Equatorial Guinea


(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACTBOOK)

Equatorial Guinea

Introduction Equatorial Guinea gained independence in 1968 after 190 years of Spanish rule. This tiny country, composed of a mainland portion plus five inhabited islands, is one of the smallest on the African continent. President Teodoro OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO has ruled the country since 1979 when he seized power in a coup. Although nominally a constitutional democracy since 1991, the 1996 and 2002 presidential elections – as well as the 1999 and 2004 legislative elections – were widely seen as flawed. The president exerts almost total control over the political system and has discouraged 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, there have been few improvements in the population’s living standards.
History The first inhabitants were of the continental region that is now Equatorial Guinea are believed to have been labelabes, of whom only isolated pockets remain in northern Río Muni. Bantu migrations between the 17th and 19th centuries brought the coastal tribes and later the Fang. Elements of the latter may have generated the Bubi, who emigrated to Bioko from Cameroon and Rio Muni in several waves and succeeded former Neolithic populations. The Bubi were the very first human inhabitants of Bioko Island. The Annobon population, native to Angola, was introduced by the Portuguese via São Tomé Island (São Tomé and Príncipe).

The Portuguese explorer, Fernão do Pó, seeking a path to India, is credited with having discovered the island of Bioko in 1472. He called it Formosa (“Beautiful”), but it quickly took on the name of its European discoverer. The islands of Fernando Pó and Annobón were colonized by Portugal in 1474. In 1778, the island, adjacent islets, and commercial rights to the mainland between the Niger and Ogoue Rivers were ceded to Spain in exchange for territory in the American continent (Treaty of El Pardo, between Queen Maria I of Portugal and King Charles III of Spain). Between 1778 and 1810, the territory of Equatorial Guinea depended administratively on the viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata, with seat in Buenos Aires. From 1827 to 1843, Britain established a base on the island to combat the slave trade[2], which was then moved to Sierra Leone upon agreement with Spain in 1843. In 1844, on restoration of Spanish sovereignty, it became known as the Territorios Españoles del Golfo de Guinea Ecuatorial. The mainland portion, Rio Muni, became a protectorate in 1885 and a colony in 1900. Conflicting claims to the mainland were settled by the Treaty of Paris (1900), and periodically, the mainland territories were united administratively under Spanish rule. Between 1926 and 1959 they were united as the colony of Spanish Guinea.

Geography Location: Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Biafra, between Cameroon and Gabon
Geographic coordinates: 2 00 N, 10 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 28,051 sq km
land: 28,051 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than Maryland
Land boundaries: total: 539 km
border countries: Cameroon 189 km, Gabon 350 km
Coastline: 296 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; always hot, humid
Terrain: coastal plains rise to interior hills; islands are volcanic
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico Basile 3,008 m
Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, timber, gold, bauxite, diamonds, tantalum, sand and gravel, clay
Land use: arable land: 4.63%
permanent crops: 3.57%
other: 91.8% (2005)
Irrigated land: NA
Total renewable water resources: 26 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.11 cu km/yr (83%/16%/1%)
per capita: 220 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: violent windstorms, flash floods
Environment – current issues: tap water is not potable; deforestation
Environment – international 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, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: insular and continental regions widely separated
People Population: 551,201 (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 41.5% (male 114,816/female 113,688)
15-64 years: 54.8% (male 145,740/female 156,097)
65 years and over: 3.8% (male 8,957/female 11,903) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 18.8 years
male: 18.3 years
female: 19.4 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.015% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 35.16 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 15.01 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.934 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.752 male(s)/female
total population: 0.957 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 87.15 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 93.17 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 80.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 49.51 years
male: 48.11 years
female: 50.95 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 4.48 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 3.4% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 5,900 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 370 (2001 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria (2008)
Nationality: noun: Equatorial Guinean(s) or Equatoguinean(s)
adjective: Equatorial Guinean or Equatoguinean
Ethnic groups: Fang 85.7%, Bubi 6.5%, Mdowe 3.6%, Annobon 1.6%, Bujeba 1.1%, other 1.4% (1994 census)
Religions: nominally Christian and predominantly Roman Catholic, pagan practices
Languages: Spanish 67.6% (official), other 32.4% (includes French (official), Fang, Bubi) (1994 census)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 85.7%
male: 93.3%
female: 78.4%

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