Region: Western Africa
Population: 616,459 (July 2008 est.)
Surface area: 28,051 sq km
Currency: CFA franc (XAF)
GDP per capita: Purchasing power parity US $12,900 (2007 est.)
Equatorial Guinea gained independence in 1968 after 190 years of Spanish rule. This tiny country, composed of a mainland portion plus five inhabited islands, is one of the smallest on the African continent. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has ruled the country since 1979 when he seized power in a coup. Although nominally a constitutional democracy since 1991, the 1996 and 2002 presidential elections - as well as the 1999 and 2004 legislative elections - were widely seen as flawed. The president exerts almost total control over the political system and has discouraged political opposition. Equatorial Guinea has experienced rapid economic growth due to the discovery of large offshore oil reserves, and in the last decade has become Sub-Saharan Africa's third largest oil exporter. Despite the country's economic windfall from oil production resulting in a massive increase in government revenue in recent years, there have been few improvements in the population's living standards.
Economy – Overview:
The discovery and exploitation of large oil reserves have contributed to dramatic economic growth in recent years. Forestry, farming, and fishing are also major components of GDP. Subsistence farming predominates. Although pre-independence Equatorial Guinea counted on cocoa production for hard currency earnings, the neglect of the rural economy under successive regimes has diminished potential for agriculture-led growth (the government has stated its intention to reinvest some oil revenue into agriculture). A number of aid programs sponsored by the World Bank and the IMF have been cut off since 1993, because of corruption and mismanagement. No longer eligible for concessional financing because of large oil revenues, the government has been trying to agree on a "shadow" fiscal management program with the World Bank and IMF. Government officials and their family members own most businesses. Undeveloped natural resources include titanium, iron ore, manganese, uranium, and alluvial gold. Growth remained strong in 2007, led by oil. Equatorial Guinea now has the fourth highest per capita income in the world, after Luxembourg, Bermuda, and Jersey.
Major Export Commodities: petroleum, methanol, timber, cocoa
Remittances: Not available
Human Development Index 2007/2008 ranking: 127 out of 177
Official Development Assistance and Major Development Partners: Net ODA in 2006 was US $18.94 million. Major development partners include Spain, France, and the European Community.
Total External Debt: US $341 million (31 December 2007 est.)
United Nations membership date: 12 November 1968
New York Mission:
Permanent Mission of Equatorial Guinea to the United Nations
242 East 51st Street
New York, N.Y. 10022
Telephone: 212-223-2324 / 2325 / 2348
CIA World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. www.cia.gov
World Development Indicators. World Bank www.worldbank.org
Development, Recipient Aid Charts. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. www.oecd.org
Human Development Report 2007/2008.United Nations Development Programme. www.undp.org
Updated June 2008