Rabat- The African Football Confederation (CAF) and its President Issa Hayatou 'happily' announced on Friday that Equatorial Guinea has agreed to replace Morocco as new host of Africa's football showpiece which starts on Jan.17 until Feb.8.
Rabat- The African Football Confederation (CAF) and its President Issa Hayatou ‘happily’ announced on Friday that Equatorial Guinea has agreed to replace Morocco as new host of Africa’s football showpiece which starts on Jan.17 until Feb.8.
However, the people in the small African country do not seem to be as happy and jubilant regarding the event as Issa Hayatou wants them to be.
According to Equatoguinean media reports, the economy of the country has entered a recession in 2013 and could still deteriorate in 2014 and 2015, showing negative growth rates of -1.8% and -8.5% respectively.
In addition, the Minister of Finance and Budget of Equatorial Guinea Marcelino Owono Edu said on October 11 that his country is facing an economic crisis and the government has no funds to pay its debts.
The country is one of sub-Sahara’s largest oil producers. Given the fact that its population is less than a million, it is the richest country per capita in the entire African continent. Yet, in terms of corruption, Equatorial Guinea is ranked among the top ten percent of the most corrupt countries in the world, at 163 out of 177.
Based on reports of the United Nations, Equatorial Guinea has a high rate of child mortality with at least ten percent of children die before reaching to the age of five. Moreover, only less than half the population in the oil-rich country has access to clean and drinkable water.
Faced with all these daily hardships and the lack of response to the urgent issues that should be given priority and necessary funding, it is no wonder that the people of Equatorial Guinea would not be as excited about hosting the African Cup of Nations as CAF’s President whose objective is to please the multinational companies that are sponsoring his tournament at the expense of a country that cannot even afford to pay its employees, let alone shoulder the burden of financing the organization of such a competition.
An anonymous Facebook account called ‘Enemies of dictatorship’ published a statement in which he blamed on the country’s senior officials who accepted to host the competition.
The statement described Issa Hayatou as a dictator “who since he could not understand Morocco’s concerns over the Ebola disease, took the decision to name a country that does not respect its citizens such as Equatorial Guinea, a highly corrupt country where the President’s son has bought a building in Paris worth 500 million Euros, while the country’s population lives on less than two dollars daily.”
The corruption claims against the President of Equatorial Guinea Teodore Obiang Nguema and his entourage did not seem to deter the CAF from naming the country as host of the thirtieth edition of the African Cup of Nations.
According to an article published in the Foreign Policy on Friday, President Obiang’s son, Teodorin, the country’s second vice president, sold $30 million worth of assets, including a mansion in California and a collection of Michael Jackson souvenirs, in order to settle a corruption case brought up against him by U.S. prosecutors.