Shout-Africa News – MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, — The President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo released comments yesterday regarding the controversy surrounding the “UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences” to be awarded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) later this month; the prize is intended to promote scientific development and achievements that “improve the quality of human life”:
“The opposition to this prize is not because the award is not positive, it’s simply because the international community does not want to advocate on behalf of ‘President Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea.’ But they have no reason to oppose the prize. We created the award with the goal of preserving human life. We have allocated significant funding for this prize in order for scientists to conduct studies and so they have the resources they need to find cures – for the health and well-being of people everywhere, including in Equatorial Guinea. The Government of Equatorial Guinea understands that it is far from perfect and that it still has a great deal of work
to do to further improve the lives of its people. The UNESCO prize is a part of that work.”
Equatorial Guinea, which up until the late 1990s, was one of the poorest nations in Africa, is currently investing the wealth derived from its recently-discovered natural resources in its infrastructure and citizenry. This effort includes development projects in health and education, as well as an emphasis on promoting agriculture and tourism
as a way to diversify the country’s economy. The government is also currently working to update out-dated statistical information about the country and its quality of life indicators.
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.