Why is Equatorial Guinea Changing Its Capital?

A boardwalk in Malabo, the current capital city of Equatorial Guinea.
A boardwalk in Malabo, the current capital city of Equatorial Guinea.

Equatorial Guinea is located in Central Africa, bordering the countries of Gabon and Cameroon. Currently, its capital city is Malabo. However, this is slowly changing, as a new capital city is being built at Oyala. Oyala is slated to be completed by the year 2020. In the mean time, some of Equatorial Guinea's government offices are being moved to Oyala as of February 2017. To explain the coming change in capital cities, one must first understand geography.

The Unique Geography of Equatorial Guinea

This Central African nation consists of the mainland (Rio Muni) and an archipelago, which has five islands. Malabo is located on the island of Bioko. It has a population of 1,222,245. To put the relation between Malabo and the rest of the country into consideration, here are some statistics:

Distance from Malabo (Bioko Island) to Bata (nearest large city and Rio Muni's largest port) = 236 km (147 miles)

Distance from Malabo to Douala (largest city in Cameroon/Cameroon's largest port) = 107 km (67 miles)

72% of Equatorial Guinea's population lives on the mainland. However, its capital city is far removed from most of the population.

Why Should the Capital City Be Moved From Malabo to Oyala?

Moving the capital to Oyala will mean a more central location, where the majority of the population will have access to it. Oyala will be served by the nation's main highways, which are located on the mainland. Moving the capital to Oyala will also bring a strategic advantage. The port of Bata will be closer. At 454 m (1,490 ft) above sea level, the climate will be milder compared to the rest of Equatorial Guinea. The climate of this country is tropical. Malabo, located at a much lower elevation and within the Gulf of Guinea (the Bight of Bonny portion) has an especially hot and humid climate.

In a nutshell, moving Equatorial Guinea's capital city is about easier access and a milder climate relative to the rest of the country.


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