Republic. Declared independence from Spain in 1968.
Head of state:
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo since 1979.
Head of government:
Prime Minister Vicente Ehate Tomi since 2012.
220 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are used.
Equatorial Guinea is a country of luscious vegetation and beautiful scenery, including tropical forests and snow-capped volcanoes. The capital, Malabo, is a rather rundown but attractive town, with pleasant Spanish colonial architecture, a striking volcanic setting and a lively market. The white-sand beaches around the islands are stunning. No wonder the country was first of all named 'Formosa', meaning 'beautiful', by the Portuguese.
The area was first colonised by the Portuguese in the late 15th century and handed over to the Spanish in 1788. Self-government was granted in 1959, followed by full independence in 1968.Its economy has expanded rapidly following the discovery of oil and gas deposits in the Gulf of Guinea, though little of this wealth has trickled down to the general population. The government has been described by a variety of human rights organisations as among the worst abusers of human rights in Africa.
Last updated: 05 March 2015
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Compared to other countries in the region, the level of violent crime in Equatorial Guinea is low and there have been very few cases of British nationals needing consular assistance. However, there have been recent reports of robberies against people travelling by taxi in both Malabo and Bata including a serious incident of robbery and assault in a shared taxi in Bata. Avoid taking taxis with groups of strangers, particularly at night.
There are regular reports of petty theft affecting both visitors and expatriates. Take sensible personal security precautions. Don’t carry valuables or wear jewellery in public and avoid isolated or poorer areas of town. Don’t walk around Malabo and Bata at night and avoid travelling by road after dark.
Unless you have an EG resident permit, you will need to inform Protocol Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Francophonie in advance if you wish to travel outside Malabo on the island of Bioko, and outside Bata on the mainland.
Land borders often close with little or no notice. Check the situation with the local authorities before travelling to border areas.
Most major roads on Bioko Island are now paved. In rural areas the condition of the roads is likely to be poor. During the rainy season, many roads are accessible only with a four-wheel drive vehicle.
Police and military roadblocks are common. You may be asked to show your passport, driving licence or vehicle registration documents and explain your reason for being in the area. Failure to comply can lead to detention.
There are regular reports of extortion by police and uniformed security forces at roadblocks. You are advised not to pay bribes but to ask for a ticket, detailing alleged offences or violations, which can be paid at a local court.
Public transport facilities, particularly on mainland Equatorial Guinea, are extremely limited.
Equatorial Guinean-registered aircraft are banned from EU airspace on safety grounds. British government employees do not use Equatorial Guinean-registered aircraft unless this is unavoidable.
There have been attacks of armed robbery on commercial shipping vessels in the Gulf of Guinea. Take extreme care when travelling in coastal waters.
The political situation has been calm in recent years but you should be aware that political events can lead to increased presence of police, military or security forces on the streets. Avoid any political rallies, demonstrations or large public gatherings.
There is no British Embassy in Equatorial Guinea. In an emergency, you can get consular assistance from the British Honorary Consul in Malabo: