Equatorial Guinea: Trapped in an Endless Loop

While the authorities in Equatorial Guinea often boast of a country at peace, reality can be worse than imagination. The country has all the inequality indicators of a country at war. Our country’s political elite have hijacked all levers of power, amassed all available resources, and left much of the population completely defenseless and vulnerable. Our lives have been decimated by chronic shortages of goods and constant misery.

Trapped in an Endless Loop

Recently, Transparency International published its annual corruption perceptions index (CPI). Equatorial Guinea ranks near dead last in the world, sharing its dreadful position with Libya and barely beating out the likes of Afghanistan and North Korea. The CPI report – and others like it, including Freedom in the World – create the perfect x-ray about the socio-political health of Equatorial Guinea today.

Corruption and fear are the foundations upon which the regime stands

Equatorial Guinean society, faced with resignation and impotence, has experienced firsthand how corruption can infect and destroy a social fabric. The lack of strong institutions and checks and balances to hold the executive branch to account has devastated us – so much so that the management of public affairs is best understood by the Italian term Nostra,’ which means that the rule of law has been thoroughly undermined. 

The blasts in Bata are further proof of undeserved citizen punishment 

The Covid-19 pandemic and the deadly explosions occurring at the Nkuantoma army barracks in March 2021 have shed additional light on the total absence of basic management skill. In fact, it looks as if the priority of the ruling regime was to ensure impunity – to guarantee that Equatoguineans are abandoned to their own fate.

Equatorial Guinea is among the top three largest producers of oil and gas in sub-Saharan Africa. With a population that does not reach two million inhabitants, one would reasonably expect that our resources would be used for the good and prosperity of our people as well as our institutions. This has simply not been the case, not by any conceivable measure. 

The corrupt politicians in charge, and the kleptocratic family that has ruled us since 1979, seem to only care about their own wealth – they seem to only care about insulating and enriching themselves at the expense of a suffering population.

Only when the gap between our ruling elite and the average person is closed will Equatorial Guinea know genuine progress and prosperity. Until then, no amount of propaganda or false statistics can mask the naked truth and the lived reality of those trapped in Equatorial Guinea today: we are a nation in dire need of ethical leadership and good governance. 

About the author: Joaquín Elo Ayeto is a human rights activist in Equatorial Guinea. In 2019, he was arbitrarily imprisoned for a year and tortured by authorities. He is a member of the Somos+ platform, a group that highlights human rights violations and corruption in Equatorial Guinea. 

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of Vanguard Africa, the Vanguard Africa Foundation, or its staff.

Originally posted on Vanguard Africa


Kleptocracy in Equatorial Guinea is a criminal luxury