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Countries > Gabon Gabon Flag

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Capital: Libreville
Population: 1,250,000
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Gabon Map


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

total: 267,670 sq km
land: 257,670 sq km
water: 10,000 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:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone : 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

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

Land use:
arable land: 1%
permanent crops : 1%
permanent pastures: 18%
forests and woodland: 77%
other: 3% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land: 150 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards: NA

Environment - current issues: deforestation; poaching

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Desertification, Endangered Species, Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Law of the Sea


Population: 1,233,353

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:
total population: 49.11 years
male: 48.01 years
female : 50.25 years (2002 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.65 children born/woman (2002 est.)

noun: Gabonese (singular and plural)
adjective: Gabonese

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

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

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

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


Country name:
conventional long form: Gabonese Republic
conventional short form: Gabon
local long form: Republique Gabonaise
local short form: Gabon

Data code: GB

Government type: republic; multiparty presidential regime (opposition parties legalized 1990)

National 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: Independence Day, 17 August (1960) (Gabon granted full independence from France)

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; compulsory ICJ jurisdiction not accepted

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 : National Assembly - last held 9 and 23 December 2001 (next to be held 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 (2); 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]

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, BDEAC, CCC, CEEAC, ECA, FAO, FZ, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, UDEAC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

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

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Charge d'Affaires Thomas F. DAUGHTON
embassy: Boulevard de la Mer, Libreville
mailing address : B. P. 4000, Libreville
telephone: [241] 76 20 03 through 76 20 04, 74 34 92
FAX: [241] 74 55 07

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


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.)

Inflation rate - consumer price index: 1.5% (2001 est.)

Labor force: 600,000
by occupation: aagriculture 60%, services and government 25%, industry and commerce 15%

Unemployment rate: 21% (1997 est.)

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, uranium, and gold mining; chemicals; ship repair

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - capacity: 301,000 kW (1992)

Electricity - production: 850 million kWh (2000)

Electricity - consumption per capita: 790.5 million kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products: cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil; rubber; okoume (a tropical softwood); cattle; small fishing operations (provide a catch of about 30,000 metric tons)

total value: $2.5 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities: crude oil 81%, timber, manganese, uranium (2000)
partners: US 51%, France 17%, China 8%, Netherlands Antilles 4% (2000)

total value: $921 million (f.o.b., 2001 est.)
commodities: machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, construction materials
partners : France 62%, Cote d'Ivoire 7%, US 5%, Belgium 3% (2000)

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

Economic aid: $331 million (1995)

Currency: 1 Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes

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


Telephones: 39,000 (2000)

Telephone system: 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 (2001)

Radios: 208,000 (1997)

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

Televisions: 63,000 (1997)


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

total : 7,670 km
paved: 629 km (including 30 km of expressways)
unpaved:7,041 km (1996)

Waterways: 1,600 km perennially navigable

Pipelines: crude oil 270 km; petroleum products 14 km

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

Merchant marine:
total: 3 bulk (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 37,003 GRT/60,663 DWT (1996 est.)

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:
1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
914 to 1,523 m: 17
under 914 m: 24 (2001)


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

Military manpower - military age: 20 years of age

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

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males : 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

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

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