Development and Civil Liberty Indicators Drop as Equatorial Guinea’s Oil Output Peaks

Development and Civil Liberty Indicators Drop as Equatorial Guinea’s Oil Output Peaks

Paul Bugala January 24, 2009
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Despite increasing oil revenues, Equatorial Guinea's wealth has not directly benefited the vast majority of its people. In fact, the worsening of several indicators - such as the infant mortality rate and the status of civil liberties, in particular electoral freedom - are showing that conditions have worsened.

By Paul Bugala, Op-Ed Contributor

According Business Monitor International, oil production in Equatorial Guinea will peak at 520,000 barrel a day in 2009. However, as the opportunity to take advantage of this finite resource crests and diminishes, research by the United Nations, The African Child Policy Forum and Freedom House show worsening threats to the welfare of the Equatoguinean children and to the civil freedoms of all the country’s citizens.

In The State of the World’s Children 2009: Maternal and Newborn Health, UNICEF reports that Equatorial Guinea’s mortality rate for children under five-years-old was the forth highest in the world in 2007 at 206 deaths for every thousand live births. In 1990, the countries’ under-five morality rate was 170.

The African Child Policy Forum also reports that Equatorial Guinea’s lack of investment in health and education relative to Africa’s third-largest oil producer’s financial resources make it one of least child-friendly governments in Africa. In The African Report on Child Wellbeing 2008, Equatorial Guinea ranked 38th of the 52 African governments the organization evaluated in terms of their child-friendliness.

Finally, Freedom House’s report Freedom in the World 2009 rated Equatorial Guinea as “Not Free” in terms of its level of political rights and civil liberties in 2008. In its assessment, Freedom House said Equatorial Guinea is “one of the world’s most tightly closed and repressive societies.” The report also states that the country is not an electoral democracy and that it has never held a credible election.

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