Relations between France and Equatorial Guinea, which date back beyond the discovery of hydrocarbon deposits within the country, first developed as bilateral cooperation, before expanding under the Franc zone and Francophonie, from the 1980s. Since 1997, French has been one of the official languages of Equatorial Guinea.
In 2017, following a complaint by the NGO Transparency International, the Paris Criminal Court recognized Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, current Vice President and son of the Head of State, guilty of laundering of social assets, misappropriation of public funds, breach of trust and corruption. In its deliberations of 10 February 2020, the Paris Court of Appeal increased the sentence handed down in the first instance, lifted the stay on the €30-million fine, and confirmed the three-year suspended prison sentence, as well as the confiscation of seized goods. However, it acquitted Teodorin Obiang of money laundering and corruption. With regard to this case, Equatorial Guinea instituted in June 2016 legal proceedings against France before International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ declared itself competent to take cognizance of the aspects of the dispute relating to the status of the building at 42, avenue Foch in Paris having been seized (criminal asset forfeiture) by the French justice system and that Equatorial Guinea presents as housing its embassy in France.
A Lycée Français, a school of the Mission Laïque Française, an Institut Français.
French community: 320 registered on the Consular Registry (2020)
- November 2019: meeting between the French President and President Obiang, in parallel to the Paris Peace Forum.
- October 2019: attendance of President Obiang at the funeral of President Chirac in Paris.
- July 2019: visit of the Minister of State, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, to Malabo and Tica (inauguration of the École National à Vocation Régionale of Tica). Meeting with the President Obiang.
- June 2018: meeting between Minister of State Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne , and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Equatorial Guinea, Seméon Oyono Esono Angue.
- January 2017: meeting between the French President and President Obiang and meeting between the two Ministers of Foreign Affairs alongside the Africa-France Summit in Bamako.
- November 2015: meeting between the French Prime Minister and President Obiang alongside the opening of COP21.
- February 2015: visit by Minister of State for Development and Francophonie, Annick Girardin, for the final of the African Cup of Nations.
- September 2014: meeting between the French President and President Obiang in New York in parallel to the UN General Assembly.
- December 2013: participation by President Obiang in the Élysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa.
- August 2012: visit by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Agapito Mba Mokuy.
- November 2011: visit to Cannes by President Obiang for the G20 summit.
- May-June 2010: visit by President Obiang to Nice for the Africa-France Summit.
- Ambassador of France to Equatorial Guinea: Olivier Brochenin - Twitter: @O_Brochenin
- Ambassador of Equatorial Guinea to France: Miguel Oyono Ndong Mifumu
The French presence in Equatorial Guinea is considerable, with a foreign direct investment stock of €121 million in 2018 (versus €116 million in 2017). There are 12 French subsidiaries in the country, including Total Distribution, CFAO, Accor, Bouygues, Vinci, Razel, Société Générale, Castel, Air France, and Bolloré Africa Logistics.
French exports dropped in 2019, after a renewed rise in 2018. They have globally fallen these last ten years. Imports from Equatorial Guinea only totalled €3.4 million. As a result, there is a trade surplus of €30 million, stable in 2019 compared with 2018. Before that time, there was a structural deficit.
Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation
The Cooperation and Cultural Action Section (SCAC) of the Embassy of France in Malabo conducts technical cooperation policy that aims to:
- Bolster the partnership between France and Equatorial Guinea;
- Work towards development of French lanuage learning against a backdrop of the country’s linguistic diversity (French-Spanish, vernacular languages);
- Promote democratic governance;
- Consolidate France’s economic presence in an increasingly competitive context.
France has several cultural cooperation bodies:
- Institut Français in Malabo;
- The Leopold Sedar Senghor “Maison de la Francophonie” in Bata (continental part of the country), put at France’s disposal free of charge by Equatorial Guinea’s authorities, which aims to develop educational and cultural activities in French. It hosts in its walls the École Française de Bata and the National Association of French Teachers (ANPFGE);
- The Lycée Français Le Concorde in Malabo approved by the AEFE.
France is cooperating with Equatorial Guinea on matters of defence with the aim of facilitating Equatorial Guinea’s participation in the military and security bodies of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). In addition to the training offered to Equatorial Guinea’s officers within French schools and French-supported regional schools on the African continent, a regional naval academy was open in Bata in 2010 (funded by the government of Equatorial Guinea). This school moved to the naval academy in Tica, inaugurated in July 2019 by the Equatorial Guinean Head of State, in presence of the Minister of State, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne. Courses are given by Equatorial Guinean military officers, with the support of French cooperation officers, and help train navy officers from a dozen African countries. This project is part of the “Yaoundé architecture” framework, which aims to improve maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.