Spotlight on Equatorial Guinea

22 Jan 2014

imageUNDP helped set up internet training centers focusing on youths

According to the 2013 Human Development Report, Equatorial Guinea registered the highest growth rate in the world in its annual average per-capita income between 1990 and 2012, together with China.

Equatorial Guinea has undergone deep economic and social changes since the discovery of oil in the mid-90s. From being a poor, mainly agricultural country, it became the foremost oil producer of the franc zone. Oil income has helped to improve basic infrastructure: roads, schools, hospitals and social housing.

In terms of human development, however, the country falls short of its economic and financial potential with high levels of poverty (more than 60 percent), limited access to drinking water and sewerage, and the prevalence of contagious diseases.

Unemployment is also high, especially among the young, who have not fully benefited from the employment opportunities offered locally, especially by the oil industry.

The United Nations Development Programme in Equatorial Guinea has been working to help the country achieve the transition between rapid economic growth and sustainable human development.

Examples of our work:

Environment

To promote the sustainable management of soils, the Government developed from 2009 to 2012, through the Ministry of Fisheries and the Environment (MPMA), a project designed to strengthen the institutional and legal capacities for the sustainable management of soils and forests across the country.

Health

In the area of health, the country’s HIV/AIDS prevalence represents 6.2 percent of the population between the ages of 15 and 49. This includes 8.3 percent of women and 3.7 percent of men.

In 2012, the government of Equatorial Guinea spent 1.7 million dollars on an AIDS programme that is providing free antiretroviral medication to women and men on Bioko and the continent. The programme is supported by UNDP and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Digital divide

According to UNDP’s 2013 Human Development Report, six percent of Equatorial Guinea’s women and men use the internet, 1.5 in 100 people in the country have access to internet through their own laptop, and only .2 percent have access to broadband.

In order to help bridge the digital divide, in 2013, UNDP inaugurated a technology center that has trained 1,500 people in information and communication technology, focusing on youths.

Governance

Equatorial Guinea has made important efforts in the area of democratic governance. However, the country still presents considerable challenges in terms of discrimination against women and human rights, the need for a shared vision at the level of public administration on formulating public policies, and lack of a reliable statistical system that would facilitate monitoring of the progress of the country in economic and social spheres.

UNDP’s focus in the area of governance has consisted in helping the country on public investment planning, anti-corruption efforts, involving people in local development decisions, promotion of human rights in government legislation and boosting small and medium enterprises.