Central Africa Economy

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

According to Countryaah.com, Equatorial Guinea is the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa. The country has suffered under severe repression since independence from Spain in 1968. Oil discoveries have led to a sharp increase in the country’s GDP. Fundamental trade union rights are lacking. Child labor is common and slave labor occurs.

Equatorial Guinea

Country Facts

State condition: Republic

Surface: 28,051 km²

Capital: Malabo

Language: Spanish and French official languages

Labor market and economy:

Equatorial Guinea has large oil deposits that have led to a rapid increase in the country’s GDP, but wealth has only benefited the ruling elite, half of the population lives on less than $ 2 a day and unemployment is high. The country has one of the world’s most brutal regimes and corruption and general mismanagement have caused the economy to stagnate in recent years.

The country’s basic industry is agriculture. Cocoa previously accounted for the country’s export earnings, but the brutal regime’s mismanagement of agriculture has reduced the possibility of achieving growth in the agricultural sector.

Working conditions are often very poor; child labor is common and slave labor occurs.

GABON

The oil and iron ore-rich former French colony could provide the country’s two million residents with a high standard of living. During the 1990’s, one-party rule was replaced by a multi-party system. A new central trade union organization has outcompeted the loyal to the government.

Country Facts

State condition: Republic, unitary state

Surface: 267 670 km²

Capital: Libreville

Language: French

Labor market and economy:

According to iTypeUSA.com, GDP in Gabon is four times the average for sub-Saharan Africa. The reason is the large oil deposits in the sea. For a long time, oil revenues, which have now declined somewhat, accounted for about 80 per cent of exports, almost half of GDP and more than half of central government revenue. In the northeastern part of the country, there are iron deposits that are described as the world’s largest. The country also has rich resources in magnesium, uranium and phosphates, which makes Gabon an eldorado for the mining industry. However, economic policy means that the poor do not notice much of the country’s wealth, and the low oil prices that have prevailed in recent years have led to stagnation in the economy, which in turn has led to unrest.

With 22 million hectares of rainforest, Gabon is a major exporter of hardwood. Gabon and Norway signed an agreement in 2019 which means that Norway compensates Gabon for refraining from cutting down forests and keeping greenhouse gas emissions down. Norway will replace Gabon with $ 10 for every tonne of carbon dioxide not emitted when it chooses to keep its forest.

The state is the largest employer, followed by the forest companies. Unemployment is high, especially among young people, but during a boom there is still a shortage of labor and many migrants have sought refuge in Gabon. Their rights are severely limited.

REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (BRAZZAVILLE)

Congo Brazzaville became independent from France in 1960. Until 1991, the country was a Marxist one-party state. Since then, the political situation has been constantly turbulent. Oil resources have enabled large-scale development projects. The trade union movement is deeply divided and trade union rights are constantly being violated. According to AllCityPopulation.com, the biggest city in Republic of Congo is Brazzaville.

Republic of the Congo

Country Facts

State condition: Republic, unitary state

Surface: 342 000 km²

Capital: Brazzaville

Language: French official language

Labor market and economy:

Oil has replaced timber as the main export product. The timber industry has been hit hard by the economic crisis and the low oil prices in recent years have caused problems. A new iron ore mine was put into operation in 2013. The unrest in the neighboring countries Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic has meant that a large number of refugees have been forced to receive it.

Agriculture is severely mismanaged and the country has to import food. Through a controversial agreement, 200,000 hectares of land have been leased out for 30 years to South African growers. The hopes are that it will increase the supply of food and involve the transfer of knowledge.

The state administration is large and provides many jobs. About 15 percent of the workforce is in industry, but the majority of the population receives its livelihood through the informal sector. Unemployment is estimated at close to 50 percent.

SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE

The two islands in the Gulf of Guinea are Africa’s second smallest country (slightly smaller than Öland) with 193,000 residents. The country became independent from Portugal in 1975. The economy is based on agriculture, but oil deposits are expected to generate new income. From 1991, the country has a multi-party system. There are two central trade unions that are affiliated with World Trade Union Confederation, ITUC.

Country Facts

State condition: Republic, unitary state

Surface: 1 001 km²

Capital: São Tomé on São Tomé and Santo António on Príncipe

Language: Portuguese

Labor market and economy:

The economy has been completely dependent on cocoa grown for export. Drought and mismanaged economy have led to reduced exports and increased trade deficits. The hope of large oil deposits has largely failed. It works closely with Nigeria on oil extraction. It has also worked closely with Angola for a few years. Tourism is a possible future source of income. The country has had most of its foreign debt forgiven when it lived up to the requirements of the World Bank and the IMF. The currency is linked to the euro via an agreement with Portugal. A cooperation agreement has been concluded with China where China undertakes to finance improvements to the infrastructure.

The state is the largest employer. The minimum wage is equivalent to 50 US dollars a month, which is not enough to live on. The emigration has been large and many families manage thanks to money sent home to those who work abroad. There are no reliable figures on unemployment, but it is judged to be high, especially for young people.