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Return for Investment. Photo: David Montgomery
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Magno Suites owner, Josué Esono Edú Corredor. Photo: Rick JanssenFor a long time, Equatorial Guinea was a place that offered few prospects for ambitious young people wanting to get educated and establish a successful career, or build a business. Before the National University was established in 1995, there was no way to earn a university degree in the country. Scholarships helped some study in the Soviet Union, Cuba or the United States, but, for most, the best opportunities lay in Spain, the former colonial ruler.

With the downturn in the European economy in recent years, which hit Spain harder than most fellow EU countries, the booming economy fueled by oil and gas exports in Equatorial Guinea naturally began to look a lot more attractive to natives who had moved to Spain. Many returned home to better jobs, and some recognized the opportunities to build businesses of their own.

One of these people was Raquel Maye. The daughter of an Equatoguinean ambassador to Madrid, she and her siblings decided to return to their homeland when they saw the rapid growth taking place there. She noticed that while there were a lot of international companies active in her country, there was very little night life for the workers to enjoy.

She decided to put her savings into opening a place for people to relax at night, with a pleasant atmosphere and good music. She purchased an old building near the center of Malabo and transformed it into The Bahia Sound Lounge, which opened its doors a year ago.

She says that during the week “the atmosphere is relaxed, but during the weekend our club is more like a discotheque.” Her customers “come from all over the world: Guineans, Spaniards, Americans, Chinese, Egyptians…”

Bahia Sound Lounge owner, Raquel Maye. Photo: Rick JanssenMaye, a dynamic woman with a winning smile, says the transformation of her country has been “wonderful, marvelous. The changes have been amazing.”

She says not only has the country changed externally, but the people have changed too, for the better. “Previously people weren’t interested in working much. Now people realize if you don’t work, you don’t eat. Before, it was difficult to find people who wanted to work.”

Describing the work of establishing a business in Equatorial Guinea, Maye says that the bureaucratic challenges are similar to those in Europe. “But if you do the paperwork and have all the necessary approvals, then the day you have an inspection, you won’t be shut down.”

Across town, another Equatoguinean who has returned to his homeland to make a fresh start in life is Josué Esono Edú Corredor. He was raised in Spain by an Equatoguinean father and Spanish mother, and came to Malabo to help in a family business. With a degree in tourism and a background in hospitality, he also found work in the Ministry of Tourism, but after a couple of years he decided to fulfill his dream of owning and operating a hotel.

The result was Magno Suites, which is located just off the main street of Paraiso. Built with private funds from his family, Edú says that his concept is to provide quality service at reasonable rates. Open for a year (originally as Mango Suites), the boutique hotel is averaging an occupancy rate of over 60 percent for its first year, with that number rising as more and more people find out about it.

By providing personalized service in a modern environment, with an excellent restaurant and comfortable bar area for meetings, Magno Suites clearly has found a successful niche, and Edú is happy with the results.

He says that some of his customers come to stay there to unwind over the weekend, away from the stress of doing business. For Edú, Magno Suites is 12 to 14 hours of work a day, but as the overall business climate improves around him, running the hotel is getting easier.

Looking ahead, Edú believes that business opportunities will only increase, as the economy expands and both foreign and domestic investment accelerate.

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EG Vistas Malabo Guide

EG Vistas Magazine

EGVistas Magazine summer 2014
Summer 2014

Vistas - Summer 2014 Articles

Summer 2014 Articles

Building for the Future
Interview NJ Ayuk:
An Improving Business Climate Brings Horizon 2020 Goals Closer
Return for Investment
Higher Education Gets a Major Boost
CANIGE: First-Class Schooling
La Paz: World-Class Healthcare at
Reasonable Rates
A Successful US-EG Collaboration to Protect Bioko's Wildlife
Drexel's Man in Malabo
Interview Cathy Krajicek:
Marathon's Investment in Equatorial Guinea
Iconic Cathedral of Malabo Gets a Facelift
A Museum of Modern Art
Miss Yuma: A Voice to Remember

Interview Guillermina Mekuy
Mba Obono:

From Biodiversity to Business Travel

New Vaccine Could Rid Bioko of Malaria
by 2020
Getting There
Staying There
Maps of Malabo

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