The government takes an active role in creating and nurturing relationships with investors, with contracts usually negotiated individually by the most relevant ministry. All companies wishing to do business in Equatorial Guinea must register with the Ministry of Finance and Budgets and the Ministry of Commerce. All companies operating in the oil and gas sector must also require a license from the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
To date, Bilateral Investment Agreements have been signed with France, South Africa and Spain, demonstrating a closer relationship with African and EU investment partners and a commitment to fair and secure business standards for foreign investors. Combined with the growing banking sector within Equatorial Guinea, the country is proving increasingly attractive to businesses wishing to invest in the country. Foreign investment is growing in the region, with total investment from the US alone at nearly $30 billion.
Equatorial Guinea offers greater flexibility to investors and businesses than many other African countries, as the government is explicitly focused on the country’s development and investment climate. Investment in non-traditional sectors in rural areas are particularly encouraged, as the authorities seek to develop the region as a whole.
With a good supply of local labour and fair labour laws, foreign businesses are increasingly finding Equatorial Guinea to be new and successful site for their operations. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is also encouraged, with many firms – particularly from the US – running successful CSR programmes that have been recognised and praised by the government of Equatorial Guinea. In 2011, the World Bank estimated the net inflow of Foreign Direct Investment in Equatorial Guinea to be $737.1 million.
Please note that all companies must obtain approval from the Ministry of Labour before employing non-Equatorial Guineans.
The corporate tax rate is set at 35% of net income, with individual income tax ranging from 10 – 35% based on annual net income. VAT remains relatively low at only 15%.
The government’s Investment Code, established in 1992 and further liberalised in 1994, includes incentives for job creation, training, promotion of exports, support of development projects, indigenous capital participation and exemption from some taxes. The Code allows for significant benefits for investors, including the dispensation of import and export licensing formalities, unlimited work permits for foreign personnel and minimal eligibility and performance criteria. The Code also ensures that Equatorial Guinea conforms to the regional regulations of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMC), which aim to promote trade, institute a genuine common market and encourage greater economic interest in countries of Central Africa.
To read more on the investment climate in Equatorial Guinea, please see the Equatorial Guinea Investment Guide 2015.