Equatorial Guinea Country Report
Equatorial Guinea's economy is dominated by the hydrocarbons sector and operating procedures favour the ruling elite's patrimonial system of control. Equatorial Guinea continues to invest in infrastructure, but many construction projects are affected by declining oil revenues. There are skill shortages among the labour force. Labour unrest is on the rise as salary arrears mount in many companies due to reduced industrial activity and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions. Corruption is endemic at the highest level, but a new IMF programme aims to improve transparency and accountability through a new anti-corruption framework including asset declarations.
Kidnapping of crews of support vessels closer to their bases is more probable as expanding oil and gas infrastructure on Bioko Island is becoming an opportunistic target. The waters off Equatorial Guinea are within reach of Niger Delta-based pirates. In May 2020, the crew members of a Comoros-flagged and Equatorial Guinean-flagged vessels were attacked off the coast of Luba in the exclusive economic zone. The navy has been spending heavily to improve its capabilities in counteracting piracy, and the country has been playing an active part in regional counter-piracy initiatives and operations.
Despite high poverty levels, crime levels are controlled by the ruthless responses of the police rather than any inherent competence. Perceived offenders, whether guilty or not, can expect to be treated brutally and without due process. However, there has been a noticeable rise in non-violent street crime and residential burglaries affecting expatriates in the last few years, as well as regular reports of petty theft. Anecdotal evidence, in the absence of official statistics, suggests violent crime including murder is increasing as socio-economic inequalities deepen further.
Periodic disputes with neighbouring countries, especially Cameroon, are likely to occur, particularly as Equatorial Guinea seeks ways to retain border controls and visa restrictions despite adoption by the regional economic bloc of a free movement agreement. The alleged December 2017 coup attempt, thwarted in the Cameroon-Equatorial Guinea border, as well as the town of Mongomo, on the border with Gabon, has led to border closings and strain bilateral relations, although this have gradually improved. Disagreements in the aftermath of the coup attempt could provoke exchanges of small arms fire between border officials but it is unlikely to deteriorate into anything more serious.
Vaccines required to enter the country
Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travelers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.
Vaccines recommended for all travelers
Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).
Vaccines recommended for most travelers
Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.
Malaria: There is currently no malaria vaccine. However, various antimalarial prophylactics are available by prescription and can reduce risk of infection by up to 90 percent. Different medications are prescribed depending on the risk level and the strains of the virus present in the destination. Antimalarial tablets need to be taken throughout the trip to be effective and may need to be taken for as long as four weeks following the trip.
Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).
Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is generally recommended for travelers over nine months of age. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease; it should be taken ten days in advance to be fully effective.
Vaccines recommended for some travelers
Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.
Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).
Foreign visitors should note that the long rainy season lasts from March until November and often leads to difficult road conditions. Poor driving habits, substandard road quality, poor vehicle maintenance, and the absence of efficient emergency services render travel by car relatively hazardous. It is therefore necessary to always wear a seat belt and to keep important insurance, medical, and identification documents on hand.
A number of local and regional airlines serving Equatorial Guinea are on the EU's blacklist, meaning they are not allowed to fly within European airspace due to substandard safety measures.
It should also be noted that outside of the country's main cities there are few, if any, hotels. Hotels in Malabo and Bata are satisfactory and rapidly being developed. Furthermore, sanitation standards at many restaurants in rural areas are inadequate.
Equatorial Guinea's climate is, unsurprisingly, equatorial, i.e. hot and wet (1.7 - 4 meters of annual rainfall). It rains more often in coastal regions. The rainy season lasts from May until October on Bioko Island (Malabo). A hot and dry wind (the “Tornado”) blows across the country from November until March. The ocean is warm and pleasant throughout the year.
|Malabo Central Police Station:||0927 79|
Due to a lack of staff and resources, police usually do not act outside their districts.
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