Obiang, Oyala and the Paradox of Plenty.

True things

  • Equatorial Guinea is a dictatorial state ruled by the tyrant dictator Teodoro Obiang.

  • Equatorial Guinea have the highest GDP per capita of Africa. More than 50.000$, that is more than Spain -Equatorial Guinea used to be colony of Spain-. The reason is just oil, they have oil

  • Equatorial Guinea have one of the highest inequalities index in the world. The oil benefits are only for the elite of the country. Obiang, Obiang’s family and a selected group of high rank officials.

  • Equatorial Guinea pretend to be a democracy. But is not. Developed countries do not care too much Because the country have oil they remain deaf.

Not so true things

  • Oyala is a bad idea.

Understanding the country

Equatorial Guinea Map

Equatorial Guinea is located in Central Africa between Cameroon and Gabon. We can split the country in two parts. First one is Bioko the island in the north-west and the second part is the continental area -Called Mbini in Fang language-.

Guinea’s population is less than 1.8 million people. 260k (~15%) people live in Bioko and the rest live in the continental area. The capital of Equatorial Guinea is in Bioko and it is Malabo. In the continental are live the rest of the population and is located Bata the most populated and the economical capital.

If we talk about ethnicities in Bioko the major ethnicity is Bubi and in the continental area the major is Fang. The elite of Guinea, including Obiang’s family, are Fangs.

What is Oyala?

Situation of Oyala

As you can see, Oyala is set in the interior part of the continental area and is called to be the next capital of Equatorial Guinea replacing Malabo.

The capital is being build from scratch and is intended to be the next “Brasilia” or “Abuja”. The building process started in 2011 and the early prevision says that Oyala will be finished in 2020.

The initial capacity of the city -when it will be finished- is of around 200k people and it will use some infrastructures of other cities such as Djibloho or Mengomeyén.

Why Oyala is bad idea? -according to CPDS and RTVE-

After watching the RTVE documentary called the Paradox of Plenty -in spanish- and listen the declarations of the CPDS —main opposition party against Obiang- I decided to write this post. The documentary idea was to show how Obiang and his family spend the money of all the Equatoguineans and one example is Oyala. Since I did not agree with Oyala I decided to express my point of view.

According to them:

  • The only reason of creating Oyala is because Obiang dreamt about one tsunami in the coast of Equatorial Guinea then having the capital in the interior will “save” the country.

  • Is useless create a new capital, when you have two important cities like Malabo or Bata.

  • The cost of Oyala is unacceptable for economy of Guinea.

Why Oyala is not that bad idea?

  • Bioko -where actual capital is- is an island where only lives 15% of the population. For going to Malabo to Bata -the only cities with paved airport of the country- it takes 50 minutes and if you take boat, several hours.

  • The oil is not forever, Obiang said they should find a way of survive when the oil extractions will end. He suggested follow the model of Dubai by attracting tourism. I do not consider the best idea but at least proved that Bioko can get some tourism. By the building of Sisopo Hotel he proved some effort in that way. Decoupling internal affairs from tourism in Bioko do not seem bad idea.

  • Brasilia,, Canberra, Washington D.C… are cities build for being capital and all them worked good. Decoupling of internal affairs from other regions in mainland such as Bata or Mongomo can work as the cities mentioned aboved worked.

  • Now the population is located in three main areas, Bioko, coast of continental area and the east border with Gabon. There is a big gap between the both extremes of continental area, Oyala can fulfill that gap and allow a sustainable development of the population minimizing the overcrowding.

  • Inequalities are unfair in Equatorial Guinea but we are discussing different things.

  • Oyala can be good for improve the autonomy of Bioko from the central state in order to improve the rights of the Bubis and to ensure the relations between Bubis and Fangs.