Chapter

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Published Date:
September 2000
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Status Under IMF Articles of Agreement
Article VIIIDate of acceptance: June 1, 1996.
Exchange Arrangement
CurrencyThe currency of Equatorial Guinea is the CFA franc.
Exchange rate structureUnitary.
Classification
Exchange arrangement with no separate legal tenderThe CFA franc is pegged to the euro, the intervention currency, at the fixed rate of CFAF 100 per €0.1524. Exchange transactions in euros between the BEAC and commercial banks take place at the same rate. Buying and selling rates for certain other foreign currencies are also officially posted, with quotations based on the fixed rate for the euro and the rates in the Paris exchange market for the currencies concerned. A commission of 0.5% is levied on transfers to countries that are not members of the BEAC, except for transfers in respect of central and local government operations, payments for imports covered by a duly issued license and domiciled with a bank, scheduled repayments on loans properly obtained abroad, travel allowances paid by the government and its agencies for official missions, and payments of insurance premiums.
Exchange taxNo.
Exchange subsidyNo.
Forward exchange marketNo.
Arrangements for Payments and Receipts
Prescription of currency requirementsBecause Equatorial Guinea is linked to the French Treasury through an Operations Account, settlements with France, Monaco, and other Operations Account countries (WAEMU and CAEMC members and the Comoros) are made in French francs or the currency of any other Operations Account country. Settlements with all other countries are usually made through correspondent banks in France in the currencies of those countries or in francs through foreign accounts.
Payment arrangementsYes.
Regional arrangementsAn Operations Account is maintained with the French Treasury that links Operations Account countries. All purchases or sales of foreign currencies or euros against CFA francs are ultimately settled through a debit or credit to the Operations Account.
Administration of controlExchange control is administered by the Directorate General of Exchange Control (DNCC) of the MOF. Exchange transactions relating to all countries must be effected through authorized banks.
International security restrictions
In accordance with UN sanctionsYes.
Payment arrears
OfficialYes.
Controls on trade in gold (coins and/or bullion)
Controls on domestic ownership and/or tradeResidents are free to hold, acquire, and dispose of gold jewelry. They must have the approval of the Directorate of Mines to hold gold in any other form. Approval is not normally given because there are no industrial users in Equatorial Guinea. Newly mined gold must be declared to the Directorate of Mines, which authorizes either its exportation or its sale in the domestic market.
Controls on external tradeExports are allowed only to France. Imports and exports of gold require prior authorization from the Directorate of Mines and the MOF; authorization is seldom granted for imports. Exempt from this requirement are (1) imports and exports by or on behalf of the monetary authorities, and (2) imports and exports of manufactured articles containing a small quantity of gold (such as gold-filled or gold-plated articles). Both licensed and exempt imports of gold are subject to customs declaration.
Controls on exports and imports of banknotes
On exports
Domestic currencyResidents traveling for tourism or business purposes to countries in the CFA franc zone are allowed to take out BEAC banknotes up to CFAF 2 million; amounts in excess of this limit may be taken out in other means of payment.
Foreign currencyAll resident travelers, regardless of destination, must declare in writing all means of payment at their disposal at the time of departure. The reexportation of foreign banknotes is allowed up to the equivalent of CFAF 250,000; the reexportation of foreign banknotes above this ceiling requires documentation demonstrating either the importation of foreign banknotes or their purchase against other means of payment registered in the name of the traveler or through the use of nonresident deposits lodged in local banks.
On imports
Foreign currencyResident and nonresident travelers may bring in any amount of banknotes and coins issued by the BEAC, the Bank of France, or a bank of issue maintaining an Operations Account with the French Treasury, as well as any amount of foreign banknotes and coins (except gold coins) of countries outside the Operations Account area.
Resident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedYes.
Held domesticallyNo.
Held abroadThese accounts may opened, but approval is required.
Accounts in domestic currency convertible into foreign currencyYes.
Nonresident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedAccounts in foreign currency include accounts in dollars. Accounts in euros are treated identically to accounts in domestic currency. The regulations pertaining to nonresident accounts are based on regulations applied in France. These accounts are permitted; however, approval is required, except for accounts in euros.
Domestic currency accountsBecause the BEAC suspended in 1993 the repurchase of its banknotes circulating outside the territories of the CFA franc zone, BEAC banknotes received by the foreign correspondents of authorized banks and mailed to the BEAC agency in Equatorial Guinea by the Bank of France or the BCEAO may not be credited to foreign accounts in francs.
Convertible into foreign currencyThese accounts may be converted, but prior approval is required.
Blocked accountsn.a.
Imports and Import Payments
Foreign exchange budgetNo.
Financing requirements for importsCertified bank documents are required.
Minimum financing requirementsYes.
Documentation requirements for release of foreign exchange for imports
Domiciliation requirementsAll import transactions of which the value exceeds CFAF 500,000 must be domiciled with an authorized bank. Import transactions by residents involving goods for use outside Equatorial Guinea must be domiciled with a bank in the country of final destination.
Letters of creditYes.
Import licenses and other nontariff measuresNo import licenses are required, except for imports of gold.
Negative listCertain goods are prohibited for security, health, or safety reasons.
Import taxes and/or tariffsEquatorial Guinea applies the common duty rates of the UDEAC on imports from non-members (5% for basic necessities, 10% for raw materials and capital goods, 20% for intermediate and miscellaneous goods, and 30% for consumer goods), except for higher rates imposed on a limited number of luxury goods (15% to 40%). Duties on imports from UDEAC members are set at 20% of those for imports from nonmembers. Fiscal duties and turnover taxes are also applied to imports.
State import monopolyn.a.
Exports and Export Proceeds
Repatriation requirementsProceeds from exports to all countries must be repatriated within 30 days of the payment date stipulated in the sales contract. Payments for exports must be made within 30 days of the arrival date of the merchandise at its destination.
Financing requirementsNo.
Documentation requirements
Letters of creditYes.
GuaranteesYes.
DomiciliationExport transactions valued at CFAF 50,000 or more must be domiciled with an authorized bank. Exports to all countries are subject to domiciliation requirements for the appropriate documents.
Export licensesNo.
Export taxesNo.
Payments for Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Controls on these transfersPayments in excess of CFAF 500,000 for invisibles to France, Monaco, and the Operations Account countries require prior declaration but are permitted freely; those to other countries are subject to the approval of the MOF. Payments for invisibles related to trade are permitted freely when the basic trade transaction has been approved or does not require authorization. Transfers of income accruing to nonresidents in the form of profits, dividends, and royalties are also permitted freely when the basic transaction has been approved.
Trade-related payments
Quantitative limitsExcept in the case of expatriates working in Equatorial Guinea on a temporary basis, payments of insurance premiums of up to CFAF 50,000 to foreign countries are permitted; larger amounts may be authorized by the DNCC.
Indicative limits/bona fide testApplied to the payment of freight and insurance costs.
Investment-related paymentsInformation is not available on the payment of amortization of loans or depreciation of direct investments.
Quantitative limitsThe transfer of rental income from real property owned in Equatorial Guinea by foreign nationals is permitted up to 50% of the income declared for taxation purposes, net of tax. Remittances for current repair and management of real property abroad are limited to the equivalent of CFAF 200,000 every two years.
Indicative limits/bona fide testApplied to the payment of profit and dividends.
Payments for travel
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsResidents traveling for tourism or business purposes to countries in the CFA franc zone are allowed to take out BEAC banknotes up to CFAF 2 million; amounts in excess of this limit may be taken out in other means of payment. The allowances for travel to countries outside the CFA franc zone are subject to the following regulations: (1) for tourist travel, CFAF 100,000 a day, up to CFAF 2 million a trip; (2) for business travel, CFAF 250,000 a day, up to CFAF 5 million a trip; (3) allowances in excess of these limits are subject to the authorization of the MOF or, by delegation, the BEAC; and (4) the use of credit cards, which must be issued by resident financial intermediaries and approved by the MOF, is limited to the ceilings indicated above for tourist and business travel. Returning resident travelers are required to declare all means of payment in their possession upon arrival at customs and to surrender within eight days all means of payment exceeding the equivalent of CFAF 25,000. All resident travelers, regardless of destination, must declare in writing all means of payment at their disposal at the time of departure. The reexportation by nonresident travelers of means of payment other than banknotes issued abroad and registered in the name of the nonresident traveler is not restricted, subject to documentation that they had been purchased with funds drawn from a foreign account in CFA francs or with other foreign exchange.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Personal payments
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsYes.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Foreign workers’ wages
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsThe limit is determined as a function of the salary.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Credit card use abroadThe use of credit cards, which must be issued by resident financial intermediaries and approved by the MOF, is limited to the ceilings for tourist and business travel.
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsYes.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Other payments
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsYes.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Proceeds from Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Repatriation requirementsProceeds from transactions in invisibles with France, Monaco, and the Operations Account countries may be retained. All amounts due from residents of other countries in respect of services and all income earned in those countries from foreign assets must be collected within a month of the due date.
Surrender requirementsProceeds earned in countries outside the franc zone must be surrendered within a month of collection if received in foreign currency.
Restrictions on use of fundsn.a.
Capital Transactions
Controls on capital and money market instrumentsCapital movements between Equatorial Guinea and France, Monaco, and the Operations Account countries are free of exchange control. Capital transfers to all other countries require exchange control approval and are restricted, but capital receipts from such countries are permitted freely.
On capital market securities
Shares or other securities of a participating nature
Purchase abroad by residentsYes.
Sale or issue abroad by residentsYes.
On money market instruments
Purchase abroad by residentsYes.
Sale or issue abroad by residentsYes.
On collective investment securities
Purchase abroad by residentsYes.
Sale or issue abroad by residentsYes.
Controls on derivatives and other instruments
Purchase locally by nonresidentsYes.
Sale or issue locally by nonresidentsYes.
Purchase abroad by residentsYes.
Sale or issue abroad by residentsYes.
Controls on credit operations
Commercial credits
To residents from nonresidentsYes.
Financial credits
To residents from nonresidentsYes.
Guarantees, sureties, and financial backup facilities
To residents from nonresidentsYes.
Controls on direct investment
Outward direct investmentYes.
Inward direct investmentYes.
Controls on liquidation of direct investmentA bona fide test is applied.
Controls on real estate transactions
Purchase abroad by residentsYes.
Purchase locally by nonresidentsYes.
Sale locally by nonresidentsYes.
Controls on personal capital movements
Transfer of gambling and prize earningsYes.
Provisions specific to commercial banks and other credit institutions
Borrowing abroadYes.
Maintenance of accounts abroadYes.
Lending to nonresidents (financial or commercial credits)Yes.
Lending locally in foreign exchangeYes.
Differential treatment of deposit accounts in foreign exchange
Reserve requirementsYes.
Liquid asset requirementsYes.
Investment regulations
Open foreign exchange position limitsYes.
Provisions specific to institutional investors
Limits (max.) on portfolio invested abroadYes.
Limits (min.) on portfolio invested locallyYes.
Other controls imposed by securities lawsn.a.
Changes During 1999
Exchange arrangementJanuary 1. The CFA franc peg to the French franc was replaced with a peg to the euro.

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