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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid