As a result, a string of international construction companies have set up subsidiaries in the country, including Bouygues of France, Vinci Construction Group, Fayat and Veolia.
They have undertaken property, road, water, airport and stadium projects with government funding.
Many schemes were completed in the run-up to football’s Africa Cup of Nations, which was co-hosted by Equatorial Guinea and Gabon in 2012.
As with the FIFA World Cup in South Africa in the same year, Malabo saw the event as an opportunity to promote itself to the rest of the continent and indeed to the world – and the timetable for many infrastructural projects was brought forward to ensure that they were ready for what was the biggest event ever held in Equatorial Guinea.
The next big construction scheme is the development of the new town of Oyala on the mainland. In common with many other countries, including Brazil with Brasilia and Nigeria with Abuja, Malabo hopes to build a brand-new capital city, partly in order to spread development and partly on security grounds.
Hotels, a golf course and the new International University of Central Africa are already taking shape and the government hopes that up to 200,000 people will move to the city.
President Teodoro Obiang said: “We need a secure place for my government and for future governments. That’s why we have created Oyala, to guarantee the government of Equatorial Guinea.”