Higher Education in Equatorial Guinea

The nation of Equatorial Guinea is the only Spanish-speaking country in West Africa. It has been ruled since 1979 by Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who came to power in a bloody coup. He has been reelected to several seven-year terms as president in elections widely regarded as shams. He has been called one of Africa’s most corrupt and ruthless dictators.

Despite authoritarian rule, the president has been a strong supporter of education. In 1995 he established the Equatorial Guinea National University in Malabo.  There are five schools on the campus dedicated to the disciplines of agriculture, marine science, education, business, and engineering. A separate medical school campus operates in the city of Bata. Today, there are 4,352 students enrolled at the university and more than 1,300 students have earned degrees. The president’s Horizon 2020 development plan calls for the building of new schools and strengthening teacher training programs.

Speaking at recent graduation ceremonies, the president stated, “The greatness of a nation depends on the complete and moral education of its citizens and that level is reached in classrooms of this university.”

The latest data from the Institute for International Education shows that there are 78 students from Equatorial Guinea enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. Eight faculty members at U.S. institutions of higher learning are from the African nation. In the latest year for which statistics are available, 21 American students were participating in study abroad program in Equatorial Guinea.