The Africa Progress Panel, chaired by Kofi Annan, has released its annual Africa Progress Report, “Equity in Extractives:Stewarding Africa’s natural resources for all.” The 2013 report references Equatorial Guinea numerous times, classifying it as a high-income country and calling attention to the gap between the country’s income and human development.
“The wider human development record is also a cause for concern. Most resource-rich countries have human development indicators far below the levels that would be predicted on the basis of their average incomes. Angola and Equatorial Guinea have some of the largest gaps between income and human development as reported in the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index (HDI).”
“The misalignment is important because it shows that, across a large group of resource-rich countries, economic wealth does not translate into the type of health and education indicators that might have been anticipated. Based on their average incomes, Mozambique and Chad should respectively be 9 places and 12 places further up the HDI. But such gaps pale into insignificance when compared with the HDI–income gaps of countries with higher average incomes, such as Equatorial Guinea (91 places), Gabon (40 places) and Angola (38 places)…. This is striking evidence of the failure of oil-rich countries to translate rising income into expanded opportunities for human development.”
Equatorial Guinea ranked 136 in the HDI in 2011, while ranking 45 in Gross National Income per capita.
“Equatorial Guinea has been one the world’s fastest growing economies over the past 15 years. But its HDI rank is 91 places below its wealth ranking. No country registers a wider gap. Vietnam is 8 places higher in the HDI rankings, even though it has an average income one-sixth of the level in Equatorial Guinea. Countries with a comparable income – including Poland and Hungary – are around 100 places further up the HDI rankings.”
The report highlights problems in Equatorial Guinea such as its high infant mortality rate and low levels of primary school enrollment, at one point noting, “Equatorial Guinea is richer than Poland but has a child death rate 20 times higher.”
“Today, 12 of the 25 countries in the world with highest child mortality rates are resource-rich African countries. That group includes Angola and Equatorial Guinea – a high-income country with child death rates similar to those in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world.”
The report also criticizes Equatorial Guinea’s lack of transparency:in the Open Budget Index’s survey, conducted in 2012, the county scored zero out of 100. The report cites Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act as an opportunity to combat the problem.
The complete report is available here.