Coastal plains rise to interior hills; islands are volcanic
Tropical; always hot, humid
Nationality: Equatorial Guinean(s) or Equatoguinean(s)
Population: 722,254 (July 2014 est.)
Languages: Spanish (official) 67.6%, other (includes French (official), Fang, Bubi) 32.4% (1994 census)
Nominally Christian and predominantly Roman Catholic, pagan practices
The discovery and exploitation of large oil and gas reserves have contributed to dramatic economic growth, but fluctuating oil prices along with slowing or declining oil production have resulted in much lower GDP growth in recent years. The economy is still dominated by hydrocarbon production. The government has solicited foreign investment, particularly from the United States, to diversify the economy and in February 2014 the government hosted an economic diversification symposium.
Prior to independence from Spain in 1968, Equatorial Guinea was progressing. Its exports of cocoa, coffee, timber, foodstuffs, palm oil, and fish generated more wealth in Equatorial Guinea than in any other colony or country in west Africa. President Macias's violent government, however, destroyed the country's prosperity. By the late 1990s, about four-fifths of the population made their living doing subsistence agriculture in the jungles and highland forests.
US Military Presence/Support