News / Africa

NGOs Critical of Africa Nations Cup Host Equatorial Guinea

A member of Equatorial Guinea's police special forces stands in front of a banner of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo outside Estadio de Bata "Bata Stadium", which will host the opening match and ceremony for the African Nations Cup, in Bata Januar
A member of Equatorial Guinea's police special forces stands in front of a banner of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo outside Estadio de Bata "Bata Stadium", which will host the opening match and ceremony for the African Nations Cup, in Bata Januar
Lisa Bryant

As the Africa Cup of Nations kicks off in Equatorial Guinea on Saturday, non-governmental groups are drawing attention to the poverty and and less-than-open government in the oil-rich African nation - and are calling on the European Union to adopt strict disclosure laws for oil companies doing business there.

As co-host, with neighboring Gabon, of the 28th Africa Cup of Nations football (soccer) tournament, this is Equatorial Guinea's chance to shine.  Earlier this month, the country's national team officially opened a new stadium in the port city of Bata, where the opening ceremonies will take place.

First-day competition in Bata features Equatorial Guinea taking on Libya and Senegal playing Zambia.   The games continue for the next three weeks at different venues all across the two nations.

Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang wants to use the sports event to show the best image of his country.

But a pair of nongovernmental groups - One-France, co-founded by rock star Bono, and local NGO EG Justice - are casting a less-flattering lens on the country.   According to the groups, unequal distribution of oil wealth is the big problem.

One-France Director Guillaume Grosso:

"This is a country where there is misery everywhere," said Grosso.   Where two people out of three are under the poverty line.  So we think that talking about football is in fact a fantastic opportunity to shed a light - a different light - on that country and what could be done to end the situation which, frankly, is just unfair. "

Headed by autocratic President Obiang, Equatorial Guinea is one of sub-Saharan Africa's biggest oil producers.  But little of this wealth has trickled down to ordinary people.  The country is ranked near the bottom of the United Nations Human Development Index, which looks at indicators like education, life expectancy and living standards.  Also, watchdog group Transparency International ranks it among the most corrupt countries in the world on its annual perceptions index.

"The money the country earns from this wealth is not redistributed," said Grosso. "And the reason why it's not redistributed is because there's absolutely no transparency in the way the oil companies are investing in the country."

Last year, the United States agreed to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which aims to improve governance in developing countries and the standards of companies doing business with them.

"So it's time for Europe, now that we're all talking about Equatorial Guinea, to take this question in hand and to vote a similar law," continued Grosso.

Europe is taking steps in this direction, with a European Commission proposal that would require oil, timber and mining industries to disclose their payments to governments.  Spokeswoman Chantal Hughes says the Commission is pushing EU lawmakers to adopt it quickly.  But Grosso says the industry lobby against the measure is very powerful, leaving it uncertain whether the proposal will become law.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid