Equatorial Guinea

Reporters Without Borders has condemned the five-hour detention of Samuel Obiang Mbana, correspondent for Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Africa n°1 radio, at the police station in the capital Malabo on 14 April. The journalist was arrested at Malabo international airport where he went to cover arrivals for an extraordinary summit of heads of state of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC).


Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo may be welcome among the world’s most powerful people, who work for his favour behind the scenes in return for lucrative trade deals, but he is less favourably viewed by human rights defenders, development agencies and the citizens of his country. Agustín Velloso looks at Obiang’s controversial effort to obtain wider global respect and appreciation through the creation of an international prize in partnership with UNESCO.

UNESCO is suspending a life sciences prize sponsored by Equatorial Guinea, and is to review procedures for prizes it endorses, following bitter protests about the US$3 million endowment. The UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences was agreed by the organisation's member states in November 2008 "in recognition of scientific achievements that improve the quality of human life".


Equatorial Guinea is perhaps the world's most striking example of why oil hurts, rather than helps, many of the countries that have it. In this week’s Pambazuka News, Tutu Alicante and Lisa Misol ask whether the US’s Obama administration will stop the country's President Obiang from sucking its people dry.


August 2009 marks the 30th anniversary of Teodoro Obiang Nguema’s coup d’état against Macias Nguema, but it is not an occasion that many in Equatorial Guinea will be celebrating, writes Agustín Velloso. Yet for all his unpopularity, Obiang has won election after election with more than 95 per cent of the vote. Velloso shares with Pambazuka News Obiang’s strategy for playing ‘the democratic game’ in front of the international community.