Equatorial Guinea is a country located in Middle Africa. It has two parts: a Continental Region (Río Muni), including several small offshore islands including Corisco, Elobey Grande and Elobey Chico; and an insular region containing Annobón island and Bioko island (formerly Fernando Po) where the capital Malabo is situated.
Agriculture employs around 60% of the people, though many farmers live at subsistence level, making little contribution to the economy. Oil has been produced off Bioko since 1966. By 2002 it accounted for more than 80% of exports. Despite the rapid expansion of the economy and massive increase in revenue, a UN human rights report stated that 65% of the people still live in ‘extreme poverty’.
In 2003 the total population was estimated at 494,000; the overall population density was about 18 persons per sq km (about 46 per sq mi). The population is composed almost entirely of black Africans: the Bantu-speaking Bubis, most of whom live on Bioko; the Bengas on Elobey and Corisco; and the Fang (Span. Pamúes) on the mainland. Persons of European descent and of mixed black and European descent make up the remainder.
The climate of both the continental region and the islands is typically equatorial, with high temperatures, heavy rainfall, and much cloud cover most of the year. Local variations are due to differences in elevation and proximity to the sea. There are two seasons for most of the country, wet season (February to June and September to December) and dry season (July to August and January).
The only Spanish-speaking country in sub-Saharan Africa, Equatorial Guinea has two branches of Spain's national university in the cities of Malabo and Bata. Equatorial Guineans have also maintained religious ties to the largely Catholic Spain. Although many people also practice traditional African religions, over half of the population considers itself Catholic.
Since the beginning of 2011, the Government of Equatorial Guinea has taken a series of measures that could lead to some form of slightly greater political pluralism, offer more space to the opposition and civil society, and place greater emphasis on social development and good governance. These include amongst others an agreement with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to perform prison inspections and the initiation of a constitutional reform process.
49% of the population live in urban areas and the rate of urbanization is at 3.1% (annual rate of change). The life expectancy is 62.75 years. The media age is 19.1 and the total fertility rate is estimated at 4.83 per woman (2012).
Violent crime is rare and the overall level of criminal activity is low in comparison to other countries in the region. However, there has been a rise in non-violent street crime and residential burglaries. Sexual assault is rare and there is no specific group of people (the elderly, women, or gays) suffering from victimization.
Equatorial Guinea is primarily a destination country for children trafficked for the purpose of forced labor and possibly for the purpose of sexual exploitation; children have been trafficked from nearby countries for domestic servitude, market labor, ambulant vending, and possibly sexual exploitation. Women may also be trafficked to Equatorial Guinea from Cameroon, Benin, other neighboring countries, and China for sexual exploitation
Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion in Equatorial Guinea, representing about 87 percent of the population. The rest of the population belongs to other religions including protestant Christianity (6%), Islam, Baha'i and various other traditional indigenous religious groups. There is a great deal of animist influence from the indigenous religions even among Roman Catholics.
Spaniards who had remained in Equatorial Guinea after independence fled the country, taking their money and skills with them. Some 40,000 Nigerians who labored on the cocoa plantations also left but cocoa production plummeted and coffee and timber exports fell by 90 percent. Before independence Equatorial Guinea exported fish, various foods, and palm oil; by the mid-1970s it was importing all three.