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Equatorial Guinea vs. Gabon

Introduction

Equatorial GuineaGabon
BackgroundEquatorial Guinea gained independence in 1968 after 190 years of Spanish rule; it is one of the smallest countries in Africa consisting of a mainland territory and five inhabited islands. The capital of Malabo is located on the island of Bioko, approximately 25 km from the Cameroonian coastline in the Gulf of Guinea. Between 1968 and 1979, autocratic President Francisco MACIAS NGUEMA virtually destroyed all of the country's political, economic, and social institutions before being deposed by his nephew Teodoro OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO in a coup. President OBIANG has ruled since October 1979 and was reelected in 2016. Although nominally a constitutional democracy since 1991, presidential and legislative elections since 1996 have generally been labeled as flawed. The president exerts almost total control over the political system and has placed legal and bureaucratic barriers that prevent political opposition. 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, the drop in global oil prices has placed significant strain on the state budget. Equatorial Guinea continues to seek to diversify its economy and to increase foreign investment despite limited improvements in the population's living standards. Equatorial Guinea is the host of major regional and international conferences and continues to seek a greater role in regional affairs.
Following, independence from France in 1960, El Hadj Omar BONGO Ondimba - one of the longest-ruling heads of state in the world - dominated the country's political scene for four decades (1967-2009). President BONGO introduced a nominal multiparty system and a new constitution in the early 1990s. However, allegations of electoral fraud during local elections in December 2002 and the presidential election in 2005 exposed the weaknesses of formal political structures in Gabon. Following President BONGO's death in 2009, a new election brought his son, Ali BONGO Ondimba, to power. Despite constrained political conditions, Gabon's small population, abundant natural resources, and considerable foreign support have helped make it one of the more stable African countries.
President Ali BONGO Ondimba’s controversial August 2016 reelection sparked unprecedented opposition protests that resulted in the burning of the parliament building. The election was contested by the opposition after fraudulent results were flagged by international election observers. Gabon’s Constitutional Court reviewed the election results but ruled in favor of President BONGO, upholding his win and extending his mandate to 2023.

Geography

Equatorial GuineaGabon
LocationCentral Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra, between Cameroon and Gabon
Central Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean at the Equator, between Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea
Geographic coordinates2 00 N, 10 00 E
1 00 S, 11 45 E
Map referencesAfrica
Africa
Areatotal: 28,051 sq km
land: 28,051 sq km
water: 0 sq km
total: 267,667 sq km
land: 257,667 sq km
water: 10,000 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly smaller than Maryland
slightly smaller than Colorado
Land boundariestotal: 528 km
border countries (2): Cameroon 183 km, Gabon 345 km
total: 3,261 km
border countries (3): Cameroon 349 km, Republic of the Congo 2,567 km, Equatorial Guinea 345 km
Coastline296 km
885 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climatetropical; always hot, humid
tropical; always hot, humid
Terraincoastal plains rise to interior hills; islands are volcanic
narrow coastal plain; hilly interior; savanna in east and south
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 577 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico Basile 3,008 m
mean elevation: 377 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Iboundji 1,575 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, natural gas, timber, gold, bauxite, diamonds, tantalum, sand and gravel, clay
petroleum, natural gas, diamond, niobium, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore, hydropower
Land useagricultural land: 10.1%
arable land 4.3%; permanent crops 2.1%; permanent pasture 3.7%
forest: 57.5%
other: 32.4% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 19%
arable land 1.2%; permanent crops 0.6%; permanent pasture 17.2%
forest: 81%
other: 0% (2011 est.)
Irrigated landNA
40 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsviolent windstorms; flash floods
volcanism: Santa Isabel (elev. 3,007 m), which last erupted in 1923, is the country's only historically active volcano; Santa Isabel, along with two dormant volcanoes, form Bioko Island in the Gulf of Guinea
NA
Environment - current issuestap water is non-potable; deforestation
deforestation; poaching
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - noteinsular and continental regions widely separated
a small population and oil and mineral reserves have helped Gabon become one of Africa's wealthier countries; in general, these circumstances have allowed the country to maintain and conserve its pristine rain forest and rich biodiversity

Demographics

Equatorial GuineaGabon
Population759,451 (July 2016 est.)
1,738,541
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2016 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 40.15% (male 154,896/female 150,010)
15-24 years: 19.63% (male 75,914/female 73,194)
25-54 years: 31.94% (male 120,999/female 121,587)
55-64 years: 4.3% (male 14,052/female 18,583)
65 years and over: 3.98% (male 12,627/female 17,589) (2016 est.)
0-14 years: 41.98% (male 366,875/female 363,031)
15-24 years: 20.37% (male 177,501/female 176,653)
25-54 years: 29.59% (male 257,841/female 256,604)
55-64 years: 4.28% (male 35,895/female 38,533)
65 years and over: 3.77% (male 28,137/female 37,471) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 19.6 years
male: 19.1 years
female: 20.1 years (2016 est.)
total: 18.6 years
male: 18.4 years
female: 18.8 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate2.48% (2016 est.)
1.92% (2016 est.)
Birth rate32.8 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
34.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate8 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
13.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
-2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.76 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 67.2 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 68.2 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 66.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 45.1 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 52 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 38 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 64.2 years
male: 63.1 years
female: 65.4 years (2016 est.)
total population: 52.1 years
male: 51.6 years
female: 52.5 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate4.48 children born/woman (2016 est.)
4.43 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate4.88% (2015 est.)
3.76% (2015 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Equatorial Guinean(s) or Equatoguinean(s)
adjective: Equatorial Guinean or Equatoguinean
noun: Gabonese (singular and plural)
adjective: Gabonese
Ethnic groupsFang 85.7%, Bubi 6.5%, Mdowe 3.6%, Annobon 1.6%, Bujeba 1.1%, other 1.4% (1994 census)
Bantu tribes, including four major tribal groupings (Fang, Bapounou, Nzebi, Obamba); other Africans and Europeans, 154,000, including 10,700 French and 11,000 persons of dual nationality
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS27,400 (2015 est.)
46,700 (2015 est.)
Religionsnominally Christian and predominantly Roman Catholic, pagan practices
Catholic 41.9%, Protestant 13.7%, other Christian 32.4%, Muslim 6.4%, animist 0.3%, other 0.3%, none/no answer 5% (2012 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths1,100 (2015 est.)
1,300 (2015 est.)
LanguagesSpanish (official) 67.6%, other (includes French (official), Fang, Bubi) 32.4% (1994 census)
French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.3%
male: 97.4%
female: 93% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 83.2%
male: 85.3%
female: 81% (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria and dengue fever
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria and dengue fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)
Urbanizationurban population: 39.9% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.12% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 87.2% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.7% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 72.5% of population
rural: 31.5% of population
total: 47.9% of population
unimproved:
urban: 27.5% of population
rural: 68.5% of population
total: 52.1% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 97.2% of population
rural: 66.7% of population
total: 93.2% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2.8% of population
rural: 33.3% of population
total: 6.8% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 79.9% of population
rural: 71% of population
total: 74.5% of population
unimproved:
urban: 20.1% of population
rural: 29% of population
total: 25.5% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 43.4% of population
rural: 31.5% of population
total: 41.9% of population
unimproved:
urban: 56.6% of population
rural: 68.5% of population
total: 58.1% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationMALABO (capital) 145,000 (2014)
LIBREVILLE (capital) 707,000 (2015)
Maternal mortality rate342 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
291 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight5.6% (2010)
6.5% (2012)
Health expenditures3.8% of GDP (2014)
3.4% of GDP (2014)
Hospital bed density2.1 beds/1,000 population (2010)
6.3 beds/1,000 population (2010)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate16.2% (2014)
15.8% (2014)
Demographic profileEquatorial Guinea is one of the smallest and least populated countries in continental Africa and is the only independent African country where Spanish is an official language. Despite a boom in oil production in the 1990s, authoritarianism, corruption, and resource mismanagement have concentrated the benefits among a small elite. These practices have perpetuated income inequality and unbalanced development, such as low public spending on education and health care. Unemployment remains problematic because the oil-dominated economy employs a small labor force dependent on skilled foreign workers. The agricultural sector, Equatorial Guinea’s main employer, continues to deteriorate because of a lack of investment and the migration of rural workers to urban areas. About three-quarters of the population lives below the poverty line.
Equatorial Guinea’s large and growing youth population – about 60% are under the age of 25 – is particularly affected because job creation in the non-oil sectors is limited, and young people often do not have the skills needed in the labor market. Equatorial Guinean children frequently enter school late, have poor attendance, and have high dropout rates. Thousands of Equatorial Guineans fled across the border to Gabon in the 1970s to escape the dictatorship of MACIAS NGUEMA; smaller numbers have followed in the decades since. Continued inequitable economic growth and high youth unemployment increases the likelihood of ethnic and regional violence.
Gabon’s oil revenues have given it one of the highest per capita income levels in sub-Saharan Africa, but the wealth is not evenly distributed and poverty is widespread. Unemployment is especially prevalent among the large youth population; more than 60% of the population is under the age of 25. With a fertility rate still averaging more than 4 children per woman, the youth population will continue to grow and further strain the mismatch between Gabon’s supply of jobs and the skills of its labor force.
Gabon has been a magnet to migrants from neighboring countries since the 1960s because of the discovery of oil, as well as the country’s political stability and timber, mineral, and natural gas resources. Nonetheless, income inequality and high unemployment have created slums in Libreville full of migrant workers from Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon, Benin, Togo, and elsewhere in West Africa. In 2011, Gabon declared an end to refugee status for 9,500 remaining Congolese nationals to whom it had granted asylum during the Republic of the Congo’s civil war between 1997 and 2003. About 5,400 of these refugees received permits to reside in Gabon.
Contraceptive prevalence rate12.6% (2011)
31.1% (2012)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 72.9
youth dependency ratio: 67.9
elderly dependency ratio: 5
potential support ratio: 20 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 73.1
youth dependency ratio: 64.3
elderly dependency ratio: 8.8
potential support ratio: 11.3 (2015 est.)

Government

Equatorial GuineaGabon
Country name"conventional long form: Republic of Equatorial Guinea
conventional short form: Equatorial Guinea
local long form: Republica de Guinea Ecuatorial/Republique de Guinee Equatoriale
local short form: Guinea Ecuatorial/Guinee Equatoriale
former: Spanish Guinea
etymology: the country is named for the Guinea region of West Africa that lies along the Gulf of Guinea and stretches north to the Sahel; the ""equatorial"" refers to the fact that the country lies just north of the Equator
"
"conventional long form: Gabonese Republic
conventional short form: Gabon
local long form: Republique Gabonaise
local short form: Gabon
etymology: name originates from the Portuguese word ""gabao"" meaning ""cloak,"" which is roughly the shape that the early explorers gave to the estuary of the Komo River by the capital of Libreville
"
Government typepresidential republic
presidential republic
Capitalname: Malabo; note - a new capital of Oyala is being built on the mainland near Djibloho; Malabo is on the island of Bioko
geographic coordinates: 3 45 N, 8 47 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
name: Libreville
geographic coordinates: 0 23 N, 9 27 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions7 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Annobon, Bioko Norte, Bioko Sur, Centro Sur, Kie-Ntem, Litoral, Wele-Nzas
9 provinces; Estuaire, Haut-Ogooue, Moyen-Ogooue, Ngounie, Nyanga, Ogooue-Ivindo, Ogooue-Lolo, Ogooue-Maritime, Woleu-Ntem
Independence12 October 1968 (from Spain)
17 August 1960 (from France)
National holidayIndependence Day, 12 October (1968)
Independence Day, 17 August (1960)
Constitutionapproved by referendum 17 November 1991; amended several times, last in 2012 (2016)
previous 1961; latest drafted May 1990, adopted 15 March 1991, promulgated 26 March 1991; amended several times, last in 2011 (2016)
Legal systemmixed system of civil and customary law
mixed legal system of French civil law and customary law
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief of state: President Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Teodoro OBIANG Nguema Mbasogo (since 3 August 1979 when he seized power in a military coup)
head of government: Prime Minister Francisco Pascual Eyegue OBAMA Asue (since 23 June 2016); First Deputy Prime Minister Clemente Engonga NGUEMA Onguene; Second Deputy Prime Minister Alfonso Mesie MIBUY; Third Deputy Prime Minister Alfonso Nsue MOKUY
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 7-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 24 April 2016 (next to be held in 2023); prime minister and deputy prime ministers appointed by the president
election results: Teodoro OBIANG Nguema Mbasogo reelected president; percent of vote - Teodoro OBIANG Nguema Mbasogo (PDGE) 93.7%
chief of state: President Ali BONGO Ondimba (since 16 October 2009)
head of government: Prime Minister Emmanuel ISSOZE-NGONDET (since 29 September 2016)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 7-year term (no term limits); election last held on 27 August 2016 (next to be held in August 2023); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Ali BONGO Ondimba re-elected president; percent of vote - Ali BONGO Ondimba (PDG) 49.8%, Jean PING (UFC) 48.2%, other 2.0%
Legislative branchdescription: bicameral National Assembly or Asemblea Nacional, formerly the unicameral Parliament, consists of the Senate or Senado (70 seats; 55 members directly elected by simple majority vote and 15 appointed by the president) and the House of People's Representatives or Camara de Representantes del Pueblo (100 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms); note - the constitutional referendum of 2011 established the Senate and was implemented at the time of the May 2013 elections
elections: last held on 26 May 2013 (next to be held in 2018)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PDGE 54, CPDS 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PDGE 99, CPDS 1
description: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (number of seats not fixed; members indirectly elected by municipal councils and departmental assemblies by absolute majority vote in two rounds; members serve 6-year terms) and the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (120 seats; members elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote in two rounds if needed; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 13 December 2014 (next to be held in January 2021); National Assembly - last held on 17 December 2011 (next to be held by July 2017)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PDG 81, CLR 7, PSD 2, ADERE-UPG 1, UPG 1, PGCI 1, independent 7; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PDG 114, RPG 3, other 3
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of the chief justice - who is also chief of state - and 9 judges and organized into civil, criminal, commercial, labor, administrative, and customary sections); Constitutional Court (consists of the court president and 4 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges appointed by the president for 5-year terms; Constitutional Court members appointed by the president, 2 of which are nominated by the Chamber of Deputies
subordinate courts: Court of Guarantees; military courts; Courts of Appeal; first instance tribunals; district and county tribunals
highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 4 permanent specialized supreme courts - Supreme Court or Cour de Cassation, Administrative Supreme Court or Conseil d'Etat, Accounting Supreme Court or Cour des Comptes, Constitutional Court or Cour Constitutionnelle - and the non-permanent Court of State Security, initiated only for cases of high treason by the president and criminal activity by executive branch officials
judge selection and term of office: appointment and tenure of Supreme, Administrative, Accounting, and State Security courts NA; Constitutional Court judges appointed - 3 by the national president, 3 by the president of the Senate, and 3 by the president of the National Assembly; judges serve 7-year, single renewable terms
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; county courts; military courts
Political parties and leadersConvergence Party for Social Democracy or CPDS [Andres ESONO ONDO]
Democratic Party for Equatorial Guinea or PDGE [Teodoro OBIANG Nguema Mbasogo] (ruling party)
Electoral Coalition or EC
Popular Action of Equatorial Guinea or APGE [Carmelo MBA BACALE]
Popular Union or UP [Daniel MARTINEZ AYECABA]
not officially registered parties: Democratic Republican Force or FDR [Guillermo NGUEMA ELA]
Independent Candidacy or CI [Gabriel NSE OBIANG OBONO]
Party for Progress of Equatorial Guinea or PPGE [Severo MOTO]
Union for the Center Right or UDC [Avelino MOCACHE MEAENGA]
note: in November 2014, the government hosted a National Dialogue process to engage with the political opposition; the opposition particiapated with limited attendance and engagement; on March 18, 2015, the CPDS, FDR, and UP formed a coalition called the Front of Democratic Opposition or FOD
Circle of Liberal Reformers or CLR [General Jean-Boniface ASSELE]
Democratic and Republican Alliance or ADERE [DIDJOB Divungui di Ndinge]
Gabonese Democratic Party or PDG [Ali BONGO Ondimba]
Independent Center Party of Gabon or PGCI [Luccheri GAHILA]
National Rally of Woodcutters-Democratic or RNB-D [Pierre Andre KOMBILA]
Social Democratic Party or PSD [Pierre Claver MAGANGA-MOUSSAVOU]
Union for the New Republic or UPRN [Louis Gaston MAYILA]
Union of Gabonese People or UPG [Richard MOULOMBA]
United Forced for Change or UFC [Jean PING]
Political pressure groups and leadersASODEGUE (Madrid-based pressure group for democratic reform)
Coalicion CEIBA (group formed by diverse, exiled political parties)
C.O.R.E.D. (originally led by Raimundo Ela Nsang; based in Paris)
EG Justice (US-based anti-corruption group)
NA
International organization participationACP, AfDB, AU, BDEAC, CEMAC, CPLP (associate), FAO, FZ, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IPU, ITSO, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OAS (observer), OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WTO (observer)
ACP, AfDB, AU, BDEAC, CEMAC, FAO, FZ, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Miguel Ntutumu EVUNA ANDEME (since 23 February 2015)
chancery: 2020 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 518-5700
FAX: [1] (202) 518-5252
consulate(s) general: Houston
chief of mission: Ambassador Michael MOUSSA-NDONG (since September 19, 2011)
chancery: 2034 20th Street NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 797-1000
FAX: [1] (301) 332-0668
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Julie FURUTA-TOY (since January 2016)
embassy: Carretera Malabo II, Malabo, Guinea Ecuatorial
mailing address: US Embassy Malabo, US Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-2520
telephone: [240] 333 09 57 41
chief of mission: Ambassador Cythia AKUETTEH (since 13 August 2014); note - also accredited to Sao Tome and Principe
embassy: Boulevard du Bord de Mer, Libreville
mailing address: Centre Ville, B. P. 4000, Libreville; pouch: 2270 Libreville Place, Washington, DC 20521-2270
telephone: [241] 01-45-71-00
FAX: [241] 01-74-55-07
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of green (top), white, and red, with a blue isosceles triangle based on the hoist side and the coat of arms centered in the white band; the coat of arms has six yellow six-pointed stars (representing the mainland and five offshore islands) above a gray shield bearing a silk-cotton tree and below which is a scroll with the motto UNIDAD, PAZ, JUSTICIA (Unity, Peace, Justice); green symbolizes the jungle and natural resources, blue represents the sea that connects the mainland to the islands, white stands for peace, and red recalls the fight for independence
three equal horizontal bands of green (top), yellow, and blue; green represents the country's forests and natural resources, gold represents the equator (which transects Gabon) as well as the sun, blue represents the sea
National anthem"name: ""Caminemos pisando la senda"" (Let Us Tread the Path)
lyrics/music: Atanasio Ndongo MIYONO/Atanasio Ndongo MIYONO or Ramiro Sanchez LOPEZ (disputed)
note: adopted 1968
"
"name: ""La Concorde"" (The Concorde)
lyrics/music: Georges Aleka DAMAS
note: adopted 1960
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)silk cotton tree; national colors: green, white, red, blue
black panther; national colors: green, yellow, blue
Citizenshipcitizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Equatorial Guinea
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Gabon
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years

Economy

Equatorial GuineaGabon
Economy - overviewExploitation of oil and gas deposits, beginning in the 1990s, has driven economic growth in Equatorial Guinea; a recent rebasing of GDP resulted in an upward revision of the size of the economy by approximately 30%. Forestry and farming are minor components of GDP. Although preindependence Equatorial Guinea counted on cocoa production for hard currency earnings, the neglect of the rural economy since independence has diminished the potential for agriculture-led growth. Subsistence farming is the dominant form of livelihood. Declining revenue from hydrocarbon production, high levels of infrastructure expenditures, lack of economic diversification, and corruption have pushed the economy into decline in recent years and limited improvements in the general population’s living conditions. Equatorial Guinea’s real GDP growth has been weak in recent years, averaging -0.5% per year from 2010-14, because of a declining hydrocarbon sector. Inflation remained very low in 2016, down from an average of 4% in 2014.

Foreign assistance programs by the World Bank and the IMF have been cut since 1993 because of corruption and mismanagement, and as a middle income country Equatorial Guinea is now ineligible for most low-income donor funding. The government has been widely criticized for its lack of transparency and misuse of oil revenues and has attempted to address this issue by working toward compliance with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. US foreign assistance to Equatorial Guinea is limited in part because of US restrictions pursuant to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

Equatorial Guinea hosted two economic diversification symposia in 2014 that focused on attracting investment in five sectors: agriculture and animal ranching, fishing, mining and petrochemicals, tourism, and financial services. Undeveloped mineral resources include gold, zinc, diamonds, columbite-tantalite, and other base metals.
Gabon enjoys a per capita income four times that of most sub-Saharan African nations, but because of high income inequality, a large proportion of the population remains poor. Gabon relied on timber and manganese exports until oil was discovered offshore in the early 1970s. From 2010 to 2016, oil accounted for approximately 80% of Gabon’s exports, 45% of its GDP, and 60% of its state budget revenues.

Gabon faces fluctuating prices for its oil, timber, and manganese exports. A rebound of oil prices from 2001 to 2013 helped growth, but declining production, as some fields passed their peak production, has hampered Gabon from fully realizing potential gains. GDP grew nearly 6% per year over the 2010-14 period, but slowed significantly in 2015 as oil prices declined. Low oil prices also weakened government revenue and negatively affected the trade and current account balances.

Despite an abundance of natural wealth, poor fiscal management and over-reliance on oil has stifled the economy. There are frequent power cuts and water shortages. Significant cuts in budget expenditures -- Gabon’s budget has contracted for four years in a row -- have not extended to the government’s priority projects, like a new stadium for the Africa Cup of Nations.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$31.77 billion (2016 est.)
$35.25 billion (2015 est.)
$38.08 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$35.98 billion (2016 est.)
$35.1 billion (2015 est.)
$33.75 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate-9.9% (2016 est.)
-7.4% (2015 est.)
-0.5% (2014 est.)
2.5% (2016 est.)
4% (2015 est.)
4.3% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$38,700 (2016 est.)
$44,100 (2015 est.)
$48,900 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$19,300 (2016 est.)
$18,900 (2015 est.)
$18,500 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 8.8%
industry: 71.7%
services: 16.5% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 4.5%
industry: 46.4%
services: 49.1% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty line44% (2011 est.)
NA% (2015 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 32.7% (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)3.1% (2016 est.)
11.7% (2015 est.)
1.1% (2016 est.)
0.6% (2015 est.)
Labor force195,200 (2007 est.)
674,700 (2016 est.)
Unemployment rate8.6% (2014 est.)
22.3% (2009 est.)
28% (2015 est.)
20.4% (2014 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $2.436 billion
expenditures: $2.862 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $2.917 billion
expenditures: $3.464 billion (2016 est.)
Industriespetroleum, natural gas, sawmilling
petroleum extraction and refining; manganese, gold; chemicals, ship repair, food and beverages, textiles, lumbering and plywood, cement
Industrial production growth rate-6.7% (2016 est.)
-1.5% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productscoffee, cocoa, rice, yams, cassava (manioc, tapioca), bananas, palm oil nuts; livestock; timber
cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber; cattle; okoume (a tropical softwood); fish
Exports$5.064 billion (2016 est.)
$7.41 billion (2015 est.)
$4.395 billion (2016 est.)
$5.181 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiespetroleum products, timber
crude oil, timber, manganese, uranium
Exports - partnersChina 17.2%, South Korea 15.6%, Spain 9.4%, Brazil 8.5%, Netherlands 7.1%, India 6.2%, UK 6%, France 5.9%, Italy 4% (2015)
China 15.6%, Italy 7.4%, Trinidad and Tobago 7.2%, Australia 7.1%, Spain 6.4%, South Korea 5.5%, Netherlands 5%, US 4.8% (2015)
Imports$3.03 billion (2016 est.)
$3.953 billion (2015 est.)
$3.002 billion (2016 est.)
$3.061 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiespetroleum sector equipment, other equipment, construction materials, vehicles
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, construction materials
Imports - partnersNetherlands 17%, Spain 16.5%, China 15%, US 9%, Cote dIvoire 6%, France 4.8% (2015)
China 21.5%, France 19.7%, US 6.6%, Benin 4.7%, Netherlands 4% (2015)
Debt - external$1.364 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.194 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$5.158 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.883 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesCooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar -
605.7 (2016 est.)
591.45 (2015 est.)
591.45 (2014 est.)
494.42 (2013 est.)
510.53 (2012 est.)
Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar -
590.8 (2016 est.)
591.45 (2015 est.)
591.45 (2014 est.)
494.42 (2013 est.)
510.53 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt24.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
16.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
43.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
39.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$621.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.205 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.585 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.878 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance-$2.008 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.855 billion (2015 est.)
-$1.279 billion (2016 est.)
-$779 million (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$11.64 billion (2016 est.)
$14.56 billion (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate8.5% (31 December 2010)
4.25% (31 December 2009)
3% (31 December 2010)
4.25% (31 December 2009)
Commercial bank prime lending rate14% (31 December 2016 est.)
14% (31 December 2015 est.)
15.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
15.3% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$1.443 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.557 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$2.425 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.382 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$1.445 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.888 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$2.314 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.251 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$3.788 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$3.841 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$4.545 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$4.421 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Taxes and other revenues20.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
20% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-3.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
-3.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 25.6%
government consumption: 5.7%
investment in fixed capital: 69.7%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 53.4%
imports of goods and services: -54.5% (2016 est.)
household consumption: 40.8%
government consumption: 15.8%
investment in fixed capital: 31.1%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 39.8%
imports of goods and services: -27.6% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving19.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
36.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
46.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
28.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
35.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
42.9% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

Equatorial GuineaGabon
Electricity - production98 million kWh (2014 est.)
2.3 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption91.14 million kWh (2014 est.)
2.1 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports0 kWh (2013 est.)
0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports0 kWh (2013 est.)
400 million kWh (2014 est.)
Oil - production250,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
213,300 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - imports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports290,100 bbl/day (2013 est.)
200,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves1.1 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
2 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves36.81 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Natural gas - production6.55 billion cu m (2014 est.)
420 million cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - consumption1.594 billion cu m (2014 est.)
420 million cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - exports4.956 billion cu m (2014 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Natural gas - imports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity200,000 kW (2014 est.)
600,000 kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels22.6% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
59% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants77.4% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
41% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
21,750 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption5,200 bbl/day (2014 est.)
19,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
7,212 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports5,197 bbl/day (2013 est.)
5,364 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy3.7 million Mt (2013 est.)
6 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesspopulation without electricity: 300,000
electrification - total population: 66%
electrification - urban areas: 93%
electrification - rural areas: 48% (2013)
population without electricity: 200,000
electrification - total population: 89%
electrification - urban areas: 97%
electrification - rural areas: 38% (2013)

Telecommunications

Equatorial GuineaGabon
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 11,334
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 2 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 18,758
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 533,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 72 (July 2015 est.)
total: 2.958 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 173 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral assessment: digital fixed-line network in most major urban areas and decent mobile cellular coverage
domestic: fixed-line density is about 2 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular subscribership has been increasing and in 2015 stood at about 70 percent of the population
international: country code - 240; international communications from Bata and Malabo to African and European countries; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean) (2015)
general assessment: adequate system of cable, microwave radio relay, tropospheric scatter, radiotelephone communication stations, and a domestic satellite system with 12 earth stations
domestic: a growing mobile cellular network with multiple providers is making telephone service more widely available with mobile cellular teledensity exceeding 170 per 100 persons
international: country code - 241; landing point for the SAT-3/WASC fiber-optic submarine cable that provides connectivity to Europe and Asia; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2015)
Internet country code.gq
.ga
Internet userstotal: 158,000
percent of population: 21.3% (July 2015 est.)
total: 401,000
percent of population: 23.5% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast mediastate maintains control of broadcast media with domestic broadcast media limited to 1 state-owned TV station, 1 private TV station owned by the president's eldest son, 1 state-owned radio station, and 1 private radio station owned by the president's eldest son; satellite TV service is available; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are accessible (2013)
state owns and operates 2 TV stations and 2 radio broadcast stations; a few private radio and TV stations; transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are accessible; satellite service subscriptions are available (2007)

Transportation

Equatorial GuineaGabon
Roadwaystotal: 2,880 km (2000)
total: 9,170 km
paved: 1,097 km
unpaved: 8,073 km (2007)
Pipelinescondensate 42 km; condensate/gas 5 km; gas 79 km; oil 71 km (2013)
gas 807 km; oil 1,639 km; water 3 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Bata, Luba, Malabo
LNG terminal(s) (export): Bioko Island
major seaport(s): Libreville, Owendo, Port-Gentil
oil terminal(s): Gamba, Lucina
Merchant marinetotal: 5
by type: cargo 1, chemical tanker 1, petroleum tanker 3
foreign-owned: 1 (Norway 1) (2010)
registered in other countries: 2 (Cambodia 1, Panama 1) (2010)
Airports7 (2013)
44 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 6
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2013)
total: 14
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
total: 30
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 14 (2013)

Military

Equatorial GuineaGabon
Military branchesEquatorial Guinea Armed Forces (FAGE): Equatorial Guinea National Guard (Guardia Nacional de Guinea Ecuatorial, GNGE (Army), Navy, Air Force (2013)
Gabonese Defense Forces (Forces de Defense Gabonaise): Land Force (Force Terrestre), Gabonese Navy (Marine Gabonaise), Gabonese Air Forces (Forces Aerienne Gabonaises, FAG) (2012)
Military service age and obligation18 years of age for selective compulsory military service, although conscription is rare in practice; 2-year service obligation; women hold only administrative positions in the Navy (2013)
20 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP0.78% of GDP (2014)
1.19% of GDP (2015)
NA% 1.14% of GDP (2014)
1.6% of GDP (2013)
1.62% of GDP (2012)
1.46% of GDP (2011)

Transnational Issues

Equatorial GuineaGabon
Disputes - internationalin 2002, ICJ ruled on an equidistance settlement of Cameroon-Equatorial Guinea-Nigeria maritime boundary in the Gulf of Guinea, but a dispute between Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon over an island at the mouth of the Ntem River and imprecisely defined maritime coordinates in the ICJ decision delayed final delimitation; UN urged Equatorial Guinea and Gabon to resolve the sovereignty dispute over Gabon-occupied Mbane and lesser islands and to create a maritime boundary in the hydrocarbon-rich Corisco Bay
UN urges Equatorial Guinea and Gabon to resolve the sovereignty dispute over Gabon-occupied Mbane Island and lesser islands and to establish a maritime boundary in hydrocarbon-rich Corisco Bay
Trafficking in personscurrent situation: Equatorial Guinea is a source country for children subjected to sex trafficking and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor; Equatorial Guinean girls may be encouraged by their parents to engage in the sex trade in urban centers to receive groceries, gifts, housing, and money; children are also trafficked from nearby countries for work as domestic servants, market laborers, ambulant vendors, and launderers; women are trafficked to Equatorial Guinea from Cameroon, Benin, other neighboring countries, and China for forced labor or prostitution
tier rating: Tier 3 – Equatorial Guinea does not fully comply with the minimum standards on the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; in 2014, the government made no efforts to investigate or prosecute any suspected trafficking offenders or to identify or protect victims, despite its 2004 law prohibiting all forms of trafficking and mandating the provision of services to victims; undocumented migrants continued to be deported without being screened to assess whether any were trafficking victims; authorities did not undertake any trafficking awareness campaigns, implement any programs to address forced child labor, or make any other efforts to prevent trafficking (2015)
current situation: Gabon is primarily a destination and transit country for adults and children from West and Central African countries subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; boys are forced to work as street vendors, mechanics, or in the fishing sector, while girls are subjected to domestic servitude or forced to work in markets or roadside restaurants; West African women are forced into domestic servitude or prostitution; men are reportedly forced to work on cattle farms; some foreign adults end up in forced labor in Gabon after initially seeking the help of human smugglers to help them migrate clandestinely; traffickers operate in loose, ethnic-based criminal networks, with female traffickers recruiting and facilitating the transport of victims from source countries; in some cases, families turn child victims over to traffickers, who promise paid jobs in Gabon
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Gabon does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; Gabon’s existing laws do not prohibit all forms of trafficking, and the government failed to pass a legal amendment drafted in 2013 to criminalize the trafficking of adults; anti-trafficking law enforcement decreased in 2014, dropping from 50 investigations to 16, and the only defendant to face prosecution fled the country; government efforts to identify and refer victims to protective services declined from 50 child victims in 2013 to just 3 in 2014, none of whom was referred to a care facility; the government provided support to four centers offering services to orphans and vulnerable children – 14 child victims identified by an NGO received government assistance; no adult victims have been identified since 2009 (2015)

Source: CIA Factbook