New Economic Prosperity Benefits Only President Mbasogo
A recent offshore oil boom resulted in the economy's growth by 71.2% in 1997, the first year of the petroleum bonanza, and it has sustained this phenomenal rate of growth. Between 2002 and 2005, the GDP skyrocketed from $1.27 billion to $25.69 billion. It is unlikely, however, that the country's new wealth will benefit the average citizen—the president's family and cronies control the industry.
In 2004, about 70 mercenaries, including Eton-educated, former member of Britain's Special Air Services Simon Mann, attempted to overthrow the authoritarian president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. The coup attempt failed, and those involved were arrested and jailed. Mann was convicted in July 2008 and sentenced to 34 years in prison. He was pardoned and released in November 2009.
Amid accusations of corruption and mismanagement, the entire government of Prime Minister Ricardo Mangue Obama Nfubea resigned in July 2008. President Obiang named Ignacio Milam Tang as prime minister. President Obiang was reelected in November 2009.