Facts about Equatorial Guinea

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Equatorial GuineaEquatorial 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 sice 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.

Geography of Equatorial Guinea

Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra, between Cameroon and Gabon
2 00 N, 10 00 E
total: 28,051 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 28,051 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries:
total: 539 km
border countries: Cameroon 189 km, Gabon 350 km
296 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
tropical; always hot, humid
coastal plains rise to interior hills; islands are volcanic
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico Basile 3,008 m
Natural resources:
oil, petroleum, timber, small unexploited deposits of gold, manganese, uranium, titanium, iron ore
Natural hazards:
violent windstorms, flash floods
Environment current issues:
tap water is not potable; deforestation
Geography - note:
insular and continental regions rather widely separated

Population of Equatorial Guinea

616,459 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 41.7% (male 113,083/female 111,989)
15-64 years: 54.5% (male 141,914/female 152,645)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 8,886/female 11,592)
Median age:
18.8 years
Growth rate:
Infant mortality:
89.21 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 49.54 years
male: 48 years
female: 51.13 years
Fertility rate:
4.55 children born/woman
noun: Equatorial Guinean(s) or Equatoguinean(s)
adjective: Equatorial Guinean or Equatoguinean
Ethnic groups:
Bioko (primarily Bubi, some Fernandinos), Rio Muni (primarily Fang), Europeans less than 1,000, mostly Spanish
nominally Christian and predominantly Roman Catholic, pagan practices
Spanish (official), French (official), pidgin English, Fang, Bubi, Ibo
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 85.7%
male: 93.3%
female: 78.4% 


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Equatorial Guinea
local short form: Guinea Ecuatorial
local long form: Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial
former: Spanish Guinea
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
7 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Annobon, Bioko Norte, Bioko Sur, Centro Sur, Kie-Ntem, Litoral, Wele-Nzas
12 October 1968 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 12 October (1968)
approved by national referendum 17 November 1991; amended January 1995
Legal system:
partly based on Spanish civil law and tribal custom
18 years of age; universal adult
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Teodoro OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO (since 3 August 1979 when he seized power in a military coup)
head of government: Prime Minister Ignacio Milan TANG (since 8 July 2008);
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (no term limits); election last held 15 December 2002 (next to be held in December 2009); prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president
Legislative branch:
unicameral House of People's Representatives or Camara de Representantes del Pueblo (100 seats; members directly elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
note: Parliament has little power since the constitution vests all executive authority in the president
Judicial branch:
Supreme Tribunal


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.

$15.54 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
GDP per capita:
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 3%
industry: 90.6%
services: 6.2%
Inflation rate:
30% (1998 est.)
revenues: $1.973 billion
expenditures: $711.5 million
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 94.3%
hydro: 5.7%
other: 0%
petroleum, fishing, sawmilling, natural gas
coffee, cocoa, rice, yams, cassava (tapioca), bananas, palm oil nuts; livestock; timber
petroleum, methanol, timber, cocoa
Export partners:
US 24.6%, China 21.8%, Taiwan 11.2%, Spain 10.9%, Canada 7.7%, Portugal 5.5%, Italy 4.9%, Netherlands 4.2%, France 4%
petroleum sector equipment, other equipment
Import partners:
US 24.6%, Italy 20.3%, France 12.2%, Spain 10.7%, Cote d'Ivoire 8.7%, UK 7.2%
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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