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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Globally Battling Fraud and Kleptocracy in Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea is a small Spanish speaking country off West Africa that has recently struck oil. Equatorial Guinea has experienced rapid economic growth due to the discovery of large offshore oil reserves, and in the last decade has become Sub-Saharan Africa's third largest oil exporter. Despite the country's economic windfall from oil production, resulting in a massive increase in government revenue in recent years, improvements in the population's living standards have been slow to develop, Kleptocracy and corruption are hurting its people.

Kleptocracy is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often with pretense of honest service.

The Capital Port of Malabo, Equatorial Guinea

The Capital Port of Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea gained independence in 1968 after 190 years of Spanish rule. Between 2000 and 2011, the African country was the world’s fastest-growing economy, with output growth averaging 17 percent. Equatorial Guinea is the eighth-largest crude oil reserve holder in Sub-Saharan Africa, with 1.1 billion barrels of proved reserves as of January 2013. 

Despite being among the top five largest oil producers in Sub-Saharan Africa, Equatorial Guinea does not have any refining capacity. The country consumed 2,500 barrels per day of petroleum in 2012, all of which was imported. The largest foreign investors in Equatorial Guinea are U.S. companies, particularly ExxonMobil, Hess, Marathon, and Noble Energy.

Equatorial Guinea's economy is heavily reliant on its oil and natural gas industry, which accounted for almost 95% of its gross domestic product and 99% of its export earnings in 2011, according to the International Monetary Fund. Emphasis on the oil and natural gas industries has led to the lack of development in non-oil sectors, and its oil fields Zafiro, Ceiba, Okume and Alen are slowing down in output production.

Equatorial Guinea does not participate in The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). EITI is a global coalition of governments, companies and civil society working collectively to improve openness and accountable management of revenues from natural resources. The country did however apply and obtained candidate status in 2008 but did not follow through with the guidelines to become a member EITI country.

Equatorial Guinea exports crude oil to markets in North America, Europe, and Asia. The United States is one of the largest importers of crude oil from the country and received 41,000 barrels per day of crude oil in 2012. However, few people have benefited from the oil and natural gas riches as the country ranks near the bottom of the July 2014 UN human development index (HDI).

Additional Information on Equatorial Guinea
•Equatorial Guinea grossed $15.57 billion in 2013
•Equatorial Guinea gross national income is $21,972.27 per person
•Total population in 2013 757,000 people
•Equatorial Guinea ranks144 out of 187 countries on the HDI
•Health expenditure 3.95% of GDP
•Population living below $2 a day 14%


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The eye never forgets what the heart has seen - African Proverb

A tree without roots cannot survive the wind

A tree without roots cannot survive the wind
African Proverb