Equatorial Guinea is a country located in the Central Africa as it shares its coastal region with the Atlantic ocean. It’s interesting to note that in addition to its main territory attached to the Africa, Equatorial Guinea also has 5 volcanic islands. The capital of Equatorial Guinea is Malabo. Currency used in the country is called franc. It borders Cameroon and Gabon. Let’s learn some 10 interesting facts about Equatorial Guinea.
1. Spain ruled Equatorial Guinea for 190 years
Just like the rest of the African countries, Equatorial Guinea was also colonised by one of the major European powers. Ethiopia and Liberia provide an exception when it comes to colonisation. At first Portuguese had made to Equatorial Guinea, until later in 1778 Portugal gave the territory to Spain and in return got interior of Brazil from Spain.
Malabo at that time was known as Fernando Po. The Spanish interests in the region post Scramble for Africa in 1880s mostly centred around agriculture such as cocoa and coffee.
2. Equatorial Guinea got independence from Spain in 1968
Eventually after years of colonial rule of Spain, the colonial masters decided to give some semblance of autonomy to the territory. Therefore, in 1968 a new constitution was proposed for Equatorial Guinea and through parliamentary elections freedom was proclaimed.
The freedom was granted under pressure from the nationalists of the Equatorial Guinea as well as because of the pressure from the United Nations.
3. Constitutional Monarchy has ruled Equatorial Guinea since 1968
After the independence, President Francisco MACIAS NGUEMA decided to rule absolutely, just like the Louis XIV from Europe’s History (1638-1715) who was regarded as the Sun King. The absolute rule caused long term troubles for Equatorial Guinea both in terms of politics as well as economy.
Later, he was deposed and his nephew overtook the government. President Teodoro OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO rules the country through constitutional monarchy. Several renowned opinion writers claim that the democracy in Equatorial Guinea is controlled. Often opposition members in the country allege government of unfair elections.
The bureaucratic red tape and presidential power creates hindrance in certain legal procedures necessary for Westminster democracy.
4. Large offshore oil reserves were discovered in Equatorial Guinea in 2004
Statistics show that the country is one of the largest oil produces in Africa. The discovery of oil in 1996 has turned around the fiscal management towards a better end. In a decade after the discovery, the production of oil in Equatorial Guinea surged from 17k barrels of oil per day to 375k barrels of oil per day.
Equatorial Guinea is a member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The Secretariat of OPEC is located in Vienna and notable members include Algeria, Angola, Congo, Gabon, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya and Venezuela. 2019 was celebrated as the Energy Year in Equatorial Guinea.
5. Spanish is the official Language of Equatorial Guinea
The colonial masters left a legacy in Equatorial Guinea, they gave them a language i-e Spanish. Around 67% people adhere to this language and it’s deemed as the official language of Equatorial Guinea. Other then Spanish, French language is also spoken.
In addition to these two languages, local languages such as Fang and Bubi are spoken at a local and grassroots level.
6. Christianity is the major religion in Equatorial Guinea
A majority of the people in Equatorial Guinea adhere to the Christianity. The population of Equatorial Guinea consists of 836k people as of estimates of 2020. A majority of these Christians adhere to the views of the Roman Catholicism. Muslims and other religions are in minority.
7. Equatorial Guinea faces Economic mismanagement
Although with the discovery of vast oil reserves in 1996, the country was promised to move towards prosperity; however, a greater mismanagement and fluctuating oil prices in the world has shattered some of the dreams of lower class. The income equality is evident. The GDP of Equatorial Guinean stands at $13.27 bn (2018) after it saw its best in 2012 i-e $22.38 bn.
The trade activity has witnessed a decline in after 2012. The contribution of oil in the GDP stands at around 78%. As a result, the government is bound to invest more on other sectors in order to find a bailout from the oil economy.
Equatorial Guinea was the country which was affected most by the Central Africa Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) crisis in 2014. As a result of the years of fiscal mismanagement, to ensure stability, the country has entered into an IMF Staff Monitored Program in May 2018.
8. Equatorial Guinea has highest adult literacy rate in Sub-Saharan Africa
The latest stats show that Equatorial Guinea has an adult literacy rate of 95% which is highest in the sub-saharan Africa. The UNESCO stats from 2010 show that it had an adult literacy rate of 93%. The 2010 data shows that Seychelles had a literacy rate of 91.8% which came second to the Equatorial Guinea.
The recent data for the years 2013-2019 has not been updated on UNESCO website. It shows that the adult literacy rate of Seychelles stood at 95.87% in the year 2018.
9. Highest Mountain and Longest River of Equatorial Guinea is Pico Basile and Benito
Getting to the geographical fact, the highest mountain in Equatorial Guinea is Pico Basile which has a height of 3,011 meters. Further, the longest river in the Equatorial Guinean is Benito River.
Pico Basile is located on the island of Bioko.
10. Goliath Frog is found in Equatorial Guinea
The world’s biggest frog is found in Equatorial Guinea along with Cameroon. It’s called as Goliath Frog. The hugeness of this frog can be estimated from the fact that its length can grow up to 32 centimetres and it can weigh up to 3.25 kilograms.
It’s worrisome that this frog’s population is dwindling due to its limited habitat in the above mentioned countries. Further, people often collect it for food and trade which affects its population.