By Own Correspondent – MALABO, Equatorial Guinea – The inauguration of the new Annobon airport and trade port yesterday were some of the central events of Equatorial Guinea’s (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) Independence Day Celebration. President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo commissioned the construction of the two facilities in an effort to foster economic growth through access to the remote island province.
The two robust infrastructure projects were executed by Somagec (a Moroccan company) and fully funded by the government. The Annobon airport is part of a much larger national development plan undertaken by President Obiang’s administration to increase development across the country.
“To mitigate the effects of poverty and meet the Millennium Declaration, the Government of Equatorial Guinea has embarked on a strategic planning process for long-term development,” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pastor Micha Ondo in September at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.
So far, the administration has made rapid progress in improving and expanding Equatorial Guinea’s island and mainland transportation infrastructure, as well as electrification projects, such as the construction of the Djibloho Hydroelectric and Distribution Plant which will generate over 220 kilowatts to supply electricity to the mainland region. Transportation and energy are two of several areas of initiatives the Equatorial Guinean government is focusing its development resources on. Projects in telecommunications, education and health are also in the works.
The Annobon airport and trade port are two massive, state-of-the-art infrastructure projects that will bring an end to the isolation that has always characterized the island province. Prior to the construction of the new airport, the island only had a short runway that caused significant risk for arriving aircraft. The runway now has been extended to approximately 600 meters to allow for large passenger and commercial flights to land safely on the island.
At the opening ceremony of the 42nd Independence Day Celebration, held on the Annobon airport’s tarmac, representatives from Somagec and General Works, the firms tasked with building the Annobon airport and other ongoing projects, along with Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Marcelino Oyono Ntutumu, addressed the public to report on the details of the projects already completed, and those underway.
The new port on Annobon, which makes the island accessible for trade, with capacity to dock large tonnage ships and passenger ferries, totaled an investment of approximately euro 100 million. In addition to the airport and port, the Equatorial Guinean government has also funded a series of public housing blocks in Annobon built by General Works and there are several other projects planned, including: water systems, the construction of a junior high school and a police station, totaling a government investment of approximately euro 200 million.
The Republic of Equatorial Guinea (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) is the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa, and one of the smallest nations on the continent. In the late-1990s, American companies helped discover the country’s oil and natural gas resources, which only within the last five years began contributing to the global energy supply. Equatorial Guinea is now working to serve as a pillar of stability and security in its region of West Central Africa. The country will host the 2011 Summit of the African Union.