Equatorial Guinea is an independent republic consisting of the island of Bioko (formerly known as Fernando Po), a number of smaller islands and the small mainland enclave of Rio Muni which lies to the north of Gabon and forms part of the West Central African Region.

The capital city is Malabo on the island of Bioko. The other major town is the port of Bata in the enclave of Rio Muni.

The official language is Spanish but pidgin English and a variant of Portuguese are also spoken. The local currency is the CFA-franc. (US$ / CFA Franc – current exchange rate).

The Equatorial Guinea oil industry is a key sub-element in the economy of the country. In particular the upstream oil industry is its major source of foreign exchange. The discovery of important oil reserves led to a transformation of the economy as oil became the largest income earner and export provider. The expansion of the petroleum sector has led to increased GDP growth.

The country has a fledgling mining industry although it claims it has considerable mining potential.

Farming and fishing in Equatorial Guinea contribute to the country’s GDP with subsistence farming dominating. The cocoa industry is an important employment provider. Industrial activity includes small scale food and timber processing.

The infrastructure in Equatorial Guinea is in need of development. Most roads are in need of repair. There is an airport at Malabo and one at Bata is being rebuilt. Visas are required by all, except US nationals, to enter Equatorial Guinea.

Businesses in Equatorial Guinea are mostly owned by government officials and their families. Government corruption and mismanagement has led to the end of foreign aid programs sponsored by the World Bank and the IMF.

The state of health, the current immunisation status, location and the local disease lead to the risk of contraction of cholera, hepatitis A, malaria, schistosomiasis, typhoid fever, and yellow fever (regional) in Equatorial Guinea. An individual risk assessment is recommended prior to arrival in the country. Medical and other insurance should also be taken care of before departure.

Shaun Bakamoso

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