Equatorial Guinea, formally the Republic of Equatorial Guinea is a republic in Central Africa with a land area of 28,000 square kilometers (11,000 sq mi). Formerly the colony of Spanish Guinea, its post-independence name alludes to its proximity to both the Equator and the Gulf of Guinea. Equatorial Guinea is the only sovereign African country where Spanish is an official language. As of 2015, the country’s population was projected to be more than 1.2 million people.
Equatorial Guinea is divided into two parts: an island area and a mainland region. The islands of Bioko (previously Fernando Pó) in the Gulf of Guinea and Annobón, a tiny volcanic island south of the equator, make up the insular area. Bioko Island is located in northern Equatorial Guinea and is home to the country’s capital, Malabo. So Tomé and Prncipe is an island country located between Bioko and Annobón. The mainland region, Ro Muni, is bounded on the north by Cameroon and on the south and east by Gabon. It is home to Bata, Equatorial Guinea’s largest city, as well as Oyala, the country’s projected future capital. Rio Muni also has a number of tiny offshore islands, including Corisco, Elobey Grande, and Elobey Chico. The country is a member of the African Union, the Francophonie, and the CPLP.
Equatorial Guinea has been one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest oil producers since the mid-1990s. It is the richest country in Africa in terms of GDP per capita, and its GDP per capita ranks 69th in the world; nevertheless, the money is unevenly distributed, and few people have benefitted from the oil wealth. According to the United Nations’ 2014 Human Development Index, the nation is ranked 144th. According to the UN, fewer than half of the world’s population has access to safe drinking water, and 20% of children die before the age of five.
The autocratic government of the nation has one of the world’s poorest human rights records, routinely placing among the “worst of the worst” in Freedom House’s annual study of political and civil rights. According to Reporters Without Borders, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is a “predator” of journalistic freedom. Human trafficking is a major issue, according to the 2012 US Trafficking in Persons Report, which states that “Equatorial Guinea is a source and destination for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.” According to the study, Equatorial Guinea is a “Tier 3” nation, which means “those whose governments do not completely comply with the basic requirements and are not making substantial attempts to do so.”