The territory of Equatorial Guinea includes the islands of Bioko and Annobon and the mainland enclave of Rio Muni, which is bordered to the north by Cameroon and to the south and east by Gabon. Included in Rio Muni are the small islands of Corisco, Elobey Grande, Elobey Chico, MbaÃ±e, Cocoteros and the numerous small islets in Corisco Bay. The total surface area of the country is approximately 28,000 km².
The population of the country is now over 1 million with an annual growth rate of 2.5%. One third of the population lives in the urban areas, mainly in the capital of Malabo on the island of Bioko and in Bata, the largest town on the mainland. Spanish and French are the official languages but English is widely spoken. The nation includes five main ethnic groups, the Bubi, the Ndowe, the Annoboneses, the Bisio and the Fang which is the largest (83%). Each ethnic group has its own dialect.
The climate is tropical with two seasons (one dry and one wet) in Bioko and four seasons (two dry and two wet) in Rio Muni. The average temperature is 25°C in Malabo and Bata, but the average temperature is lower in some seasons in the interior of Rio Muni. The humidity is usually high (92%) in Malabo. The islands of Bioko and Annobon are mountainous. The continental enclave, Rio Muni, has a coastal plain and a mountainous interior.
Equatorial Guinea is a Democratic Republic with numerous political parties and is governed by a Government of National Unity. There is one legislative house, the Chamber of Representatives of the People, which has 80 seats. Independence from Spain was granted in 1968, followed by totalitarian rule as a single party state until a coup in 1979. A new constitution was drafted in 1982 and the first multi-party national elections were held in 1993.
ECONOMY AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Equatorial Guinea has the fastest growing economy in Africa, with GDP growth in ‘double digit’ rates. The economy is based on hydrocarbon production and forestry, which together account for around 97% of total exports and have replaced the reliance on the traditional production and export of cocoa and agricultural products.
Hydrocarbon production includes oil, natural gas, condensate, LPG, methanol and LNG which is exported to USA, Europe and the Far East.
In addition to oil & gas sector, agriculture, fishing and light manufacturing industries also exist for domestic consumption and some artisanal gold mining is carried out.
The currency is the CFA Franc.
The economic expansion brought about by the establishment of petroleum production has permitted an acceleration of the infrastructure improvement programme and investment initiatives to diversify the economy.
Equatorial Guinea has two international and three local airports. International flights connect Malabo directly to Madrid, Paris, Frankfurt and Zurich in Europe with other routes available via the short connection to Douala in Cameroon. Malabo and Bata are the main sea ports and two other ports are used for timber exports and fishing. A deep-water harbour and Freeport has been developed at Luba on Bioko Island.