Interview with Angel Nokonoko Micoso

President of the Bioko Chamber of Commerce (Equatorial Guinea)

Angel Nokonoko Micoso

President of the Bioko Chamber of Commerce (Equatorial Guinea)

In the framework of the work prior to the organization of FITAC (International Tourism Fair of Central Africa), in its first edition to be held between May 6 and 12 next year, the authorities of Equatorial Guinea have received this correspondent, representing a commission of experts in Tourism, belonging to the international Tourism and Society Think Tank, 

In this sense, and within the framework of the trip to Equatorial Guinea, the TSTT delegation has verified with the local authorities the importance that they give to the cocoa agricultural industry, along with other great resources that contribute to the Economic Diversification Plan of the Government of Equatorial Guinea, because Guinea is a paradise yet to be discovered. 

An interview with the gracious President of the Bioko Chamber of Commerce, Angel Nokonoko Micoso, granted to this correspondent, shows that his government will focus its attention on the traditional cocoa crop, since it constitutes an important source of income for farmers. 

The fertile soils and tropical climate mean that cocoa plantations produce high quality beans, intense aroma and fruity flavor with notes of citrus and red fruits. An irreplaceable visit to the cocoa farms, the tree-to-bar factories and the drying sheds will become a regular practice for a tourist that can never be overlooked.

The country's development is due to the export of its petroleum resources. Revenues from the hydrocarbon sector have allowed the growth of other activities, including the agricultural sector?

I would like to highlight the great wisdom of the Vice-President, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, who has bet on the development of tourism and agriculture, which is our main focus today, so as not to depend on imports. Restarting cocoa production in Equatorial Guinea would be a worthy task for the sustainability of the national economy. The goal is to return to the splendorous Guinea of the cocoa era and to obtain the highest per capita income in Africa. 

Guinea is the only state of Hispanic lineage in sub-Saharan Africa that is preparing to industrialize its economy in the next thirteen years. Is this the case? 

Since the discovery of oil, the government has planned two stages of development: one until 2020 and the other until 2035. The 2020 phase has served to give oxygen to the consolidation of all the necessary infrastructure such as the road network, port and airports, as well as hotels and first class restaurants. Equatorial Guinea is the only country in Central Africa with the highest mileage of paved roads. Thus, the government has opted to install emblematic cities, such as the city of Oyala (also known as Djibloho), which is the center of high meetings of leaders, as administrative headquarters, which hosts extraordinary sessions of ECCAS and other major events or the city of Sipopo, about 15 km east of Malabo, where you can see the 54 homes for the 54 Heads of State of Africa. They are palaces for them to reside in, once they arrive in Guinea.

In compliance with the National Strategy for Sustainable Development 2035, Equatorial Guinea has committed to five economies, one of which, the Internet economy, is one of the cornerstones for the country's development. What role does tourism play in this new economic planning? 

The growth of the Guinean economy amounts to 3.1 percent in 2022, despite inflation, due to the war in Ukraine. The Commission of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the CPLP, and the African Common Market are very relevant projects for us that improve the economic situation of Equatorial Guinea. Despite what has happened in Ukraine, there have obviously been repercussions on inflation, but Guinea is betting on its five economies: the Green, blue, oil, digital and, of course, tourism. 

The WHO congratulated the government of Equatorial Guinea for being above the forecasts of the Covid-19 management, with unprecedented high percentages of vaccination coverage, before the end of the past year 2021. Explain to me how this was achieved

The data that you handle on the current growth of our economy are real and I go back, before the war between Russia and Ukraine, that there was already a known pandemic, which unfortunately struck many countries. The UN praised Equatorial Guinea for the launch of the Equatorial Guinea Agenda 2035, which will boost the achievement of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) in the country. The WHO congratulated, as you rightly said, Guinea for the good management of Covid 19. Our government has been able to overcome all the conjunctures that do not wreak havoc, because we are on alert.

The world pandemic has helped us to know how to manage adverse circumstances, such as on March 7, when an accident in the coastal town of Bata in the Continental Region resulted in many victims, some 98, or the exposure to the Marburg virus, which the government has also known how to handle diligently and wisely, the first time this disease has been detected.

Alluding to the FITAC (International Tourism Fair of Central Africa), and all that it entails such as the creation of new jobs and the non-dependence on the hydrocarbon sector. What is your opinion about future foreign investments in Equatorial Guinea?

There is a political will of the government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea in the use of new technologies for the development and promotion of Tourism. Guinea is open to the development of this economic sector, as I reiterate. Based on the support of His Excellency the Vice-President of the Republic, for other policies, it will take into account the tourism development that will allow to land in this paradise, yet to be discovered. 

One of the secrets of the Equatoguinean gastronomy is the use of the modica condiment, which is collected for local consumption and exported to other countries. Tell me about it.

This condiment is another type of chocolate, which does not come from cocoa. It is used to make very succulent sauces that give exquisiteness to dishes. Modica (Andok in the Fang tribe) is a condiment that does not come from cocoa, as I said, but it is exported. It is a very coveted product for the countries of Equatorial Africa. It is consumed in Congo, Cameroon, Gabon and others. 

If you had to promote Equatorial Guinea to give a good image of the country, how would you do it?

There are spectacular places like our emblematic beaches with crystal-clear waters; destinations like Corisco, an authentic archaeological site, which has the third best airport in Equatorial Guinea, providing easy connectivity for tourist movement. Another example is the volcanic island of Annobon, a true paradise. We have foral tourism and ecotourism, deep in the forests that will allow you to discover fortresses, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, along with the fauna that inhabits our forests, marine and terrestrial turtles. Equatorial Guinea is a paradise, yet to be discovered.

Author: Carmen Chamorro

Directive of the CIP/ACPE and graduated in International Relations by the SEI.

The authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts contained in this document and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of Tourism and Society Think Tank and do not commit the Organization, and should not be attributed to TSTT or its members.

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