Equatorial Guinea Overview

Eating in Equatorial Guinea

Animals and Plants

What is growing in Equatorial Guinea?

Tropical rainforest grows in Equatorial Guinea. Here you will discover trees of different heights, shrubs, lianas, bromeliads and orchids. There are mangrove swamps on the coasts.

Which animals live in Equatorial Guinea?

Tropical rainforests are particularly rich in species. This also applies to the mainland and the islands of Equatorial Guinea. There are, for example, different species of monkeys such as chimpanzees, gorillas, mandrills and lemurs.

Schirrantilopen are one of the country’s antelope species. Leopards roam around as well as forest buffalo and forest elephants. With a shoulder height of 2.40 meters, these are much smaller than the African elephant of the savannah.

The mangroves provide with their root system many fish, oysters, crabs and insects a home. But monkeys also frolic through the trees and the African manatee swims around here, as does the African softshell turtle. In addition to a soft shell, it has a long neck that ends in a kind of trunk. Many water birds breed in the mangroves, for example the mangrove heron or the sedge.


Oil makes the rich even richer

The small country’s economy has flourished since oil was discovered off the coast of Equatorial Guinea in 1991. Crude oil generates 90 percent of the total economic output. However, the people in the country hardly benefit from it. Oil only makes the rich richer. The president of the country in particular benefits from this. Corruption is a big problem. In addition, it is international oil companies that produce oil. Jobs are hardly created with it. It is estimated that 9 percent of the population are unemployed. A few years ago it was even 22 percent.

Industry instead of agriculture

Cocoa, coffee, and wood are other goods made in Equatorial Guinea. However, their share in favor of oil has been falling for years. Agriculture only contributes five percent to the country’s economy. Their expansion has been neglected. Also, services account for only about nine percent.

So the most important area is industry. In addition to crude oil, natural gas is now also produced. Wood and fish are also processed. The country has other mineral resources such as diamonds, gold, iron ore and titanium, but these have not yet been mined.

In addition to corruption, a problem is also poor infrastructure. Large parts of the country are undeveloped, there are few roads and they are in poor condition. However, work is being done to improve this situation. That is also necessary for the electricity and water supply of the population.

History and Politics

First residents

As a country located in Africa according to philosophynearby, Equatorial Guinea now comprises three parts of the country: the mainland, the island of Bioko off the coast of Cameroon and the island of Annobón off the coast of Gabon. Small peoples like the Baka originally lived on the mainland. From the 17th century they were almost completely displaced by the Bantu peoples. Bioko was settled from the mainland between 700 and 1000 AD. The dominant ethnic group here were the Bubi. Annobón, on the other hand, was uninhabited until 1473, when the first Europeans landed here.

Portuguese and Spanish colony

In 1471 the Portuguese navigator Fernando Póo landed on the island of Bioko. Three years later, Portugal took possession of the island. It was later named after Fernando Póo. The Bubi people who lived here retreated inland – especially when slaves were hunted here.

On January 1, 1473, more Portuguese came to Annobón. This island got its name from the New Year’s greeting “Anobom”. They settled the previously uninhabited island with people from Angola, whom they brought via Sao Tomé.

In 1778 Portugal ceded its colony to Spain in the Treaty of Ildefonso (Spain renounced areas in Brazil in return). This made “Spanish Guinea” the only Spanish colony in sub- Saharan Africa. Together with Bioko and Annobón, the mainland Mbini now belonged to the Spanish colony “Spanish territories on the Gulf of Guinea”. It was also called Spanish Guinea.

Plantations for cocoa and coffee have now been created on Bioko. Between 1817 and 1843 the island was leased to Great Britain with the aim of combating the slave trade. The interior of the mainland region was not settled until 1926. From around 1950 the call for independence increased. In 1963 Spain granted its colony self-government.

From independence to dictatorship

In 1968 Spain gave its colony independence. Francisco Macías Nguema became the country’s first president. He established a terrible reign of terror. Nguema only admitted one party and made himself president for life. Important posts were filled with his relatives. In 1973 he renamed the island of Fernando Póo to Macías Nguema Byogo.

Spaniards who still lived in the country were expelled and political opponents murdered. The Bubi people in particular were persecuted. Those who were not executed fled the country. The economy collapsed because there was no more workforce. As a result, Nguema introduced forced labor. The food supply also collapsed.

Teodoro Obiang

In 1979 there was a coup against Nguema, led by his nephew Teodoro Obiang. Nguema was executed. In the same year the island of Bioko received its name, which is still valid today. But the new ruler Teodoro Obiang changed little. Political opponents continued to be persecuted. The old unity party became a new one.

From an economic point of view, the discovery of crude oil took off in the mid-1990s. The president himself benefits above all from corruption. A large part of the population lives in poverty. An attempted coup in 2004 failed. In 2009 and 2016, Obiang was confirmed in office.

Everyday Life

How do people live in Equatorial Guinea?

The families in Equatorial Guinea are big. On average, each woman has 4.5 children. 28 out of 100 inhabitants live in rural areas. The conditions there are often worse than in the city. So many people have no running water or electricity. However, there are also slums in cities like Malabo. Many people live in abject poverty while the President and his family live in huge palaces. Below are a few photos from the country.

Children and School

School in Equatorial Guinea

The dictator Francisco Macías Nguema ruled the country until 1979. There were practically no schools at that time. Children were not educated and most of the residents could not read or write. There were hardly any public schools, mainly church and private ones.

A lot has improved today. A compulsory education was introduced. It applies to children between the ages of six and 14. In fact, more children go to school than before. Primary school lasts five years. The secondary school comprises a further four and then another three school years.

Eating in Equatorial Guinea

Cassava is called Yuca here

Cassava is one of the staple foods. This root vegetable is called Yuca in Spanish-speaking countries such as Equatorial Guinea. Cassava is starchy and is therefore very filling. It needs warmth to grow and can also survive dry periods well. Cassava can be boiled, deep-fried or made into flour. Fufu is particularly popular in West Africa – and also in Equatorial Guinea. Cooked cassava is mashed for this, and plantains are often added. Grated and dried cassava is processed into Gari: when water is added, a porridge is also created. Another popular dish in Equatorial Guinea uses the leaves of cassava. With corn and dates it becomes Bambucha.

What else do you like in Equatorial Guinea?

Other root vegetables such as yams and malanga are also widely used in the kitchen. There is of course a lot of fish on the coast. Grilled in banana leaves, it’s called Mbika. Chicken in peanut sauce is another typical meal. You can cook it yourself, take a look at our tip! Rice or plantains are popular as a side dish. Soups and stews of all kinds are also popular.

Eating in Equatorial Guinea