Equatorial Guinea is faced with diversifying its stream of revenue to sustain its economy as the globe experiences an economic slowdown and major slump in commodity prices.
Discovering oil in Equatorial Guinea in 1995 provided the West African country with a resource to trade successfully with other regions, and secure revenue to allow its economy to thrive.
“As an oil and gas dependent country, producer dependent country – the current situation is a horror – it is the worst case scenario that any ministry would like, first because of the rapid decline of the price, secondly on the readjustment of the budget and we have suffered the same situation,” said Gabriel Mbega Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy.
Obiang says Equatorial Guinea needs to be able to survive through the slump because as he describes it, it is like a terrible rain coming from all angles but he is confident it will stop and the sun will shine again.
Aside from infrastructure, the country is also very heavily invested in human resources.
“Our approach is that we need to focus on promoting key sectors, one is the tourists, the industries and agriculture – those are the overall government initiatives to make sure that the next time that we have the slump it does not hurt us the same way.”
As Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy, his portfolio focus is on local content – not just ensuring people have jobs but to make sure the local companies have the tools to survive.
“Before we use to depend mainly on the oil, but what we did as we started the oil and gas industry, we decided we needed to use the gas.”
Obiang says it has used gas in its methanol plant and for electricity – next it is “ambitiously” aiming for a petrochemical project to build an ammonia and urea plant.
He adds: “It is a joint activity, the work that we will do, not only with my ministry because we have been responsible for providing 90 per cent of the revenue in the country so what we need to do is that other ministry can actually contribute so that dependency is not just us.”