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Capital City: Libreville

Internet Links


Embassy of Gabon

Bienvenue Libreville

Gabon Guide

Gabon Interactif!



Background:  Ruled by autocratic presidents since independence from France
in 1960, Gabon introduced a multiparty system and a new constitution in
the early 1990s that allowed for a more transparent electoral process and
for reforms of governmental institutions. A small population, abundant
natural resources, and considerable foreign support have helped make
Gabon one of the more prosperous black African countries.

Geography Gabon

Location:  Western Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean at the Equator,
between Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea

Geographic coordinates:  1 00 S, 11 45 E

Map references:  Africa

Area:  total: 267,667 sq km water: 10,000 sq km land: 257,667 sq km

Area - comparative:  slightly smaller than Colorado

Land boundaries:  total: 2,551 km border countries: Cameroon 298 km,
Republic of the Congo 1,903 km, Equatorial Guinea 350 km

Coastline:  885 km

Maritime claims:   200 NM territorial sea: Climate:  tropical; always
hot, humid

Terrain:  narrow coastal plain; hilly interior; savanna in east and south

Elevation extremes:  lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m highest point:
Mont Iboundji 1,575 m

Natural resources:  petroleum, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron
ore, hydropower

Land use:  arable land: 1% permanent crops: 1% other: 98% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  150 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:  NA

Environment - current issues:  deforestation; poaching

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Biodiversity,
Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea,
Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution,
Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:  a small population and oil and mineral reserves have
helped Gabon become one of Africa's wealthier countries; in general,
these circumstances have allowed the country to maintain and conserve
its pristine rain forest and rich biodiversity

People Gabon

Population:  1,233,353 note: estimates for this country explicitly take
into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result
in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower
population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population
by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 33.3% (male 205,559; female 204,796) 15-64
years: 60.6% (male 376,103; female 371,422) 65 years and over: 6.1%
(male 37,220; female 38,253) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  0.97% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  27.24 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  17.59 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  93.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   50.25 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  3.65 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  9% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  23,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  2,000 (1999 est.)

Nationality:  noun: Gabonese (singular and plural) adjective: Gabonese

Ethnic groups:  Bantu tribes including four major tribal groupings
(Fang, Bapounou, Nzebi, Obamba), other Africans and Europeans 154,000,
including 10,700 French and 11,000 persons of dual nationality

Religions:  Christian 55%-75%, animist, Muslim less than 1%

Languages:  French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira,

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 63.2% male: 73.7% female: 53.3% (1995 est.)

Government Gabon

Country name:   Gabonese Republic conventional short form: Government
type:  republic; multiparty presidential regime (opposition parties
legalized in 1990)

Capital:  Libreville

Administrative divisions:  9 provinces; Estuaire, Haut-Ogooue,
Moyen-Ogooue, Ngounie, Nyanga, Ogooue-Ivindo, Ogooue-Lolo,
Ogooue-Maritime, Woleu-Ntem

Independence:  17 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday:  Founding of the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG),
12 March (1968)

Constitution:  adopted 14 March 1991

Legal system:  based on French civil law system and customary law;
judicial review of legislative acts in Constitutional Chamber of the
Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:  21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: President El Hadj Omar BONGO (since
2 December 1967) head of government: Prime Minister Jean-Francois
NTOUTOUME-EMANE (since 23 January 1999) cabinet: Council of Ministers
appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term;
election last held 6 December 1998 (next to be held NA 2005); prime
minister appointed by the president election results: President El Hadj
Omar BONGO reelected; percent of vote - El Hadj Omar BONGO 66.6%, Pierre
MAMBOUNDOU 16.5%, Fr. Paul M'BA-ABESSOLE 13.4%

Legislative branch:  bicameral legislature consists of the Senate (91
seats; members elected by members of municipal councils and departmental
assemblies) and the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (120 seats);
members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve five-year terms
elections:  NA December 2006); Senate - last held 26 January and 9
February 1997 (next to be held in NA 2002) election results: National
Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PDG 86,
RNB-RPG 8, PGP 3, ADERE 3, CLR 2, PUP 1, PSD 1, independents 13, others
3; Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PDG 53,
RNB 20, PGP 4, ADERE 3, RDP 1, CLR 1, independents 9

Judicial branch:  Supreme Court or Cour Supreme consisting of three
chambers - Judicial, Administrative, and Accounts; Constitutional Court;
Courts of Appeal; Court of State Security; County Courts

Political parties and leaders:  African Forum for Reconstruction or
FAR [Leon MBOU-YEMBI]; Circle of Liberal Reformers or CLR [General
Jean Boniface ASSELE]; Congress for Democracy and Justice or CDJ
[Jules Aristide Bourdes OGOULIGUENDE]; Democratic and Republican
Alliance or ADERE [Divungui-di-Ndinge DIDJOB]; Gabonese Democratic
Party or PDG, former sole party [Simplice Nguedet MANZELA, secretary
general]; Gabonese Party for Progress or PGP [Pierre-Louis AGONDJO-OKAWE,
president]; Gabonese People's Union or UPG [Pierre MAMBOUNDOU]; National
Rally of Woodcutters-Rally for Gabon or RNB-RPG (Bucherons) [Fr. Paul
M'BA-ABESSOLE]; People's Unity Party or PUP [Louis Gaston MAYILA]; Rally
for Democracy and Progress or RDP [Pierre EMBONI]; Social Democratic
Party or PSD [Pierre Claver MAGANGA-MOUSSAVOU]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  NA

International organization participation:  ACCT, ACP, AfDB, BDEAC, CCC,

Diplomatic representation in the US:   Ambassador Jules-Darius OGOUEBANDJA
consulate(s):  Suite 200, 2034 20th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Charge
d'Affaires Thomas F. DAUGHTON embassy: Boulevard
 B. P. 4000, Libreville telephone:
Flag description:  three equal horizontal bands of green (top), yellow,
and blue

Economy Gabon

Economy - overview:  Gabon enjoys a per capita income four times that
of most nations of sub-Saharan Africa. This has supported a sharp
decline in extreme poverty; yet because of high income inequality a
large proportion of the population remains poor. Gabon depended on
timber and manganese until oil was discovered offshore in the early
1970s. The oil sector now accounts for 50% of GDP. Gabon continues to
face fluctuating prices for its oil, timber, and manganese exports.
Despite the abundance of natural wealth, the economy is hobbled by poor
fiscal management. In 1992, the fiscal deficit widened to 2.4% of GDP,
and Gabon failed to settle arrears on its bilateral debt, leading to
a cancellation of rescheduling agreements with official and private
creditors. Devaluation of its Francophone currency by 50% on 12 January
1994 sparked a one-time inflationary surge, to 35%; the rate dropped to
6% in 1996. The IMF provided a one-year standby arrangement in 1994-95,
a three-year Enhanced Financing Facility (EFF) at near commercial rates
beginning in late 1995, and stand-by credit of $119 million in October
2000. Those agreements mandate progress in privatization and fiscal
discipline. France provided additional financial support in January 1997
after Gabon had met IMF targets for mid-1996. In 1997, an IMF mission to
Gabon criticized the government for overspending on off-budget items,
overborrowing from the central bank, and slipping on its schedule for
privatization and administrative reform. The rebound of oil prices in
1999-2000 helped growth, but drops in production hampered Gabon from
fully realizing potential gains. In December 2000, Gabon signed a new
agreement with the Paris Club to reschedule its official debt. A follow-up
bilateral repayment agreement with the US was signed in December 2001.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $6.7 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  2.5% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $5,500 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 10% industry: 60% services:
30% (1999 est.)

Population below poverty line:  NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  1.5% (2001 est.)

Labor force:  600,000

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 60%, services and government
25%, industry and commerce 15%

Unemployment rate:  21% (1997 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $1.8 billion expenditures: $1.8 billion, including
capital expenditures of $310 million (2002 est.)

Industries:  food and beverage; textile; lumbering and plywood; cement;
petroleum extraction and refining; manganese, and gold mining; chemicals;
ship repair

Industrial production growth rate:  -6.4% (2001 est.)

Electricity - production:  850 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 29.41% hydro: 70.59%
other: 0% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  790.5 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  0 kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber; cattle;
okoume (a tropical softwood); fish

Exports:  $2.5 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Exports - commodities:  crude oil 81%, timber, manganese, uranium (2000)

Exports - partners:  US 51%, France 17%, China 8%, Netherlands Antilles 4%

Imports:  $921 million (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Imports - commodities:  machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals,
construction materials

Imports - partners:  France 62%, Cote d'Ivoire 7%, US 5%, Belgium 3%

Debt - external:  $3.6 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $331 million (1995)

Currency:  Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible
authority is the Bank of the Central African States

Currency code:  XAF

Exchange rates:  Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XAF) per US
dollar - 742.79 (January 2002), 733.04 (2001), 711.98 (2000), 615.70
(1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997); note - from 1 January 1999, the
XAF is pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 XAF per euro

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Gabon

Telephones - main lines in use:  39,000 (2000)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  120,000 (2000)

Telephone system:  general assessment: adequate service by African
standards and improving with the help of the growing mobile cell system
domestic: adequate system of cable, microwave radio relay, tropospheric
scatter, radiotelephone communication stations, and a domestic satellite
system with 12 earth stations international: satellite earth stations -
3 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:  AM 6, FM 7 (and 11 repeaters), shortwave 3

Radios:  208,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  3 (plus six repeaters) (2001)

Televisions:  63,000 (1997)

Internet country code:  .ga

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  4 (2001)

Internet users:  15,000 (2001)

Transportation Gabon

Railways:  total: 649 km standard gauge: 649 km 1.435-m gauge;
single-track (2000 est.)

Highways:   629 km (including 30 km of expressways) unpaved: Waterways:
1,600 km (perennially navigable)

Pipelines:  crude oil 270 km; petroleum products 14 km

Ports and harbors:  Cap Lopez, Kango, Lambarene, Libreville, Mayumba,
Owendo, Port-Gentil

Airports:  59 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 10 over 3,047 m: 1 2,438 to 3,047
m: 1 1,524 to 2,437 m: 7 914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 49 1,524 to 2,437 m: 8 914 to
1,523 m: 17 under 914 m: 24 (2001)

Military Gabon

Military branches:  Army, Navy, Air Force, Presidential (Republican)
Guard (charged with protecting the president and other senior officials),
National Gendarmerie, National Police

Military manpower - military age:  20 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 284,358 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 146,908
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 11,304
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $70.8 million (FY01)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  2% (FY01)

Transnational Issues Gabon

Disputes - international:  maritime boundary dispute with Equatorial
Guinea because of disputed sovereignty over islands in Corisco Bay

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002




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