Equatorial Guinea has 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. Despite the country’s economic windfall from oil production, resulting in a massive increase in government revenue in recent years, the drop in global oil prices has placed significant strain on the state budget. Equatorial Guinea continues to seek to diversify its economy and to increase foreign investment despite limited improvements in the population’s living standards.
The Internet penetration rate was almost 24% in 2017. There is digital fixed-line network in most major urban areas and decent mobile cellular coverage. Fixed-line density equals about 1 per 100 persons, but mobile-cellular subscribership has been increasing and in 2016 stood at about 70 percent of the population.
Telephone and Internet service are widespread in Equatorial Guinea, although the quality of Internet access, as well as mobile coverage, still show many deficiencies. The main problem for Internet access is the lack of broadband connections, and fiber deployment is still in its initial stages. The launch of connections through the trans-African cable ACE in 2013 should substantially improve communications in the country and in international connectivity. The regulatory body in the telecoms industry is ORTEL (Órgano Regulador de las Telecomunicaciones).
Exploitation of oil and gas deposits, beginning in the 1990s, has driven economic growth in Equatorial Guinea; a recent rebasing of GDP resulted in an upward revision of the size of the economy by approximately 30%. Although preindependence Equatorial Guinea counted on cocoa production for hard currency earnings, the neglect of the rural economy since independence has diminished the potential for agriculture-led growth. Subsistence farming is the dominant form of livelihood. Declining revenue from hydrocarbon production, high levels of infrastructure expenditures, lack of economic diversification, and corruption have pushed the economy into decline in recent years and limited improvements in the general population’s living conditions.
Equatorial Guinea’s real GDP growth has been weak in recent years, averaging -0.5% per year from 2010 to 2014, because of a declining hydrocarbon sector. Inflation remained very low in 2016, down from an average of 4% in 2014. Foreign assistance programs by the World Bank and the IMF have been cut since 1993 because of corruption and mismanagement, and as a middle income country Equatorial Guinea is now ineligible for most low-income donor funding.
GETESA, aka “Guinea Ecuatorial de Telecomunicación Sociedad Anónima”, is the primary telecoms company in Equatorial Guinea. It was founded by the Guinean Government in 1987 and its mission is to study, manage, exploit and install telecom infrastructure and equipment in the country. It currently owns 87% to 90% of the national network.
*None reported as of October, 2017.