More than 1,000 families in Equatorial Guinea have been forcibly evicted from their homes to make room for roads, up-market housing and hotels and shopping centers since 2003. Homes have been demolished in the capital, Malabo, and on the mainland, in the major city of Bata, as well as in other large towns. Many of the houses demolished were solid structures in well-established neighborhoods and the vast majority of the occupants had title to the land.
Despite promises of relocation for some of the victims, to date no one has been re-housed or compensated. Even the houses promised to the victims will have to be bought at a cost that far exceeds their ability to pay, and the houses are located far from the city and from their work and schools. Thousands more are at risk as the authorities embark on a program of urban regeneration. The new wealth brought about by the discovery of oil in the mid-1990s has led to pressure on the land for commercial purposes, as well as up-market housing. In addition, the authorities have started to rehabilitate the main cities and their infrastructure. On several occasions, the media has reported the publicly expressed intentions of the authorities to rid the cities of so-called shanty towns. Under these initiatives, many more families risk being forcibly evicted from their homes.