Equatorial Guinea (EQG), is a upper middle-income country. It is composed of a mainland, Rio Muni, and small islands including Bioko (where the capital Malabo is located), Annobon, Corisco, Elobey, and others. Its population is estimated at 1.5 million people in 2021. 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, uranium, diamond, columbite-tantalite, and gas and oil, discovered in the 1990s.
In power since 1979, President Obiang was re-elected for a seven-year term in April 2016, with 93.7% of vote. The absence of real checks and balances grants his political party, “El Partido Democratico de Guinea Ecuatorial (PDGE)”, absolute executive power. In June 2016, the President’s son Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue was appointed Vice-President in charge of National Defense and State Security. The following legislative, senatorial, and municipal elections were won by the ruling party, with 99 of the 100 deputy seats, as well as all senatorial seats and mayoralties in the country. Prime Minister Obama Asue, who holds office since 2016, was re-appointed for a third time after the government was dissolved in August 2020.
Following a government reshuffle in October 2020, Valentin Ela Maye Mba, former Delegate minister of Finance, Economy, and Planning, was appointed full Minister of Finance, Economy, and Planning.
Since early April 2022, President Obiang initiated consultations with different parties to organize the coming legislative elections and launched an electoral census in the country. Early September 2022, the parliament had approved a move to prepone the presidential elections to November 20, 2022, while the presidential term expires in April 2023. Government officials of Equatorial Guinea have based this decision on the current economic downturn and the consequent need to streamline public expenditure. The country has simultaneously set up Presidential, Chamber of Deputies, Senate, and municipal elections while electoral campaigns are scheduled from November 3 to 18, 2022.
On September 23, the Executive Board of the ruling party choose the current head of state as the candidate who will represent the political formation on the 20th of November poll.
The discovery of large oil reserves in the 1990s has allowed Equatorial Guinea to become the third-largest producer of oil in Sub-Saharan Africa, after Nigeria and Angola. However, EQG’s macroeconomic and fiscal situation has deteriorated since the end of the last commodity super cycle of 2014, with an average negative GDP growth from 2015 to 2021.
To restore its external debt and fiscal imbalances, EQG has been undertaking several reforms and entered an IMF Staff Monitored Program (SMP) in May 2018. The reforms included raising non-hydrocarbon tax revenues and reducing the non-hydrocarbon primary deficit, improving PFM in coordination with the other CEMAC countries, supporting social sectors, protecting the banking sector through the non-accumulation of new arrears, and improving governance. In 2021, the country took measures to address governance and corruption challenges by adopting an anti-corruption law that promotes fiscal transparency.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the explosions in an armory of military barracks in March 2021 in Bata, (the economic capital of EQG), caused widespread destruction and loss of life. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, EQG put in place a National Response and Recovery Plan, including economic policy measures intended to facilitate budget financing and mitigate the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.
In September 2021, the IMF approved a disbursement to EQG under the Rapid Financing Instrument.
The economy rebounded slightly in 2021, thanks to improved performance in the hydrocarbon sector (especially liquefied natural gas from the Alen gas field), as well as the revival of the services sector. After seven consecutive years of negative growth, economic activity is expected to rebound in the first half of 2022, driven by a pick-up in hydrocarbon production, higher capital spending, and an upturn of the services sector following the lifting of pandemic-related restrictive measures. Stronger hydrocarbon revenues from higher production and prices improved the fiscal position in the first half of 2022. Real GDP is projected to grow by 3.2% in 2022. Inflation stood at 3.3% in July 2022 (from 1.8% in 2021), due to higher global food and energy prices owing to the war in Ukraine.
EQG became member of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in May 2017. For the government, joining OPEC could be an attempt to bolster foreign investment and technology transfers from other member countries, especially from the Gulf.
Last Updated: Nov 24, 2022