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World’s longest-serving president Could Receive lifeline from IMF

Last updated on October 25, 2019

Equatorial Guinea is looking for financing by the International Monetary Fund which might help keep afloat a four-decade-old regime accused by prosecutors in the US to France of wasting the little African country’s oil riches.

The IMF this week gave the green light to get a three-year funding program to assist the authorities of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the longest-serving president on earth, climb from a catastrophe that shrank its market by a third to $13 billion.

The loan, the sum of which hasn’t yet been demonstrated, is scheduled to be considered by the IMF executive board in December and intended to”encourage the retrieval of economic activity and boost sustainable and inclusive economic development,” the Washington-based lender said Oct. 21.

As lately as 2017, Equatorial Guinea was rich in per-capita conditions as its former colonial master Spain. Now, the OPEC member is trying to pay its debts after oil prices dropped in 2014.

In the last few decades, overseas builders have built tall, glass-fronted authorities towers at the capital, Malabo, within an infrastructure spending spree which left little to social investment, according to the United Nations. Greater than half the populace of roughly 1.3 million people have access to clean water.

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“The IMF isn’t helping a poor nation — it’s bailing out a nation that has wasted its enormous funds via corruption and wasteful spending,” Sarah Saadoun, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, said by telephone from New York.

“The way the IMF addresses corruption in this instance is essential for different nations,” she explained.

Finance Minister Cesar Mba Abogo stated in a meeting in September that the government may seek up to $700 million in the IMF since it must defend its money.

That is just more than twice the number Obiang’s eldest son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, spent between 2000 and 2011 getting luxury properties on four continents and resources such as Michael Jackson memorabilia, US Department of Justice attorneys said in a 2013 money-laundering event that has been settled the next year.

Obiang’s son, who is commonly known as Teodorin, is now the nation’s vice president and formerly served as a forestry minister. The goal of a spate of corruption probes in the past several decades, he’s consistently denied wrongdoing.

He obtained a yearlong prison term and a $35 million fine by a French courtroom in 2017 for spending thousands of dollars in public funds on a homemade, sports cars and jewelry in France.

To sign off to the loan, the IMF has demanded that the government do more to fight corruption and enhance transparency in a nation that always ranks among the worst in Transparency International’s yearly corruption index. Equatorial Guinea can be needed to be a part of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which promotes good governance from the mining and petroleum sectors.

Since ousting his uncle at a damn 1979 coup, President Obiang has mastered the arbitrary detention, torture, and killing of dissidents, making his regime a human-rights record akin to that of Syria and North Korea at the most recent position of Washington-based think tank Freedom House.

“For saying a number of the very same matters the IMF is currently saying, I had been fired from my occupation, imprisoned and beat up,” said Alfredo Okenve, an academic and human-rights activist who abandoned the nation in August after spending five weeks under house arrest for Maximum charges.

“The IMF staff finds the monetary adjustment for a sign the government is ready to change,” he explained. “They’re gambling on a wonder — this program won’t change.”