Equatorial Guinea

Mar 14, 2004 01:00 AM

Until major oil discoveries in 1995 and 1999, Equatorial Guinea was one of Africa's smallest, poorest and least known countries.
Tucked into a quiet corner of the West African coast between Gabon and Cameroon, the former Spanish colony, called Spanish Guinea, relied on cocoa exports as its principal source of income.

The country is split into two sections -- a mainland area and the island of Bioko, where the capital Malobo is situated. The major languages are Spanish and French. The first president, Francisco Nguema, brought brief notoriety in the 1970s when widespread human rights abuses caused one third of the population to flee.
President Nguema was overthrown in 1979 by his nephew, Obiang Nguema, who had him arrested and shot. The first ever multiparty elections in 1996 were marred by widespread irregularities, returning President Obiang with 99 % of the vote.

Since the discovery of Africa's third largest oil reserves, Equatorial Guinea has become its fastest growing economy.
However, the wealth has failed to trickle down to its 500,000 people, most of whom survive on $ 2 a day.

Source: scotsman.com
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