Equatorial Guinea Industry
The industrial sector is completely dominated by the oil industry. The thriving and versatile small business operations that existed in Malabo and Bata prior to independence were completely destroyed during Macías Nguema’s dictatorship and have never recovered.
Today’s regime has also not invested any resources on SMEs, but most of it has gone to the oil sector. The small manufacturing industry that exists is processing raw materials from agriculture and the forest. Among other things, there are two sawmills and cement manufacturing in Bata, and at Bioko is a company for the preparation of cocoa.
Most companies operating in the oil industry are American. In recent years, the market has been opened to companies from other countries, such as Malaysia, Brazil and South Africa. The government’s interests in the oil industry are managed through the company Compañía Nacional de Petróleos de Guinea Ecuatorial (Gepetrol). There is also a state natural gas company, Sonagas. The state’s share in oil and gas projects amounts to 25 percent.
Fighting against the opposition
The opposition party Citizens for Renewal (CI) states that dozens of activists have been captured when security forces attacked the party’s headquarters in the cities of Malabo and Bata. According to CI, at least 50 of the party’s members have been arrested since the disputed parliamentary elections (see November 2017)
PDGE wins parliamentary elections
General elections are held for Parliament. As expected, President Teodoro Obiang’s Equatorial Guinea Democratic Party (PDGE) is winning a superior victory. According to the Election Commission, the party gets 92 percent of the vote, which is enough for all seats in the House of Parliament, the Senate, and to all but one in the lower house, the National Assembly. The mandate at stake in the capital Malabo is won by Citizens for Renewal (CI), which receives 5.8 percent of the vote. A coalition consisting of the Center-Right Union (UCD) and Social Democratic Assembly (CPDS) gets just over 2 percent, which is not enough to get into parliament. The election results are dismissed by the opposition, which states that a large number of cases of cheating and other irregularities were revealed during the election day. Because the authorities have banned private car traffic, many voters find it difficult to get to the polling stations, which in many cases are far from their homes. A number of polling stations are reported to have closed one hour before the postponed closing time. During Election Day, access to the internet is restricted. The opposition complains that their websites have been blocked since 2013, and that only the government party has room in state media.
Visas abolished between neighboring countries
The members of Cemac (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Congo-Brazzaville) announce that the internal visa-free agreement has now been ratified by all member states and will therefore be implemented. The agreement has been missing for 15 years through negotiations. The process has dragged on the time when the oil countries of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea were worried about being flooded by job seekers from neighboring countries. Now, however, these countries have also ratified the agreement.
Conditional prison for Teodorín
A Paris court finds President Obiang’s eldest son Teodorín guilty of, among other things, corruption, embezzlement and money laundering when he plundered the Treasury in Equatorial Guinea to finance a life of luxury abroad. In his absence, Teodorín Obiang is sentenced to three years’ conditional imprisonment and a fine of € 30 million. In addition, the court confiscates some of Obiang’s assets, including a property in Paris worth € 107 million. An opposition representative says the punishment is too mild.
President’s son in court
President Obiang’s son Teodorín faces trial in his absence in a Paris court. Theodorín, who is the country’s vice president, is charged with corruption and is suspected to have squandered around a billion kronor from the Equatorial Guinea treasury through the purchase of real estate, luxury cars and valuables in France. If convicted, he risks imprisonment for up to ten years and hundreds of millions in fines. In 2014, Teodorín Obiang settled in favor with US authorities by surrendering property in the US worth about $ 30 million before a similar prosecution.
Equatorial Guinea is elected to the Security Council
For the first time, Equatorial Guinea will receive a seat on the UN Security Council. The country will be one of Africa’s representatives in the Council for two years beginning January 1, 2018.
The government is moving to the mainland
The government and parliament move from Malabo to the new capital of Oyala on the African mainland. The city is expected to be completed in 2020 and so far politicians are expected to stay there for a few months on trial. Oyala, also known as Djibloho, is located in the rainforest in the eastern part of the country, quite close to the border with Gabon, and is surrounded by several national parks. President Obiang motivates the change of capital with the fact that security is greater on the mainland than on the island of Bioko, where Malabo is located.
The Gambia’s president is granted asylum
The government grants political asylum to Gambia’s president Yahya Jammeh. The reason Jammeh chose to accept an invitation from Equatorial Guinea is believed to be that the country is not affiliated with the International Criminal Court (ICC).