France and Equatorial Guinea

Presentation

Political relations

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 (French has been the second official language in Equatorial Guinea since 1989).

In 2010, following the complaint lodged by Transparency International France, French courts opened a hearing into the assets acquired in France by Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, currently Vice-President and son of the Head of State. Following the judicial investigation, the French investigating judge asked in September 2016 for the President’s son to appear before the Paris Criminal Court (Tribunal Correctionnel) which handed down its judgement on 27 October 2017.

Following this case, Equatorial Guinea submitted a petition to the International Court of Justice in June 2016 which was registered under the name: “Immunities and criminal proceedings (Equatorial Guinea vs France)”.

Recent bilateral visits

  • 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, Ms 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, Mr 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.

Economic relations

The French presence in Equatorial Guinea is considerable, with a foreign direct investment stock of €128 million. There are 18 French subsidiaries in the country, including: Total distribution, CFAO, Accor, Bouygues, Vinci, Razel, Egis, Veritas, Société Générale, Castel, Air France and Bolloré Africa Logistics. French exports to Equatorial Guinea fell to €29 million in 2017, down 71.8% since 2014. Agrifood products are France’s leading exports (44.5%), ahead of machines and tools (18.4%).

For more information, please consult https://www.tresor.economie.gouv.fr/Ressources/Pays/guinee-equatoriale

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

The Cultural Cooperation and Outreach Service (SCAC) at France’s embassy in Malabo follows a civil cooperation policy which aims to:

  • bolster the partnership between France and Equatorial Guinea
  • work to bolster French/Spanish bilingualism
  • promote democratic governance
  • consolidate France’s economic presence in an increasingly competitive context.

Bilateral cooperation between France and Equatorial Guinea is unusual in that nearly 80% of funding is provided by Equatorial Guinea.

France has several cultural cooperation bodies:

  • the Equatorial Guinea Institut Français in Malabo
  • the Leopold Sedar Senghor “Maison de la Francophonie” in Balta, put at France’s disposal free of charge by President Obiang, which aims to promote
  • French in the continental part of the country
  • the “La Concorde” French School in Malabo, approved by the AEFE.

The SCAC also has a programme of study, internship and linguistic bursaries for teachers, lecturers and members of the Equatorial Guinea civil service. A Social Development Fund (FSD) finances social microprojects. The development of the French language, essentially used by Equatorial Guinea’s elite, is one of the key objectives of the SCAC’s work.

Other cooperation

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). As regards defence, 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 opened in Bata in 2010 (requested and funded by the government of Equatorial Guinea). At the new naval academy in Tica, teaching will be provided by military officers from Equatorial Guinea with the support of French partners.

Updated: 26 June 2018