A Human Rights Watch report about how the dictatorship under President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has used an oil boom to entrench and enrich itself further at the expense of the country's people. Since oil was discovered there in the early 1990s, Equatorial Guinea's gross domestic product (GDP) has increased more than 5,000 percent, and the country has become the fourth-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, living standards for the country's 500,000 people have not substantially improved.
"Since 1968, the year Equatorial Guinea gained independence from Spanish colonial rule, the country has been run by a succession of repressive dictatorships. Until the mid-1990s it was one of the more closed countries in the world; generally what little international comment it attracted was for its dismal human rights record. But that all changed when significant oil reserves were discovered off the country's coast in 1995. As one of the world's newest oil hotspots, Equatorial Guinea garners global attention as a valuable source of natural resources. Its government, however, is setting new low standards of political and economic malfeasance: billions of dollars in oil revenue have not translated into widespread economic benefits for the population or dramatic improvements in human rights, making Equatorial Guinea a classic example of an autocratic and opaque oil-rich state…"