Equatorial Guinea, officially the Republic of Equatorial Guinea (Spanish: República de Guinea Ecuatorial, French: République de Guinée Équatoriale) is a country located in Central Africa. With an area of 28,000 km2 it is one of the smallest countries in continental Africa, having a population estimated at half a million. It comprises two parts: a Continental Region (Río Muni), including several small offshore islands like Corisco, Elobey Grande and Elobey Chico; and an Insular Region containing Annobón island and Bioko island (formerly Fernando Po) where the capital Malabo is situated.
Annobón is the southernmost island of Equatorial Guinea and is situated just south of the equator. Bioko island is the northernmost point of Equatorial Guinea. Between the two islands and to the east is the mainland region. Equatorial Guinea is bordered by Cameroon on the north, Gabon on the south and east, and the Gulf of Guinea on the west, where the island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe is located between Bioko and Annobón. Formerly the colony of Spanish Guinea, its post-independence name is suggestive of its location near both the equator and the Gulf of Guinea. It is one of the few territories in mainland Africa where Spanish is an official language, besides the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.
Equatorial Guinea is the third smallest country in continental Africa in terms of population. It is also the second smallest United Nations (UN) member from continental Africa. The discovery of sizeable petroleum reserves in recent years is altering the economic and political status of the country. As of 2008, and as an example of the 'natural resource curse', gross domestic product (GDP) per capita-boosted by oil exports-ranks 31st, though wealth with is actually in the hands of few people, leading the Human Development Index (HDI) to rank 115th worldwide.
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