General News of 2013-06-15

Mahama warned over homosexuality

The President of Equatorial Guinea has warned President John Dramani Mahama and other African leaders not to tolerate, accept or allow the issue of homosexuality to get roots in their countries as it is an abomination before God.
Addressing local and international journalists at a press conference held in Malabo (the capital city of Equatorial Guinea) recently, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo said, "Homosexuality is not God's will for His people and should not even be discussed in Africa including Ghana. We strongly believe that righteousness exalts nation and not homosexuality."
He added, “The Book of Leviticus Chapter 18 tells us that man is not supposed to get married to another man or they are not supposed to have sexual intercourse with another man, which means that God will punish the nation which tolerates this type of abomination.”
Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries with the exception of South Africa where same sex marriage is legalised.
In Uganda for instance, a proposed anti-homosexuality legislation has called for long jail terms or death penalty for homosexuals.
The Equatorial Guinea President also used the occasion to call on all African States to work together to bring progress and economic independence to the continent.
He said a close examination of the history of the African continent showed that Africa had been forced into conflict by colonial powers.
"Even after gaining independence, African nations had struggled to define their relations with the countries that had colonised them. Africans did not manufacture weapons or traffic in persons. Africa, by its origin, was a continent of unity and solidarity, but had been divided by the colonial powers," he fumed.
President Obiang therefore stressed on the need for his colleague presidents on the continent to adopt proactive measures that would bring economic sovereignty to their people. He said through a plan called Horizon 2020, Equatorial Guinea was utilising its oil wealth to build its political systems, as well as health, agriculture, education, banking and transportation sectors.
"All the government ministries are expected to meet the benchmarks to get closer to the goals of the President's Horizon 2020 plan to move Equatorial Guinea towards a self-sufficient and growing economy," he added.
In reference to the economy, President Obiang continued, "Equatorial Guinea doesn't have unemployment issues but we are in need of more professional training for our population. We require all foreign companies working in Equatorial Guinea to hire 75 percent Equatoguinean employees. We need more training for our population to fill the skilled job offerings."
"After 2020, our vision will shift from oil revenues and focus more on our other resources. Equatorial Guinea's progress depends on Equatoguineans' professionals - on their vision," concluded President Obiang.
Equatorial Guinea gained independence in 1968 after 190 years of Spanish rule. The tiny country, with a population of 704,001 composed of a mainland portion plus five inhabited islands, is one of the smallest on the African continent.
President Obiang has ruled the country since 1979 when he seized power in a coup.
Equatorial Guinea has experienced rapid economic growth due to the discovery of large offshore oil reserves, and in the last decade has become Sub-Saharan Africa's third largest oil exporter.
The discovery and exploitation of large oil and gas reserves have contributed to dramatic economic growth, but fluctuating oil prices have produced huge swings in GDP growth in recent years. The economy is still dominated by hydrocarbon production.
The government has solicited foreign investment, particularly from the United States, to diversify the economy. Undeveloped natural resources include gold, zinc, diamonds, and other base metals. Forestry and farming are also minor components of GDP.
Subsistence farming is the dominant form of livelihood.
Although pre-independence Equatorial Guinea counted on cocoa production for hard currency earnings, the neglect of the rural economy under successive regimes has diminished potential for agriculture-led growth.
The government has stated its intention to reinvest some oil revenue into agriculture. A number of aid programs sponsored by the World Bank and the IMF have been cut off since 1993 because of corruption and mismanagement.
The government has been widely criticised for its lack of transparency and misuse of oil revenues.
The government has made efforts to address this issue by working towards compliance with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in 2010.
The economy recovered from the global recession in 2011-12, stimulated by higher oil prices and large investments in public infrastructure and hotels.
The people are nominally Christian and predominantly Roman Catholic and the official language is Spanish.