In some of our previous articles ( ), we discussed the paradox of Gabon: a country that has a relatively high income per capita and is yet plagued by high level of lived poverty.

We suggested that this paradox could only be explained in one of two ways: there was either a methodological error in computing the country’s income per capita or its level of lived poverty or the wealth that the country is able to generate, is not equitably redistributed among the Gabonese population.

The paradox of Gabon, is not exceptional as our previous articles suggested. In a recent article (, the African media noted that Equatorial Guinea is also paradoxical in her own right. It has a very high income per capita – the article indicates that it has the highest income per capita in the continent- coupled with a high level of poverty.

Poverty, argues Daniel Bekele, is the result of the fact that eighty per cent of the country’s revenue is used to build infrastructures, while only modest investments are made for education and health. Worse, Bekele argues, high ranking officials have engaged in systemic corruption and have embezzled a lot of public money.

It is this combination of corruption and bad budgeting that explains the paradox of a country in which people are poor in spite of a very high income per capita.

Riccardo Pelizzo