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Info Africa - EQUATORIAL GUINEA
Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea is in western Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra. It lies between the countries of Cameroon and Gabon. This country, which is one of the smallest in Africa, is made up of a mainland portion and five inhabited islands. Equatorial Guinea gained independence in 1969 following 190 years of Spanish rule. Prior to this, this area was first colonized by the Portuguese and in the late 15th century, the Portuguese developed this area into an active slave market. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has been in power since 1979. He not only exerts nearly total control of the political system, but he has also discouraged political opposition. Over the past years, Equatorial Guinea has enjoyed

rapid economic growth as a result of the discovery of large offshore oil reserves. In the past decade, Equatorial Guinea has become Sub-Saharan Africa's third largest oil exporter. This country has beautiful scenery, tropical forests and some snow-capped volcanoes. The capital city, Malabo, lies on the island of Bioko. It still contains Spanish colonial architecture and lively markets. The Malabo Town Hall and Malabo Palace as well as the beaches on this island are just some of the attractions of the city. The Spanish culture and the Roman Catholic religion are more evident on the island of Bioko than the mainland. In general, however, Equatorial Guineans still follow their ancient customs and traditions. Certain ethnic groups on the mainland, such as the Fang, traditional music and storytelling still survive. Amongst some of the country’s major rituals are songs and dances. One of the most well-known celebrations is the abira; a ceremony that helps to cleans the community from evil.
CATEGORIES: Demographics - Quick Facts - Economy - Communications - Health Issues
Demographics
Country Flag: Equatorial Guinea's Flag

Three horizontal bands of green (top), white, and red with a blue isosceles triangle on the hoist side and the coat of arms centered in the white band; coat of arms has six yellow six-pointed stars (representing the mainland and five offshore islands) above a gray shield bearing a silk-cotton tree; below it "UNIDAD, PAZ, JUSTICIA" (Unity, Peace, Justice)

Nationality: Equatorial Guinean or Equatoguinean

Capital: Malabo

Population: 540,109 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 41.7%
  • 15-64 years: 54.5%
  • 65 years and over: 3.8% (2006 est.)  

Population growth rate: 2.05% (2006 est.)

Literacy rate:

  • ages 15 and above can read and write.
  • 85.7% of the population is literate (male: 93.3%, female: 78.4%) (2003 est.)

Major religions: Nominally Christian and predominantly Roman Catholic, pagan practices

Languages: Spanish (official), French (official), pidgin English, Fang, Bubi, Ibo

Quick Facts
Area:
  • total: 28,051 sq km
  • land: 28,051 sq km
  • water: 0 sq km

Area comparative to Canadian province: half the size of Nova Scotia

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, timber, gold, bauxite, diamonds, tantalum, sand and gravel, clay

Environmental Issues: tap water is not potable; deforestation

Economy

The economy of Equatorial Guinea has benefited immensely from the discovery and exploitation of oil reserves. Farming, forestry and fishing are chief components of GDP, although subsistence farming continues to dominate. Various World Bank and IMF assistance programs have ceased since 1993 due to corruption and mismanagement. Businesses are mainly owned by government officials and their families. Some of their undeveloped natural resources include titanium, iron ore, manganese, uranium and alluvial gold. In 2005, Equatorial Guinea’s economic growth was strong and in fact, this country now has the second highest per capita income in the world, following Luxembourg. In the last decade, this country has become Sub-Saharan Africa’s third largest oil exporter.

Major industries:

  • petroleum
  • fishing
  • sawmilling
  • natural gas

Agricultural products:

  • coffee
  • cocoa
  • rice
  • yams
  • cassava (tapioca)
  • bananas
  • palm oil nuts
  • livestock
  • timber

Oil production: 420,000 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Railways: N/A

Road map: 2,880 km

Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc

Communications

Telephone lines in use: 9,600 (2003)

Cellular lines in use: 55,500 (2004)

Television Stations: 1 (2002)

Radio Stations: AM 0, FM 3, shortwave 5 (2002)

Internet users: 5,000 (2005)

Health Issues

HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate: 3.4% (2001 est.)

People living with HIV/AIDS: 5,900 (2001 est.)

More Information

For more informaiton, please visit:
https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ek.html