Investing

flag Equatorial Guinea Equatorial Guinea: Investing

FDI in Figures

Since the discovery of offshore oil deposits, many investors have shown great interest in Equatorial Guinea. Foreign direct investment inflows into the country had thus been consistently high for the past years. According to UNCTAD's World Investment Report 2022, FDI inflows stood at USD 491 million in 2021, down from USD 530 million one year earlier but still above the average of the last five years (USD 435 million). The stock of FDI was estimated at USD 15.5 billion in 2021, representing around 122.7% of the country’s GDP. The vast majority of FDIs in Equatorial Guinea are directed towards the oil and gas sector, followed by forestry and fisheries. The United States is the main investing country, ahead of China and France.

In recent years, the government has sought to diversify the economy and attract investment in other sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, infrastructure, and tourism (also through the economic plan "Horizon 2020"). In an effort to speed up economic diversification, the government has established GE Holding, an entity tasked to manage the State’s co-investment funds. It has also implemented many reforms to improve the business climate. These include creating a single desk for investments and adopting a law to settle conflicts related to contract execution. Equatorial Guinea also made starting a business less expensive by reducing registration fees. The government has decided to support the promotion of non-traditional exports, allowing the repatriation of profits and offering various tax incentives. Moreover, the government continues to sign new production partnership contracts (gas, mines) with international companies. Equatorial Guinea is currently implementing a Gas Mega Hub masterplan, with the development of several offshore gas hubs and the monetization of neighbouring gas reserves (the country is in discussions with Cameroon and Nigeria to facilitate additional cross-border linkages). In March 2022, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea signed a memorandum of understanding that could see gas from Nigeria fed to a processing complex on Bioko Island. On the other hand, U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil is planning to cease oil production in Equatorial Guinea after its license expires in 2026 (Reuters). The country’s business climate still faces strong headwinds such as corruption (the country ranked 171st out of 180 in Transparency International's 2022 Corruption Perception Index), administrative burden, high compliance costs, slow licensing, a weak judicial system as well as limited access to financing. The government controls long-term lending through the state-owned development bank. Furthermore, new foreign currency regulations for companies in the extractive industries, which came into effect on January 1, 2022, are being enforced by the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), of which Equatorial Guinea is a member. Although there are ongoing discussions regarding the final implementation of these regulations, they are expected to affect foreign companies' inclination to invest in the hydrocarbon sector in Equatorial Guinea and other CEMAC nations. Overall, Equatorial Guinea ranks 153rd out of 176 countries in the 2023 Index of Economic Freedom.

 

Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  Equatorial Guinea Sub-Saharan Africa United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 7.0 5.5 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 1.0 3.5 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 5.0 5.5 9.0 5.0

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action.

 
Foreign Direct Investment 202020212022
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 410460459
FDI Stock (million USD) 14,974.015,433.915,892.4
Number of Greenfield Investments* 0.00.00.0
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 000

Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

 

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Tax Rates

Value added tax (VAT)
15% (standard rate)
Certain items are taxed at 6%, including meats and poultry; milk and cream that are not concentrates, and not containing sugar or other sweeteners; milk and cream concentrated or sweetened; bread; rice; prepared foods for children; books and school books.
Zero-rated items include insulin and its salts; quinine and its salts; antibiotics; pharmaceutical products; fertilizers; dental wax; x-ray plates, tapes and films; insecticides; rubber hygiene and pharmacy items (including surgical gloves); school books in flexible protective covers; glass for eyeglasses; medical-surgical sterilizers for laboratories; wheelchairs and other vehicles for the physically challenged; spares for wheelchair and other vehicles for the physically challenged; corrective lenses; medical-surgical devices; dental chairs; other medical and surgical furnishings; other agricultural supplies.

The following items are exempt: raw agricultural, livestock, fishing and hunting products, sold directly to the end consumer by the owner; sale of products resulting from soil and subsoil extraction activities; operations transmitting real estate between individuals that do not qualify as real estate developers and that are subject to asset transfer tax; interest generated by foreign loans; interest generated by deposits of nonprofessional clients in credit or financial establishments; travelers with small imports when the value of the goods does not exceed XAF500,000; banking, insurance and reinsurance operations, which are subject to a specific tax; operations transferring real estate, and real estate rights and mutations of goodwill that are subject to the asset transfer tax or other equivalent taxes; medical services, including transportation of accident victims and sick people, and medical assistance to individuals provided by public hospitals and health centers, or similar agencies, and medical assistance provided by members of the meical and paramedic corps; staple commodities, as well as their supplies, the supplies of livestock and fishing products used by producers, as long as said products are exempt; services provided in the field of school or university teaching by public and private establishments or similar agencies; importation and sale of school or university books; sale of newspapers and periodicals, not including income received from advertising; rental of unfurnished houses; certain international traffic operations; social, educational, sports, cultural, philanthropic or religious services or operations provided to their members by nonprofit benevolent and charitable agencies, as long as said operations can be directly related to the collective defense of the moral or material interests of their members. However, these are taxable when they are in a situation of competition with the private sector; importation of equipment goods; amounts deposited by the Public Treasury into the Central Bank in its capacity of issuing bank, etc.

Company Tax
35%
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 10% (residents)/25% (non-residents); Interests: 0% (residents)/25% (non-residents); Royalties: 10% (residents)/15% (non-CEMAC residents).
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employers
22.5% (21.5% for the National Social Security Fund; 1% for the Work Protection Fund)
Other Domestic Resources
Ministry of Finance
Overview of Equatorial Guinea's tax measures in response to Covid-19
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.
 
 

Individual Taxes

Income tax Progressives rates until 35%
From XAF 0 to 1,000,000 0%
From XAF 1,000,001 to 3,000,000 10%
From XAF 3,000,001 to 5,000,000 15%
From XAF 5,000,001 to 10,000,000 20%
From XAF 10,000,001 to 15,000,000 25%
From XAF 15,000,001 to 20,000,000 30%
Above XAF 20,000,000 35%
Non-resident individuals 15% withholding tax on gross income derived from sources in Equatorial Guinea
 
 

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Equatorial Guinea Sub-Saharan Africa United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 46.0 36.6 10.6 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 492.0 284.8 175.0 218.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 79.4 47.3 36.6 48.8

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

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Investment Opportunities

Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Fontier Market Network, Tenders in Africa
African Tenders
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide
Setting Up a Company
Consult Doing Business Website, to know about procedures to start a Business in Equatorial Guinea.
Useful Resources
Invest in Equatorial Guinea
Economic Developments and Prospects in Equatorial Guinea - African Economic Outlook
 

Business Setup Procedures

Setting Up a Company Equatorial Guinea Sub-Saharan Africa
Procedures (number) 16.00 7.51
Time (days) 33.00 21.30

Source: Doing Business.

 
 
 

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Latest Update: September 2023