The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, reached Equatorial Guinea yesterday evening (April 7, 2018) on the first leg of his State Visit to three African nations –Equatorial Guinea, Swaziland, and Zambia. This is the first ever visit of a Head of State from India to Equatorial Guinea. The President was received at the Malabo airport by Mr. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the President of Equatorial Guinea, along with his cabinet colleagues and other dignitaries.
The President formally commenced his engagements today (April 8, 2018) when he met his counterpart, President Obiang, at the Presidential Palace in Malabo. President Kovind was conferred with the Condecoracion, the highest honor accorded to a non-citizen by the government of Equatorial Guinea, and previously given to select Heads of State from friendly countries.
During the subsequent discussions, the President thanked President Obiang for his warmth and hospitality. He said President Obiang has played a key role in African affairs to promote stability in the continent, and India very much appreciates this. The President said that, under the leadership of President Obiang, Equatorial Guinea has seen rapid growth and progress. He congratulated President Obiang on Equatorial Guinea achieving the highest per capita GDP for any country in the African continent. He stated that India is ready to partner Equatorial Guinea which is diversifying its economy and reducing its dependence on oil and gas exports.
Subsequently, the President led delegation-level talks between the two sides. Speaking on the occasion, the President said that the two countries have enjoyed warm and cordial relations. India attaches the highest importance to its relationship with Equatorial Guinea. It is in that spirit that the government of India has decided to open an embassy in Equatorial Guinea. This will give a major boost to our relations.
The President said that the economies of our two countries are complementary. Equatorial Guinea is endowed with hydrocarbons and mineral resources, and India with human and financial capital and low-cost technical expertise. The full potential of our bilateral engagement is far from realized. India looks forward to partnering with Equatorial Guinea in facilitating government-to-government development cooperation as well as business-to-business contacts.
The President said that during the India-Africa Forum Summit of 2015, India had announced concessional lines of credit of US$ 10 billion over five years for African countries. He urged the government of Equatorial Guinea to avail of this facility. He said that India would be happy to assist in developing project proposals in various sectors of Equatorial Guinea’s economy.
The President also attended a luncheon banquet hosted in his honor by President Obiang. In his remarks at the banquet, President Kovind said India and Equatorial Guinea have both emerged from the shadows of a colonial past and are committed to peace, prosperity and the well-being of our people. Today, India and Equatorial Guinea are engaged in the task of ensuring accelerated growth and distributing its benefits to all sections of our societies. In this regard, Equatorial Guinea’s National Horizon 2020 programme has a vital role to play.
The President said that India is keen to enhance its development cooperation partnership with Equatorial Guinea. It is in that spirit India has offered assistance to set up an Entrepreneurial Development Centre and an English Language Laboratory in Equatorial Guinea. It will also do its best to support Equatorial Guinea in agriculture, mining, health, telecommunications and Information Technology.
Later in the day, the President will address members of the Parliament of Equatorial Guinea. This evening he will also meet and address the Indian community in Malabo.