Equatorial Guinea is planning to construct a 183 KM long border wall to separate themselves from Cameroon. The idea is to limit migrants from coming into the country looking for jobs and to protect its own citizens. It blames Cameroon for these migrants passing into Equatorial Guinea unencumbered.
Equatorial Guinea, while rich in oil, most of the population still lives in poverty, so any migrants coming into the nation has the potential of affecting the economy for the citizens who live there. The last time Equatorial Guinea closed their border with Cameroon was in 2017, after an attempted coup made up of Central Africans, Chadians, and Sudanese men. The border was re-opened back in January 2019 and is now looking to shut it down again.
Why a Wall?
Equatorial Guinea relies much on oil and natural gas. Sixty percent of the GDP comes from energy. It had 1.1 billion barrels of crude oils reserves in 2017 and tensions have risen since the discovery of oil in Equatorial Guinea with Cameroon. Since oil has a large impact on the economy, a wall could be seen as a way of protecting natural resources from outside forces such as mercenaries or other countries like Cameroon.
The 2017 attempted coup of Equatorial Guinea was the product of mercenaries from three separate countries, all from moving into Cameroon and then trying to enter the country of Equatorial Guinea. The government blames Cameroon for the attempted coup because of the lax security revolving other nationalities moving freely in their country and attempting to come into Equatorial Guinea.
This is not the first time a coup attempt, in 2004 an attempt failed even with backing of British financiers. In this sense the wall can be a protection for Equatorial Guinea learning from mistakes in the past from foreigners attempting to come in and topple the government that is currently in place in the country.
The Trump like wall will complicate relations with Cameroon. Equatorial Guinea is putting markers for the construction of the wall near the city of Kye Ossi in Cameroon. This has angered Cameroonians and has caused the government of Cameroon to put elite soldiers on the border between the two countries because of increased tensions.
Tensions will increase if Equatorial Guinea builds the wall on Cameroons territory or very close to it. Diplomatic measures are needed to avoid conflicts from erupting. Communications channels need to stay open to find a long-term solution. Increasing border security on Cameroon side as well as Equatorial Guinea’s side needs to be created.
Border security can help prevent future attacks and illegal immigrants from entering the country. Equatorial Guinea needs to realize to prevent multiple nationalities from entering their country illegally it will take multiple nations to help prevent their citizens from entering Cameroon. An American style wall should be last resort when all other attempts have failed, due to a wall decreasing revenue on Cameroons side from selling goods.
Image: Wikimedia Commons / U.S Customs & Border Protection (link)