flag Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

Due to diminishing oil reserves and reduced investment, Equatorial Guinea's oil-dependent economy has shrunk for over a decade. From 2013 to 2023, the country experienced an average annual negative growth rate of 4.2%. Despite two years of recovery, the economy slipped back into recession in 2023, with an estimated real GDP growth rate of -5.8% (down from 3.8% in 2022). This downturn was primarily driven by a decline in the hydrocarbon sector (with a 19.3% contraction in 2023H1 compared to 2022H2), while decreased investment also played a role in the demand-side contraction. Equatorial Guinea is projected to stay in recession in 2024, with growth forecasted at -4.3%, primarily due to diminishing hydrocarbon production and domestic demand. Without substantial diversification endeavors and advancements in structural reforms, the economy is expected to be adversely affected by declining hydrocarbon production and reduced commodity prices, resulting in an average negative growth of 3.5% in 2025-2026 (data World Bank).

The overall fiscal surplus is estimated to have decreased to 7.3% of GDP in 2023 from 13.0% in 2022, while the non-oil fiscal balance in 2023 reached 26.4% of GDP, compared to 21.3% in 2022. The debt-to-GDP ratio declined in 2023. From 2019 to 2023, CFAF 572.2 billion (or 9.5% of GDP) out of the CFAF 1,382.5 billion outstanding arrears was paid to construction companies. As of August 2023, outstanding domestic arrears with construction companies amounted to 7.9% of GDP. The fiscal balance is expected to shift to deficits in 2025-2026, as cuts in public expenditure will be insufficient to offset the substantial decrease in hydrocarbon revenues. Inflation is estimated to have decreased from 4.9% in 2022 to 2.4% in 2023. This decline is attributed to containment measures by the BEAC, agreements to import food products from Serbia, and reductions in some import tariffs. According to the national institute of statistics, the prices of food products increased by 7.1% between March 2020 and September 2023, resulting in an average loss of household purchasing power of 4.5%. The World Bank expects inflation to pick up to 4% in 2024. 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 17,620 PPP in 2022 by the World Bank – the country being classified as upper-middle-income), 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 8.5% in 2023 (from 8.6% one year earlier).

 
Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 11.7710.2810.7110.7310.93
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 3.2-5.90.5-4.6-3.2
GDP per Capita (USD) 7,8546,6606,7336,5596,491
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 34.642.437.736.838.8
Inflation Rate (%) 4.92.54.41.82.6
Current Account (billions USD) 0.29-0.14-0.29-0.29-0.53
Current Account (in % of GDP) 2.4-1.3-2.7-2.7-4.9

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 GBP 800.68749.15741.42732.38737.93

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 Industry and Energy
Bank of Central African States
 
 

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Latest Update: May 2024

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