- Posted December 30, 2013 by
Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
THE POWER HUNGRY AND IMAGE CONSCIOUS NATION: THE STORY OF DICTATORIAL EQUATORIAL GUINEA
The international community often portraits Equatorial Guinea as being little more than an oil rich autocracy, which has been ruled by the same family since gaining independence 45 years ago. However, not everyone shares the same view of the country. Increasingly -especially among citizens of other dictatorships or those who stand against a western-style system- there is a notion that Equatorial Guinea is a success story which proves western democracy is not the only way forward, and that a different political configuration has a place in the new world. A world where money is king, much like with countries such as Angola, China or Saudi Arabia. This, some say, is because, Equatorial Guinea, unlike some other African countries, has been spending massively on infrastructure and other sectors of its small but thriving economy; making it an attractive destination for skeptical business investors, and to politicians such as Yayi Boni and Robert Mugabe, in search of a rich “friendly” state to profit from. When one businessman from neighbouring Gabon, who did not want to be named, was asked to share his views on Equatorial Guinea, he smiled and said, “an example of decent governance, at least they’re making better decisions than the Bongo family has made here in Gabon since oil was discovered”.
But is Equatorial Guinea in fact making the right decisions? Is its government system functional, and a statement that democracy is not applicable in Africa? These questions do not have clear-cut answers but what is certain about Equatorial Guinea is that its government is ready to do all it can to hold on to power and it is willing to splash millions of dollars to change its image overseas. The rest of my article can be read on my blog: