President Ram Nath Kovind, reached Equatorial Guinea yesterday evening 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 honour 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 realised. 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 honour by President Obiang. In his remarks at 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.Address by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind at the banquet hosted by President of Equatorial Guinea
Malabo, April 8, 2018
Excellency, it is indeed a great honour for me to visit your beautiful country on what is the first State Visit from India. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you Mr. President for your warmth and gracious hospitality. This is reflective of our close friendship and cordial relationship.
2. Both India and Equatorial Guinea have a shared past and are working together for a sustainable future. We have both emerged from the shadows of a colonial past and are committed to peace, prosperity and well-being of our peoples. Today, India and Equatorial Guinea are engaged in the task of ensuring accelerated growth and distributing its benefits to all sections of our two societies. In this regard, your National Horizon 2020 programme has a vital role to play. I am very happy to learn that under Your Excellency’s guidance, the first phase of the plan has been successfully executed and the second phase, which aims at transforming your country into an emerging economy, has been under vigorous implementation.
3. Excellency, our two countries have much in common. It is, therefore, natural to expect that our bilateral engagement should also be more intense and diversified. We were privileged to host you Mr. President during the third India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi in 2015. We were equally honoured to welcome you in India last month for the International Solar Alliance Founding Conference. Your visits have given a new impetus to our ties. India remains equally committed to strengthen and build its relations with Equatorial Guinea. In keeping with this, I am happy that we have taken an in-principle decision to open our Diplomatic Mission in Malabo. This would mark a new beginning in our bilateral journey.
4. Excellency, your country is aiming at diversifying its economy. I would like to assure you that India would be happy to partner you in every which way that you want. We are also keen to enhance our development cooperation partnership in keeping with the cherished values of South–South Cooperation. It is in that spirit that we have offered assistance to set up an Entrepreneurial Development Centre and an English Language Laboratory here. We would also do our best to support you in agriculture, mining, health, tele-communication and Information Technology.
5. Excellency, your country has made a new beginning at the global stage this year. I once again congratulate you on your term at the UN Security Council and wish you all success. Excellency, you have been in the forefront of developments in the African Union and worked hard to promote peace, prosperity and unity on this continent, and in this region. We deeply appreciate your leadership on this score. Our two countries are working together in the international fora. We must stand united in support of reforms at the United Nations and beyond. We share common concern on Climate Change and sustainable development. To this end, I hope our partnership under the framework of the International Solar Alliance will bear meaningful results. My optimism reminds me of a famous guinea proverb and I quote: “No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow”- unquote.
6. Excellency, today is a special and historic day for India-Equatorial Guinea friendship. May it grow taller than Pico basile and stronger than the Ceiba tree !
7. On this happy note, may I invite Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen to join me in raising a toast:
- to the health and well-being of President of Equatorial Guinea
and First lady;
- to the progress and happiness of the friendly people of
Equatorial Guinea; and
- to the enduring friendship between our two countries.