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Africa :: GABON
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GABON
  • Introduction :: GABON

  • Following, independence from France in 1960, El Hadj Omar BONGO Ondimba - one of the longest-ruling heads of state in the world - dominated the country's political scene for four decades (1967-2009). President BONGO introduced a nominal multiparty system and a new constitution in the early 1990s. However, allegations of electoral fraud during local elections in December 2002 and the presidential election in 2005 exposed the weaknesses of formal political structures in Gabon. Following President BONGO's death in 2009, a new election brought his son, Ali BONGO Ondimba, to power. Despite constrained political conditions, Gabon's small population, abundant natural resources, and considerable foreign support have helped make it one of the more stable African countries.
    President Ali BONGO Ondimba’s controversial August 2016 reelection sparked unprecedented opposition protests that resulted in the burning of the parliament building. The election was contested by the opposition after fraudulent results were flagged by international election observers. Gabon’s Constitutional Court reviewed the election results but ruled in favor of President BONGO, upholding his win and extending his mandate to 2023.
  • Geography :: GABON

  • Central Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean at the Equator, between Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea
    1 00 S, 11 45 E
    Africa
    total: 267,667 sq km
    land: 257,667 sq km
    water: 10,000 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 77
    slightly smaller than Colorado
    total: 3,261 km
    border countries (3): Cameroon 349 km, Republic of the Congo 2,567 km, Equatorial Guinea 345 km
    885 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    tropical; always hot, humid
    narrow coastal plain; hilly interior; savanna in east and south
    mean elevation: 377 m
    elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Mont Iboundji 1,575 m
    petroleum, natural gas, diamond, niobium, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore, hydropower
    agricultural land: 19%
    arable land 1.2%; permanent crops 0.6%; permanent pasture 17.2%
    forest: 81%
    other: 0% (2011 est.)
    40 sq km (2012)
    none
    deforestation; poaching
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, 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
    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 and Society :: GABON

  • 1,738,541
    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 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    noun: Gabonese (singular and plural)
    adjective: Gabonese
    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
    French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi
    Catholic 41.9%, Protestant 13.7%, other Christian 32.4%, Muslim 6.4%, animist 0.3%, other 0.3%, none/no answer 5% (2012 est.)
    Gabon’s oil revenues have given it one of the highest per capita income levels in sub-Saharan Africa, but the wealth is not evenly distributed and poverty is widespread. Unemployment is especially prevalent among the large youth population; more than 60% of the population is under the age of 25. With a fertility rate still averaging more than 4 children per woman, the youth population will continue to grow and further strain the mismatch between Gabon’s supply of jobs and the skills of its labor force.
    Gabon has been a magnet to migrants from neighboring countries since the 1960s because of the discovery of oil, as well as the country’s political stability and timber, mineral, and natural gas resources. Nonetheless, income inequality and high unemployment have created slums in Libreville full of migrant workers from Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon, Benin, Togo, and elsewhere in West Africa. In 2011, Gabon declared an end to refugee status for 9,500 remaining Congolese nationals to whom it had granted asylum during the Republic of the Congo’s civil war between 1997 and 2003. About 5,400 of these refugees received permits to reside in Gabon.
    0-14 years: 41.98% (male 366,875/female 363,031)
    15-24 years: 20.37% (male 177,501/female 176,653)
    25-54 years: 29.59% (male 257,841/female 256,604)
    55-64 years: 4.28% (male 35,895/female 38,533)
    65 years and over: 3.77% (male 28,137/female 37,471) (2016 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 73.1
    youth dependency ratio: 64.3
    elderly dependency ratio: 8.8
    potential support ratio: 11.3 (2015 est.)
    total: 18.6 years
    male: 18.4 years
    female: 18.8 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 207
    1.92% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 52
    34.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 23
    13.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    -2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    urban population: 87.2% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 2.7% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    LIBREVILLE (capital) 707,000 (2015)
    at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
    20.3 years
    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2012 est.)
    291 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 50
    total: 45.1 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 52 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 38 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 43
    total population: 52.1 years
    male: 51.6 years
    female: 52.5 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 220
    4.43 children born/woman (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 28
    31.1% (2012)
    3.4% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 173
    6.3 beds/1,000 population (2010)
    improved:
    urban: 97.2% of population
    rural: 66.7% of population
    total: 93.2% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 2.8% of population
    rural: 33.3% of population
    total: 6.8% of population (2015 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 43.4% of population
    rural: 31.5% of population
    total: 41.9% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 56.6% of population
    rural: 68.5% of population
    total: 58.1% of population (2015 est.)
    3.76% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 16
    46,700 (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    1,300 (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    degree of risk: very high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    vectorborne disease: malaria and dengue fever
    water contact disease: schistosomiasis
    animal contact disease: rabies (2016)
    15.8% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    6.5% (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 79
    2.7% of GDP (2014)
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 83.2%
    male: 85.3%
    female: 81% (2015 est.)
    total: 35.7%
    male: 30.6%
    female: 41.9% (2010 est.)
  • Government :: GABON

  • conventional long form: Gabonese Republic
    conventional short form: Gabon
    local long form: Republique Gabonaise
    local short form: Gabon
    etymology: name originates from the Portuguese word "gabao" meaning "cloak," which is roughly the shape that the early explorers gave to the estuary of the Komo River by the capital of Libreville
    presidential republic
    name: Libreville
    geographic coordinates: 0 23 N, 9 27 E
    time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    9 provinces; Estuaire, Haut-Ogooue, Moyen-Ogooue, Ngounie, Nyanga, Ogooue-Ivindo, Ogooue-Lolo, Ogooue-Maritime, Woleu-Ntem
    17 August 1960 (from France)
    Independence Day, 17 August (1960)
    history: previous 1961; latest drafted May 1990, adopted 15 March 1991, promulgated 26 March 1991
    amendments: proposed by the president of the republic, by the Council of Ministers, or by one-third of either house of Parliament; passage requires Constitutional Court evaluation, at least two-thirds majority vote of two-thirds of the Parliament membership convened in joint session, and approval in a referendum; constitutional articles on Gabon’s democratic form of government cannot be amended; amended several times, last in 2011 (2017)
    mixed legal system of French civil law and customary law
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Gabon
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Ali BONGO Ondimba (since 16 October 2009)
    head of government: Prime Minister Emmanuel ISSOZE-NGONDET (since 29 September 2016)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the president
    elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 7-year term (no term limits); election last held on 27 August 2016 (next to be held in August 2023); prime minister appointed by the president
    election results: Ali BONGO Ondimba reelected president; percent of vote - Ali BONGO Ondimba (PDG) 49.8%, Jean PING (UFC) 48.2%, other 2.0%
    description: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (number of seats not fixed; members indirectly elected by municipal councils and departmental assemblies by absolute majority vote in two rounds; members serve 6-year terms) and the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (120 seats; members elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote in two rounds if needed; members serve 5-year terms)
    elections: Senate - last held on 13 December 2014 (next to be held in January 2021); National Assembly - last held on 17 December 2011 (next to be held by July 2017)
    election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PDG 81, CLR 7, PSD 2, ADERE-UPG 1, UPG 1, PGCI 1, independent 7; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PDG 114, RPG 3, other 3
    highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 4 permanent specialized supreme courts - Supreme Court or Cour de Cassation, Administrative Supreme Court or Conseil d'Etat, Accounting Supreme Court or Cour des Comptes, Constitutional Court or Cour Constitutionnelle - and the non-permanent Court of State Security, initiated only for cases of high treason by the president and criminal activity by executive branch officials
    judge selection and term of office: appointment and tenure of Supreme, Administrative, Accounting, and State Security courts NA; Constitutional Court judges appointed - 3 by the national president, 3 by the president of the Senate, and 3 by the president of the National Assembly; judges serve 7-year, single renewable terms
    subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; county courts; military courts
    Circle of Liberal Reformers or CLR [General Jean-Boniface ASSELE]
    Democratic and Republican Alliance or ADERE [DIDJOB Divungui di Ndinge]
    Gabonese Democratic Party or PDG [Ali BONGO Ondimba]
    Independent Center Party of Gabon or PGCI [Luccheri GAHILA]
    National Rally of Woodcutters-Democratic or RNB-D [Pierre Andre KOMBILA]
    Social Democratic Party or PSD [Pierre Claver MAGANGA-MOUSSAVOU]
    Union for the New Republic or UPRN [Louis Gaston MAYILA]
    Union of Gabonese People or UPG [Richard MOULOMBA]
    United Forced for Change or UFC [Jean PING]
    NA
    ACP, AfDB, AU, BDEAC, CEMAC, FAO, FZ, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Michael MOUSSA-NDONG (since September 19, 2011)
    chancery: 2034 20th Street NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20009
    telephone: [1] (202) 797-1000
    FAX: [1] (301) 332-0668
    chief of mission: Ambassador Cythia AKUETTEH (since 13 August 2014); note - also accredited to Sao Tome and Principe
    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] 01-45-71-00
    FAX: [241] 01-74-55-07
    three equal horizontal bands of green (top), yellow, and blue; green represents the country's forests and natural resources, gold represents the equator (which transects Gabon) as well as the sun, blue represents the sea
    black panther; national colors: green, yellow, blue
    name: "La Concorde" (The Concorde)
    lyrics/music: Georges Aleka DAMAS
    note: adopted 1960
  • Economy :: GABON

  • Gabon enjoys a per capita income four times that of most sub-Saharan African nations, but because of high income inequality, a large proportion of the population remains poor. Gabon relied on timber and manganese exports until oil was discovered offshore in the early 1970s. From 2010 to 2016, oil accounted for approximately 80% of Gabon’s exports, 45% of its GDP, and 60% of its state budget revenues.
    Gabon faces fluctuating prices for its oil, timber, and manganese exports. A rebound of oil prices from 2001 to 2013 helped growth, but declining production, as some fields passed their peak production, has hampered Gabon from fully realizing potential gains. GDP grew nearly 6% per year over the 2010-14 period, but slowed significantly in 2015 as oil prices declined. Low oil prices also weakened government revenue and negatively affected the trade and current account balances.
    Despite an abundance of natural wealth, poor fiscal management and over-reliance on oil has stifled the economy. Power cuts and water shortages are frequent. Significant cuts in budget expenditures - Gabon’s budget has contracted for four years in a row - have not extended to the government’s priority projects, like a new stadium for the Africa Cup of Nations.
    $35.98 billion (2016 est.)
    $35.1 billion (2015 est.)
    $33.75 billion (2014 est.)
    note: data are in 2016 dollars
    country comparison to the world: 121
    $14.56 billion (2016 est.)
    2.5% (2016 est.)
    4% (2015 est.)
    4.3% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    $19,300 (2016 est.)
    $18,900 (2015 est.)
    $18,500 (2014 est.)
    note: data are in 2016 dollars
    country comparison to the world: 88
    28.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
    35.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
    42.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 33
    household consumption: 40.8%
    government consumption: 15.8%
    investment in fixed capital: 31.1%
    investment in inventories: 0.1%
    exports of goods and services: 39.8%
    imports of goods and services: -27.6% (2016 est.)
    agriculture: 4.5%
    industry: 46.4%
    services: 49.1% (2016 est.)
    cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber; cattle; okoume (a tropical softwood); fish
    petroleum extraction and refining; manganese, gold; chemicals, ship repair, food and beverages, textiles, lumbering and plywood, cement
    -1.5% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    674,700 (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    agriculture: 64%
    industry: 12%
    services: 24% (2005 est.)
    28% (2015 est.)
    20.4% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 189
    NA% (2015 est.)
    lowest 10%: 2.5%
    highest 10%: 32.7% (2005)
    revenues: $2.917 billion
    expenditures: $3.464 billion (2016 est.)
    20% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 154
    -3.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
    43.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
    39.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    calendar year
    1.1% (2016 est.)
    0.6% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 73
    3% (31 December 2010)
    4.25% (31 December 2009)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    15.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
    15.3% (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    $2.314 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    $2.251 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    $4.545 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $4.421 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    $2.425 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    $2.382 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    $NA
    -$1.279 billion (2016 est.)
    -$779 million (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    $4.395 billion (2016 est.)
    $5.181 billion (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    crude oil, timber, manganese, uranium
    China 15.6%, Italy 7.4%, Trinidad and Tobago 7.2%, Australia 7.1%, Spain 6.4%, South Korea 5.5%, Netherlands 5%, US 4.8% (2015)
    $3.002 billion (2016 est.)
    $3.061 billion (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, construction materials
    China 21.5%, France 19.7%, US 6.6%, Benin 4.7%, Netherlands 4% (2015)
    $1.585 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    $1.878 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    $5.158 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    $4.883 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 132
    Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar -
    605.7 (2016 est.)
    591.45 (2015 est.)
    591.45 (2014 est.)
    494.42 (2013 est.)
    510.53 (2012 est.)
  • Energy :: GABON

  • population without electricity: 200,000
    electrification - total population: 89%
    electrification - urban areas: 97%
    electrification - rural areas: 38% (2013)
    2.3 billion kWh (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    2.1 billion kWh (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 141
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    400 million kWh (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    600,000 kW (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    59% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 96
    41% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 58
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
    213,300 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    200,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 30
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 198
    2 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    21,750 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    19,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    7,212 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    5,364 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    420 million cu m (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    420 million cu m (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 101
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 199
    28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    6 million Mt (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
  • Communications :: GABON

  • total subscriptions: 18,758
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 190
    total: 2.958 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 173 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 128
    general assessment: adequate system of cable, microwave radio relay, tropospheric scatter, radiotelephone communication stations, and a domestic satellite system with 12 earth stations
    domestic: a growing mobile cellular network with multiple providers is making telephone service more widely available with mobile cellular teledensity exceeding 170 per 100 persons
    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) (2015)
    state owns and operates 2 TV stations and 2 radio broadcast stations; a few private radio and TV stations; transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are accessible; satellite service subscriptions are available (2007)
    .ga
    total: 401,000
    percent of population: 23.5% (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
  • Transportation :: GABON

  • number of registered air carriers: 5
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 7
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 137,331
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 0 mt-km (2015)
    TR (2016)
    44 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    total: 14
    over 3,047 m: 1
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
    914 to 1,523 m: 1
    under 914 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 30
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
    914 to 1,523 m: 9
    under 914 m: 14 (2013)
    gas 807 km; oil 1,639 km; water 3 km (2013)
    total: 649 km
    standard gauge: 649 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    total: 9,170 km
    paved: 1,097 km
    unpaved: 8,073 km (2007)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    1,600 km (310 km on Ogooue River) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    registered in other countries: 2 (Cambodia 1, Panama 1) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    major seaport(s): Libreville, Owendo, Port-Gentil
    oil terminal(s): Gamba, Lucina
  • Military and Security :: GABON

  • 1.19% of GDP (2015)
    NA% 1.14% of GDP (2014)
    1.6% of GDP (2013)
    1.62% of GDP (2012)
    1.46% of GDP (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 76
    Gabonese Defense Forces (Forces de Defense Gabonaise): Land Force (Force Terrestre), Gabonese Navy (Marine Gabonaise), Gabonese Air Forces (Forces Aerienne Gabonaises, FAG) (2012)
    20 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
  • Transnational Issues :: GABON

  • 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
    current situation: Gabon is primarily a destination and transit country for adults and children from West and Central African countries subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; boys are forced to work as street vendors, mechanics, or in the fishing sector, while girls are subjected to domestic servitude or forced to work in markets or roadside restaurants; West African women are forced into domestic servitude or prostitution; men are reportedly forced to work on cattle farms; some foreign adults end up in forced labor in Gabon after initially seeking the help of human smugglers to help them migrate clandestinely; traffickers operate in loose, ethnic-based criminal networks, with female traffickers recruiting and facilitating the transport of victims from source countries; in some cases, families turn child victims over to traffickers, who promise paid jobs in Gabon
    tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Gabon does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; Gabon’s existing laws do not prohibit all forms of trafficking, and the government failed to pass a legal amendment drafted in 2013 to criminalize the trafficking of adults; anti-trafficking law enforcement decreased in 2014, dropping from 50 investigations to 16, and the only defendant to face prosecution fled the country; government efforts to identify and refer victims to protective services declined from 50 child victims in 2013 to just 3 in 2014, none of whom was referred to a care facility; the government provided support to four centers offering services to orphans and vulnerable children – 14 child victims identified by an NGO received government assistance; no adult victims have been identified since 2009 (2015)