On December 3, 2014, Transparency International released its 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index, which ranks countries based on their perceived level of corruption. However, Equatorial Guinea, which for the last two years has ranked 163rd out of 174 and 177 countries, respectively, was not included in the 2014 index due to the lack of data available to analysts.
“This omission from Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index confirms that Equatorial Guinea remains one of the most opaque nations in the world,” said Tutu Alicante, Executive Director of EG Justice. The people of Equatorial Guinea deserve a government that is open, accountable, democratic, and that respects fundamental human rights.
To include a country on the index, Transparency International analyzes at least three reliable data sources from credible organizations. This year, the anticorruption organization was unable to find a third source of information for Equatorial Guinea. The absence of one single source such as the African Development Bank made it impossible to get the necessary three sources to be ranked compared to last year's available sources. Compare this to neighboring Cameroon (ranked toward the bottom of the index at 136th), where Transparency International was able to identify eight reliable data sources.
According to Chantal Uwimana, Transparency International’s Regional Director for Africa and the Middle East, “Once again, the majority of African countries rank in the bottom half of the index, with results similar to those attained in 2013.” Ms. Uwimana also stated that, "widespread and endemic Corruption does not seem to inhibit economic growth—look at Angola—but it makes it harder to transform economic growth into development."
Last year, Equatorial Guinea scored 19 points out of 100, a figure that in 2014 would have landed it in the 161st spot with countries like Angola, Guinea-Bissau, and Yemen. The average score globally is 43.
The absence of information and continued lack of transparency in Equatorial Guinea does not bode well for the country’s renewed bid to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Equatorial Guinea was accepted as an EITI candidate country in 2007, but the process ended after the EITI Board denied the country’s request for an extension to complete EITI Validation. According to Mr. Alicante, “the Equatoguinean Government should take this notable absence as an indication of the progress it needs to achieve, if it is serious its EITI candidacy. It needs to start producing and publishing reliable data.”
Countries that participate in the EITI must publish reports that disclose natural resource revenues – something Equatorial Guinea’s president has claimed is a “state secret.” That Transparency International was unable to find just three sources of data on Equatorial Guinea speaks volumes about the country’s commitment to re-joining the EITI.