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EQUATORIAL GUINEA
Society

Society

State structure

Equatorial Guinea is a presidential republic. The constitution has been in force since November 1991. The president is elected for a seven-year term. He appoints the Prime Minister and some members of the judiciary. The parliament consists of one chamber, the Cámara de Representantes del Pueblo (formerly 80 members; since the April 2004 elections 100 members), and is practically powerless.

Politics

Also since the presidential elections of December 2002 (won by 97% by President Obiang), the domestic politics of the country have been characterised by the dominant position of the President (nicknamed "El Jefe") and his clan, the Esangui. Their power is largely based on the oil revenues, which are largely paid into private accounts. Free elections are out of the question and the weak opposition has become increasingly marginalised and boycotted the last presidential elections because some of its leaders were in prison or in exile. Government parties, including the PDGE, won 98 out of 100 parliamentary seats in April 2004.

In August 2006, President Obiang dismissed his entire government. In the new government, led by Ricardo Mangué Obama Nfubea (of the Fang tribe) but dominated by the PDGE, the number of ministers has been reduced from 51 to 28.

Obiang - whose current mandate runs until 2009 - is reportedly planning to be succeeded by his son Teodoro Nguema Obian Mangue, but it seems uncertain whether the army will accept this without question.

For the current political situation, see the history section.

Economy

After independence in 1968, the country experienced a severe economic crisis for 11 years. Agriculture - particularly cocoa - was seriously neglected.

Since the end of the 1990s, Equatorial Guinea has experienced a tremendous oil boom. Production increased from 81,000 barrels per day in 1998 to over 300,000 in 2004. In the near future, production is expected to reach 350,000 barrels per day. Oil now accounts for 75% of export revenues. An important export product is tropical hardwood (production approx. 530,000 cubic metres per year, accounting for 2% of export earnings).

The developments in the oil sector led to a sensational 66% growth in GNP in 2001. By 2005, GNP growth had dropped to 6%. Due to the crisis, the economy contracted slightly for the first time in 2013. This will increase in the following years and decrease again to -3.2% in 2017.

Equatorial Guinea has the highest per capita income in Africa. In 2017, it was $37,400. However, an American investigation has shown that a large part of the oil revenues is paid directly into the private accounts of the president and his clan. A large part of the population lives below the poverty line, an exact number is not known but it could be in the neighbourhood of 50%.

Sources

Elmar Landeninformatie

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated December 2022
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