||The neutrality of the style of writing in this article is questioned. (August 2013)|
|Anthem: Caminemos pisando las sendas de nuestra inmensa felicidad (Spanish)
Let us walk the paths of our immense happiness
|Official languages||Spanish (National Language)
|Ethnic groups (1994)|
|Government||Unitary semi-presidential republic|
|-||President||Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo|
|-||Prime Minister||Vicente Ehate Tomi|
|Legislature||Chamber of People's Representatives|
|-||from Spain||12 October 1968|
|-||Total||28,050 km2 (144th)
10,830 sq mi
|-||2012 estimate||736,296 (150th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2012 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2012 estimate|
|HDI (2013)|| 0.554
medium · 136th
|Currency||Central African CFA franc (
|Time zone||WAT (UTC+1)|
|-||Summer (DST)||not observed (UTC+1)|
|Drives on the||right|
|ISO 3166 code||GQ|
|a.||Including Equatoguinean Spanish (Español ecuatoguineano).|
|b.||Oyala (under construction).|
Equatorial Guinea (Spanish: Guinea Ecuatorial), officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea (Spanish: República de Guinea Ecuatorial, French: République de Guinée équatoriale, Portuguese: República da Guiné Equatorial),[a] is a small country located in Central Africa, with an area of 28,000 square kilometres (11,000 sq mi). It has two parts, an insular and a mainland region. The insular region consists of the islands of Bioko (formerly Fernando Pó) in the Gulf of Guinea and Annobón, a small volcanic island south of the equator. Bioko island is the northernmost part of Equatorial Guinea and is the site of the country's capital, Malabo. The island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe is located between Bioko and Annobón. The mainland region, Río Muni, is bordered by Cameroon on the north and Gabon on the south and east. It also includes several small offshore islands (such as Corisco, Elobey Grande, and Elobey Chico).
Formerly the colony of Spanish Guinea, its post-independence name evokes its location near both the equator and the Gulf of Guinea. Apart from the Spanish territories of Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla on the coast of Morocco, and Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, it is the only country in Africa whose de jure official language is Spanish.
Since the mid-1990s, Equatorial Guinea has become one of sub-Sahara's largest oil producers. With a population of 650,702, it is the richest country per capita in Africa, and its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita ranks 69th in the world; However, the wealth is distributed very unevenly and few people have benefited from the oil riches. The country ranks 136th on the UN's 2011 Human Development Index. The UN says that less than half of the population has access to clean drinking water and that 20% of children die before reaching five.
The authoritarian regime ruling Equatorial Guinea has one of the worst human rights records in the world, consistently ranking among the "worst of the worst" in Freedom House's annual survey of political and civil rights. Reporters Without Borders ranks President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo among its "predators" of press freedom. Human trafficking is a significant problem, with the US Trafficking in Persons Report, 2012, stating that "Equatorial Guinea is a source and destination for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking." The report rates Equatorial Guinea as a "Tier 3" country, the lowest (worst) ranking: "Countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so."
Equatorial Guinea is located in west central Africa. The country consists of a mainland territory, Río Muni, which is bordered by Cameroon to the north and Gabon to the east and south, and five small islands, Bioko, Corisco, Annobón, Elobey Chico (Small Elobey), and Elobey Grande (Great Elobey). Bioko, the site of the capital, Malabo, lies about 40 kilometers (25 mi) off the coast of Cameroon. Annobón Island is about 350 kilometers (220 mi) west-south-west of Cape Lopez in Gabon. Corisco and the two Elobey islands are in Corisco Bay, on the border of Río Muni and Gabon.
Equatorial Guinea lies between latitudes 4°N and 2°S, and longitudes 5° and 12°E. Despite its name, no part of the country's territory lies on the equator—it is entirely in the northern hemisphere, except for the insular Annobón Province, which is about 155 km south of the equator.
Equatorial Guinea spans several ecoregions. Río Muni region lies within the Atlantic Equatorial coastal forests ecoregion except for patches of Central African mangroves on the coast, especially in the Muni River estuary. The Cross-Sanaga-Bioko coastal forests ecoregion covers most of Bioko and as well as the adjacent portions of Cameroon and Nigeria on the African mainland, and the Mount Cameroon and Bioko montane forests ecoregion covers the highlands of Bioko and nearby Mount Cameroon.
The São Tomé, Príncipe, and Annobón moist lowland forests ecoregion covers all of Annobón, as well as São Tomé and Príncipe.
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 (61 °F) to 33 °C (91 °F), though on the southern Moka Plateau normal high temperatures are only 21 °C (70 °F). In Río Muni, the average temperature is about 27 °C (81 °F). Annual rainfall varies from 1,930 mm (76 in) at Malabo to 10,920 mm (430 in) at Ureka, Bioko, but Río Muni is somewhat drier.
In the continental region that is now Equatorial Guinea, pygmies likely formerly lived, of whom only isolated pockets now remain in southern Río Muni. Bantu migrations between the 18th and 19th centuries brought the coastal ethno-linguistic groups as well as the Fang. Elements of the latter may have generated the Bubi, who migrated from Cameroon to Rio Muni and Bioko in several waves and succeeded former Neolithic populations. The Annobón population, native to Angola, was introduced by the Portuguese via São Tomé island.
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, Queen Maria I of Portugal and King Charles III of Spain signed the Treaty of El Pardo which ceded the Bioko, adjacent islets, and commercial rights to the Bight of Biafra between the Niger and Ogoue rivers to Spain. Spain had thereby tried to gain access to a source of slaves controlled by British merchants. Between 1778 and 1810, the territory of Equatorial Guinea was administered by the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, based in Buenos Aires.
From 1827 to 1843, the United Kingdom had a base on Bioko to combat the slave trade, 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. Spain had neglected to occupy the large area in the Bight of Biafra to which it had Treaty rights, and the French had been busily expanding their occupation at the expense of the area claimed by Spain. The treaty of Paris in 1900 left Spain with the continental enclave of Rio Muni, a mere 26,000 km2 out of the 300,000 stretching east to the Ubangi river which the Spaniards had initially claimed .
At the turn of the century, the plantations of Fernando Po were largely in the hands of a black Creole elite, later known as Fernandinos. The British had settled some 2,000 Sierra Leoneans and freed slaves during their brief occupation of the island in the early nineteenth century, and a small current of immigration from West Africa and the West Indies continued after the departure of the British. To this core of settlers were added Cubans, Filipinos and Spaniards of various colours deported for political or other crimes, as well as some assisted settlers. There was also a trickle of immigration from the neighbouring Portuguese islands, in the form of escaped slaves and prospective planters. Although a few of the Fernandinos were Catholic and Spanish-speaking, about nine-tenths of them were Protestant and English-speaking on the eve of the First World War, and pidgin English was the lingua franca of the island. The Sierra Leoneans were particularly well placed as planters while labour recruitment on the Windward coast continued, for they kept family and other connections there and could easily arrange labour supplies. From the opening years of the twentieth century, the Fernandinos were put on the defensive by a new generation of Spanish immigrants. New land regulations in 1904-5 favoured Spaniards, and most of the big planters of later years arrived in the islands from Spain following these new regulations. The Liberian labour agreement of 1914 favoured wealthy men with ready access to the state, and the shift in labour supplies from Liberia to Rio Muni increased this advantage. In 1940, it was estimated that only 20 per cent of the colony's cocoa production came from African land, nearly all of it in the hands of Fernandinos.
The greatest constraint to economic development was a chronic shortage of labour. The indigenous Bubi population of Bioko, pushed into the interior of the island and decimated by alcoholic addiction, venereal disease, smallpox and sleeping- sickness, refused to work on plantations. Working their own little cocoa farms gave them a considerable degree of autonomy. Moreover, the Bubi were protected from the demands of the planters from the late nineteenth century by the Spanish Claretian missionaries, who were very influential in the colony and eventually organised the Bubi into little mission theocracies reminiscent of the famous Jesuit Reductions of Paraguay. Catholic penetration was furthered by two small insurrections protesting the conscription of forced labour for the plantations, in 1898 and 1910, which led to the Bubi being disarmed in 1917 and left them dependent on the missionaries.
Between 1926 and 1959 Bioko and Rio Muni were united as the colony of Spanish Guinea. The economy was based on large cacao and coffee plantations and logging concessions and the workforce was mostly immigrant contract labour from Liberia, Nigeria, and Cameroun. Between 1914 and 1930, an estimated 10,000 Liberians went to Fernando Po under a Labour Treaty that was stopped altogether in 1930. With the ending of Liberian imports, the cocoa planters of Fernando Po turned to Rio Muni. It was no coincidence that campaigns were mounted to subdue the Fang in the 1920s, at the time that Liberia was beginning to cut back on recruitment. There were garrisons of the colonial guard throughout the enclave by 1926, and the whole colony was considered 'pacified' by 1929. However, Rio Muni had a small population, officially put at a little over 100,000 in the 1930s, and escape over the frontiers into Cameroun or Gabon was very easy. Moreover, the timber companies needed growing amounts of labour, and the spread of coffee cultivation offered an alternative means of paying taxes. Fernando Po thus continued to suffer from labour shortages. The French only briefly permitted recruitment in Cameroun, and the main source of labour came to be Igbo smuggled in canoes from Calabar, Nigeria. The British made this current of labour migration legal in 1942. It was this agreement which really permitted Fernando Po to become one of Africa's most productive agricultural areas after the Second World War.
Politically, one can divide the post-war colonial history into three fairly distinct phases: up to 1959, when its status was raised from 'colonial' to 'provincial', taking a leaf out of the approach of the Portuguese Empire; between 1960 and 1968, when Madrid attempted a partial decolonisation which should, as it was hoped, conserve the territory as an integral segment of the Spanish system; and onwards from 1968, when the territory became an independent Republic. The first of these phases consisted of little more than a continuation of previous policies; these closely resembled the policies of Portugal and France, notably in dividing the population into a vast majority governed as 'natives' or non-citizens, and a very small minority (together with whites) admitted to civic status as emancipados, assimilation to the metropolitan culture being the only permissible means of advancement.
This 'provincial' phase saw the beginnings of nationalism, but chiefly among small groups who had taken refuge from the Caudillo's paternal hand in Cameroun and Gabon. They formed two bodies: the Movimiento Nacional de Liberación de la Guinea (MONALIGE), and the Idea Popular de la Guinea Ecuatorial (IPGE). Their pressures were weak, but the general trend in West Africa was not. A decision of 9 August 1963, approved by a referendum of 15 December 1963, introduced the territory to a measure of autonomy and the administrative promotion of a 'moderate' grouping, the Movimiento de Unión Nacional de la Guinea Ecuatorial (MUNGE). This proved a feeble instrument, and, with growing pressure for change from the UN, Madrid gave way to the currents of nationalism.
In July 1970, Macias Nguema created a single-party state and made himself president for life in 1972. He broke off ties with the former European empires, and the coffee and timber exports went to Cuba, the USSR and China. Towards the middle 1970s the Macias regime came under grave accusations of being guilty of mass killings. In 1974 the World Council of Churches affirmed that large numbers of people had been murdered since 1968 in a 'reign of terror' which continued. The same body claimed that a quarter of the whole population had fled abroad, while 'the prisons are overflowing and to all intents and purposes form one vast concentration camp'. On Christmas 1975, Macías Nguema had 150 alleged coup plotters executed. Out of a population of 300,000, an estimated 80,000 were killed. Apart from allegedly committing genocide against the ethnic minority Bubi people, he ordered the deaths of thousands of suspected opponents, closed down churches and presided over the economy's collapse as skilled citizens and foreigners left the country.
Teodoro Obiang deposed Macías Nguema on 3 August 1979, in a bloody coup d'état. Macias Nguema was tried and executed soon after.
The current president of Equatorial Guinea is Teodoro Obiang Nguema. 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 serving as commander in chief of the armed forces. The Prime Minister, Vicente Ehate Tomi was appointed by Obiang and operates under powers designated by the President.
During the three decades of his rule, Obiang has shown little tolerance for opposition. While the country is nominally a multiparty democracy, elections have generally been considered a sham. According to Human Rights Watch, the dictatorship of President Obiang has used an oil boom to entrench and enrich itself further at the expense of the country's people. Since August 1979 some 12 real and perceived unsuccessful coup attempts have occurred. The 'real' coup attempts were often perpetrated in an attempt by rival elites to seize the state's economic resources. According to a March 2004 BBC profile, politics within the country are currently dominated by tensions between Obiang's son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, and other close relatives with powerful positions in the security forces. The tension may be rooted in a power shift arising from the dramatic increase in oil production which has occurred since 1997.
Equatorial Guinea hit the headlines in 2004 when a plane load of suspected mercenaries was intercepted in Zimbabwe while allegedly on the way to overthrow Obiang. A November 2004 report named Mark Thatcher as a financial backer of the 2004 Equatorial Guinea coup d'état attempt organized by Simon Mann. Various accounts also named the United Kingdom's MI6, the United States' CIA, and Spain as having been tacit supporters of the coup attempt. Nevertheless, the Amnesty International report released in June 2005 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 3 November 2009 for humanitarian reasons.
A 2004 US Senate investigation into the Washington-based Riggs Bank found that President Obiang's family had received huge payments from US oil companies such as Exxon Mobil and Amerada Hess. Since 2005, Military Professional Resources Inc., a US-based international private military company, has worked in Equatorial Guinea to train police forces in appropriate human rights practices. In 2006, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hailed Obiang as a "good friend" despite repeated criticism of his human rights and civil liberties record. The US Agency for International Development entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Obiang, 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.
In 2006, Obiang signed an anti-torture decree to ban all forms of abuse and improper treatment in Equatorial Guinea and he commissioned the renovation and modernization of Black Beach prison in 2007 to ensure the humane treatment of prisoners, However, human rights abuses have continued. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International among other non-governmental organizations have documented severe human rights abuses in prisons, including torture, beatings, unexplained deaths and illegal detention.
The anti-corruption lobby Transparency International has put Equatorial Guinea in the top 12 of its list of most corrupt states. Dismissing the international voices that call for more transparency, Obiang has for long held that oil revenues are a state secret. In 2008 the country became a candidate of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative – an international project meant to promote openness about government oil revenues – but failed to qualify by an April 2010 deadline. The advocacy group Global Witness has been lobbying the United States to act against Obiang's son, Teodorin, who is vice-president and a government minister. It says there is credible evidence that he spent millions buying a Malibu, California mansion and private jet using corruptly acquired funds – grounds for denying him a visa. In February 2010, Equatorial Guinea signed a contract with the MPRI subsidiary of the US defense corporation L3 Communications for coastal surveillance and maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.
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”. Obiang re-appointed Prime Minister Ignacio Milam Tang in 2010.
Under Obiang, the basic infrastructure of Equatorial Guinea has improved. Asphalt now covers more than 80% of the national roads and ports and airports are being built by Chinese, Moroccan and French contractors across much of the country. However, when a British parliamentary and press entourage toured the country as guests of the president in 2011, the The Guardian newspaper reported that very few of Equatorial Guinea's citizens seem to be benefiting from improvements, with reports of empty three-lane highways and many empty buildings.
The Obiang regime is an ally of the USA. During a meeting on the sidelines of the recent United Nations General Assembly, Obiang urged the US to strengthen the cooperation between the United States and Africa. President Barack Obama posed for an official photograph with President Obiang at a New York reception.
In November 2011, a new constitution was approved. This constitution was voted although the text to be approved was not distributed nor was its content revealed to the public before the vote. Under the new constitution the president was limited to a maximum of two seven-year terms and he would be both the head of state and head of the government, therefore eliminating the figure of prime minister. The new constitution also introduced the figure of a vice president and it also called for the creation of a 70-member senate with 55 elected by the people and the 15 remaining designated by the president. Surprisingly, during the following cabinet reshuffle it was announced that there would be two vice-presidents in clear violation of the constitution that was just taking effect.
In October 2012, during an interview with Christiane Ammanpour on CNN, Obiang was asked whether he would step down at the end of the current term (2009-2016) since the new constitution limited the number of terms to two and he has been reelected at least 4 times before. Obiang, in a Gaddafi-like reply categorically refused to step aside because the new constitution was not retroactive and the two term limit would only become applicable from 2016.
The May 26th 2013 elections combined the senate, lower house and mayoral contests all in a single package. This, as all the previous elections, was denounced by the opposition and it too was won by Obiang's PDGE. During the electoral contest, the ruling party decided to have their own internal elections which were later scrapped as none of the president's favorite candidates was leading the internal lists. At the end, the ruling party and its satellites of the ruling coalition decided to run not based on the candidates but based on the party. This created a situation where during the election the ruling party's coalition did not provide the names of their candidates so effectively individuals were not running for office, instead the party was the one running for office.
The May 2013 elections were marked by a serious of events including the popular protest planned by a group of activists from the MPP (Movement of Popular Protest) which included several social and political groups. The MPP called for a pacific protest at the Plaza de la Mujer Square on May 15. The MPP coordinator Enrique Nsolo Nzo was arrested and the official state media portrayed him as an individual who was planning to destabilize the country and depose the president. However, and despite speaking under duress and with clear signs of torture, Enrique clearly stated that they were planning a peaceful protest and had indeed obtained all the legal authorizations required to carry out the peaceful protest. In addition to that, and despite the repeated attempts of the state media to link Enrique to an illegal political party, he firmly stated that he was not affiliated with any political parties in the country. The Plaza de la Mujer Square in Malabo was occupied by the police from the 13th of May and it has been heavily guarded ever since. The government embarked on a censorship program that affected social sites including Facebook and other websites that were critical to the government of Equatorial Guinea. In their censorship efforts, they would redirect all the searches performed online to the official government website.
Shortly after the elections, the opposition party CPDS announced that they were going to protest peacefully against the May 26th elections on June 25th. The interior minister Clemente Engonga refused to authorize the protest on the grounds that such an event could "destabilize" the country and CPDS decided to go forward with the peaceful protest claiming it was a constitutional right. On the night of June 24, the CPDS headquarters in Malabo were surrounded by heavily armed police officers in order to keep those inside from leaving and thus effectively blocking the protest. Several leading members of CPDS were detained in Malabo and others in Bata were kept from boarding several local flights to Malabo.
Equatorial Guinea is divided into seven provinces (capitals appear in parentheses):
- Annobón Province (San Antonio de Palé)
- Bioko Norte Province (Malabo)
- Bioko Sur Province (Luba)
- Centro Sur Province (Evinayong)
- Kié-Ntem Province (Ebebiyín)
- Litoral Province (Bata)
- Wele-Nzas Province (Mongomo)
The provinces are further divided into districts.
Pre-independence Equatorial Guinea exported cocoa, coffee and timber mostly its colonial ruler, Spain, but also to Germany and the UK. On 1 January 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.
The discovery of large oil reserves in 1996 and its subsequent exploitation have contributed to a dramatic increase in government revenue. As of 2004, Equatorial Guinea is the third-largest oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its oil production has risen to 360,000 barrels per day (57,000 m3/d), 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.
Equatorial Guinea is a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA). Equatorial Guinea tried to become 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 was one of thirty candidate countries and obtained candidate status on 22 February 2008. It was then required to meet a number of 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. However, when Equatorial Guinea applied to extend the deadline for completing EITI validation, the EITI Board did not agree to the extension.
According to the World Bank, Equatorial Guinea has the highest GNI (Gross National Income) per capita of any other Sub-Saharan country. It is 83 times larger than the GNI per capita of Burundi which is the poorest country.
The majority of the people of Equatorial Guinea are of Bantu origin. The largest ethnic group, the Fang, is indigenous to the mainland, but substantial migration to Bioko Island since the 20th century means the Fang population exceeds that of the earlier Bubi inhabitants. The Fang constitute 80% of the population and comprise around 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 Bubi, who constitute 15% of the population, are indigenous to Bioko Island. The traditional demarcation line between Fang and 'Beach' (inland) ethnic groups was the village of Niefang (limit of the Fang), east of Bata.
In addition, there are coastal ethnic groups, sometimes referred to as Ndowe or "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. According to the Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations (2002) 7% of Bioko islanders were Igbo, an ethnic group from southeastern Nigeria. 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, and Moroccans. 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.
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, Bahá'í Faith, and other beliefs.
The official languages are Spanish (specifically, Equatoguinean Spanish), French and Portuguese. However, the government's official homepage states that: "Spanish is the official administrative language and that of education. French is the second official language and nearly all the ethnic groups speak the languages referred to as Bantu."
Indigenous languages include Fang, Bube, Benga, Pichinglis, Ndowe, Balengue, Bujeba, Bissio, Gumu, nearly extinct Baseke, and others, as well as Igbo from Nigeria, Annobonese language (Fá d'Ambô) a Portuguese creole, and Fernando Poo Creole English. English and German are also studied as foreign languages.
Aboriginal languages are recognized as integral parts of the "national culture" (Constitutional Law No. 1/1998 January 21). The great majority of Equatorial Guineans speak Spanish, especially those living in the capital, Malabo. Spanish has been an official language since 1844.
Some media reported that in October 2011, the Constitutional Law that amends article four of the Constitution of Equatorial Guinea was enacted by Chamber of People's Representatives. This Constitutional Law established the third official language of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea – Portuguese (by that time only Spanish and French had official status). This was in an effort by the government to improve its communications, trade, and bilateral relations with Portuguese-speaking countries. The adoption of Portuguese followed the announcement on 13 July 2007, by President Obiang of his government's decision for Portuguese to become Equatorial Guinea's third official language, in order to meet one of the requirements to apply for full membership in the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), the other one being political reforms allowing for effective democracy and the respect for human rights. 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 for membership of the CPLP is currently being assessed by the organisation's members. According to draft of the Constitutional Law: “This Constitutional Law will go into effect twenty days from its publication in the Official State Gazette”. The national parliament discussed this law in October 2011. So far no official confirmation of approving the decree by the Parliament nor published it in the Official State Gazette. Moreover, official Equatorial Guinean sources do not treat Portuguese as an official language yet.
In February 2012, Equatorial Guinea's foreign minister signed an agreement with the IILP (Instituto Internacional da Língua Portuguesa) on the promotion of Portuguese in Equatorial Guinea. However, in July 2012 the CPLP again refused Equatorial Guinea full membership, primarily because of its continued violations of human rights rather than insufficient progress in the dissemination of Portuguese.
Under the regime of Francisco Macias, education had been significantly neglected with few children receiving any type of education. Under President Obiang, the illiteracy rate dropped from 73% to 13% and 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.
The Equatorial Guinea government has also partnered with Hess Corporation and The Academy for Educational Development (AED) to establish a $20 million education program through which primary school teachers participate in a training program to teach modern child development techniques. There are now 51 Model Schools. It is hoped the active pedagogy in the Model Schools will be a national reform.
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. In 2009 the university produced the first 110 national doctors. The Bata Medical School is supported principally by the government of Cuba and staffed by Cuban medical educators and physicians. However, it is predicted that Equatorial Guinea will have enough national doctors in the country to be self-sufficient within the next five years.
Equatorial Guinea’s innovative malaria control programs have had a remarkable impact on malaria infection, disease, and mortality in the population. Their program consists of twice-yearly indoor residual spraying (IRS), the introduction of artemisinin combination treatment (ACTs), the use of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnant women (IPTp) and the introduction of very high coverage with long-lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets (LLINs). Their efforts resulted in a reduction in all-cause under-five mortality from 152 to 55 deaths per 1,000 live births (down 64%); and the drop occurred rapidly and timed directly with the beginning of the program.
Every airline registered in the country appears on the list of air carriers prohibited in the European Union (EU) which means that they are banned for safety reasons from operating services of any kind within the EU.
Due to the large oil presence in the country, internationally recognised carriers fly to Malabo (Bioko). The carriers include:
- Iberia – from Madrid
- Air Europa – from Madrid
- Air France – from Paris
- Ethiopian Airlines – from Addis Ababa
- Lufthansa – from Frankfurt
- Danish Air Transport – internal and charters
There are only three airports in Equatorial Guinea: Malabo International Airport, Bata Airport and the new Annobon Airport on the island of Annobon. Malabo International Airport is the only international airport in the country. It is very hard to travel around Equatorial Guinea by plane. It's more usual to use a bus, taxi, boat (to travel from one of the islands to Rio Muni) and car.
The principal means of communication within the country are three state-operated FM radio stations. Radio France Internationale and Gabon-based Africa No 1 broadcast on FM in Malabo. There are also five shortwave radio stations. Television Nacional, the television network, is state operated.< The international TV programme RTVGE is available via satellites in Africa, Europa, and the Americas and worldwide via Internet. There are two newspapers and two magazines.
The nation ranks at position 161 out of 179 countries in the 2012 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. The watchdog says the national broadcaster obeys the orders of the information ministry. A "news blackout" was imposed on reporting of uprisings in Arab states in North Africa in 2011, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. 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 the president's son, Teodor Obiang.
Landline telephone penetration is low, with only two lines available for every 100 persons. There is one GSM mobile telephone operator, with coverage of Malabo, Bata, and several mainland cities. As of 2009[update], approximately 40% of the population subscribed to mobile telephone services. The only telephone provider in Equatorial Guinea is Orange.
There were more than 42,000 internet users by December 2011 (Internetworldstats.com).
Equatorial Guinea was chosen to co-host the 2012 African Cup of Nations in partnership with Gabon, and won their first game against Libya 1-0 in Group A. The country was also chosen to host the 2008 Women's African Football Championship, which they won. The Women's National Team qualified for the 2011 World Cup in Germany.
Equatorial Guinea is famous for the swimmers Eric Moussambani, nicknamed "Eric the Eel", and Paula Barila Bolopa, "Paula the Crawler", who had astoundingly slow times at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
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.
Due to the country's permissive laws, 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. The book also discusses some of the geography, history and peoples of the country.
In the 2009 novel Limit by Frank Schätzing, set in 2025, the country's history (and future history) plays a significant role.
The 2011 novel The Informationist by Taylor Stevens is a missing-person thriller that makes detailed use of Equatorial Guinea's mélange of people, economics and geography.
- Outline of Equatorial Guinea
- Index of Equatorial Guinea-related articles
- Bight of Bonny also known as the Bight of Biafra
- Cameroon line
- Gulf of Guinea
- Telecommunications in Equatorial Guinea
- Foreign relations of Equatorial Guinea
- Military of Equatorial Guinea
- Scouting in Equatorial Guinea
- Transport in Equatorial Guinea
- 2004 Equatorial Guinea coup d'état attempt
- Equatoguinean literature in Spanish
- List of cities in Equatorial Guinea
- "World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples – Equatorial Guinea : Overview". UNHCR. 20 May 2008. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- Dickovick, James Tyler (2012). Africa 2012. Stryker Post. p. 180. ISBN 1610488822. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- Equatorial Guinea. Cia World Factbook.
- Population, total. The World Bank
- "World Economic Outlook Database, April 2013". IMF. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
- "Human Development Report 2009. Human development index trends: Table G" (PDF). United Nations. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
- 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
- GDP – per capita (PPP) – Country Comparison. Indexmundi.com. Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
- GDP – per capita (PPP), The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency.
- Worst of the Worst 2010. The World's Most Repressive Societies. freedomhouse.org
- Equatorial Guinea – Reporters Without Borders. En.rsf.org. Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
- "Equatorial Guinea". Trafficking in Persons Report 2012. U.S. Department of State (19 June 2012). This source is in the public domain.
- Nations Encyclopedia. Nations Encyclopedia (10 April 2011). Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
- "Fernando Po", Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911.
- William Gervase Clarence-Smith, 1986 "Spanish Equatorial Guinea, 1898-1940", in The Cambridge History of Africa: From 1905 to 1940 Ed. J. D. Fage, A. D. Roberts, & Roland Anthony Oliver. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press>
- Enrique Martino “Clandestine Recruitment Networks in the Bight of Biafra: Fernando Pó’s Answer to the Labour Question, 1926–1945.” International Review of Social History , 57, pp 39-72. http://www.opensourceguinea.org/2013/03/enrique-martino-clandestine-recruitment.html
- Nerín, Gustau. "La última selva de España: antropófagos, misioneros y guardias civiles. Crónica de la conquista de los Fang de la Guinea Española, 1914–1930. Catarata, 2010.
- Crowder, Michael, ed. The Cambridge History of Africa: Volume 8, from C. 1940 to C. 1975. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.
- Campos, Alicia. "The decolonization of Equatorial Guinea: the relevance of the international factor." Journal of African history (2003): 95-116.
- "Oil Gives African Nation a Chance for Change". The Washington Post. 13 May 2001.
- Sengupta, Kim (11 May 2007). "Coup plotter faces life in Africa's most notorious jail". London: News.independent.co.uk. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- "True hell on earth: Simon Mann faces imprisonment in the cruellest jail on the planet". London: Dailymail.co.uk. 18 May 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- Daniels, Anthony (29 August 2004). "If you think this one's bad you should have seen his uncle". London: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- "The Five Worst Leaders In Africa". Forbes. 9 February 2012.
- Empresas portuguesas planeiam nova capital da Guiné Equatorial. africa21digital.com (5 November 2011).
- Atelier luso desenha futura capital da Guiné Equatorial. Boasnoticias.pt (5 November 2011). Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
- Arquitetos portugueses projetam nova capital para Guiné Equatorial. Piniweb.com.br. Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
- Ateliê português desenha futura capital da Guiné Equatorial. Greensavers.pt (14 December 2011). Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
- BBC News – Equatorial Guinea country profile – Overview. Bbc.co.uk (11 December 2012). Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
- Alex Vines (9 July 2009). "Well Oiled". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 21 January 2011.
- Shaxson, Nicholas (17 March 2004). "Profile: Equatorial Guinea's great survivor". BBC News.
- "Thatcher faces 15 years in prison". The Sydney Morning Herald. 27 August 2004.
- MacKay, Neil (29 August 2004). "The US knew, Spain knew, Britain knew. Whose coup was it?". Sunday Herald.
- "Equatorial Guinea, A trial with too many flaws". Amnesty International. 7 June 2005.
- "Presidential Decree". Republicofequatorialguinea.net. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- Heather Layman, LPA (11 April 2006). "USAID and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea Agree to Unique Partnership for Development". Usaid.gov. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- MPRI. MPRI. Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
- Equatorial Guinea | Amnesty International. Amnesty.org. Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
- Equatorial Guinea | Human Rights Watch. Hrw.org. Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
- Tension Builds in the Gulf of Guinea as Competition for Economic Resources Increases. Jutiagroup.com (5 April 2010). Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
- L3 Communications coast surveillance contract with Equatorial Guinea could be worth $250M. Business.gaeatimes.com (24 February 2010). Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
- Factoria Audiovisual S.R.L. "Declaración de la Unión Africana, sobre la supervisión de los comicios electorales – Página Oficial de la Oficina de Información y Prensa de Guinea Ecuatorial". Guineaecuatorialpress.com. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- "UPDATE 1-Tang renamed as Equatorial Guinea PM | News by Country | Reuters". Af.reuters.com. 12 January 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- Equatorial Guinea Minister Seeks Strong Ties With U.S. Voanews.com (4 April 2010). Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
- "The strange and evil world of Equatorial Guinea". The Guardian. 23 October 2011.
- "Ignacio Milam Tang, New Vice President of the Nation".
- "Interview with President Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea".
- "Convocatorial de Manifestacion, 25 de Junio 2013".
- "Equatorial Guinea". equatorialguinea.org. Archived from the original on 3 October 1999. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- Justin Blum (7 September 2004). "U.S. Oil Firms Entwined in Equatorial Guinea Deals". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 9 July 2008.
- "Inner City Press / Finance Watch: "Follow the Money, Watchdog the Regulators"". Innercitypress.org. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- "OHADA.com: The business law portal in Africa". Retrieved 22 March 2009
- Equatorial Guinea | EITI. Eitransparency.org (27 September 2007). Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
- "50 Things You Didn't Know About Africa". World Bank. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
- Vines, Alex (2009). Well Oiled: Oil and Human Rights in Equatorial Guinea. Human Rights Watch. p. 9. ISBN 1564325164. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- "Equatorial Guinea's God". BBC. 26 July 2003. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
- Minahan, James (2002). Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: A-C. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 330. ISBN 0313321094.
- "Equatorial Guinea. International Religious Freedom Report 2007". U.S. Department of State. 14 September 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- Oficina de Información y Prensa de Guinea Ecuatorial, Ministerio de Información, Cultura y Turismo. Guineaecuatorialpress.com. Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
- Obiang convierte al portugués en tercer idioma oficial para entrar en la Comunidad lusófona de Naciones, Terra. 13 July 2007
- "Equatorial Guinea Adds Portuguese as the Country's Third Official Language". PRNewsWire. 14 October 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
- Portuguese will be the third official language of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea. Guineaecuatorialpress.com (20 July 2010). Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
- María Jesús Nsang Nguema (Prensa Presidencial) (15 October 2011). "S. E. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo clausura el Segundo Periodo Ordinario de Sesiones del pleno de la Cámara de Representantes del Pueblo" [President Obiang closes second session period of parliament] (in Spanish). Oficina de Información y Prensa de Guinea Ecuatorial (D. G. Base Internet). Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- Oficina de Información y Prensa de Guinea Ecuatorial, Ministerio de Información, Cultura y Turismo: El Español es la lengua oficial administrativa y de enseñanza. El francés es la segunda lengua oficial y casi todas las etnias hablan las denominadas lenguas bantúes. In English: "Spanish is the official administrative language and that of education. French is the second official language and nearly all the ethnic groups speak the languages referred to as Bantu."
- "Assinado termo de cooperação entre IILP e Guiné Equatorial" [Protocol signed on cooperation between IILP and Guinea Equatorial] (in Portuguese). Instituto Internacional de Língua Portuguesa. 7 February 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- "Protocolo de Cooperação entre a Guiné-Equatorial e o IILP" [Protocol on cooperation between IILP and Guinea Equatorial] (in Portuguese). CPLP. 7 February 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2012. This note contains a link to the text of the protocol in PDF format.
- HESS and AED Partner to Improve Education in Equatorial Guinea. AED.org
- Steketee, R. W. (2009). "Good news in malaria control... Now what?". The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 80 (6): 879–880. PMID 19478241.
- Marked Increase in Child Survival after Four Years of Intensive Malaria Control. Ajtmh.org. Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
- List of banned EU air carriers. Ec.europa.eu. Retrieved on 5 May 2013.
- "Country Profile: Equatorial Guinea: Media". BBC News. 26 January 2008.
- "TVGE Internacional". LyngSat. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
- "GSMWorld Providers: Equatorial Guinea". GSM World. 2008.
- "GSMWorld GETESA Coverage Map". GSM World. 2008.
- O’Mahony, Jennifer (27 July 2012). "London 2012 Olympics: how Eric 'the Eel' Moussambani inspired a generation in swimming pool at Sydney Games". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- "'Paula the Crawler' sets record". BBC News. 22 September 2000. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
- Stevens, Taylor (2011). The informationist : a novel (1st ed. ed.). New York: Crown Publishers. p. 320. ISBN 0307717097.
- 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) ISBN 0-465-08760-4.
- 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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