Morris Mkwate in MALABO, Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has attacked the West for using its influence in strategic institutions such as the United Nations to interfere in the domestic affairs of African nations.This came as prime minister Mariano Rajoy Brey of Spain pledged to increase investments in Africa, while also canvassing African support in his country’s bid to land a UN Security Council seat next year.
Speaking at the opening of the 23rd African Union Heads of State and Government Summit here yesterday, President Nguema, who is hosting the two-day Assembly, said it should be made clear that the “monopoly of colonial power is history”.
He implored Africa to harness local resources for development and desist from relying on developed economies to avoid perpetuating neo-colonialism.
President Mugabe was among the leaders who attended the opening ceremony whose special guests included UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, prime minister Brey, Palestine’s president Mahmoud Abbas and vice prime minister Salvador Valdes Mesa of Cuba.
“Africa should not continue to depend on the economies of developed countries. The continent has to seriously consider its relations with the world,” said president Nguema.
“Africa now has 50 years of independence, so we do not need to suffer neo-colonialism and perpetuate it. We have adopted measures that have led to the stagnation of parity of our currencies.
“The economic development of Africa is ensured by developed countries themselves. Another negative form that entrenches the dependence of Africa is not recognising cultural values.”
President Nguema encouraged the continent to review monopoly of the world economy, saying the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank appeared reluctant to help stimulate African economies.
He said African nations should ensure the continental democratisation processes already under way were free of foreign dictatorship.
“Democracy is not new to Africa,” said President Nguema. “It has always been practised in our traditional set-ups. Africa is in an irreversible democratic process and this should conform to an Africa that does not allow foreign dictatorship.
“Economic relations between nations should be developed by respecting the aspirations of those involved. The monopoly of colonial power is history. The world has to be governed through equality. It is high time to reconsider the monopoly of the world economy.
“The World Bank and IMF have never assisted African states. We need to revise international trade. We also need to revise the UN to meet the demands of Africa so that it is not a springboard for others to interfere in Africa.”
Prime Minister Brey told African leaders that Spain would guarantee more African seats on the UN Security Council if his country was elected into the organ.
He said Spain, which imports 28 billion worth of African products annually, intended to increase investment.
“It is only natural that Spain, as the closest European country to Africa, should have as much more intense relationship with the continent than at present,” he said. “If Spain is chosen (for UNSC), I can assure you that in two years, Africa will not have three seats on the Security Council, but four.”
Africa is seized with a debate regarding over-reliance on foreign donors who are presently funding most AU operations.
AU foreign ministers raised the matter when they met in Ethiopia early this year to formulate key principles of Agenda 2063, Africa’s 50-year vision. Two documents on Agenda 2063 have been produced in keeping with an agreement to accelerate the plan’s implementation.
The AU Summit enters its final day today with the leaders expected to consider peace and security, looking at terrorism and armed conflict.
Central Africa Republic, Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya and South Sudan will be of special interest.