The city of Oyala is expected to become the future capital of Equatorial Guinea by the next decade, according to the ambitious purpose of president Teodoro Obiang. The futuristic city in the middle of the tropical rainforest will represent a cultural hub in Central Africa, hosting the new “University of Central Africa” and its colossal library in glass and steel, already in construction. It will also provide luxury hotels, a convention centre and many amenities. Actually, the idea of a prestigious cultural city is not the main reason leading the planning of Oyala. The repeated attacks of rebel groups on government institution in the former capital Malabo urges president Obiang to look for a safer place for his government.
Since the administration of President Obiang announced plans to build Oyala as the new capital city, the construction found several oppositions from environmentalists, frightened by the intense deforestation, to political opposition. The main protest concerns the investments addressed to the new capital should be preceded by investments for the population living below the poverty line. Although Equatorial Guinea is, per capita, one of the richest countries in the world, none of the wealth reaches the population. Moreover, there are still many doubtful points regarding future inhabitants of Oyala: most of Equatorial Guinea’s population lives far away in towns and villages near the coast, where also the country’s current capital Malabo is located.
Djibloho was designed by the Portuguese firm Future Architecture Thinking (FAT) to embrace the site’s natural beauty and accommodate the needs of a new capital city. At the President’s request, the plan brings together traditional cultural values and state-of-the-art amenities.
Still, under construction as of 2018, the new capital has grand ambitions.
Four main streets are created to structure the traffic flow and to locate a great variety of infrastructures: urban parks, cemeteries, zoo, botanical garden, sports park, libraries, a new administrative centre, cathedral, mixed housing and a golf course. There is a main Urban Life Axis with the Presidential palace, Parliament House, offices, Opera House, commerce, public facilities and housing that correspond to a diverse range of urban activities. Parallel to this avenue is the Nature Axis, where several cultural and leisure facilities are situated. They are strategically located in order to take the most of the natural elements, especially the proposed lagoon that results from the rivers enlargement. Although the entire plan proposes multi-function spaces, it consists of specialised areas where some activities are predominant.
The city is developed in an orthogonal matrix that takes advantage of the existing road net and allows easy connection of the city centre with the rest of the nearby villages. The concept used for the city design is both modern and respectful of the country’s cultural roots and natural environment.
Although far removed from the old capital and coastal cities, the location is just 20 kilometres from a new airport and connected to the national road network.