Equatorial Guinea Overview

By | September 21, 2021

HUMAN GEOGRAPHY

The population is very composite, also because the ethnic stocks are different in Bioko and Mbini. In the continental part, the population, made up largely of Bantu fang (82.9%), overlapped by successive immigrations from the N to the native Binga pygmies; on the island, on the other hand, the original residents are the Bantu Bubi (9.6%). There are also minorities of ndowe (3.8%), Annobonesi (1.5%) and others (2.2%). There are also some thousands of mestizos (fernandinos), derived from the union of Portuguese and Spanish with Africans. Europeans, always quite scarce, especially in Mbini, have declined sharply after the proclamation of the country’s independence. The population density is 42 residents/km²; even if most of the population is settled in the continental part, it is in the islands that the density rises considerably. The only urban centers are the capital Malabo, located on the northern coast of the island of Bioko and enlivened by port activity. Main center of Mbini and second city of the country is Bata, also a good seaport.

ENVIRONMENT

In relation to the distinctly equatorial climate, a dense forest mantle covers the territory; there are numerous high-trunk precious woods, such as rosewood, ebony and okoumé. The rainforest is particularly extensive and lush in Mbini, while in Bioko the extremely fertile soil has allowed the cultivation of cocoa plantations. An intense vegetation also develops in the Rio Muni region, along the coast of the country, where many animals live including elephants, lions, gazelles and some primates, such as monkeys and chimpanzees.. The use of the island of Pagalu as a landfill for industrial and highly toxic waste has produced a rampant spread of diseases linked to environmental pollution; in addition, the process of converting wooded areas into agricultural areas has increased the country’s deforestation. 14.1% of the territory is officially protected by the state in the form of nature reserves and three national parks.

ECONOMY

The country’s economic structure is still heavily backward but underwent a profound change when, at the beginning of the 1990s, huge oil fields were discovered in Alba and Ceiba. With the beginning of their exploitation and following the sale of crude oil on international markets, the secondary sector has become the main resource of the country to the detriment of the agricultural sector. GDP is constantly growing (in 1997 it increased by 71.2% and in the following three years the size of the economy doubled) and in 2008 stood at US $ 18,525 million; GDP per capita is also on the rise. However, this sudden growth of a single economic sector has made the gap between rich and poor worse; furthermore, the contrast between the most prosperous island part of the country, the Bioko, and the large and poorest continental section, the Mbini, is still marked.

With the entry of wealth into the country from oil revenues, the government has tried, without significant results, to invest in agriculture, privatizing and diversifying the primary sector: the latter, while employing most of the workforce, it participates only for 4.2% in the production of the GDP. There are plantation crops (mainly located in Bioko), especially cocoa (its production, however, dropped from 7000 t per year in the 1970s to 4000 t beginning of 2000) and crops destined for internal consumption, still characterized by widespread phenomena of food shortages, such as cassava and sweet potatoes, oil palms, coconut trees and banana trees.

The mainly mountainous territory has always favored forest exploitation and the export of precious woods such as ebony, rosewood, okoumé: the heavy forest exploitation, however, has had strong environmental repercussions which the government has tried to remedy with extensive reforestation plans.

Breeding is practically non-existent and fishing is practiced only by foreign fleets.According to allcountrylist, industry is limited to the processing of petroleum and agricultural products. § As for the communication routes, there are no railways and the road network itself, limited to a few thousand km, basically concerns only Bioko; there is no public transport service and connections between the two parts of the state are mainly carried out by plane. The major airports are Bata and Malabo; the capital is also the most active maritime outlet in the country, directly connected with Europe.

Equatorial Guinea