Bloomberg Businessweek

Tyranny Writ Small

Tiny Equatorial Guinea has oil but how much longer can that fuel the ruling family?
A ferry leaving the capital of Malabo

The six-lane highway stretching from Equatorial Guinea’s airport to its multimillion-dollar seaside resort in Sipopo is lined with skyscrapers, a state-of-the-art Israeli-run hospital, and luxury homes surrounded by carefully tended gardens. The 16-mile drive suggests the country’s oil reserves have enriched this tiny 11,000-square-mile West African nation, which has been ruled for almost 40 years by one man, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. State media once compared him to God.

Veer off the route, and the picture that emerges is much less divine. In Fishtown, one of as many as eight shanty communities in the capital, Malabo, hundreds of people live in wooden shacks. Children romp near sewage that flows onto dirt roads strewn with trash. Street vendors

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