Country Profiles:
Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea is a roughly rectangular territory located few degrees north of the equator bordered by Cameroon to the north and Gabon to the east and south. The country is divided into two main parts, the offshore insular and the mainland. Mainland is called Río Muni (also known as Continental Equatorial Guinea). The insular part consists of five islands (known collectively as: Bioko (formerly Fernando Po), Corisco, Great Elobey (Elobey Grande), Little Elobey (Elobey Chico), and Annobón (Pagalu).  Near the coast are the small islands of Corisco and Great and Little Elobey. Bioko, by far the largest of the islands, lies off the coast of Cameroon in the Bight of Biafra. Annobón, a volcanic island, lies south of the Equator and almost 400 miles (640 km) to the southwest of Bioko. The capital Malabo, is located in Bioko Island. Although, the country is building an entirely new capital call Oyala that will be completed in 2020.

The country was a Spanish colony until October 12th 1968 when it gained its independence. Moreover, it is the only Spanish speaking country on the continent. Large proportion of the population still lives in poverty even as a major oil producer. The country’s leader Mr. Obiang Nguema is currently the longest serving leader on the entire continent; since taking power in 1979 when he overthrew his uncle Francisco Macías Nguema. According to Human Rights Watch, the ”dictatorship under President Obiang has used an oil boom to entrench and enrich himself further at the expense of the country’s people.”

Equatorial Guinea is one of the biggest oil producers in sub-Saharan Africa counting for over 90% of the country's exports.

With a daily production rate of 317,000 barrels, Equatorial Guinea is ranked sixth among the highest oil producing countries in Africa and 34th in the world. Equatorial Guinea’s 1.1 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves is the eighth-largest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Equatorial Guinea’s economy is dependent on its oil and natural gas industry. Other natural resources include its wide supply of tropical produce and Atlantic ocean fisheries that are primarily consumed domestically.

The country’s population is just over one million with majority of the population being the Fang people making over 80% and the Bubi people about 8%. The Bubi, unlike other ethnic groups in Africa, are a matrilineal society, wherein children inherit property from their mother instead of their father. The other ethnic groups are; Annobón, Mdowe, and Bujeba. Although Spanish is the official language in the country, both Portuguese and French are also spoken.

Cuisine of Equatorial Guinea is a blend of the native tribes, as well as Spain, and also Morocco.

Cassava is the staple food of the country often served with fish and meat. African style Payeya and plantains are also very popular. Hot Curried OkraGinger Millet PorridgeStuffed Grilled Trout fish. Traditional drinks malamba (distilled from sugar cane) and Osang, an African tea.

Folk music is very popular within Equatorial Guinea; the largest ethnic group, the Fang, are known for their use of a musical instrument called mvet, a harp-like instrument with up to fifteen strings. The semi-spherical part of this instrument is made of bamboo. Music for the mvet is written in a form of musical notation that can only be learned by initiates of the bebom-mvet society. Music is typically call and response with a chorus and drums alternating. The tam-tam is also a popular instrument; a wooden box covered with animal skin, it is often used in conjunction with the mvet. Generally, wooden musical instruments are decorated with fauna images and geometric drawings. Drums are covered with animal skins or animal drawings. Modern music such as reggae and rock are also increasingly popular, as well as indigenous acoustic guitar bands. Some of the most well-known dances are the balélé and ibanga, which are often danced to an orchestra arrangement of sanza, xylophone, drums, zithers and bow harps, according to the Embassy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.

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