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República de Guinea Ecuatorial   (Spanish)
République de Guinée Équatoriale   (French)
República da Guiné Equatorial   (Portuguese)
Republic of Equatorial Guinea
Flag Coat of arms
MottoUnidad, Paz, Justicia  (Spanish)
Unité, Paix, Justice  (French)
Unidade, Paz, Justiça  (Portuguese)
Unity, Peace, Justice
AnthemCaminemos pisando la senda
Capital
(and largest city)
Malabo
3°45′N 8°47′E / 3.75°N 8.783°E / 3.75; 8.783
Official language(s) Spanish, French and Portuguese
Recognised regional languages Fang, Bube, Annobonese
Ethnic groups  85.7% Fang, 6.5% Bubi, 3.6% Mdowe, 1.6% Annobon, 1.1% Bujeba, 1.4% other (Spanish)[1]
Demonym Equatoguinean, Equatorial Guinean
Government Presidential Republic
 -  President Teodoro Obiang
 -  Prime Minister Ignacio Milam
Independence
 -  from Spain October 12, 1968 
Area
 -  Total 28,051 km2 (144th)
10,828 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) negligible
Population
 -  2009 estimate 676,000[2] (166th)
 -  Density 24.1/km2 (187th)
62.4/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $22.389 billion[3] 
 -  Per capita $18,058[3] 
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $18.525 billion[3] 
 -  Per capita $14,941[3] 
HDI (2007) 0.719[4] (medium) (118th)
Currency Central African CFA franc (XAF)
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)
 -  Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+1)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .gq
Calling code 240

Equatorial Guinea, officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea (Spanish: República de Guinea Ecuatorial, pronounced [reˈpuβlika ðe ɣiˈne.a ekwatoˈɾjal]; French: République de Guinée Équatoriale; Portuguese: República da Guiné Equatorial) is a country located in Central Africa. With an area of 28,000 km2 it is one of the smallest countries in continental Africa. It is also the most prosperous, with gross per capita income on the level of some EU countries, ahead even of Libya and South Africa, traditionally two of the more developed African countries; this prosperity is recent, though. It has a population of 1,014,999.[5] It comprises two parts: a Continental Region (Río Muni), including several small offshore islands like Corisco, Elobey Grande and Elobey Chico; and an insular region containing Annobón island and Bioko island (formerly Fernando Po) where the capital Malabo is situated.

Annobón is the southernmost island of Equatorial Guinea and is situated just south of the equator. Bioko island is the northernmost point of Equatorial Guinea. Between the two islands and to the east is the mainland region. Equatorial Guinea is bordered by Cameroon on the north, Gabon on the south and east, and the Gulf of Guinea on the west, where the island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe is located between Bioko and Annobón. Formerly the colony of Spanish Guinea, its post-independence name is suggestive of its location near both the equator and the Gulf of Guinea. It is one of the few territories in mainland Africa where Spanish is an official language, besides the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.

Equatorial Guinea is the third smallest country in continental Africa in terms of population.[6] It is also the second smallest United Nations (UN) member from continental Africa. The discovery of sizeable petroleum reserves in recent years is altering the economic and political status of the country. Equatorial Guinea has been cited as an example of the natural resource curse[citation needed]; its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita ranks 31st in the world[7]; however, most of the country's considerable oil wealth actually lies in the hands of only a few people.

Out of 44 sub-Saharan countries, Equatorial Guinea ranks 9th in terms of the Human Development Index (HDI) and 115th overall, which is among the “medium” HDI countries.

Equatorial Guinea is in the process of becoming validated as an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Compliant country, working toward transparency in reporting of oil revenues and the prudent use of natural resource wealth. The country is one of 30 Candidate countries and obtained Candidate status February 22, 2008. They met all required obligations to do so, including committing to working with civil society and companies on EITI implementation, appointing a senior individual to lead on EITI implementation, and publishing a fully costed Work Plan with measurable targets, a timetable for implementation and an assessment of capacity constraints. Equatorial Guinea held its 7th meeting of the EITI National Commission on January 30, 2010, during which time steps were taken for the advancement of the implementation process.[8]

Contents

History

In the continental region that is now Equatorial Guinea there are believed to have been pygmies, of whom only isolated pockets remain in northern Río Muni. Bantu migrations between the 17th and 19th centuries brought the coastal tribes and later the Fang. Elements of the latter may have generated the Bubi, who emigrated to Bioko from Cameroon and Rio Muni in several waves and succeeded former Neolithic populations. The Bubi were the very first human inhabitants of Bioko island. The Annobón population, native to Angola, was introduced by the Portuguese via São Tomé island (São Tomé and Príncipe).

The Portuguese explorer Fernão do Pó, seeking a path to India, is credited as being the first European to discover the island of Bioko in 1472. He called it Formosa ("Beautiful"), but it quickly took on the name of its European discoverer. The islands of Fernando Pó and Annobón were colonized by Portugal in 1474.

In 1778, the island, adjacent islets, and commercial rights to the mainland between the Niger and Ogoue Rivers were ceded to Spain in exchange for territory in the American continent (Treaty of El Pardo, between Queen Maria I of Portugal and King Charles III of Spain). Between 1778 and 1810, the territory of Equatorial Guinea depended administratively on the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, with seat in Buenos Aires.

From 1827 to 1843, the United Kingdom established a base on the island to combat the slave trade,[9] which was then moved to Sierra Leone upon agreement with Spain in 1843. In 1844, on restoration of Spanish sovereignty, it became known as the Territorios Españoles del Golfo de Guinea Ecuatorial. The mainland portion, Rio Muni, became a protectorate in 1885 and a colony in 1900. Conflicting claims to the mainland were settled by the Treaty of Paris (1900), and periodically, the mainland territories were united administratively under Spanish rule. Between 1926 and 1959 they were united as the colony of Spanish Guinea.

In September 1968, Francisco Macías Nguema was elected first president of Equatorial Guinea, and independence was recognised on October 12, 1968. In July 1970, Nguema created a single-party state. Nguema’s reign of terror led to the death or exile of up to 1/3 of the country's population. Out of a population of 300,000, an estimated 80,000 had been killed.[10][11] The economy collapsed, and skilled citizens and foreigners left.[12] Teodoro Obiang deposed Francisco Macías on August 3, 1979, in a bloody coup d'état.

Geography

Equatorial Guinea is located in west central Africa. The country consists of a mainland territory, Rio Muni, which is bordered by Cameroon to the north and Gabon to the east and south. Five small islands, Bioko, Corisco, Annabon, Small Elobey and Great Elobey are also part of the country. Bioko island lies about 40 kilometers (24.9 mi) from Cameroon. Annobón island lies about 595 kilometers (370 mi) between Cameroon and Gabon on the mainland. The rest of the islands are located near the continental region, and as adjacent islets to the main island.

Despite its name, no part of Equatorial Guinea's territory lies on the equator. The whole country lies within the Atlantic Equatorial coastal forests ecoregion except for patches of Central African mangroves on the coast, especially in the Muni River estuary.

Climate

Equatorial Guinea has a tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. From June to August, Río Muni is dry and Bioko wet; from December to February, the reverse occurs. In between there is gradual transition. Rain or mist occurs daily on Annobón, where a cloudless day has never been registered. The temperature at Malabo, Bioko, ranges from 16 °C (60.8 °F) to 33 °C (91.4 °F), though on the southern Moka Plateau normal high temperatures are only 21 °C (69.8 °F). In Río Muni, the average temperature is about 27 °C (80.6 °F). Annual rainfall varies from 1,930 mm (76.0 in) at Malabo to 10,920 mm (429.9 in)) at Ureka, Bioko, but Río Muni is somewhat drier.[13]

Politics

Map of Equatorial Guinea

The president of Equatorial Guinea is Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. The 1982 constitution of Equatorial Guinea, written with help from the UN, gives Obiang extensive powers, including naming and dismissing members of the cabinet, making laws by decree, dissolving the Chamber of Representatives, negotiating and ratifying treaties and calling legislative elections. Obiang, a former brigadier general, retains his role as commander-in-chief of the armed forces and minister of defence. The Prime Minister, Ignacio Milam Tang, is appointed by the President and operates under powers designated by the President. The Prime Minister coordinates government activities in areas other than foreign affairs, national defense and security.

Under President Obiang, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, in April 2006, to establish a Social Development Fund in the country, implementing projects in the areas of health, education, women's affairs and the environment.[14] President Obiang also initiated projects with MPRI to improve the country’s human rights practices.[15]

The incumbent president has never equalled the bloodthirsty reputation of former dictator Francisco Macías Nguema, whom he overthrew. On Christmas of 1975, Macías had 150 alleged coup plotters executed to the sound of a band playing Mary Hopkin's tune Those Were the Days in a national stadium.[16]

According to a March 2004 BBC profile,[17] politics within the country are currently dominated by tensions between Obiang's son, Teodorin, and other close relatives with powerful positions in the security forces. The tension may be rooted in power shift arising from the dramatic increase in oil production which has occurred since 1997.

A November 2004 report[18] named Mark Thatcher as a financial backer of a 2004 Equatorial Guinea coup d'état attempt to topple Obiang, organized by Simon Mann. Various accounts also name the United Kingdom's MI6, the United States' CIA, and Spain as having been tacit supporters of the coup attempt.[19] Nevertheless, the Amnesty International report released in June 2005[20] on the ensuing trial of those allegedly involved highlighted the prosecution's failure to produce conclusive evidence that a coup attempt had actually taken place.

Simon Mann was released from prison on November 3, 2009 for humanitarian reasons. The presidential decree pardoning Mann from prison cites concerns about his physical health and the need for him to receive ongoing care in his home country.[21]

President Obiang was re-elected to serve an additional term in 2009 in an election deemed by the African Union as “in line with electoral law”.[22] The President reappointed Prime Minister Ignacio Milam Tang and installed a new government in Equatorial Guinea on January 12, 2010.[23]

Provinces and districts

Provinces of Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea is divided into seven provinces (capitals appear in parentheses):

  1. Annobón Province (San Antonio de Palé)
  2. Bioko Norte Province (Malabo)
  3. Bioko Sur Province (Luba)
  4. Centro Sur Province (Evinayong)
  5. Kié-Ntem Province (Ebebiyín)
  6. Litoral Province (Bata)
  7. Wele-Nzas Province (Mongomo)

The provinces are further divided into districts.

Economy

Pre-independence Equatorial Guinea counted on cocoa production for hard currency earnings. It had the highest per capita income of Africa in 1959. On January 1, 1985, the country became the first non-Francophone African member of the franc zone, adopting the CFA as its currency. The national currency, the ekwele, was previously linked to the Spanish peseta.[24]

The discovery of large oil reserves in 1996 and its subsequent exploitation have contributed to a dramatic increase in government revenue. As of 2004,[25] Equatorial Guinea is the third-largest oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its oil production has risen to 360,000 barrels/day, up from 220,000 only two years earlier.

Forestry, farming, and fishing are also major components of GDP. Subsistence farming predominates. The deterioration of the rural economy under successive brutal regimes has diminished any potential for agriculture-led growth.

In July 2004, the United States Senate published an investigation into Riggs Bank, a Washington-based bank into which most of Equatorial Guinea's oil revenues were paid until recently, and which also banked for Chile's Augusto Pinochet. The Senate report, as to Equatorial Guinea, showed that at least $35 million were siphoned off by Obiang, his family and senior officials of his regime. The president has denied any wrongdoing. While Riggs Bank in February 2005 paid $9 million as restitution for its banking for Chile's Augusto Pinochet, no restitution was made with regard to Equatorial Guinea, as reported in detail in an Anti-Money Laundering Report from Inner City Press.[26]

Equatorial Guinea is a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).[27]

Oil and gas exports have increased substantially (in 2003 Equatorial Guinea was ranked third among Sub-Sahara African producers behind Nigeria and Angola) and will drive the economy for years to come. The GDP increased by 105.2% in 1997, and real GDP growth reached 23% in 1999, and initial estimates suggested growth of about 15% in 2001, according to IMF 2001 forecast. Per capita income grew from about $1,000 in 1998 to about $2,000 in 2000. The energy export sector is responsible for this rapid growth. Oil production has increased from 81,000 to 210,000 barrel/day (13,000 to 33,000 m³/day) between 1998 and early 2001. There is ongoing additional development of existing commercially viable oil and gas deposits as well as new exploration in other offshore concessions.

Equatorial Guinea has other largely unexploited human and natural resources, including a tropical climate, fertile soils, rich expanses of water, deepwater ports, and an untapped, if unskilled, source of labor. Following independence in 1968, the country suffered under a repressive dictatorship for 11 years, which devastated the economy. The agricultural sector, which historically was known for cocoa of the highest quality, has never fully recovered. In 1969 Equatorial Guinea produced 36,161 tons of highly bid cocoa, but production dropped to 4,800 tons in 2000. Coffee production also dropped sharply during this period to bounce back to 100,000 metric tons in 2000. Timber is the main source of foreign exchange after oil, accounting for about 12.4% of total export earnings in 1996-99. Timber production increased steadily during the 1990s; wood exports reached a record 789,000 cubic meters in 1999 as demand in Asia (mainly China) gathered pace after the 1998 economic crisis. Most of the production (mainly Okoume) goes to exports, and only 3% is processed locally. Environmentalists fear that exploitation at this level is unsustainable and point out to the permanent damage already inflicted on the forestry reserves on Bioko.

Consumer price inflation has declined from the 38.8% experienced in 1994 following the CFA franc devaluation, to 7.8% in 1998, and 1.0% in 1999, according to BEAC data. Consumer prices rose about 6% in 2000, according to initial estimates, and there was anecdotal evidence that price inflation was accelerating in 2001.

Equatorial Guinea's policies, as defined by law, comprise an open investment regime. Qualitative restrictions on imports, non-tariff protection, and many import licensing requirements were lifted when in 1992 the government adopted a public investment program endorsed by the World Bank. The Government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea has sold some state enterprises. It is attempting to create a more favourable investment climate, and its investment code contains numerous incentives for job creation, training, promotion of non-traditional exports, support of development projects and indigenous capital participation, freedom for repatriation of profits, exemption from certain taxes and capital, and other benefits. Trade regulations have been further liberalized since implementation in 1994 of the ICN turnover tax, in conformity with Central African tax and custom reform codes. The reform included elimination of quota restrictions and reductions in the range and amounts of tariffs. The CEMAC countries agreed to replace the ICN with a value added tax (VAT) in 1999.

While business laws promote a liberalized economy, the business climate remains difficult. Application of the laws remains selective. Corruption among officials is widespread, and many business deals are concluded under non-transparent circumstances.

There is little industry in the country, and the local market for industrial products is small. The government seeks to expand the role of free enterprise and to promote foreign investment but has had little success in creating an atmosphere conducive to investor interest.

The Equato-Guinean budget has grown enormously in the past 3 years as royalties and taxes on foreign company oil and gas production have provided new resources to a once poor government. The 2001 budget foresaw revenues of about 154 billion CFA francs (154 GCFAF) (about U.S.$200 million), up about 50% from 2000 levels. Oil revenues account for about two-thirds of government revenue, and VAT and trade taxes are the other large revenue sources.

Year 2001 government expenditures were planned to reach 158 billion CFA francs, up about 50% from 2000 levels. New investment projects represented about 40% of the budget, and personnel and internal and external debt payments represented about one-third of planned expenditures.

The Equato-Guinean Government has undertaken a number of reforms since 1991 to reduce its predominant role in the economy and promote private sector development. Its role is a diminishing one, although many government interactions with the private sector are at times capricious. Beginning in early 1997, the government initiated efforts to attract significant private sector involvement through a Corporate Council on Africa visit and numerous ministerial efforts. In 1998, the government privatized distribution of petroleum products. There are now Total and Mobil stations in the country. The government has expressed interest in privatizing the outmoded electricity utility. A French company operates cellular telephone service in cooperation with a state enterprise. The government is anxious for greater U.S. investment, and President Obiang visited the U.S. three times between 1999 and 2001 to encourage greater U.S. corporate interest. Investment in agriculture, fishing, livestock, and tourism are among sectors the government would like targeted.

Equatorial Guinea's balance-of-payments situation has improved substantially since the mid-1990s because of new oil and gas production and favorable world energy prices. Exports totaled about francs CFA 915 billion in 2000 (1.25 B$US), up from CFA 437 billion (700 M$US) in 1999. Crude oil exports accounted for more than 90% of export earnings in 2000. Timber exports, by contrast, represented only about 5% of export revenues in 2000. Additional oil production coming on line in 2001, combined with methanol gas exports from the new CMS-Nomeco plant, should increase export earnings substantially.

Imports into Equatorial Guinea also are growing very quickly. Imports totaled francs CFA 380 billion (530 M$US), up from franc CFA 261 million (420 M$US) in 1999. Imports of equipment used for the oil and gas sector accounted for about three-quarters of imports in 2000. Imports of capital equipment for public investment projects reached francs CFA 30 billion in 2000, up 40% from 1999 levels.

Equatorial Guinea's foreign debt stock was approximately francs CFA 69 billion (100 M$US) in 2000, slightly less than the debt stock in 1999, according to BEAC data. Equatorial Guinea's debt service ratio fell from 20% of GDP in 1994 to only 1% in 2000. Foreign exchange reserves were increasing slightly, although they were relatively low in terms of import coverage. According to the terms of the franc CFA zone, some of these reserves are kept in an account with the French Ministry of Finance.

Equatorial Guinea in the 1980s and 1990s received foreign assistance from numerous bilateral and multilateral donors, including European countries, the United States, and the World Bank. Many of these aid programs have ceased altogether or have diminished. Spain, France, and the European Union continue to provide some project assistance, as do China and Cuba. The government also has discussed working with World Bank assistance to develop government administrative capacity.

Equatorial Guinea operated under an IMF-negotiated Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) until 1996. Since then, there have been no formal agreements or arrangements. The International monetary Fund held Article IV consultations (periodic country evaluations) in 1996, 1997, and in August 1999. After the 1999 consultations, IMF directors stressed the need for Equatorial Guinea to establish greater fiscal discipline, accountability, and more transparent management of public sector resources, especially energy sector revenue. IMF officials also have emphasized the need for economic data. In 1999, the Equato-Guinean Government began attempting to meet IMF-imposed requirements, maintaining contact with IMF and the World Bank representatives. However, the new found oil wealth allowed the government to avoid improving fiscal discipline, transparency and accountability. Infrastructure is generally old and in poor condition. Surface transport is extremely limited at present, with little more than 700 kilometres of paved roads. The African Development Bank is helping to improve the paved roads from Malabo to Luba and Riaba; the Chinese are undertaking a project to link Mongomo to Bata on the mainland, and the European Union is financing an inter-states road network linking Equatorial Guinea to Cameroon and Gabon. Road maintenance is often inadequate.

Electricity is available in Equatorial Guinea's larger towns thanks to three small overworked hydropower facilities and a number of aged generators. In 1999, national production was about 13 MWh. In Malabo, the American company, CMS-Nomeco, built a 10 megawatt electricity plant financed by the government, which came in line in mid-2000, and plans to double capacity are advancing. This plant provides improved service to the capital, although there are still occasional outages. On the mainland the largest city, Bata, still has regular blackouts.

Water is only available in the major towns and is not always reliable because of poor maintenance and mismanagement. Some villages and rural areas are equipped with generators and water pumps, usually owned by private individuals.

Parastatal Getesa, a joint venture with a minority ownership stake held by a French subsidiary of France Telecom, provides telephone service in the major cities. The regular system is overextended, but France Telecom has introduced a popular GSM system, which is generally reliable in Malabo and Bata.

Equatorial Guinea has two of the deepest Atlantic seaports of the region, including the main business and commercial port city of Bata. The ports of both Malabo and Bata are severely overextended and require extensive rehabilitation and reconditioning. The British company, Incat, has an ongoing project with the government to renovate and expand Luba, the country's third-largest port which is located on Bioko island. The government hopes Luba will become a major transportation hub for offshore oil and gas companies operating in the Gulf of Guinea. Luba is located some 50 kilometres from Malabo and had been virtually inactive except for minor fishing activities and occasional use to ease congestion in Malabo. A new jetty is also being built at km 5 on the way from Malabo to the airport. It is a project mainly supposed to service the oil industry, but can also relieve the congested Malabo Port due to its closeness. The Oil Jetty at km 5 was supposed to open the end of March 2003. Riaba is the other port of any scale on Bioko but is less active. The continental ports of Mbini and Cogo have deteriorated as well and are now used primarily for timber activities.

There are both air and sea connections between the two cities of Malabo and Bata. A few aging Soviet-built aircraft operated by several small carriers, one state-owned, and the others private, constitute the national aircraft fleet. The runway at Malabo (3,200 m) is equipped with lights and can service equipment similar to DC 10s and Cl3Os. The one at Bata (2,400 m) does not operate at night but can accommodate aircraft as large as B737s. Their primary users are the national airline (EGA) and a private company (GEASA). Two minor airstrips (800 m) are located at Mongomo and Annobon. There are international connections out of Malabo to Madrid and Zurich in Europe and to Cotonou, Douala and Libreville in West Africa.

Despite a per capita GDP (PPP) of more than US$30,000[28][29], Equatorial Guinea ranks 121st out of 177 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index.

Demographics

Equatorial Guinean children of Bubi descent.

The majority of the people of Equatorial Guinea are of Bantu origin. The largest tribe, the Fang, is indigenous to the mainland, but substantial migration to Bioko Island has resulted in Fang dominance over the earlier Bantu inhabitants. The Fang constitute 80% of the population and comprise 67 clans. Those in the northern part of Rio Muni speak Fang-Ntumu, while those in the south speak Fang-Okah; the two dialects have differences but are mutually intelligible. Dialects of Fang are also spoken in parts of neighboring Cameroon (Bulu) and Gabon. These dialects, while still intelligible, are more distinct. The Bulu Fang of Cameroon were traditional rivals of Fang in Rio Muni. The Bubi, who constitute 15% of the population, are indigenous to Bioko Island. The traditional demarcation line between Fang and beach tribes was the village of Niefang (limit of the Fang) inland from Bata.

Equatorial Guinean children of Fang descent.

In addition, there are coastal tribes, sometimes referred to as "Playeros" (Beach People in Spanish): Combes, Bujebas, Balengues, and Bengas on the mainland and small islands, and Fernandinos, a Krio community on Bioko Island. Together, these groups compose 5% of the population. Some Europeans (largely of Spanish or Portuguese descent) – among them mixed with African ethnicity – also live in the nation. Most Spaniards left after independence. There is a growing number of foreigners from neighboring Cameroon, Nigeria, and Gabon. Equatorial Guinea received Asians and black Africans from other countries as workers on cocoa and coffee plantations. Other black Africans came from Liberia, Angola, and Mozambique. Most of the Asian population is Chinese, with small numbers of Indians.

Equatorial Guinea also allowed many fortune-seeking European settlers of other nationalities, including British, French and Germans. There is also a group of Israelis, which are employed at the Centro Médico La Paz in Bata[citation needed]. After independence, thousands of Equatorial Guineans went to Spain. Another 100,000 Equatorial Guineans went to Cameroon, Gabon, and Nigeria because of the dictatorship of Francisco Macías Nguema. Some Equatorial Guinean communities are also to be found in Latin America, the United States, Portugal, and France. Oil extraction has contributed to a doubling of the population in Malabo.

Religion in Equatorial Guinea
religion percent
Christian
  
93%
Muslim
  
1%
Other
  
6%

Religion

The principal religion in Equatorial Guinea is Christianity which is the faith of 93% of the population. These are predominately Roman Catholic (87%) while a minority are Protestants (5%). Another 5% of the population follow indigenous beliefs and the final 2% comprises Muslims, followers of Baha'i and other beliefs.[30]

Official languages

The Constitutional Law which amends article 4 of the Fundamental Law of the State establishes that the official languages of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea are Spanish and French. The aboriginal languages are recognized as integral parts of the national culture" (Constitutional Law No. 1/1998 of January 21). The great majority of Equatorial Guineans speak Spanish,[31] especially those living in the capital, Malabo. Spanish has been an official language since 1844.

In July 2007, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema announced his government's decision for Portuguese to become Equatorial Guinea's third official language, in order to meet the requirements to apply for full membership in the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP). This upgrading from its current Associate Observer condition would result in Equatorial Guinea being able to access several professional and academic exchange programs and the facilitation of cross-border circulation of citizens. Its application is currently being assessed by other CPLP members[31], although the CPLP website already states that Portuguese is Equatorial Guinea's third official language.[32]

Languages spoken in the country are Spanish, native languages (including Fang, Bube, Benga, Pichinglis, Ndowe, Balengue, Bujeba, Bissio, Gumu, Annobónese, a nearly extinct Baseke, and Igbo), French, others (mainly English, or German, as well as Fernando Poo Creole English).

Culture

In June 1984, the First Hispanic-African Cultural Congress was convened to explore the cultural identity of Equatorial Guinea. The congress constituted the center of integration and the marriage of the Hispanic culture with African cultures.[24]

Education

Education had been significantly neglected under the regime of Francisco Macias, with few children receiving any type of education. The illiteracy rate dropped from 73 percent to 43 percent under President Obiang's tenure. The number of primary school students has risen from 65,000 in 1986 to more than 100,000 in 1994. Education is free and compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 14.[24]

In recent years, with change in economic/political climate and government social agendas, several cultural dispersion and literacy organizations are now located in the country, founded chiefly with the financial support of the Spanish government. The country has one university, the Universidad Nacional de Guinea Ecuatorial (UNGE) with a campus in Malabo and a Faculty of Medicine located in Bata on the mainland. The Bata Medical School is supported principally by the government of Cuba and staffed by Cuban medical educators and physicians.

Transportation

Air transport

Every airline registered in the country appears on the list of air carriers prohibited in the European Union (EU) which means that it is banned for safety reasons from operating services of any kind within the EU[33].

Due to the big-oil presence in the country, internationally recognised carriers fly to Malabo (Bioko). The carriers include:

Communications

The principal means of communication within the country are three state-operated FM radio stations. There are also five shortwave radio stations. There are also two newspapers and two magazines. Television Nacional, the television network, is state operated.[34][35]

Most of the media companies practice heavy self-censorship, and are banned by law from criticising public figures. The state-owned media and the main private radio station are under the directorship of Teodorin Nguema Obiang, the president's son.

Landline telephone penetration is low, with only two lines available for every 100 persons.[35] There is one GSM mobile telephone operator, with coverage of Malabo, Bata, and several mainland cities.[36][37] As of 2009, approximately forty percent of the population subscribed to mobile telephone services.[38] The only telephone provider in Equatorial Guinea is Orange.

Equatorial Guinea has nine (as of 2009) Internet service providers, which serves more than 8,000 users.[35]

Sports

Football

Equatorial Guinea has been chosen to co-host the 2012 African Cup of Nations in partnership with Gabon. The country was also chosen to host the 2008 Women's African Football Championship, which they won.

Swimming

Equatorial Guinea is also famous for the national swimming champion Eric Moussambani, nicknamed "Eric the Eel".

In fiction

Frederick Forsyth's 1974 novel The Dogs of War is set in the fictional platinum-rich 'Republic of Zangaro', which is based on Equatorial Guinea. There is also a 1981 film adaptation of the book, also called The Dogs of War.

Fernando Po (now Bioko) is featured prominently in the 1975 science fiction work The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. The island (and, in turn, the country) experience a series of coups in the story which lead the world to the verge of nuclear war. The story also hypothesizes that Fernando Po is the last remaining piece of the sunken continent of Atlantis.

Most of the action in the American novelist Robin Cook's book, Chromosome 6, takes place at a primate research facility based in Equatorial Guinea due to the country's permissive laws. The book also discusses some of the geography, history, and peoples of the country.

Episode 2 of the British sitcom Yes Minister, The Official Visit, situates the fictional lesser developed country of Buranda in what is actually Equatorial Guinea.

In the novel Limit (2009) by Frank Schätzing which takes place in 2025 the country's history (and future history) plays a significant role in the plot.

International rankings

Organization Survey Ranking
Institute for Economics and Peace [4] Global Peace Index[39] 61 out of 144
United Nations Development Programme Human Development Index 118 out of 182
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 168 out of 180

See also

Notes and references

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the CIA World Factbook.

  1. ^ Cia World Factbook; Equatorial Guinea
  2. ^ Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division (2009) (.PDF). World Population Prospects, Table A.1. 2008 revision. United Nations. http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/wpp2008/wpp2008_text_tables.pdf. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Equatorial Guinea". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2009/02/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2006&ey=2009&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=642&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=&pr.x=57&pr.y=1. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  4. ^ "Human Development Report 2009. Human development index trends: Table G" (PDF). The United Nations. http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2009_EN_Complete.pdf. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  5. ^ The official webiste of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea
  6. ^ Seychelles, The Gambia, Djibouti, Rwanda, Burundi, Cape Verde, Comoros, Swaziland, and São Tomé and Príncipe are smaller in terms of area, and Djibouti and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic have smaller populations, although the population of the latter is disputed
  7. ^ CIA World Factbook: GDP - per capita (PPP), The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency. Data last updated on April 23, 2009. Accessed on April 24, 2009
  8. ^ [1] Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative
  9. ^ See Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911, "Fernando Po"
  10. ^ Coup plotter faces life in Africa's most notorious jail
  11. ^ True hell on earth: Simon Mann faces imprisonment in the cruellest jail on the planet
  12. ^ If you think this one's bad you should have seen his uncle
  13. ^ Credit goes to Nations Encyclopedia
  14. ^ USAID
  15. ^ MPRI
  16. ^ "Oil Gives African Nation a Chance for Change". The Washington Post. 2001-05-13. http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/35/238.html. 
  17. ^ "Profile: Equatorial Guinea's great survivor". BBC News. 2004-03-17. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3516588.stm. 
  18. ^ "Thatcher faces 15 years in prison". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2004-08-27. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/08/26/1093518010003.html. 
  19. ^ "The US knew, Spain knew, Britain knew. Whose coup was it?". Sunday Herald. 2004-08-29. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4156/is_20040829/ai_n12590798/?tag=content;col1. 
  20. ^ "Equatorial Guinea, A trial with too many flaws". Amnesty International. 2005-06-07. http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAFR240052005?open&of=ENG-GNQ. 
  21. ^ Presidential Decree
  22. ^ [2]
  23. ^ [3]
  24. ^ a b c EquatorialGuinea.org; Retrieved 12/08/1998
  25. ^ Justin Blum (September 7, 2004). "U.S. Oil Firms Entwined in Equatorial Guinea Deals". washingtonpost.com. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A1101-2004Sep6.html. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 
  26. ^ Inner City Press / Finance Watch: "Follow the Money, Watchdog the Regulators"
  27. ^ OHADA.com: The business law portal in Africa, http://www.ohada.com/index.php, retrieved 2009-03-22 
  28. ^ World Economic Outlook IMF Database, September 2005
  29. ^ CIA - The World Factbook - Equatorial Guinea
  30. ^ U.S. Department of State
  31. ^ a b "Obiang convierte al portugués en tercer idioma oficial para entrar en la Comunidad lusófona de Naciones", Terra. 13-07-2007 (translate)
  32. ^ "Guiné-Equatorial", CPLP
  33. ^ List of banned E.U. air carriers
  34. ^ "Country Profile: Equatorial Guinea: Media". BBC News. 2008-01-26. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/country_profiles/1023151.stm#media. 
  35. ^ a b c "CIA World Factbook: Equatorial Guinea; Communications". Central Intelligence Agency. 2008-03-20. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ek.html. 
  36. ^ "GSMWorld Providers: Equatorial Guinea". GSM World. 2008. http://www.gsmworld.com/roaming/gsminfo/cou_gq.shtml. 
  37. ^ "GSMWorld GETESA Coverage Map". GSM World. 2008. http://www.gsmworld.com/cgi-bin/ni_map.pl?cc=gq&net=ge. 
  38. ^ "CIA World Factbook: Equatorial Guinea". Central Intelligence Agency. 2009-02-09. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ek.html. 
  39. ^ "Vision of Humanity". Vision of Humanity. http://www.visionofhumanity.org/gpi/home.php. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 

Books

  • Max Liniger-Goumaz, Small is not Always Beautiful: The Story of Equatorial Guinea (French 1986, translated 1989) ISBN 0-389-20861-2
  • Ibrahim K. Sundiata, Equatorial Guinea: Colonialism, State Terror, and the Search for Stability (1990, Boulder: Westview Press) ISBN 0-8133-0429-6
  • Robert Klitgaard. 1990. Tropical Gangsters. New York: Basic Books. (World Bank economist tries to assist pre-oil Equatorial Guinea -clever book, factual account) ISBN 0465087604
  • D.L. Claret. Cien años de evangelización en Guinea Ecuatorial (1883–1983)/ One Hundred Years of Evangelism in Equatorial Guinea (1983, Barcelona: Claretian Missionaries)
  • Adam Roberts, The Wonga Coup: Guns, Thugs and a Ruthless Determination to Create Mayhem in an Oil-Rich Corner of Africa (2006, PublicAffairs) ISBN 1-58648-371-4

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Coordinates: 1°55′29.34″N 10°06′41.94″E / 1.9248167°N 10.11165°E / 1.9248167; 10.11165


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