Equatorial Guinea is one of the largest oil producers in Africa for over 10 years. With a population of 1.2 millon, its development indicators have not improved, despite major development programmes according to the UNDP.
Instead, the increase in oil revenues have mirrored an increased level of corruption in scale and complexity. Corruption cases related to the vice-president alone have caused the seizure of an estimated 700 million dollars, in countries such as the US, France, South Africa, Brazil or Switzerland.
This particularly affects the citizen’s economic and social rights, such health in the new COVID19 pandemic era. Furthermore, in the context of Equatorial Guinea, the capacity to peacefully protest or hold the government accountable is limited, particularly when it comes to civil society and political parties.
In this context, the country has embarked in several international initiatives that could be palliating some of these flaws. The first one is the participation within the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), that included the commitment to abolish the death penalty; the second one is the anticorruption plan agreed with the IMF; the third one is related to Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which includes demands to an increased civil society participation.
In addressing the interlinkages between corruption and human rights, the panellist will be debating the following questions:
- What is the strategy or potential for asset repatriation, and could these be affected by the new pandemic reality?
- In the context of the CPLP, what is the weight of the institution in pressing for meaningful change? Could CSOs play a better role?
- How does the pandemic and economic challenges ahead will impact the anti-corruption plan and the EITI process?