Useful country information
Total area: 10,830 sq mi (28,050 sq km)
Population (2014 est.): 722,254 (growth rate: 2.54%); birth rate: 33.83/1000; infant mortality rate: 71.12/1000; life expectancy: 63.49
Capital and largest city (2011 est.): Malabo, 137,000
Monetary unit: CFA Franc
National name: Rpublica de Guinea Ecuatorial
Languages: Spanish (official) 67.6%, other (includes French (official), Fang, Bubi) 32.4% (1994 census)
Ethnicity/race: Fang 85.7%, Bubi 6.5%, Mdowe 3.6%, Annobon 1.6%, Bujeba 1.1%, other 1.4% (1994 census)
National Holiday: Independence Day, October 12
Religions: nominally Christian and predominantly Roman Catholic, pagan practices
Literacy rate: 94.2%
The country gained independence in 1968 after 190 years of Spanish rule. President OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO has ruled the country for over two decades since seizing power from his uncle, then President MACIAS, in a 1979 coup. Although nominally a constitutional democracy since 1991, the 1996 and 2002 presidential elections - as well as the 1999 and 2004 legislative elections - were widely seen as flawed. The president exerts almost total control over the political system and has discouraged political opposition.
Equatorial Guinea has also experienced rapid economic growth due to the discovery of large offshore oil reserves, and in the last decade has become Sub-Saharan Africa's third largest oil exporter.
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