Equatorial Guinea, the only former Spanish colony in Sub Saharan Africa, is composed of a mainland, Rio Muni, and small islands including Bioko where the capital Malabo is located, Annobon, Corisco, Elobey, and others. According to United Nations estimates, it is one of the smallest countries on the continent with a population of 562,339 people. The country is bordered in the north by Cameroon, in the east and south by Gabon, and to the west by the Gulf of Guinea. It is well endowed with arable land and mineral resources ranging from gold, oil, uranium, diamond, and columbite-tantalite, and notably petroleum discovered in the 1990s.

Political Overview

The president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, is the longest-serving head of state in Sub-Saharan. His position was bolstered by his landslide victory in the last presidential election in November 2009. The absence of real checks and balances grants his party (Partido democratico de Guinea Ecuatorial - PDGE) absolute executive power. The country’s constitution was amended following the November 2011 referendum and a new government was appointed in May 2012. The legislative, senatorial and municipal elections were held in May 2013 and confirmed the domination of the ruling party (PDGE). However, legalized opposition parties continue to voice their discontent over the country’s governance but their capacity to influence policy is limited.

Economic Overview

The country has been one of the fastest growing economies in Africa in the past decade. After the discovery of large oil reserves in the 1990s, Equatorial Guinea became the third-largest producer of oil in Sub-Saharan Africa, after Nigeria and Angola. More recently, substantial gas reserves have also been discovered.

The government’s development agenda is guided by a medium-term strategy paper, the National Economic Development Plan: Horizon 2020, which targets economic diversification and poverty reduction. The first phase of Horizon 2020, focused on infrastructure development was concluded in 2012. The second phase will focus on economic diversification, targeting strategic new sectors such as fisheries, agriculture, tourism and finance.

As the country moves into the second phase of the National Development Plan, the government is planning to redirect public investment from infrastructure towards the development of new economic sectors. Equatorial Guinea is largely dependent on oil.  The recent drop in international oil prices has had a significant impact on its economy, underscoring the importance of promoting non-oil growth and increasing efficiency of spending. To take into account the lower oil prices, the government presented a revised budget that foresees a 50% cut in investment spending. The lack of available and accurate data persists and makes it difficult to track progress on socioeconomic indicators. 

Last Updated: Nov 24, 2015

The country’s main development challenge lies in transforming its oil producing economy into a more diversified one. In order to do so, Equatorial Guinea must undertake significant reforms and increase economic growth and investments. This will require improvements in the investment and business climate, better governance, stronger human capital, and efficient public spending that targets the poorest. Currently, Equatorial Guinea, an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) country, has no lending program with the Bank. However, technical assistance has been provided since 2011.

Last Updated: Nov 24, 2015

World Bank Group Engagement in Equatorial Guinea

Reimbursable Assistance Services Agreements have been undertaken to provide technical assistance to ‘Agencia 2020’ and the Public Investment Division of the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Public Investment in order to improve their capacity to monitor the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) Horizon 2020 and strengthen their public investment management systems. Also, support has been provided to enhance the country’s capacity to produce timely and accurate statistics data. 

The World Bank group is engaged in the Country through a technical assistance program targeting the following activities:

  • Strengthening Public Investment Management: The World Bank provides technical assistance to ‘Agencia 2020’ and the Public Investment Division of the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Public Investment (MEPPI) to improve their capacity to monitor implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) Horizonte 2020 and strengthen their public investment management systems.
  • Improving the National Statistical Program: World Bank technical support aims at supporting statistical development in Equatorial Guinea along three dimensions: (i) production of national accounts data and support prioritization of statistical data production; (ii) institutional development – strengthening of the newly established National Statistics Institute (INEGE); (iii) promoting the use of data for decision and policy making.
  • Improving Investment Climate Reform: A dynamic and competitive private sector is crucial to achieving the Government’s objectives of diversifying the economy, raising competitiveness, and addressing poverty. The objective of spurring private investment is in line with the second phase of the National Development Plan “Horizonte 2020”, covering 2013-2020 and the Equatorial Guinea Industrialization Plan (PEGI 2020). A supportive business climate is critical to stimulating the domestic private sector and attracting foreign investment. In the context of decreasing oil prices, the Government is also seeking support in building capacity to retain current oil and gas investments, as well as in seeking to diversify the economy in targeted sectors.

Against this backdrop, the Government of Equatorial Guinea aims to (i) identify key investment climate reforms pertaining to the Doing Business indicators, (ii) establish an effective investment promotion agency, and (iii) create an efficient one stop shop for business registration. It is seeking technical assistance from the World Bank to review processes of implementation, share good practices, deliver capacity building, and provide recommendations for designing policies and setting up institutions to this end.

Last Updated: Nov 24, 2015

The main partners in the country are the United States, Spain, France, and China. The World Bank works closely with Equatorial Guinea through its office in Libreville, Gabon.

Last Updated: Nov 24, 2015


Equatorial Guinea: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments