Equatorial Guinea – Republic of Equatorial Guinea

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

Equatorial Guinea Republic of Equatorial Guinea, a state in Central Africa, on the west coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of the mainland (common name Mbini, formerly Rio Muni), the coastal islands of Corisco, Greater and Lesser Elobei, and the islands of Bioko (formerly Fernando-Po) and Annobon (formerly Pagalu) in the Gulf of Guinea. Administratively it is divided into seven provinces. The area is 28,051 square kilometers, of which 2,034 square kilometers are accounted for by the islands of Bioko and Annobon. The mainland of Mbini borders Cameroon in the north and Gabon in the east and south. The population is 454 000 (1998). The capital is Malabo (formerly Santa Isabel, pop. 10 thousand) on Bioko Island. The city of Bata (17 thousand inhabitants) is the largest in Mbini.

Under pressure from the domestic opposition and world public opinion, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo was forced to enact a new constitution in 1991 that provided for the establishment of a multiparty democracy. However, the democratization process was extremely slow, and both the UN and Amnesty International repeatedly published stories about human rights abuses in Equatorial Guinea. The 1991 electoral law stipulated a residency requirement: A politician who had not lived in the country for the last 10 years before an election was not allowed to stand for election. As a result, the influential émigré opposition organization Equatorial Guinean Progress Party (EPPG) and a number of smaller groups were excluded from participating in the elections. The internal opposition, which formed the Platform for Opposition Coordination Junta (POCJ), boycotted the 1993 multiparty parliamentary elections.

Equatorial Guinea. The capital is Malabo. Population – 454 thousand (1998). Population density is 16.2 persons per sq km. Urban population – 40 per cent, rural – 60 per cent. The total area is 28,051 sq.km. The highest point is Mount Malabo (3008 m). The official language is Spanish. The main religion is Catholicism. The administrative-territorial division is divided into seven provinces. Currency is the CFA franc. National holiday: Independence Day – October 12. The national anthem: “Let’s go on the road together”.

After various restrictions were removed from the election law, local elections were held in 1995 with the participation of international observers. Although opposition candidates won a convincing victory, it was officially announced that candidates from the pro-government DPEG won in 2/3 of the constituencies. The opposition's accusations of rigging the election results were ignored by the authorities. Since the opposition decided to boycott the 1996 presidential election, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo received 90% of the vote and was re-elected for a third term.

Flag of Equatorial Guinea.

Equatorial Guinea broke off relations with Spain and other Western countries during the reign of the first president, Macias Nguema Biyogo, but after Obiang Nguema Mbasogo came to power in 1979, Spain again became the country's main creditor. In 1994, the Spanish government recalled its ambassador and cut its aid in half. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, seeking to reduce dependence on Spain, decided to join Equatorial Guinea in the French economic zone. In 1983 the country became a member of the Customs and Economic Union of Central Africa (UDEAC), and from 1984 it switched to the CFA franc as the monetary unit.

On the map of Central Africa

Nature. Bioko and Annoban are mountainous islands of volcanic origin, with fertile soils. On Bioko Island is the highest point of the country, Mount Malabo (3008 m). In Mbini, the coastal plain is bordered by a plateau 600-900 m high (with peaks up to 1,500 m). The climate is equatorial, constantly humid. Average monthly temperatures range from 24 to 28 ° C. The average annual rainfall exceeds 2000 mm and on the islands it reaches 2500 mm. The climate is cooler in the mountains at higher altitudes. The largest river, the Mbini, abounds in torrents and waterfalls and is accessible to small ships only in its lower reaches. 2/3 of the Mbini is covered with evergreen rainforests with valuable tree species such as kaya large-leaved and aucumea kline. Population. In 1983, Equatorial Guinea had 304,000 inhabitants, of whom 57,000 lived on Bioko Island and 2,000 on Annobon Island. By 1998, the number of Equatorial Guineans had increased to 454 thousand. Bantu-speaking people prevail in the population. The interior of Bioko is inhabited by the Bubi, who are the indigenous people of the island. Having died out from alcoholism and various diseases during the colonial period, they are gradually regaining their numbers. At the beginning of the 1990s, there were 15,000 Bubi living in the country. The Fang people make up about 3/4 of the Mbini population and have managed to preserve their ethnic community and traditional institutions of power. These people used to live in villages; in the 1960s they began to move to the administrative centers of the interior regions of Mikomeseng, Niefang, Ebebiin, and Mongomo, as well as to the coastal cities. In the early 1990s, Fang comprised 80-90% of the population of the largest city of Mbini and several other cities. In the 1970s, some Fang were forcibly brought to Bioko Island to replace the foreign workers expelled from Equatorial Guinea. The coastal Kombu, Buheba, and Benga tribes, which had been intermediaries in trade between Europeans and the Fang who inhabited the interior, gradually lost their former influence. Among other ethnic groups of the country stand out Fernandino, descendants of Anglophone freed slaves who settled on Bioko in the 19th century. until the 1970s, Equatorial Guinea was home to numerous communities of foreigners, including approx. 40,000 migrants from Nigeria who toiled in the cocoa plantations on Bioko and in the logging industry in Mbini. In the mid-1970s, Nigerians, who made up two-thirds of the population of Bioko and a large part of the population of Mbini, were forced by the authorities to leave the country. In 1960 there were approx. 7,000 Europeans, mostly Spanish businessmen, civil servants, and missionaries, were in Equatorial Guinea. At that time they had almost complete control over the economic life of the country. Soon after the proclamation of independence, only about 200 of them remained. 200 people remained. In 1979 the Spaniards began to return to Equatorial Guinea, and in 1980 they numbered 4,000. Several African languages are spoken in the country, the most important of which are Fang and Bubi. Pidginized English is spoken by Fernandino. The majority of people speak Spanish, the country’s official language. Inhabitants of the country are basically Catholics. State system. After the declaration of independence in 1968, the authoritarian regime of Francisco Masias Nguema was established in Equatorial Guinea. During his dictatorship, at least a quarter of the population emigrated to Europe and Africa, where numerous opposition groups formed.

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In 1979 Macias was deposed as president by his nephew, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who commanded the National Guard. Despite the new ruler’s promises to respect the rule of law and the provisions of the 1982 constitution, a de facto military dictatorship led by the president and his Supreme Military Council remained in place until the early 1990s. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo was the only candidate in the 1989 presidential election. Only the pro-government Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDEG) was allowed in the country, the unicameral parliament was not an independent body of government, and its members were elected from a list of candidates selected by the president. Under pressure from the domestic opposition and world public opinion, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo was forced to enact a new constitution in 1991 that provided for the establishment of a multi-party democracy. However, the process of democratization was extremely slow, and both the UN and Amnesty International repeatedly reported on human rights violations in Equatorial Guinea. The 1991 electoral law stipulated a residency requirement: A politician who had not lived in the country for the last 10 years prior to an election was not allowed to stand. As a result, the influential émigré opposition organization Equatorial Guinean Progress Party (PEG) and a number of smaller groups were excluded from participating in the elections. The internal opposition, which formed the Opposition Coordination Junta Platform (OCOP), boycotted the 1993 multiparty parliamentary elections. After various restrictions were removed from the election law, local elections were held in 1995 with the participation of international observers. Although opposition candidates won a convincing victory, it was officially announced that candidates of the pro-government DPEG won in 2/3 of the constituencies. The opposition’s accusations of rigging the election results were ignored by the authorities. Since the opposition decided to boycott the 1996 presidential election, Obiang Nguema Mbasogo received 90% of the vote and was re-elected for a third term. Equatorial Guinea broke off relations with Spain and other Western countries during the reign of the first president, Macias Nguema Biyogo, but after Obiang Nguema Mbasogo came to power in 1979, Spain again became the country’s main creditor. In 1994, the Spanish government recalled its ambassador and cut its aid in half. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, seeking to reduce dependence on Spain, decided to join Equatorial Guinea in the French economic zone. In 1983 the country became a member of the Customs and Economic Union of Central Africa (UDEAC), and from 1984 it switched to the CFA franc as the monetary unit. In the 1990s, France became concerned about the slow pace of democratization in Equatorial Guinea. For the same reason, the U.S. closed its diplomatic mission in Malabo in 1996. Relations with neighboring Nigeria and Gabon are complicated by territorial disputes. Equatorial Guinea strongly depends on Morocco for military aid. Economy. Until the last decades of the 20th century cocoa beans, coffee and timber were the main products of the national economy. Most of these products were (and still are) exported to France and Spain. Approximately 90% of cocoa is grown on plantations on Bioco Island.

In the 1990s, France became concerned about the slow pace of Equatorial Guinea's democratization. For the same reason, the U.S. closed its diplomatic mission in Malabo in 1996. Relations with neighboring Nigeria and Gabon are complicated by territorial disputes. Equatorial Guinea is heavily dependent on Morocco for military assistance.

The vast majority of cultivated land used to be distributed among small farms of Africans, Europeans owned large plantations where most of the cocoa beans were produced. By the early 1980s, only 3,000 hectares were under cultivation. During this period, annual cocoa production fell from 38,000 to 2,600 tons. In 1991 the cocoa bean harvest was 5,700 tons. In the same year, the World Bank launched a campaign to “restore cocoa production,” with the goal of increasing yields by planting new trees and controlling diseases and pests. However, cocoa bean harvests continued to decline, totaling 4,500 tons in 1997. In 1967 small fang farms in Mbini produced 8,700 tons of coffee, and in the early 1980s 6,000 tons. By the end of the 1990s, farmers were harvesting up to 7,000 tons of coffee per year. Peak timber harvests – 910 thousand cubic meters falls on 1970, but in 1977 was harvested only 405 thousand cubic meters. In 1990-s a sudden rise was outlined: in 1996 it was produced 811 thousand cub.m. of wood and sawn wood. As a result, timber became the main export item of Equatorial Guinea instead of cocoa. In 1984, oil deposits were discovered offshore Malabo. In 1991 a consortium of U.S. companies began oil production at 160 tons per day. By 1995 oil production rose to 1350 tons per day. By 1997, the value of annual oil exports was $23-25 million. In the same year, the U.S. company began oil production in the new Zafiro field (about 5 tons per day). In the late 1990s oil became the main export item of Equatorial Guinea. The country has a well-developed fishing industry. In 1995 the catch of fish was 3.8 thousand tons. Little has remained of the magnificent road system the country used to be famous for. The paved roads are now in poor condition. They follow the northern coast of Bioko and in Mbini from Bata to the south to the town of Mbini, and east to Ebebijinu where they connect to the road system of Gabon. The main ports are Malabo and Bata. In the early 1980s, Spain accounted for 4/5 of Equatorial Guinea’s foreign trade. After joining the French franc zone, the country has noticeably expanded the range of trading partners, which included Cameroon, Nigeria, USA, France and other EU member states. Until 1993 Equatorial Guinea ran a persistent trade deficit, but as a result of expanding timber and oil exports, it achieved a surplus. In 1995 the value of exports was $85.4 million, imports $49.5 million. The main exports are timber, oil, cocoa, and coffee. Imports are dominated by machinery and transport equipment, ships and other watercraft, food, tobacco and beverages, and petroleum products. Substantial economic aid comes to the country from Spain, France, and the IMF. Popular Education. In Equatorial Guinea there are 550 elementary school with 75.7 thousand students. There are approximately 16,600 students in secondary schools. Residents can receive higher education either in foreign universities, or in training centers in Bata and Malabo. History. Until 1959 the territory of present Equatorial Guinea was a colony of Spanish Guinea. In the 1890s, the Spaniards began to actively penetrate to Fernando Po. After World War I, Spain established military control of the Rio Muni. Until the 1960s, colonial authorities exercised strict political control over Africans. There was a policy of racial segregation in the colony.

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Mixed marriages between whites and Africans were prosecuted. After 1950 the colonial administration took several steps for the economic development of Fernando-Po. In 1959, Fernando Po and Rio Muni and the surrounding islands were declared overseas provinces of Spain, and the local population was granted the status of Spanish citizens. Both provinces were governed by a Spanish governor general with military and civilian powers. In a referendum held in December 1963, the populations of both provinces voted in favor of granting Spanish Guinea internal autonomy. Under the system of government introduced in 1964, the Commissioner General, representing the Spanish government, retained control over foreign policy, defense, and internal order, while some economic and administrative functions were transferred to the local government. In the 1960s, the independence movement expanded. In a popular referendum held in August 1968 under the auspices of the United Nations, the population voted for independence and approved a constitution. In September 1968 presidential and parliamentary elections were held. On October 12, 1968 the country was officially proclaimed an independent state and its first President was Francisco Macias Nguema Biyogo, a Fang from Rio Muni. Macías’ first steps in government so alarmed the Spanish community that, within six months, 85% of Spaniards had left the country. The ensuing persecution of seasonal Nigerian expatriates who worked on cocoa plantations forced c. 40 percent of Nigerians to return home. 40 percent of Nigerians returned to their homeland. The loss of skilled and unskilled labor had a devastating effect on the country’s economy. In 1970 Macias Nguema further consolidated his position by merging all political organizations into the United National Party of Workers (UNT). On July 14, 1972 he was proclaimed president for life. In 1973, Equatorial Guinea became a unitary state under a new constitution. In the same year, all Spanish place names were replaced by African ones. In foreign policy, Macias Nguema strengthened ties with socialist states, especially China and Cuba. Domestically, the ruling regime pursued a policy of repression against the Bube people living on Bioko Island. About 70 thousand Bube people emigrated to Cameroon, Gabon, and Europe. After the last Nigerians were expelled from Equatorial Guinea in 1976, the Mbini inhabitants were forcibly brought to Bioko to harvest cocoa beans. In 1977 Equatorial Guinea broke diplomatic relations with the United States and Spain. The resulting unrest and economic collapse prepared the way for the August 3, 1979, coup d’état led by Col. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, nephew of Masias Nguema. A Supreme Military Council was formed to lead the country. In September, Masias Nguema was executed by court order, then diplomatic relations with Spain and the United States were restored and political and economic transformation began. The most significant economic aid to Equatorial Guinea was provided by Spain. Some other Western countries, as well as the EEC and other international organizations did not stand aside. In 1981-1988 the position of the new leadership was strengthened by the discovery of offshore oil deposits and the adoption of a new constitution in 1982. However, during this period four coup attempts had to be suppressed.

The government did not respond to opposition calls for a multiparty democracy in the country. Instead, in 1986 Obiang Nguema formed the pro-government Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDEG). The 1990s were a decade of gradual, cautious liberalization and repression of the opposition in Equatorial Guinea. After the entry into force of the constitution, which established a multiparty system, a transitional government led by Obiang Nguema was formed. The new government legalized political opposition parties, including the Party of Progress of Equatorial Guinea (PPEG), and declared a general amnesty that also applied to the émigré opposition. At the same time, many prominent opposition figures were arrested in 1992-1993. International human rights organizations, in particular Amnesty International, repeatedly accused the government of Equatorial Guinea of mass arrests and torture of detainees. In 1995, the leaders of the PDGE were tried before a military court and found guilty of treason, and only the intervention of French President Jacques Chirac saved them from reprisals. The opposition and international observers said that all three elections of the transition period, i.e. the 1993 Parliamentary elections, the 1995 local elections and the 1996 Presidential elections, were accompanied by blackmail, intimidation, fraud, and oppression of opposition supporters. LITERATURE Melnikov I.A., Korochantsev V.A. Equatorial Guinea. М., 1971

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea is located only slightly north of the equator, on the shores of the Gulf of Biafra in the Atlantic Ocean. It includes the mainland of the Rio Muni (26,000 sq km), which stretches 130 km along the coast and 300 km inland, and several islands, the largest of which is Masias-Nguema-Biyogo. Spanish is the official language, a remnant of Spanish colonial rule that lasted until 1968. The administrative-territorial division: 7 provinces.

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Video: Equatorial Guinea

Highlights

Most of the Rio Muni is within the South Guinea Highlands. The mountains do not exceed 1,500 m, passing into a coastal plain in the west. The largest river, which crosses the country from east to west, is the Mbini. The climate is equatorial, constantly humid: the average annual temperature is 24-28 ° C, rainfall reaches 2000 mm a year, rainy days a year – 160. Relatively drier months are May-September and December-January. Most of the territory (more than 60%) is covered by dense tropical forests, which grow ficus, breadfruit, mimosas, sandalwood, and other valuable species. The forests of Equatorial Guinea are like a natural zoo – there are so many monkeys, antelopes, gazelles, mongooses, bats, squirrels, elephants and leopards.

The relief of the island of Macias-Nguema-Biyogo is varied, its highest point, Mount Santa Isabel (3050 m), is the peak of an ancient extinct volcano. In the south-eastern part of the island is the “great San Carlos Trench,” 1300 m deep and 5 km in diameter, surrounded by a continuous chain of mountains. The climate on the coast of the island is almost the same as on the mainland, but in the highlands the average annual temperature drops to 18 ° C and rainfall increases to 2500-4000 mm per year. It is even colder in the highlands. The climate in the southern part of the island is the wettest: even in the “dry” years it receives up to 11000 mm of rainfall. Vegetation is very rich, especially in the south of the island: here grow coconut palms, gewea. The mountain peaks are the land of ferns and lobelia. In craters of volcanoes there are picturesque lakes. The bird world is diverse (parrots, hornbills, turacos, hoopoes), and among animals there are many foxes, squirrels, monkeys (including rare species).

Equatorial Guinea has a population of 1,221,490 (2016). The main populations are the Fang and Bubi people of the Bantu language family. The Fang are inhabitants of the continental Rio Muni, farmers who have preserved rich folkloric traditions, ritual festivals, and sculptural art. Bubi live on islands and are famous for their skill in making canes, spears, amulets decorated with ornaments.

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The capital and the largest city of the country is Malabo, located on the island of Masias-Nguema-Biyogo. Equatorial Guinea was discovered by the Portuguese in the late 15th century. Equatorial Guinea was discovered by the Portuguese in the late 15th century, from the end of the 16th century the colonization began. In the XVI century colonization of the islands began. The territory of Equatorial Guinea was also claimed by Spain, Holland and Great Britain. Since 1778, the territory has been a Spanish possession, known as Spanish Guinea. Since 1960, an “overseas province” of Spain. In 1964 it was granted internal autonomy. Since October 1968, Spanish Guinea has been an independent state under the name Equatorial Guinea.

History

Until 1959, the territory of what is now Equatorial Guinea was the colony of Spanish Guinea. In the 1890s, there began an active Spanish invasion of Fernando Po. After World War I, Spain took military control of the Rio Muni.

Until the 1960s, colonial authorities exercised strict political control over Africans. There was a policy of racial segregation in the colony. Mixed marriages between whites and Africans were prosecuted. After 1950 the colonial administration took several steps toward the economic development of Fernando-Po. In 1959 Fernando Po and Rio Muni, as well as the surrounding islands, were declared overseas provinces of Spain, and the local population was granted the status of Spanish citizens. Both provinces were governed by a Spanish governor-general with military and civilian authority. In a referendum held in December 1963, the populations of both provinces voted in favor of granting Spanish Guinea internal autonomy. Under the system of government introduced in 1964, the commissioner general, representing the Spanish government, retained control in the areas of foreign policy, defense, and internal order, while some economic and administrative functions were transferred to the local government.

In the 1960s, the independence movement expanded. In a popular referendum held in August 1968 under the auspices of the UN, the population voted for independence and approved a constitution. In September 1968 presidential and parliamentary elections were held. On October 12, 1968 the country was officially proclaimed an independent state and its first president was Francisco Macias Nguema Biyogo, a Fang from Rio Muni.

Macías’s first steps in public office so alarmed the Spanish community that within six months, 85 percent of Spaniards had left the country. The ensuing persecution of seasonal Nigerian expatriates who worked on cocoa plantations forced c. 40 percent of Nigerians to return home. 40 percent of Nigerians returned to their homeland. The loss of skilled and unskilled labor had a devastating effect on the country’s economy. In 1970 Macias Nguema further consolidated his position by merging all political organizations into the United National Party of Workers (UNT). On July 14, 1972 he was proclaimed president for life. In 1973, Equatorial Guinea became a unitary state under a new constitution. In the same year all Spanish place names were replaced by African ones. In foreign policy, Macias Nguema strengthened ties with socialist states, especially China and Cuba. Domestically, the ruling regime pursued a policy of repression against the Bube people living on Bioko Island. About 70,000 Bube people emigrated to Cameroon, Gabon, and Europe. After the last Nigerians were expelled from Equatorial Guinea in 1976, the Mbini people were forcibly brought to Bioko to harvest cocoa beans. In 1977 Equatorial Guinea broke diplomatic relations with the United States and Spain.

The ensuing unrest and economic collapse prepared the way for a coup d’état on August 3, 1979, led by Col. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, nephew of Masias Nguema. A Supreme Military Council was formed to lead the country. In September, Masias Nguema was executed by court order, then diplomatic relations with Spain and the United States were restored and political and economic transformation began. The most significant economic aid to Equatorial Guinea was provided by Spain. Some other Western countries, as well as the EEC and other international organizations did not stand aside. Between 1981 and 1988, the new leadership was strengthened by the discovery of offshore oil deposits and the adoption of a new constitution in 1982. However, during this period four coup attempts had to be suppressed. The government did not respond to the opposition’s calls for a multiparty democracy. Instead, in 1986 Obiang Nguema formed the pro-government Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDEG).

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The 1990s were a decade of gradual, cautious liberalization and repression of the opposition in Equatorial Guinea. After the entry into force of the constitution, which established a multiparty system, a transitional government led by Obiang Nguema was formed. The new government legalized opposition political parties, including the Party of Progress of Equatorial Guinea (PPEG), and announced a general amnesty that also applied to the émigré opposition. At the same time, many prominent opposition figures were arrested in 1992-1993. International human rights organizations, in particular Amnesty International, repeatedly accused the government of Equatorial Guinea of mass arrests and torture of detainees.

In 1995, the leaders of the PPEG were tried before a military court and found guilty of treason, and only the intervention of French President Jacques Chirac saved them from reprisals. The opposition and international observers stated that all three elections of the transition period, the parliamentary elections of 1993, the local elections of 1995 and the presidential elections of 1996, were accompanied by blackmail, intimidation, fraud, and persecution of opposition supporters.

Economy

Due to the recently commissioned oil fields Equatorial Guinea has increased its income dramatically in recent years, and in terms of per capita it is among the first in the world. At the same time, the development indicators of the population are extremely low, and there is reason to suspect that most of the money ends up in the pockets of government officials. Equatorial Guinea has also been linked to international scandals suspected of widespread money laundering.

Politics

Since the declaration of independence in 1968, Equatorial Guinea has been under the authoritarian regime of Francisco Macias Nguema. During his dictatorship at least a quarter of the population emigrated to Europe and Africa, where numerous opposition groups formed.

In 1979, Macias was deposed as president by his nephew, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who commanded the National Guard. Despite the new ruler’s promises to abide by the rule of law and be governed by the provisions of the 1982 constitution, a de facto military dictatorship led by the president and his Supreme Military Council remained in place until the early 1990s. Obiang Nguema Mbasogo was the only candidate in the 1989 presidential elections. The country allowed only the pro-government Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDEG), the unicameral parliament was not an independent body, and its members were elected from a list of candidates selected by the president.

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