Economy of Equatorial Guinea

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Equatorial Guinea is a small country at the west coast of Central Africa. Despite a per capita GDP (PPP) of more than US$30,000 [2] (CIA Factbook $50,200[3]) which is as of 2008 the twentieth highest in the world, Equatorial Guinea ranks 121st out of 177 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index.


Economy overview

Pre-independence Equatorial Guinea counted on cocoa production for hard currency earnings. In 1959 it had the highest per capita income of Africa.

The discovery of large oil reserves in 1996 and its subsequent exploitation have contributed to a dramatic increase in government revenue. As of 2004 [4], Equatorial Guinea is the third-largest oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its oil production has risen to 360,000 barrels per day (57,000 m3/d), up from 220,000 barrels per day (35,000 m3/d) only two years earlier.

Forestry, farming, and fishing are also major components of GDP. Subsistence farming predominates. Although pre-independence Equatorial Guinea counted on cocoa production for hard currency earnings, the neglect of the rural economy under successive regimes has diminished potential for agriculture-led growth. However, the government has stated its intention to reinvest some oil revenue into agriculture. A number of aid programs sponsored by the World Bank and the IMF have been cut off since 1993 because of corruption and mismanagement. No longer eligible for concessional financing because of large oil revenues, the government has been unsuccessfully trying to agree on a "shadow" fiscal management program with the World Bank and IMF. Businesses, for the most part, are owned by government officials and their family members. Undeveloped natural resources include titanium, iron ore, manganese, uranium, and alluvial gold (Mining in Equatorial Guinea). Growth remained strong in 2005 and 2006, led by oil.

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