Government practice demonstrated a preference for the Catholic and Reformed Churches, and to a lesser extent the Islamic faith. Catholic masses were a normal part of all major ceremonial functions, such as the October 12 National Day and the President’s Birthday on June 5. Catholic leaders occasionally met publicly with government officials, the only religious leaders to do so. Like the Catholic Church, the Reformed Church is not required to register and at official functions its leaders are often seated in preferred locations. The First Lady, a Catholic, was financing the construction of a new mosque in Malabo.
The application and approval process for registration sometimes took several years. Evangelical denominations from neighboring countries, some of which were the subject of complaints concerning excessive noise or financial practices, faced greater scrutiny. The government more rapidly approved applications by groups providing beneficial social programs, such as health projects or schools. The government enforced registration requirements inconsistently. The government rarely levied fines but periodically announced unregistered religious groups were subject to fines or closure and should register as soon as possible.
The government required religious groups to obtain permission for any activities outside of places of worship, but permission was routinely granted, allowing religious groups to hold retreats and other meetings in other locations. A permit is required for door-to-door proselytism, and such permits are routinely issued. Door-to-door proselytism occurred without incident.
Protestant groups, including the Reformed Church, Seventh-day Adventists, Assemblies of God, Baptists, and Evangelicals, operated primary and secondary schools.
Some non-Catholic clergy, who also worked for the government as civil service employees, continued to report their supervisors strongly encouraged participation in religious activities related to their government positions, including attending Catholic masses.
There were reports government security forces monitored the movements of non‑citizen Muslims for national security reasons.