Information about Equatorial Guinea
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, 2002, and 2009 presidential elections - as well as the 1999, 2004, 2008, and 2013 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, improvements in the population's living standards have been slow to develop.
Equatorial Guinea's economy
The discovery and exploitation of large oil and gas reserves have contributed to dramatic economic growth, but fluctuating oil prices along with slowing or declining oil production have resulted in much lower GDP growth in recent years. The economy is still dominated by hydrocarbon production. The government has solicited foreign investment, particularly from the United States, to diversify the economy and in February 2014 the government hosted an economic diversification symposium focused on attracting investment in five sectors: agriculture and animal ranching, fishing, mining and petrochemicals, tourism, and financial services. Undeveloped mineral resources include gold, zinc, diamonds, columbite-tantalite, and other base metals. Forestry and farming are also minor components of GDP. Subsistence farming is the dominant form of livelihood. 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. The government has been widely criticized for its lack of transparency and misuse of oil revenues and has attempted to address this issue by working towards compliance with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
Issues in Equatorial Guinea
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 and imprecisely defined maritime coordinates in the ICJ decision delayed final delimitation; UN urged Equatorial Guinea and Gabon to resolve the sovereignty dispute over Gabon-occupied Mbane and lesser islands and to create a maritime boundary in the hydrocarbon-rich Corisco Bay
Trafficking in persons:
Equatorial Guinea is a source and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sexual exploitation; children have been trafficked from nearby countries for work as domestic servants, market laborers, ambulant vendors, and launderers; women may also be trafficked to Equatorial Guinea from Cameroon, Benin, other neighboring countries, and China for forced labor or prostitution; Equatorial Guinean girls may be encouraged by their parents to engage in the sex trade in urban centers to receive groceries, gifts, housing, and money
Tier 3 - Equatorial Guinea does not fully comply with the minimum standards on the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government has initiated no investigations or prosecutions of suspected trafficking offenses and demonstrated no efforts to identify victims or to provide them with necessary services, despite being required to do so under its 2004 anti-trafficking law; the government shows a slight increase in its efforts to prevent trafficking with the creation in 2012 of a working-level committee to combat human trafficking, but it has not launched any public anti-trafficking campaigns or implemented any programs to address forced child labor (2013)