The “Weirdest” Country in Africa: Equatorial Guinea — Explained

Evaristo Derby
3 min readApr 19, 2022


Nature of Equatorial Guinea Depicted

Equatorial Guinea very well may be the weirdest country in Africa, being the only nation that speaks Spanish in the whole continent as well as being plagued with abandoned mansions and rampant corruption. So, how did that come to be; why is Equatorial Guinea the most abnormal country in Africa?

Why does it speak Spanish?

Equatorial Guinea (Guinea Ecuatorial) is particularly well known due to the fact that it speaks Spanish. Approximately 67.7% of the population speaks Spanish, mainly people residing in the capital of Malabo. Equatorial Guinea, alongside Western Sahara and a strip of Northern Morocco were the only African countries to be owned by the Spaniards in the 1700s-1800s. Spain mostly held absolute control of Equatorial Guinea through history (some periods such as in the 1900 where they lost portion of their rule), therefore expanding the version of European Spanish even more into the region. In addition, during the reign of Fransisco Franco as dictator, a vast influx of Spaniards moved to Equatorial Guinea. From 1960 to 1968, the Spanish partially decolonized the control whilst keeping some control, and in October 12, 1968, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea was formally established. Today, Spanish is utilized as the formal language in the government body and education. Situated in a continent of no other Spanish speaking countries, Equatorial Guinea is different from the pack.

Drew Binsky on his travels to Equatorial Guinea

Political Corruption; Rich But Poor?:

Equatorial Guinea is also a de facto dictatorship. In accordance to data published by Transparency International, the control of corruption in the nation is amongst the lowest %1 in the world. Any public funds are redirected to American or French banks by government officials, nothing is used for the bettering of the nation itself. Reports indicate over that over 70% of the population live in poverty. How can government officials escape such blatant corruption and misuse of funds? Oil. With the help of oil, Equatorial Guinea could have propelled itself into becoming a 1st-world nation. With the revenue it generates, it still can. The only thing obstructing it is its politicians. One of the president’s sons tried to purchase a 400 million dollar yacht from a German company when only earning 6000 USD a year. Where would he get the funds one might ask? The revenue the government generates. The federal government has also, increasingly in recent years, taken efforts to shut down any claims against them through the use of force. Not democratic means, authoritarian ones. A nation of natural beauty, hard working commoners, and ample economic revenue has been held back by the hand of its dictator, the longest-serving ruler in Africa. Equatorial Guinea is rich, but its people are poor; 60% surviving on one dollar per day.

A fancy hotel in Equatorial Guinea, but it has a mere about of guests

Distinguished by lavish houses and fancy resorts, Equatorial Guinea’s public image is vastly different from reality. The weird, strange country is rooted in corruption and a failing democracy. It is time to save democracy in Equatorial Guinea, or es tiempo de que salvemos la democracia en Guinea Ecuatorial.