Equatorial Guinea is located in Central Africa. The country is bordered by Cameroon on the north, Gabon on the south and east, and the Gulf of Guinea on the west, where the island nation of Säo Tomé and Principe is located. Malabo is the largest and capital city. Equatorial Guinea is the third smallest country in terms of population in continental Africa. It is the smallest United Nations member in continental Africa.
The island of Bioko was first discovered by a Portuguese explorer, Fernando Po, who renamed the island the island Formosa (“Beautiful”) but it later took the name of its European discoverer. In 1474, the island was colonized by the Portuguese. Portugal ceded the island to Spain in 1778. From 1827 to 1844, with the permission of the Spanish government, Britain maintained a naval station at Fernando Po and also administered the island. In 1844, the Spanish settled in the area that became the province of Rio Muni. In 1904, Fernando Po and Rio Muni were organized into the Western African Territories, later known as Spanish Guinea.
On October 12, 1968, the territory became the independent Republic of Equatorial Guinea, with Francisco Macias Nguema as president. Its post-independence name is suggestive of its location near both the equator and the Gulf of Guinea. It is one of the few territories in mainland Africa where Spanish is an official language, besides the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.
Before independence from Spain in 1968, cocoa production was the predominant industry. The discovery of large oil reserves in 1996 and its subsequent exploitation have contributed to a dramatic increase in government revenue. Equatorial Guinea is one of the largest oil producers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Other major components of the country’s economy are farming, fishing, and forestry.
Equatorial Guinea is in the process of becoming validated as an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) Compliant country, working toward transparency in reporting of oil revenues and the prudent use of natural resource wealth. The country is one of 30 Candidate countries and obtained Candidate status on February 22, 2008. The country met all required obligations to do so, including committing to working with civil society and companies on EITI implementation, appointing a senior individual to lead on EITI implementation, and publishing a Work Plan with measurable targets, a timetable for implementation, and an assessment of capacity constraints. Equatorial Guinea held its 7th meeting of the EITI National Commission on January 30, 2010. During the meeting, steps were taken for the advancement of the implementation process.
We congratulate the people and government of Equatorial Guinea led by Their Excellencies, President Teodoro Obiang Mbasogo and Prime Minister Ignacio Milam Tang, on the occasion of their Independence Day. We wish them all the best and success in all their endeavors.