Equatorial Guinea is a small country on the west coast of Africa which struck oil in 1995 and which is now being cited as a textbook case of the resource curse – or the paradox of plenty.
It is made up of a mainland territory called Rio Muni, and five islands including Bioko, where the capital Malabo is located.
Since the mid 1990s the former Spanish colony has become one of sub-Sahara’s biggest oil producers but a large proportion of the population still lives in poverty.
Rights organisations have described the two post-independence leaders as among the worst abusers of human rights in Africa.
The first president Francisco Macias Nguema’s reign of terror – from independence in 1968 until his overthrow in 1979 – prompted a third of the population to flee.
- THE REPUBLIC OF EQUATORIAL GUINEA
- Capital: The Republic of Equatorial Guinea
- Population 740,000
- Area 28,051 sq km (10,830 sq miles)
- Major languages Spanish, French
- Religion Christianity
- Life expectancy 54 years (men), 57 years (women)
- Currency CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) franc