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How To Start A Business in Equatorial Guinea

Doing business in Eguatorial Guinea

 

Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in Equatorial Guinea. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with between 10 and 50 employees and start-up capital of 10 times the economy's per-capita gross national income.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 189 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2015.

 

No.ProcedureTime to CompleteAssociated Costs
 1Obtain a copy of the criminal records
Agency: Court

All new businesses must obtain a copy of the criminal records at the Court free of charge.
1 day no charge
 2Notary legalizes company statutes
Agency: Notary

Although it is not required by law, lawyers prepare company statutes in practice. By law, however, a public notary must legalize the statutes and prepare the public deed. There is one notary in Malabo (island) and one in Bata (mainland).
9 days on average 3-6% of capital
 3Register public deed in the commercial registry
Agency: Commercial Registry

For registration, the entrepreneur must provide the legalized copies of the statutes. By law, the company must use a unique company name, but in practice, they do not verify the name beforehand. The registry simply refuses the application if the name already exists.
2 days on average 3% of capital
 4Open bank account and obtain bank certificate (solvencia bancaria)
Agency: Bank

Legally, the company must deposit the minimum capital before company registration. However, this is not possible in practice because copies of the legalized statutes and the registration certificate are required to open a bank account.
1 day no charge
 5Obtain certificate of solvency
Agency: UNIGES

The certificate of solvency is obtained at UNIGES.
2 days CFA 10,000 – 15,000 (stamps)
 6Apply for authorization of establishment by the Prime Minister
Agency: Prime Minister

The application for authorization of establishment includes an explanatory note on the company’s objectives and its value to society (often elaborated by a lawyer). Depending on the company’s industrial sector, before granting the authorization the Prime Minster may ask the supervising ministries for their opinion on the application. The company must also provide the certificate of solvency.
120 days on average CFA 2,000 (stamp)
*7Apply for registration with the Department of Small and Medium-size Companies at the Ministry of Commerce Ministerio de Economia, Comercio y Promoción Empresarial)
Agency: Ministry of Commerce

This annual fee varies by company.
1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) CFA 100,000
*8Apply for registration with the Department of Commerce at the Ministry of Commerce (Ministerio de Economia, Comercio y Promoción Empresarial)
Agency: Ministry of Commerce

This annual fee varies by company.
1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) CFA 150,000
*9Apply for tax registration
Agency: Public Treasury

The documents required to apply for tax registration include a copy of the application for authorization of the establishment approved by the Prime Minister, and the notarized statutes. The fees are paid at the bank into an account of the Public Treasury. After obtaining the Treasury’s confirmation of receipt of payment, the applicant returns to the tax authorities to obtain the tax identification number. To save time, the applicant (or a designated agent) would first visit all agencies (tax administration, labor, social security, etc.) to apply for the respective authorization or document, make all bank payments, and obtain Treasury confirmation. The applicant would then visit all agencies again to obtain the final authorization.
1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) 1% of capital (tax identification number – NIF) + 1% of capital (minimum fiscal quota) + CFA 2,000 (tax ID number)
*10Apply for registration with the Ministry of Labor of the start of operations
Agency: Ministry of Labor

As with tax registration, fees are paid to the Treasury through a private bank. Once operational, the employer pays 1% of salaries to the worker protection fund (Fondo de Proteccion del Trabajador). Employees pay 0.5% of their salary. Although the indicated fees are official fees, fees might be higher in practice.
1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) CFA 300 (form) + CFA 6,750 (small) to CFA 12,500 (medium-sized)
*11Pay fees into treasury’s bank account
Agency: Bank

All payments to public institutions (ministries, for example), must be made directly to the Treasury’s bank account through a private bank.
1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) included in procedures 7-10
*12Obtain confirmation from Treasury for receipt of payment
Agency: Ministry of Finance

See Procedure 13.
4 days on average (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge
*13Provide confirmation of payment and obtain license from Department of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
Agency: Department of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

All new businesses must provide confirmation of payment and obtain license from Department of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.
14 days (simultaneous with previous procedure) included in procedure 7
*14Provide confirmation of payment and obtain license from Department of Commerce
Agency: Department of Commerce

All new businesses must provide confirmation of payment and obtain a license from Department of Commerce.
14 days (simultaneous with previous procedure) included in procedure 8
*15Obtain tax identification number (NIF)
Agency: Tax Authority

The tax identification number (NIF) can be obtained at the Tax Authority.
2 days (simultaneous with previous procedure) included in procedure 9
*16Obtain registration number with Ministry of Labor
Agency: Ministry of Labor

All new businesses must obtain their registration number at the Ministry of Labor.
1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) included in procedure 10
*17Obtain social security number
Agency: Social security

All new businesses must obtain their social security number.
1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge
*18Register for social security
Agency: Social Security Office

The company must register its employees for social security in the first month that the employees receive a salary. Social security payments are 21.5% of salary for the employer and 4.5% for the employee. To register for social security, the company must buy special forms to list all employees.
1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) CFA 300 per page

Starting a business in Equatorial Guinea takes approximately 136 days as compared to about 46 days for the Sub-Saharan Africa region. This piece outlines the general technical procedures for starting a business in Equatorial Guinea, according to the Doingbusiness.org database by the World Bank. It includes details and requirements to be in good standing with all relevant agencies beyond the company registrar like social security agencies.

Use this as a guide while you complete the process and consult with agents carrying out work on your behalf.  Additional notes may be found here.

Technical Procedures

The steps involved in starting a business [Société à Responsabilité Limitée (SARL) – Limited Liability Company] in Equatorial Guinea are:

  1. Have company statutes notarized.
  2. Register public deed in the commercial registry.
  3. Open bank account and obtain bank certificate.
  4. Obtain certificate of solvency at UNIGES.
  5. Obtain certificate of fiscal solvency at the Ministry of Finance.
  6. Apply for authorization of establishment by the Prime Minister.
  7. Apply for tax registration.
  8. Notify the Ministry of Labor of the start of operations.
  9. Register for social security.
  10. Apply for registration with the Department of Small and Medium-size Companies at the Ministry of Commerce.
  11. Apply for registration with the Department of Commerce at the Ministry of Commerce.
  12. Apply for registration with the Minister of Development and Planning (Ministerio de Desarrollo y Planificacion).
  13. Pay fees into Treasury’s bank account.
  14. Obtain confirmation from Treasury for receipt of payment.
  15. Obtain tax identification number (NIF).
  16. Obtain registration number with Ministry of Labor.
  17. Obtain social security number.
  18. Obtain license from Department of Small and Medium-size Enterprises.
  19. Obtain license from Department of Commerce.
  20. Obtain license from Ministry of Development and Planning.