GOVERNMENT is desperately trying to take advantage of the state visit by Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema to extract a fuel supply co
ntract from the oil-rich west African state.
Zimbabwe is reeling from a six-year-old fuel crisis which has greatly undermined the economy. Fuel scarcity is part of a myriad of problems at the heart of Zimbabwe’s economic decline.
As reported by the Zimbabwe Independent in 2004, President Robert Mugabe has been trying to secure fuel supplies from Equatorial Guinea since the arrest two years ago of 67 mercenaries at Harare international airport who were allegedly en route to the west African country to overthrow Nguema’s regime.
Ever since the interception, relations between the two countries have blossomed. Zimbabwe is even working on a law to deal with international terrorism as part of efforts to appeal to countries like Equatorial Guinea seen as vulnerable to coup plots. The law is also seen as part of efforts to curry favour with the West.
Mugabe on Wednesday told journalists at State House that he had discussed wide-ranging issues in areas of co-operation with his visiting counterpart in a bid to “solidify relations” between the two countries whose “security systems are inter-twined”.
Industry and International Trade minister Obert Mpofu yesterday confirmed that Zimbabwe is seeking to procure fuel from Equatorial Guinea at a breakfast seminar organised by local captains of industry for Nguema.
“Our initial assessment, and we stand to be corrected, is that Equatorial Guinea exports vast quantities of mineral fuels and oils, organic chemicals and various other commodities which are of great interest to Zimbabwe,” said Mpofu.
“At the same time, among Equatorial Guinea’s major imports are products such as tobacco, dairy products, beverages, beef, poultry and other meat products; and chemicals, which Zimbabwe produces.”
Mpofu added: “Our respective Chambers of Commerce and Industry will therefore need to conclude some Memoranda of Understanding on Cooperation and Information Exchange.”
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president, Pattison Sithole, echoed the same sentiments saying: “Your country is endowed with natural resources which our country requires”.
Equatorial Guinea has a sound economic base thanks to oil. Its gross domestic product (GDP) is US$5,5billion, while GDP per capita is US$5 300. Its major industries cover petroleum, timber and natural gas.