Cross-linked with Bertelsmann Stiftung – Future Challenges Organization’s site
Indigenous peoples and resource exploitation. Who wins, who loses, how is the game played, how should it be played?
When one lands in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, it is immediately apparent how resource-rich this country is. The silk cotton trees greeted us with their verdant lushness and the patchwork terrain of high rises and densely-populated residential areas occupied my thoughts as the plane completed its descent.
It’s easy to get caught up in the potential, the unrealized dream of equitable development, but we cannot. Yes, it is true that Equatorial Guinea’s GDP has increased from about 1 million USD in 1968 to 14 billion USD in 2010 (World Bank, 2012). But where does this wealth come from? Equatorial Guinea is heavily dependent on oil. According to the African Economic Outlook report, 78 percent of the nation’s GDP is derived from the exploitation of its oil reserves. The fact remains that Equatorial Guinea has the highest GDP per capita on the continent (about 19,300 USD in 2011, a near 2100% increase from 940 USD in 1998).
However, Equatorial Guinea’s population of just under 700,000 has yet to partake in this wealth. This disparity is seen in terms of healthcare. The population makeup, in terms of age, looks like a bell curve – as “Equatoguineans” aged 0-5 and 65 and up are a small percentage of the population. The United Nations (UN) estimates that about 20 percent of Continue reading