Equatorial Guinea and the United States being an indisputable partner in the economy of our country, I think it's going to respond to this invitation positively.
Equatorial Guinea has an important position in the region and we saw that now that the president was in Nigeria and Ghana to meet with their respective presidents to fight the menace of Boko Haram.
The issue of Boko Haram is very complex on the African continent. Equatorial Guinea and its government condemn terrorism; Equatorial Guinea is a country where there is peace and our president is very patriotic and pan-Africanist. I think Equatorial Guinea as well as the other African countries and the rest of the world condemn terrorist action.
It is true that Equatorial Guinea is perceived unfairly abroad, what do you think needs to be done to change the international perception of the country?
An unfair perception abroad ... I don't think so, I would say that it is a little group of some Guineans that with too much ambition and illusion of power left the country decades ago and went abroad because many Africans think Europe is a paradise and then after living there for a long time, without studies or a career feel embarrassed to return to their birth place. And there are others who think that with studies and a bachelor, master or doctoral degree can now become president or govern a nation.
Some bodies and the media unite to tell lies of the political process of Equatorial Guinea, its infrastructure, its president, and even political opposition parties legalized in the country.
They no longer think of their mothers, fathers and siblings, they only think and dream of being president. You, interviewing me now, what do you see in Guinea...? I think as an international press agency, you should publish the reality of a country that is a benchmark in Africa.
What values would you like Americans to associate Equatorial Guinea with?
All the values that contribute to the progressive development of a nation.