Law Article : Equatorial Guinea
Registering a NGO in Equatorial Guinea
In Equatorial Guinea, NGOs are regulated by Law No. 1/1999, dated February 24th and the right to freedom of association enshrined in the Constitution of Equatorial Guinea.
NGOs are defined by law as associations of an apolitical, non-profit and social utility nature with their own legal personality. Under Equatorial Guinean laws, NGOs have their own assets and may engage in lucrative activities that enrich its heritage for a better fulfillment of its purpose.
The NGO’s Activities
The law contemplates the following activities for NGOs:
- Social and healthcare;
- Promotion, protection and conservation of artistic and cultural heritage;
- Promotion, protection and conservation of the environment;
- Scientific Research and Technology;
- Studies on natural resources;
- Condition of children, women and of the elderly;
- Community and humanitarian;
- Agriculture, stockbreeding, and fishing; and
NGOs are required to have a social purpose and aim to benefit a generic group and not advocate for the private interests of its members.
The financial contributions received by NGOs must not be distributed among its members and shall be used solely for the fulfillment of its purpose.
Memorandum of Incorporation and Articles of Association
It is necessary to draft the memorandum of incorporation and articles of association of the NGO reflecting the minimum requirements provided by law. The memorandum of incorporation and articles of association shall be legalised with a public notary and contain the minimum information below:
- Name of the NGO;
- The purposes/objectives to be carried out;
- The NGO’s Address;
- The full details of the members;
- Details of the members of the board of trustees (president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, etc); and
- Determination of economic endowment and non-monetary contributions.
Favourable Report from the Governor
A favourable report from the Governor of the providence where the NGO intends to operate is required. A formal application letter needs to be submitted to the Governor’s office attaching:
- The legalised memorandum of incorporation and articles of association;
- An affidavit from the members of the board of trustee confirming that the NGO will remain apolitical, and its activities will be in accordance with the articles of association and the laws of Equatorial Guinea; and
- Passport copies of the members of the board of trustees.
It is also advisable to include a report/presentation on the activities of the NGO. This should, in our opinion, facilitate the Governor’s understanding of the NGO’s mission.
Favourable Report from the Regulators of the NGO’s Activities
To submit the application for registration of the NGO at the Ministry of Interior, a favourable report is also required from all ministerial departments regulating the activities of the NGO. The requirements are the same as those stated for the application to the Governor’s office.
Registration at the Ministry of Interior
The Ministry of Interior acts as the regulator of NGOs and maintains a national registry of NGOs. The application requirements are as follows:
- An application letter addressed to the Ministry of Interior;
- Legalised memorandum of incorporation and articles of association of the NGOs;
- Favourable reports from the Ministries acting as regulators of the activities of the NGO;
- An affidavit from the members of the board of trustee confirming that the NGO will remain apolitical, and its activities be in accordance with the articles of association and the laws of Equatorial Guinea;
- Passport copies of the members of the board of trustees;
- Criminal record reports for any foreign members of the board of trustees;
- CVs of all the members of the board of trustees; and
- Localisation plan of the NGO.
Time-frame for Completion of Registration
The full registration process can take between 1-3 months. Constant follow up and a presentation of the NGO and its projects may shorten the time-frame.
Taxation and Social Security Obligations
NGOs are exempt from the payment of minimum income tax and corporate income tax.
If an NGO has employees, it is required to comply with the labour and social security laws. As such, NGOs are obliged to withhold and pay personal income tax, social security and workers’ protection fund contributions.
NGOs must report all donations above a certain threshold to the Ministry of Interior.
Abraham Abia Biteo Roka is the Managing Director at Clarence and is widely recognised as one of the leading energy lawyers in Equatorial Guinea, often speaking at events around the world. Abraham is particularly renowned for his ability to create and implement country and sector specific standards, policies and procedures.
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