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Interview With President Isaias Afwerki ( Part II and Final)

It is to be recalled that President Isaias Afwerki held an official working visit from 8 to 11 September, 2011, to the Equatorial Guinea at the invitation of President Teodoro Obiang Mbasogo. Following is 2nd and final part of the interview.

As you are well aware, the long history of Africa has been and is complicated as a result of a series of interventions. Consequently, a number of people seem to have pessimistic impressions as regards the prospects in African affairs. Are you optimistic that Africa could someday assume the right track and attain the goal it desires?

Invariably, there are stereotypes in journalism apropos optimism versus pessimism. The issue should rather be handled from a different perspective. Are you supposed to sit tight while the entire neighborhood is falling into decay? Optimism or pessimism is not a subject of conversation under such state of affairs. Whereas your input is an obligation, irrespective of your capabilities, you have to willy-nilly take part in dealing with the situation in the neighborhood rather than mulling over scenarios. What else could you come up with once you reach the point you think is a dead-end task? Or, can you evade those set of circumstances? The reality on the ground has its own dynamics.

Should the continent then remain marginalized under such circumstances with impoverished livelihoods, as well as with debilitated market and development drive? Priding ourselves constantly on the resources Africa is endowed with is of no value. The consciousness across the continent has yet to build up enough to bring about change in an organized manner. However scanty the cognizance might be, there exist varied forms of realities throughout Africa which the peoples in the continent have been experiencing. This consciousness coupled with the continent-wide aspiration and organization should inevitably effect the desired transformation. You cannot simply join every moving wagon so long as you belong to a certain part of Africa.

Africa is a vast continent. Taking account of the scenarios that unfolded in Uganda and in other parts of Africa over the past 12 years is it realistic to bring this wide continent, which is characterized by socio-economic, cultural and political diversity, under one umbrella? A modularized approach of communities in the South, East, West, and North and in central Africa is thus the bedrock of a larger continental organization. In order that lean management is in keeping with the decorum of the mosaic, those self-contained, community-based modules across the continent need to be well-organized through laying requisite infrastructure facilities, as well as integrating complementary development programs.

Continental integrity thus depends on strong organizational course of action. Efforts that have been in tune with the same propensity of establishing an African organization through resolving continental affairs within a melting pot to date constitute procedural miscarriages. Throughout OAU’s history, the mechanisms that were implemented to dealing with big ambitions in a continent rife with boundless problems have proven to be quite demanding. Although European Union’s experience was considered by many as an archetype, we have witnessed the discordance of the procedures in an attempt to set up African Union. Financial integrity in Europe has not as yet enabled the continent redress its economic problems.

The tendency to emulate Europe’s experience as a prime example, and thus, establish organizations without due research will definitely end up in chaos. Patterning ourselves after abortive experiences so as to resolve Africa’s problems is but nonviable. As the efforts to understand the complexities of the subject in question with a view to coming up with a comprehensive solution is impractical, the approach should have enough room to take stock of the status quo in the continent and other corresponding courses of action. Since the process is time consuming, we cannot expect concrete outcome on the horizon prior to reaching a common consensus as regards continental issues.

Your Excellency, during your stay in Equatorial Guinea, you have conducted visits in a number of sites and observed construction works of the country. The similarity between Eritrea and Equatorial Guinea is their endeavors on nation-building. What impressed you the most about Equatorial Guinea?

What you hear about the country’s situation from a distance and the reality on the ground are two different things. Equatorial Guinea is a tiny nation, which is endowed with ample resources. It is scoring equitable development accomplishments in every corner of the country. What I observed during my visit was beyond my expectations. Equatorial Guinea’s good organization in managing its endowments of natural gas and petroleum is praise-meriting. Exporting raw materials alone does not help nations rich with natural resources fulfill what they aspire. Transfer of technology, building human resources, investing the returns into tangible development programs, infrastructure facilities, as well as upgrading social services in a manner that improves the quality of life of the people are some of the lessons that can be drawn from Equatorial Guinea in the face of all the challenges it has. The discovery of oil and natural gas did not distract the country from harnessing the rest endowments properly. How can future generations benefit from these nonrenewable resources? Programs Equatorial Guinea is currently implementing in a sustainable manner in many areas of the country through the revenues acquired from the resources are also gratifying


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