President Obiang Comments on Criticism Over UNESCO Prize

Equatorial Guinea Also Announced $1.5 Million Donation to World Health Organization

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, Aug. 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Equatorial Guinea's (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo expressed his disappointment at the recent criticism from some agencies about the creation of the UNESCO-Obiang prize during the opening ceremony of the 60th Session of the World Health Organization Regional Committee for Africa in Malabo. President Obiang stated that the prize would precisely enable UNESCO to invest more in research.

President Obiang has stated in the past that the award was created with the goal of preserving human life. The significant funding allocated for this prize is in order for scientists to conduct studies and so they have the resources they need to find cures—for the health and well-being of people everywhere, including in Equatorial Guinea. Further, he said Equatorial Guinea is working both to improve itself and contribute to the international community—the UNESCO Prize is a part of this effort.

During the opening ceremony of the WHO event, President Obiang also announced the donation of USD$1.5 million from the Government and people of Equatorial Guinea to the WHO, as well as the delivery of a headquarters facility for the organization to expand its work in the country. President Obiang explained that funding is to be directed for research undertaken by the organization for health of peoples worldwide.

He also reminded participants at the event of the recently signed agreement with the African Union for the creation and installation of the first Headquarters of the African Center for Science, Technology and Innovation in Equatorial Guinea.

The 60th Meeting of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa is taking place in Malabo and brings together health ministers from the 46 member states. The five-day meeting is attended by hundreds of participants, including senior WHO officials, representatives of United Nations Agencies, Funds, Programs as well as a number of bilateral, multilateral, inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations. The purpose of the meeting is to set policy and approve the budget and programs for the WHO in the region.

About the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences: The UNESCO Executive Board has approved and will soon award the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Price for Research in the Life Sciences, an award sponsored by the President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial), Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, and supported by the international community, particularly African nations. The award aims to reward projects and activities by a person, group, scientific institution, or other entity or organization that has contributed, through research, to the improvement of the quality of human life. The award, which will be worth $300,000, will be awarded once a year for an initial period of five years. The initiative arose as a personal proposal of the President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) during his speech at the General Conference of UNESCO in October 2007. It is a part of the efforts the Government of Equatorial Guinea is making to contribute to the global community and advance the welfare of the citizens of its country.

About Equatorial Guinea

The Republic of Equatorial Guinea (Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial) is the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa, and one of the smallest nations on the continent. In the late-1990s, American companies helped discover the country's oil and natural gas resources, which only within the last five years began contributing to the global energy supply. Equatorial Guinea is now working to serve as a pillar of stability and security in its region of West Central Africa. The country will host the 2011 Summit of the African Union. For more information, visit

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SOURCE Republic of Equatorial Guinea