Equatorial Guinea Builds New Capital in the Jungle


Equatorial Guinea is planning a new capital in Oyala, in the middle of the tropical rainforest. Within the next decade the government and the president’s residence will move to the jungle capital, together with a total of 200,000 other people. The central African country plans to finance this futuristic city with its oil reserves, estimated at almost 2 billion barrels. Companies and workers from all over the world have been hired to construct the new city.

Up to now a golf course has already been cut out of the jungle. Currently, a gigantic space-ship like library made of glass and steel is being built. It is to be the centre of the new University of Central Africa. Another prestige project is a luxury hotel being built at the cost of £250 million. It will have a spa and serve as a convention centre

Nobody knows, however, where Oyala will get its residents. Most of Equatorial Guinea’s population lives far away in towns and villages near the coast. The country’s current capital is Malabo, located on an island off the coast. One of the reasons for moving the capital to a safe location is the threat of rebel groups that have repeatedly launched attacks on, Malabo, and government institutions.


New library of the University of Central Africa

New library of the University of Central Africa

Equatorial Guinea is a former Spanish colony and the only African nation with Spanish as its official language. It has had mixed relationships with the west since its independence in 1968. While developed countries are interested in Guinea’s oil, they do not support Obiang’s regime, which they consider a police state. After the fall of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi President Obiang is Africa’s longest serving dictator. In the last elections Obiang, who has ruled the country since 1979, won over 97% of the vote because no opposition was allowed.  Western governments accuse Obiang and his son of transferring millions of dollars of oil income to personal bank accounts around the world.

Although the population of Equatorial Guinea could benefit from its natural resources, most of the country’s 700 000 people live in poverty. Many live in huts with tin roofs and do not have access to clean water and sanitation. Most roads are unpaved and impassable during the rainy season.  People are starving everywhere, because they cannot produce enough food. Child mortality is among the highest in Africa and life expectancy is at around 60.

Despite these facts Equatorial Guinea is, per capita, one of the richest countries in the world, currently ranking at number twenty, but none of the wealth reaches the population.



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  • access = to be able to get something
  • accuse = to say that you believe someone has committed a crime
  • although = while
  • bank account = agreement between a bank and a customer that allows you to put in and take out money
  • barrel = large, curved container with a flat top used to store, beer, wine, oil etc
  • benefit = profit
  • billion = a thousand million
  • capital = city where the government is
  • child mortality = the number of children who die during the first years of life, compared with the whole population
  • coat = place where water meets land
  • convention centre = place where meetings are held
  • currently = at the moment
  • decade = ten years
  • despite = even with
  • developed countries = industrialized countries of the first world
  • election = when people vote for a person in an official position
  • estimated= thought to be
  • former = in the past
  • futuristic = very modern and unusual
  • government = the people who rule a country
  • hire = employ
  • however = but
  • impassable = you cannot drive on it
  • independence = here: to become free
  • launch =start, open up
  • library = place where you can read and borrow books
  • life expectancy = the number of years a newly born is expected to live
  • located = to be found
  • longest serving = here: to be in an official position for the longest time
  • luxury = very expensive
  • natural resources = things that exist in nature and can be used by people, like oil, wood, gas etc..
  • oil income = money that you get from selling oil
  • opposition = people who are against the ruling party and the government
  • per capita = the amount of something divided by the number of people who live there
  • police state = country where the government controls people’s movements and does not allow them to speak freely
  • poverty = the situation of being poor
  • prestige project = object that shows how much money you have
  • rank = in a certain position
  • regime = government , especially one that has not been elected by the people
  • repeatedly = over and over again
  • residence = place where a person lives
  • rule = govern
  • sanitation = the method of removing dirty or wasted water
  • spa = place where people go , in order to improve their health through swimming, exercising etc..
  • starve = to die of hunger
  • steel = strong metal that can be easily shaped
  • support = help ; to be for
  • threat = danger
  • unpaved = without a hard surface
  • wealth = riches, material goods
  • reach = get to