|Republic of Equatorial Guinea
President: Col. Teodoro
Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (1979)
Minister: Vicente Ehate Tomi (2012)
Total area: 10,830 sq mi (28,050 sq
Population (2012 est.):
685,991 (growth rate: 2.61%); birth rate: 34.88/1000; infant mortality rate:
75.18/1000; life expectancy: 62.75; density per sq km: 20
Capital and largest city (2009 est.):
Monetary unit: CFA Franc
National name: Républica de Guinea
Current government officials
Spanish, French (both official); pidgin English,
Fang, Bubi, Ibo
Bioko (primarily Bubi, some Fernandinos),
Río Muni (primarily Fang); less than 1,000 Europeans, mostly
Independence Day, October 12
nominally Christian and predominantly Roman
Catholic, pagan practices
rate: 87% (2011 est.)
summary: GDP/PPP (2011 est.): $26.11 billion; per capita
$19,300 (2011 est.). Real growth rate: –7.1. Inflation:
7%. Unemployment: 22.3% (2011 est.). Arable land: 5%.
Agriculture: coffee, cocoa, rice, yams, cassava (tapioca),
bananas, palm oil nuts; livestock; timber. Labor force: 195,200 (2011)
Industries: petroleum, fishing, sawmilling, natural gas.
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, timber, gold,
bauxite, diamonds, tantalum, sand and gravel, clay. Exports:
$13.65 billion (2011 est.): petroleum, methanol, timber, cocoa.
Imports: $7.187 billion (2011 est.): petroleum sector
equipment, other equipment. Major trading partners: U.S.,
China, Spain, Taiwan, Portugal, South Korea, France, UK, Côte
d'Ivoire, Italy (2004).
Telephones: main lines in use: 13,500 (2011); mobile cellular:
399,300 (2011). Radio broadcast stations: AM 0, FM 3, shortwave
5 (2002). Television broadcast stations: 19 (2006). Internet
hosts: 7 (2011). Internet users: 14,400 (2011).
Transportation: Railways: total: 0 km.
Highways: total: 2,880 km (2011 est.). Ports and
harbors: Malabo. Airports: 7 (2011).
International disputes: in 2002, ICJ ruled on
an equidistance settlement of Cameroon-Equatorial Guinea-Nigeria
maritime boundary in the Gulf of Guinea, but a dispute between
Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon over an island at the mouth of the Ntem
River, imprecisely defined maritime coordinates in the ICJ decision,
and the unresolved Bakasi allocation contribute to the delay in
implementation; UN has been pressing Equatorial Guinea and Gabon to
pledge to resolve the sovereignty dispute over Gabon-occupied Mbane
Island and create a maritime boundary in the hydrocarbon-rich Corisco
Major sources and definitions
Equatorial Guinea, formerly Spanish Guinea,
consists of Río Muni (10,045 sq mi; 26,117 sq km), on the western
coast of Africa, and several islands in the Gulf of Guinea, the largest of
which is Bioko (formerly Fernando Po) (785 sq mi; 2,033 sq km). The other
islands are Annobón, Corisco, Elobey Grande, and Elobey Chico. The
total area is twice that of Connecticut.
The mainland was originally inhabited by
Pygmies. The Fang and Bubi migrated there in the 17th century and to the
main island of Fernando Po (now called Bioko) in the 19th century. In the
18th century, the Portuguese ceded land to the Spanish that included
Equatorial Guinea. From 1827 to 1844, Britain administered Fernando Po,
but it was then reclaimed by Spain. Río Muni, the mainland, was not
occupied by the Spanish until 1926. Spanish Guinea, as it was then called,
gained independence from Spain on Oct. 12, 1968. It is Africa's only
Equatorial Guineans Suffer Under Dictatorship
From the outset, President Francisco
Macías Nguema, considered the father of independence, began a
brutal reign, destroying the economy of the fledgling country and abusing
human rights. Calling himself the “Unique Miracle,” Nguema is
considered one of the worst despots in African history. In 1971, the U.S.
State Department reported that his regime was “characterized by
abandonment of all government functions except internal security, which
was accomplished by terror; this led to the death or exile of up to
one-third of the population.” In 1979, Nguema was overthrown and
executed by his nephew, Lieut. Col. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Obiang
has been gradually modernizing the country but has retained many of his
uncle's dictatorial practices, including the amassing of personal wealth
by siphoning it from the public coffers. In 2003, state radio compared him
New Economic Prosperity Benefits Only President Mbasogo
A recent offshore oil boom resulted in the
economy's growth by 71.2% in 1997, the first year of the petroleum
bonanza, and it has sustained this phenomenal rate of growth. Between 2002
and 2005, the GDP skyrocketed from $1.27 billion to $25.69 billion. It is
unlikely, however, that the country's new wealth will benefit the average
citizen—the president's family and cronies control the industry.
In 2004, about 70 mercenaries, including
Eton-educated, former member of Britain's Special Air Services Simon Mann,
attempted to overthrow the authoritarian president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Mbasogo. The coup attempt failed, and those involved were arrested and
jailed. Mann was convicted in July 2008 and sentenced to 34 years in
prison. He was pardoned and released in November 2009.
Amid accusations of corruption and
mismanagement, the entire government of Prime Minister Ricardo Mangue
Obama Nfubea resigned in July 2008. President Obiang named Ignacio Milam Tang
as prime minister. President Obiang was reelected in November 2009.
See also Encyclopedia: Equatorial Guinea.
U.S. State Dept. Country
Notes: Equatorial Guinea
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