Geography, Climate, Language

With an area of 28,051 km2, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea is one of the smallest countries on the African continent. The country consists of a mainland section on its West Coast, along with the two volcanic islands Bioko and Pagalu plus several smaller islands. The country shares a northern border with Cameroon, an eastern and southern border with Gabon and a Western border with the Atlantic Ocean. From the coastal flatland (approx. 150 km long and 15-25 wide), the altitude rises to 1200 m. The country is subdivided into seven provinces.

Flora and fauna

One region of the country is comprised of a tropical rainforest. Mangrove marshes are located on the coast - while further inland, one can more likely find cultivated land. On the island of Bioko, one section of the tropical rainforest was supplanted by plantations. On Pagalu, mainly oil and coconut palms can be found. The further rainforest regions offer numerous animal species for instance, different simian species such as chimpanzees, gorillas, mandrills along with pro-simian species (makis), but also leopards, sylvan elephants and sylvan buffalo. Even the rare okapis, bushbucks and bongos are prevalent here.

Climate

A year-round, warm and moist tropical rain forest climate. From February to June as well as from September to December. tornados and hurricanes can occur. Aside from the months of July-August, the monthly incidence of precipitation amounts to at least 100 mm (in October, even nearly 500 mm). On Bioko, the rainy season lasts from May to October. The average temperature throughout the year lies at 26C.

Infrastructure
  • There are two airports: Malabo (SSG) and Bata (BSG) domestic flights are available. Malabo and Bata are also the two major port cities.
  • There is no rail transport available in Equatorial Guinea.
  • As a rule, one can travel to any region of the country however, the poor infrastructure makes travel quite difficult (not all roads are paved).
At the turn of the millennium, Equatorial Guinea was one of the poorest countries on the entire African continent. However, in the late 1990s, the discovery of crude-oil deposits enabled an amazing rate of economic growth (whereby the concessions from the oil extraction are largely controlled by foreign-operated companies). In the meantime, this country is the third-largest extractor of oil south of the Sahara.

Due to the high earnings from crude-oil extraction, the agricultural sector nowadays generates a mere 3% of the GDP. Aside from the cultivation of the export products cocoa and coffee, agriculture is oriented to providing fort he country's own population. In all, 80% of the mainland is covered with dense tropical rainforest, so that only approx. 8% of the country's entire land area can be used for agriculture. Crops grown here include cocoa and coffee, along with rice, tapioca, yams and bananas. Fishing is also significant to this country's self-sufficiency. Wood is another of this country's exported products.

The merely slightly-developed industrial sector is oriented to the processing of wood as well as fish products. Other significant natural resources in addition to crude oil include manganese, gold and uranium (which to this day are not mined).

Language

The official language in Equatorial Guinea is Spanish; however, the colloquial language is a dialectal variant of Spanish unique to Equatorial Guinea along with Portuguese as the administrative language (and since 1997 also French). The native language for the majority of the population is one of two Bantu languages: either Bube or Fang. In addition to the Democratic Arab Republic of Sahara in the Western Sahara, Equatorial Guinea is the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa although other European languages are becoming ever more significant. For instance, since 2007, Equatorial Guinea has held the rank "observer status" in the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries and in 1997 became a member of the Community of Francophone Countries.



Bata - a coastal city in Africa
Bata is the capital city of the mainland region Mbini in the territory of Equatorial Guinea and of the province Litoral.

As of 2008, Bata had approximately 207,765 residents - and is the country's largest city.

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Bild mit Elefanten © Janine Grab-Bolliger / PIXELIO / www.pixelio.de