Equatorial Guinea - Poverty and wealth

Even though Equatorial Guinea is one of the wealthiest countries in Africa, with GDP per capita estimated at more than US$2,000 in 1999, the bulk of the citizenry lives in poverty. Official unemployment stands at almost 30 percent, and the government's social safety net does not adequately provide for the unemployed. The massive economic growth rates have been fueled by the production of oil offshore, an industry that has not substantially increased the number of jobs in the country. Timber, on the other hand, has made some contribution to increasing living standards, although this industry currently remains too small to make a significant contribution to the average worker's standard of living. The bulk of the population remains poor and makes a living off subsistence farming. The majority of Equatorial Guineans live without electricity, basic education, adequate health care, or safe drinking water.

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Equatorial Guinea N/A N/A 352 333 1,049
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Nigeria 301 314 230 258 256
Cameroon 616 730 990 764 646
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.
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