Equatorial Guinea, despite its name, is not bisected by the equator. This nation lies north of the equator, between Cameroon and Gabon, thus lying squarely in the northern hemisphere. It also contains two islands, Biolo and Pegalu, which lie west of Cameroon. Population is about half a million. Were it not for 60,000 deaths and a further 140,000 fleeing or being expelled under the reign of the vicious Macias Nguema (1969-1978), population would be much larger. The capital city is Malabo (65,000).
As Operation World (2003 edition, 238-239) has it, 'Independence from Spain in 1968. A coup in 1969 brought Macias Nguema to power. This atheist dictator turned his country into a slave-labour camp with Soviet Bloc assistance. A military coup in 1979 resulted in a one-party presidential government economically linked with the neighbouring Francophone states. Western pressure for multi-party politics resulted in cosmetic changes. All dissent is suppressed and the government reacts defensively to any criticism.'
Though the Bantu peoples predominate (96%), with 10 ethnic tongues, Spanish and French are the official languages. Annual income is about $500 per person. Apart from the ruling elite, poverty reigns.
(Note: in Prayer Points, income is given on a per capita basis, that is, gross national personal income divided by total population, not on the basis of average income per wage earner.)
95% of the nation claim Christianity, the vast majority being Roman Catholic. Much credibility in the eyes of the people was lost when church leaders compromised or connived at the dictatorship of the '70s. Religious freedom and faith are slowly coming back. Would you say a prayer for Equatorial Guinea today?
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