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  Introduction Back To Top

Only two autocratic presidents have ruled Gabon since independence from France in 1960. The current president of Gabon, El Hadj Omar BONGO Ondimba - one of the longest-serving heads of state in the world - has dominated the country's political scene for four decades. President BONGO introduced a nominal multiparty system and a new constitution in the early 1990s. However, allegations of electoral fraud during local elections in 2002-03 and the presidential elections in 2005 have exposed the weaknesses of formal political structures in Gabon. Gabon's political opposition remains weak, divided, and financially dependent on the current regime. Despite political conditions, a small population, abundant natural resources, and considerable foreign support have helped make Gabon one of the more prosperous and stable African countries.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 0.12 cu km/yr (50%/8%/42%)
per capita: 87 cu m/yr (2000)

Total renewable water resources:
164 cu km (1987)

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

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

tropical; always hot, humid

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
1 00 S, 11 45 E

Natural resources:
petroleum, natural gas, diamond, niobium, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore, hydropower

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

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

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

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

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

885 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Colorado

Irrigated land:
70 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
deforestation; poaching

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Natural hazards:

Land use:
arable land: 1.21%
permanent crops: 0.64%
other: 98.15% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
4.68 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
8.1% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
48,000 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 53.52 years
male: 52.5 years
female: 54.57 years (2008 est.)

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria (2008)

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

Net migration rate:
-3.62 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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

Median age:
total: 18.6 years
male: 18.4 years
female: 18.9 years (2008 est.)

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, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
3.8% of GDP (2000)

Population growth rate:
1.954% (2008 est.)

French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi

Death rate:
12.59 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 52.65 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 61.27 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 43.77 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
3,000 (2003 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 42.1% (male 314,078/female 311,900)
15-64 years: 53.9% (male 399,586/female 401,602)
65 years and over: 3.9% (male 24,388/female 34,278) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
35.75 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

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

noun: Gabonese (singular and plural)
adjective: Gabonese

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Eunice S. REDDICK
embassy: Boulevard du Bord de Mer, Libreville
mailing address: Centre Ville, B. P. 4000, Libreville; pouch:2270 Libreville Place, Washington, DC 20521-2270
telephone: [241] 76 20 03 through 76 20 04, after hours - 07380171
FAX: [241] 74 55 07

National holiday:
Independence Day, 17 August (1960)

21 years of age; universal

Government type:
republic; multiparty presidential regime

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Paul BOUNDOUKOU
chancery: Suite 200, 2034 20th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 797-1000
FAX: [1] (202) 332-0668
consulate(s): New York

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
bicameral legislature consists of the Senate (91 seats; members elected by members of municipal councils and departmental assemblies to serve six-year terms) and the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (120 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held 26 January and 9 February 2003 (next to be held by January 2009); National Assembly - last held 17 and 24 December 2006 (next to be held in December 2011)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PDG 53, RNB 20, PGP 4, ADERE 3, RDP 1, CLR 1, independents 9; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PDG 82, RPG 8, UPG 8, UGDD 4, ADERE 3, CLR 2, PGP-Ndaot 2, PSD 2, independents 4, others 5

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

Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of green (top), yellow, and blue

17 August 1960 (from France)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Gabonese Republic
conventional short form: Gabon
local long form: Republique gabonaise
local short form: Gabon

Political parties and leaders:
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]; Gabonese Party for Progress or PGP [Benoit Mouity NZAMBA]; Gabonese Union for Democracy and Development or UGDD [Zacherie MYBOTO]; National Rally of Woodcutters or RNB; National Rally of Woodcutters-Rally for Gabon or RNB-RPG (Bucherons) [Fr. Paul M'BA-ABESSOLE]; Party of Development and Social Solidarity or PDS [Seraphin Ndoat REMBOGO]; People's Unity Party or PUP [Louis Gaston MAYILA]; Social Democratic Party or PSD [Pierre Claver MAGANGA-MOUSSAVOU]; Union for Democracy and Social Integration or UDIS; Union of Gabonese Patriots or UPG [Pierre MAMBOUNDOU]

name: Libreville
geographic coordinates: 0 23 N, 9 27 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

adopted 14 March 1991

Executive branch:
chief of state: President El Hadj Omar BONGO Ondimba (since 2 December 1967)
head of government: Prime Minister Jean Eyeghe NDONG (since 20 January 2006)
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 (no term limits); election last held 27 November 2005 (next to be held in 2012); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: President El Hadj Omar BONGO Ondimba reelected; percent of vote - El Hadj Omar BONGO Ondimba 79.2%, Pierre MAMBOUNDOU 13.6%, Zacharie MYBOTO 6.6%

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

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

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
US 32.5%, China 15.8%, France 9.4%, Malaysia 6%, Trinidad and Tobago 5% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
1.365 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
5.25% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
$2.026 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$3.173 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
21% (2006 est.)

Oil - exports:
255,500 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$14,900 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
32% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$359.8 million (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$22.16 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$15.91 billion (2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XAF) per US dollar 441.72 (2008 est.), 481.83 (2007), 522.89 (2006), 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
4.5% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$1.547 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
592,000 (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
France 27.7%, US 19.1%, Belgium 5.4%, Netherlands 4.7%, China 4.1% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5.7%
industry: 57.2%
services: 37% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
2,485 bbl/day (2005)

$9.743 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
100 million cu m (2006 est.)

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

Economy - overview:
Gabon enjoys a per capita income four times that of most of sub-Saharan African nations. but 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, poor fiscal management hobbles the economy. 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 since 1999 have helped growth, but drops in production have hampered Gabon from fully realizing potential gains, and will continue to temper the gains for most of this decade. 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. Gabon signed a 14-month Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF in May 2004, and received Paris Club debt rescheduling later that year.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

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

petroleum extraction and refining; manganese, gold; chemicals, ship repair, food and beverages, textiles, lumbering and plywood, cement

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
15% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$799.3 million (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
1.671 billion kWh (2006 est.)

$2.83 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
2 billion bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 60%
industry: 15%
services: 25%

Natural gas - proved reserves:
28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$1.859 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
13,170 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Public debt:
26.3% of GDP (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Currency code:

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

Exports - commodities:
crude oil 77%, timber, manganese, uranium (2001)

Economic aid - recipient:
$53.87 million (2005)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 34.5%
hydro: 65.5%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
100 million cu m (2006 est.)

revenues: $4.463 billion
expenditures: $2.746 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
243,900 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
145,000 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
26,500 (2007)

63,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 6, FM 7 (plus 11 repeaters), shortwave 4 (2001)

208,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
1.169 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
4 (plus 4 repeaters) (2001)

Telephone system:
general assessment: adequate service by African standards and improving with the help of a growing mobile cell network system with multiple providers; mobile-cellular subscribership reached 80 per 100 persons in 2007
domestic: adequate system of cable, microwave radio relay, tropospheric scatter, radiotelephone communication stations, and a domestic satellite system with 12 earth stations
international: country code - 241; landing point for the SAT-3/WASC fiber-optic submarine cable that provides connectivity to Europe and Asia; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2001)

Internet hosts:
88 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

1,600 km (310 km on Ogooue River) (2008)

gas 384 km; oil 1,427 km (2007)

total: 814 km
standard gauge: 814 km 1.435-m gauge (2006)

Ports and terminals:
Gamba, Libreville, Lucinda, Port-Gentil

Merchant marine:
registered in other countries: 2 (Cambodia 1, Panama 1) (2008)

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 (2007)

total: 9,170 km
paved: 937 km
unpaved: 8,233 km (2004)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 43
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 23 (2007)

53 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
20 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2007)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 331,181
females age 16-49: 332,498 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 192,717
females age 16-49: 188,539 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Army, Navy, Air Force, National Gendarmerie, National Police

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 16,558
female: 16,577 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
3.4% of GDP (2005 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
UN urges Equatorial Guinea and Gabon to resolve the sovereignty dispute over Gabon-occupied Mbane Island and lesser islands and to establish a maritime boundary in hydrocarbon-rich Corisco Bay

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
refugees (country of origin): 7,178 (Republic of Congo) (2007)

Trafficking in persons:
current situation: Gabon is predominantly a destination country for children trafficked from other African countries for the purpose of forced labor; girls are primarily trafficked for domestic servitude, forced market vending, forced restaurant labor, and sexual exploitation, while boys are trafficked for forced street hawking and forced labor in small workshops
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Gabon is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat human trafficking in 2007, particularly in terms of efforts to convict and punish trafficking offenders; the government has not reported the convictions or sentences of any trafficking offenders; the government did not take steps to reduce demand for commercial sex acts (2008)

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