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Equatorial Guinea: Tiny Yet Mighty

There is a tiny country in West Africa that is so beautiful that it could have been the Garden of Eden.

Stunning beaches and coastal plains turn into rolling hills in this country. The five islands that the country comprises are home to an assortment of wildlife, volcanoes, and mountain peaks.

This country is Equatorial Guinea.

An aerial view of one of the country’s beautiful islands.
An aerial view of one of the country’s beautiful islands.

Equatorial Guinea is the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa. It is also the only country in the continent to have been colonized twice – by the same colonial master.

The Spanish occupied the country between 1778 and 1810 and from 1844 to 1968.

Equatorial Guinea is considered one of the richest countries in Africa. The country also has the highest number of literate adults in sub-Saharan Africa. UNESCO places the literacy rate at 95% for the country of 1.4 million people.

Traditionally the country’s economy depended on three commodities: cocoa, coffee, and timber.

In the mid-1990s, the discovery and exploitation of crude oil and natural gas changed the country’s economic profile almost overnight.

The petroleum industry now accounts for most of Equatorial Guinea’s exports, contributing more than four-fifths of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). As of 2012, the country’s GDP per capita income was estimated to be $20,200.

Fascinating Facts about Equatorial Guinea

Fang mask from Equatorial Guinea
Fang mask from Equatorial Guinea

The country has a diverse culture that is heavily influenced by its Spanish colonial history. Equatorial Guinean cuisine is a mixture of African food and European traditions.

Spanish-influenced potato omelets and paella infused with a local touch are common in the country.

Guinea fowl paella
Guinea fowl paella

Imported beer is costly in the country, so it is reserved for the elites. The drink of choice for most of the population is Malamba – a distilled, local sugar cane brew.

While Equatorial Guinea is known for quality, beautiful African masks, the locals also hold a body painting festival where masks are painted on the body. The country houses significant art galleries and institutions. The world-renowned "Black Picasso," Don Leandro Mbomio Nsue (1932-2012), was Equatorial Guinean.

Bodypaint on a Guinean
Bodypaint on a Guinean

Equatorial Guinea is a republic ruled by a family dynasty. 78-year-old Teodoro Obiang Nguema has led the country since 1979. He got into power after overthrowing his uncle, Macias Nguema.

Oh, that is not all.

The country’s vice president, Teodoro Nguema, is the president’s son. The Minister for Mines and Hydrocarbons, Gabriel Obiang, is also the president’s son.

Obiang's Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea has won over 90% of votes at every election, even though the country allowed a multi-party system in 1992.

In fact, according to the country’s electoral commission, the president’s worst results so far were recorded in 2016

Source: Glartent

when he won 93.7% of the cast votes.

Equatorial Guinea is the smallest African country to be a member of the United Nations.

The Black Gold of Equatorial Guinea

The country has been one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa in the past decade, courtesy of its black gold. Equatorial Guinea is the third-largest oil producer in Africa. This success in crude oil production means that majority of the country’s well-paying jobs are localized to the oil and gas industry.

Citizens are not the only beneficiaries of proceeds from this black gold. In recent years, there has been an influx of foreign nationals flocking to Equatorial Guinea to benefit from the country’s oil and gas industry.

Marine Supervisor

Marine supervisors are a hot cake in Equatorial Guinea.

Marine jobs attract local and international applicants due to the freedom and benefits they offer. These include a working rotation of five weeks on and five weeks off. Crude oil and gas companies occasionally recruit foreigners to such positions due to a lack of qualified labor.

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