flag Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Equatorial Guinea’s strong reliance on oil (90% of export earnings) keeps pulling the economy into recession. The country’s GDP decreased by 4.9% in 2020 (the eighth consecutive recession year) due to the drop in global demand and oil prices occasioned by the COVID-19-led crisis, and again by 3.2% in 2021. However, the economy benefitted from higher hydrocarbon production and prices in 2022, with growth estimated at 5.8% of GDP by the IMF. From 2023 onwards, it is expected that the economy will experience a downturn due to a decline in hydrocarbon production and a lack of progress in the implementation of structural reforms. According to the IMF, GDP should contract by 3.1% in 2023 and 12.3% the following year.

As Equatorial Guinea was still fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic, the country was struck in March 2021 by massive accidental explosions in Bata, its largest city, that killed over 100 people and caused widespread damage (IMF). These shocks weakened public finances. The overall fiscal balance improved in the first half of 2022, reaching 5% of GDP, mainly due to higher hydrocarbon revenue. A fuel subsidy reform was implemented in March, generating savings of 0.1% of GDP in 2022. The debt-to-GDP ratio narrowed from 42.8% in 2021 to 27.1% in 2022 and is expected to be sustainable over the medium term, although fluctuations in hydrocarbon prices constitute a serious risk. Inflation was estimated at 5.1% by the end-2022, driven by the pass-through from higher international oil and food prices - owing to global recovery from the pandemic and supply shocks - and is forecast at 5.7% this year and 5.2% in 2024 (IMF). In September 2021, the IMF approved Equatorial Guinea’s request for emergency assistance equivalent to about USD 67.38 million under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), to help tackle immediate humanitarian needs. The authorities remain committed to bringing the Extended Fund Facility-supported program approved in December 2019 back on track but are focusing on outstanding structural measures (IMF). To safeguard macroeconomic stability, promote inclusive growth and fight corruption, the authorities need to implement reforms, which include accelerating privatizations, approving anti-corruption regulations, strengthening banking sector stability, safeguarding social spending and improving public financial management (IMF).

Despite a high GDP per capita attributed to oil operations (estimated at USD 19,433 PPP in 2022 by the IMF – the country is classified as upper-middle-income by the World Bank), Equatorial Guinea still records an alarming level of poverty, with a large share of the population still lacking access to clean water and healthcare. According to World Bank estimates, the unemployment rate reached 9.1% in 2021 (from 9.3% one year earlier, latest data available).

 
Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 11.7710.0410.3410.3510.42
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 3.2-6.2-5.5-4.0-4.0
GDP per Capita (USD) 7,8546,5026,5006,3256,191
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 34.638.333.732.933.4
Inflation Rate (%) n/a2.44.01.32.5
Current Account (billions USD) 1.13-0.26-0.31-0.50-0.69
Current Account (in % of GDP) 9.6-2.6-3.0-4.8-6.6

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - October 2021.

Note: (e) Estimated Data


 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
CFA Franc BEAC (XAF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GHS 148.62133.80121.19112.67102.86

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

Main Sectors of Industry

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 55.5 13.7 30.7
Value Added (in % of GDP) 2.6 52.6 44.5
Value Added (Annual % Change) 3.6 1.3 4.9

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

The Active Population in Figures

201820192020
Labour Force 508,608529,668539,283

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 
201720182019
Total activity rate 63.06%63.02%63.19%
Men activity rate 68.00%67.90%68.08%
Women activity rate 56.04%56.05%56.17%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 

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Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
49,2/100
World Rank:
163
Regional Rank:
41

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

 
 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Not Free
Political Freedom:
7/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
164/180

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Sources of General Economic Information

Main Online Newspapers and Portals
Allafrica.com, Equatorial Guinea news
ICICEMAC, Equatorial Guinea news (only in French)
Equatorial Guinea BBC Media Profile
Useful Resources
Ministry of Economy
Ministry of Mines and Petroleum
Bank of Central African States
 
 

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Latest Update: December 2023