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BANGE: The National Bank of Equatorial Guinea

Article - August 5, 2014
A bank for national development and progress
Many commentators have spoken of Equatorial Guinea’s extraordinary growth over the last 20 years, GDP growth now at 5.7%, budget and trade surpluses and the highest per capita income in Africa, as an “economic miracle”. However, this record of development and progress results instead from a determined pursuit of sensible and realistic objectives under President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo with policies aimed at fostering the development of trade and industry and the achievement of social progress within a framework of economic stability.

Blessed with abundant natural resources but which had remained barely exploited until two decades ago, Equatorial Guinea set out at that time a clear National Development Plan, its “Horizon 2020”, the first phase of which aimed to provide the then underdeveloped country with the basic infrastructure necessary for sustained future growth. This phase covered such areas as roads, communications, urban development, health and education, with the objective of setting both the country and its people on a path of sustained and equitable national progress.

The second phase, starting this year, will focus on broadening the industrial base, so as to develop the country’s resources beyond the hydrocarbons sector, besides the transformation of the structure of doing business in Equatorial Guinea, including a new law on overseas investment, the encouragement of a greater role for the private sector and for SMEs and the radical overhaul of red tape through a new one-stop investment procedure. Particular economic sectors targeted for development include agriculture, fisheries and eco-tourism.

It is within this climate of boundless business opportunities that Martin-Crisanto Ebe Mba, its Chairman, visualizes the mission of BANGE, Banco Nacional de Guinea Ecuatorial, and its key role as an agent of economic transformation to spread the benefits of rapid future business and social development to all regions of the country and to all its people. Set up only in 2006, the bank is now present throughout the country and possesses a strong capital structure compliant with all the “Basel agreement” international banking safety tests, besides having other independently-assessed quality accreditations.

The tremendous potential for BANGE in this second phase of “Horizon 2020” is underlined by the President’s encouragement of its development, as well as by the role of Mr. Ebe, himself formerly the country’s Minister of Finance, as the bank’s present Chairman. The bank readily accepts its mission of being one of the essential engines of national growth and a facilitator of economic and social development in every region of the country, a role even more important now with the widening of opportunities in new and different sectors of the national economy and as small and medium-sized private companies grow and prosper.

Mr. Ebe acknowledges that “the U.S. has been the key partner in the development of Equatorial Guinea” through investments made by American companies to explore and bring into production the country’s oil and gas potential and through the building of LPG facilities, adding that some 25% of oil exports are to the U.S. However, the partnership does not end there and Mr. Ebe underlines his country’s massive investment in sending students to American universities to bring back to Equatorial Guinea the skills and training needed to adequately develop its rich potential.

BANGE is determined to fulfill its key role in Equatorial Guinea reaching its “Horizon 2020”. For BANGE, however, this is a means to an end; the bank is more than this, it is the bank of the people with a firm determination to succeed in its wider social role and in its mission of bringing the benefits of economic growth to every region and to all the people of Equatorial Guinea.