Current Date: 3 Oct, 2023

West Africa: Traders Say Closure of Equatorial Guinea Border Ahead of Elections Hurts Business

The land border was closed last week in advance of the November 20 elections, according to traders in Kiossi, a town in Cameroon close to the Equatorial Guinea border. 

According to Equatorial Guinea, the border was closed to prevent "infiltration of mercenaries who want to destabilize the elections.

"The longest-reigning president in Africa, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who took office in a coup in 1979, is predicted to win by political analysts.

West Africa: Traders Say Closure of Equatorial Guinea Border  Ahead of Elections Hurts Business

Several hundred people from Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, the majority of whom are businesspeople, claim they have not been able to enter Equatorial Guinea from Kiossi, a border town in Cameroon, since November 3. 

On the Equatorial Guinean side of the border, dozens of heavily armed government soldiers are visible. Dominique Essono, an importer of building supplies, claims that the troops are preventing him and many other citizens of Equatorial Guinea from returning home to cast their ballots on November 20.

Essono claimed that numerous businesspeople from the town of Ebebiyin in Equatorial Guinea are stuck and unable to travel to Cameroon.

Equatorial Guinea exports building supplies, produce, tomatoes, rice, and potatoes to Cameroon, and Cameroon imports wine, canned food, vegetable oil, body lotions, and wine from Equatorial Guinea.

According to Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, vice president of Equatorial Guinea, on October 25, the border was sealed to stop the "infiltration" of groups that might try to sabotage the country's elections. 

Africa's longest-serving leader, Obiang, is 80 years old. In a coup in August 1979, the second president of Equatorial Guinea, a former military officer, assumed office.

During the elections on November 20, he will be up against two opponents. Monsuy Asumu is making his third run, while Esono Ondo is making his first. 

If re-elected, Obiang promised the pan-African TV channel Afrique Media on Monday that he would keep working to develop his nation and fight poverty in rural areas.

The slogan of Obiang's election campaign, "Continuity," he claims, is not an error. For Equatorial Guinea to become an economically independent emerging economy by 2035, he claims that his exceptional program will expose its companies to the rest of the world.

According to Owona Wolfgang, a political analyst at Cameroon's University of Yaounde's political science research center, Obiang is likely to win again, as he has in the previous six elections, which he has never received less than 90% of the vote.

According to Wolfgang, it won't be shocking if Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue takes over as president of Equatorial Guinea from the ailing Obiang after the elections. 

He claims that Obiang's son is the vice president of Equatorial Guinea and a key figure in the country's ruling Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea. 

Moreover, the opposition asserts that corruption, sham elections, and the persecuting and torturing of political rivals characterize Obiang's rule. Obiang's party disputes these assertions.

The current National Assembly's 99 seats are held by the ruling party, as are all 55 Senate seats. The initial date for the presidential election in Equatorial Guinea was April 2023. However, President Obiang moved it up to November 20 to coincide with the legislative, senate, and local elections.

The United Nations estimates that most of Equatorial Guinea's 1.5 million residents live in poverty despite the country earning more than $3 billion annually from oil.

Excellence Chukwuma Chukwunaedu

Excellence Chukwuma Chukwunaedu

I enjoy marketing, technology and business. I help businesses and brands connect with their ideal customer profiles and build products that excite them and solve their problems.