Photos of Gabon



Gabon, a sparsely populated country known for its dense rainforests and vast petroleum reserves, is one of the most prosperous and stable countries in central Africa. Approximately 40 ethnic groups are represented, the largest of which is the Fang, a group that covers the northern third of Gabon and expands north into Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. From about the early 1300s, various kingdoms emerged in and surrounding present-day Gabon, including the Kingdoms of Loango and Orungu. Because most early Bantu languages spoken in these kingdoms did not have a written form, historical traditions were passed on orally, resulting in much of Gabon's early history being lost over time. Portuguese traders who arrived in the mid-1400s gave the area its name of Gabon. At that time, indigenous trade networks began to engage with European traders, exchanging goods such as ivory and wood. For a century beginning in the 1760s, trade came to focus mostly on enslaved people. While many groups in Gabon participated in the slave trade, the Fang were a notable exception. As the slave trade declined in the late 1800s, France colonized the country and directed a widespread extraction of Gabonese resources. Anti-colonial rhetoric by Gabon’s educated elites increased significantly in the early 1900s, but no widespread rebellion materialized. French decolonization following World War II led to the country’s independence in 1960.

Within a year of independence, the government changed from a parliamentary to a presidential system, and Leon M’BA won the first presidential election in 1961. El Hadj Omar BONGO Ondimba - one of the longest ruling heads of state in history - was M’BA’s vice president and assumed the presidency after M’BA’s death in 1967. BONGO went on to dominate the country's political scene for four decades (1967-2009). In 1968, he declared Gabon a single-party state and created the Parti Democratique Gabonais (PDG), which remains the predominant party in Gabonese politics today. In the early 1990s, he reintroduced a multiparty system under a new constitution after he was confronted with growing political opposition. He was reelected by wide margins in 1995, 1998, 2002, and 2005 against a divided opposition and amidst allegations of fraud. Following President BONGO's death in 2009, a new election brought his son, Ali BONGO Ondimba, to power. President Ali BONGO Ondimba was reelected in 2016 in a close election against a united opposition. Gabon’s Constitutional Court reviewed the contested election results and ruled in his favor.

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

Geographic coordinates

1 00 S, 11 45 E


total: 267,667 sq km

land: 257,667 sq km

water: 10,000 sq km

comparison ranking: total 78

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Colorado

Land boundaries

total: 3,261 km

border countries (3): Cameroon 349 km; Republic of the Congo 2,567 km; Equatorial Guinea 345 km


885 km

Maritime claims

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


highest point: Mont Bengoue 1,050 m

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m

mean elevation: 377 m

Natural resources

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

Land use

agricultural land: 19% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 17.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 81% (2018 est.)

other: 0% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

40 sq km (2012)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Congo (3,730,881 sq km)

Major aquifers

Congo Basin

Population distribution

the relatively small population is spread in pockets throughout the country; the largest urban center is the capital of Libreville, located along the Atlantic coast in the northwest as shown in this population distribution map

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 and Society


2,397,368 (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 146


noun: Gabonese (singular and plural)

adjective: Gabonese

Ethnic groups

Gabonese-born 80.1% (includes Fang 23.2%, Shira-Punu/Vili 18.9%, Nzabi-Duma 11.3%, Mbede-Teke 6.9%, Myene 5%, Kota-Kele 4.9%, Okande-Tsogo 2.1%, Pygmy 0.3%, other 7.5%), Cameroonian 4.6%, Malian 2.4%, Beninese 2.1%, acquired Gabonese nationality 1.6%, Togolese 1.6%, Senegalese 1.1%, Congolese (Brazzaville) 1%, other 5.5% (includes Congolese (Kinshasa), Equatorial Guinean, Nigerian) (2012 est.)


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


Roman Catholic 42.3%, Protestant 12.3%, other Christian 27.4%, Muslim 9.8%, animist 0.6%, other 0.5%, none/no answer 7.1% (2012 est.)

Demographic profile

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 as of 2020. With a fertility rate still averaging more than 3 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.

Age structure

0-14 years: 35.04% (male 424,741/female 415,342)

15-64 years: 60.76% (male 765,729/female 690,931)

65 years and over: 4.2% (2023 est.) (male 50,920/female 49,705)

2023 population pyramid:
2023 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 67.6

youth dependency ratio: 61

elderly dependency ratio: 6.5

potential support ratio: 15.3 (2021 est.)

Median age

total: 21 years

male: 21.4 years

female: 20.6 years (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 187

Population growth rate

2.39% (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 28

Birth rate

25.89 births/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 43

Death rate

5.59 deaths/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 176

Net migration rate

3.59 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 33

Population distribution

the relatively small population is spread in pockets throughout the country; the largest urban center is the capital of Libreville, located along the Atlantic coast in the northwest as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 91% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 2.27% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Major urban areas - population

870,000 LIBREVILLE (capital) (2023)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1.11 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 1.02 male(s)/female

total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2023 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

19.6 years (2012 est.)

note: data represents median age at first birth among women 20-49

Maternal mortality ratio

227 deaths/100,000 live births (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 40

Infant mortality rate

total: 27.7 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 30.61 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 24.71 deaths/1,000 live births (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: total 57

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 70.03 years

male: 68.3 years

female: 71.81 years (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: total population 175

Total fertility rate

3.26 children born/woman (2023 est.)

comparison ranking: 42

Gross reproduction rate

1.61 (2023 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 97.2% of population

rural: 55.3% of population

total: 93.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 2.8% of population

rural: 44.7% of population

total: 6.9% of population (2020 est.)

Current health expenditure

3.4% of GDP (2020)

Physicians density

0.65 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

6.3 beds/1,000 population

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 81.3% of population

rural: 55.1% of population

total: 78.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 18.7% of population

rural: 44.9% of population

total: 21.3% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2023)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

15% (2016)

comparison ranking: 127

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 6.47 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 5.31 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.62 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.5 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0.04 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total 64

Education expenditures

3.2% of GDP (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: 150


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 85.5%

male: 86.2%

female: 84.7% (2021)

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 38.4%

male: 33.7%

female: 44.4% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 18


Environment - current issues

deforestation (the forests that cover three-quarters of the country are threatened by excessive logging); burgeoning population exacerbating disposal of solid waste; oil industry contributing to water pollution; wildlife poaching

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping-London Convention, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements


tropical; always hot, humid

Land use

agricultural land: 19% (2018 est.)

arable land: 1.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.6% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 17.2% (2018 est.)

forest: 81% (2018 est.)

other: 0% (2018 est.)


urban population: 91% of total population (2023)

rate of urbanization: 2.27% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

total population growth rate v. urban population growth rate, 2000-2030

Revenue from forest resources

2.6% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 26

Revenue from coal

0% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 68

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 38.51 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 5.32 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 1.13 megatons (2020 est.)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 238,102 tons (1995 est.)

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: Congo (3,730,881 sq km)

Major aquifers

Congo Basin

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 80 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

industrial: 10 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

agricultural: 40 million cubic meters (2020 est.)

Total renewable water resources

166 billion cubic meters (2020 est.)


Country name

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

Government type

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)

etymology: original site settled by freed slaves and the name means "free town" in French; named in imitation of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone

Administrative divisions

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


17 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday

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 2023 (presidential term reduced to 5 years and election reduced to a single vote)

Legal system

mixed legal system of French civil law and customary law

International law organization participation

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

Executive branch

chief of state: President Ali BONGO Ondimba (since 16 October 2009); Vice President Rose Christiane Ossouka RAPONDA (since 9 January 2023)

head of government: Prime Minister Alain Claude BILIE-BY-NZE (since 9 January 2023)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the president

elections/appointments: president directly elected by plurality vote for a 5-year term (no term limits); election last held on 27 August 2016 (next to be held on 2 September 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%
2009: Ali BONGO Ondimba elected president; percent of vote - Ali BONGO Ondimba (PDG) 41.7%, Andre MBA OBAME (independent) 25.9%, Pierre MAMBOUNDOU (UPG) 25.2%, Zacharie MYBOTO (UGDD) 3.9%, other 3.3%


Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of:
Senate or Senat (67 seats; 52 members indirectly elected in single and multi-seat constituencies by municipal councils and departmental assemblies by absolute majority vote in 2 rounds if needed, and 15 members appointed by the president; all members serve 6-year terms)
National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (143 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote; members serve 5-year terms)


Senate - last held on 30 January and 6 February 2021 (next to be held in December 2026)
National Assembly - held in 2 rounds on 6 and 27 October 2018 (next to be held in 2023)


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; composition - men 51, women 16, percent of women 23.9%

National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PDG 98, The Democrats or LD 11, RV 8, Social Democrats of Gabon 5, RH&M 4, other 9, independent 8; composition - men 122, women 21, percent of women 14.7%; note - total Parliament percent of women 17.6%


Judicial branch

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 single renewable 7-year terms

subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; county courts; military courts

Political parties and leaders

Gabonese Democratic Party or PDG [Ali BONGO Ondimba]
Restoration of Republican Values or RV
The Democrats or LD [Guy NZOUBA-NDAMA]

Paul Mba Abessole

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Noel Nelson MESSONE (12 December 2022)

chancery: 2034 20th Street NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20009

telephone: [1] (202) 797-1000

FAX: [1] (301) 332-0668

email address and website:

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Chargé d'Affaires Samuel R. WATSON; note - also accredited to Sao Tome and Principe

embassy: Sabliere, B.P. 4000, Libreville

mailing address: 2270 Libreville Place, Washington, DC 20521-2270

telephone: [241] 011-45-71-00

FAX: [241] 011-45-71-05

email address and website:

Flag description

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

National symbol(s)

black panther; national colors: green, yellow, blue

National anthem

name: "La Concorde" (The Concorde)

lyrics/music: Georges Aleka DAMAS

note: adopted 1960

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 2 (1 natural, 1 mixed)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Ecosystem and Relict Cultural Landscape of Lopé-Okanda (m); Ivindo National Park (n)


Economic overview

natural resource-rich, upper-middle-income, Central African economy; sparsely populated but high urbanization; young labor force; oil, manganese, and rubber exporter; foreign investment dependent; data integrity issue on poverty and income

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$32.34 billion (2021 est.)
$31.874 billion (2020 est.)
$32.471 billion (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 136

Real GDP growth rate

1.46% (2021 est.)
-1.84% (2020 est.)
3.92% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 176

Real GDP per capita

$13,800 (2021 est.)
$13,900 (2020 est.)
$14,500 (2019 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

comparison ranking: 119

GDP (official exchange rate)

$16.064 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.18% (2020 est.)
2.46% (2019 est.)
4.75% (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 196

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: CCC (2020)

Moody's rating: Caa1 (2018)

Standard & Poors rating: N/A (2016)

note: The year refers to the year in which the current credit rating was first obtained.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 5% (2017 est.)

industry: 44.7% (2017 est.)

services: 50.4% (2017 est.)

comparison rankings: services 177; industry 19; agriculture 127

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 37.6% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 14.1% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 29% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -0.6% (2016 est.)

exports of goods and services: 46.7% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -26.8% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

plantains, cassava, sugar cane, yams, taro, vegetables, maize, groundnuts, game meat, rubber


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

Industrial production growth rate

3.2% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 122

Labor force

718,400 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: 153

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 64%

industry: 12%

services: 24% (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate

22.26% (2021 est.)
21.97% (2020 est.)
20.74% (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 16

Youth unemployment rate (ages 15-24)

total: 38.4%

male: 33.7%

female: 44.4% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 18

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.5%

highest 10%: 32.7% (2005)


revenues: $3.296 billion (2019 est.)

expenditures: $2.937 billion (2019 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-1.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 101

Public debt

62.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
64.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 76

Taxes and other revenues

11.48% (of GDP) (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 181

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$725 million (2017 est.)
-$1.389 billion (2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 128


$10.8 billion (2019 est.)
$9.533 billion (2018 est.)
$9.145 billion (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 102

Exports - partners

China 63%, Singapore 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

crude petroleum, manganese, lumber, veneer sheeting, refined petroleum (2021)


$5.02 billion (2019 est.)
$4.722 billion (2018 est.)
$4.749 billion (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 143

Imports - partners

France 22%, China 17%, Belgium 6%, United States 6%, United Arab Emirates 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

poultry meats, excavation machinery, packaged medicines, cars, rice (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$1.372 billion (31 December 2019 est.)
$1.321 billion (31 December 2018 est.)
$965.054 million (31 December 2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 140

Debt - external

$6.49 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$5.321 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

comparison ranking: 126

Exchange rates

Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar -

Exchange rates:
554.531 (2021 est.)
575.586 (2020 est.)
585.911 (2019 est.)
555.446 (2018 est.)
580.657 (2017 est.)


Electricity access

population without electricity: (2020) less than 1 million

electrification - total population: 91.8% (2021)

electrification - urban areas: 98.6% (2021)

electrification - rural areas: 26.7% (2021)


installed generating capacity: 784,000 kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 3.134 billion kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 511 million kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 389 million kWh (2019 est.)

comparison rankings: installed generating capacity 138; transmission/distribution losses 134; imports 87; exports 128; consumption 138

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 40.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 0.1% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 59% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 0.3% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)


production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)


total petroleum production: 175,000 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 14,400 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 178,400 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 2 billion barrels (2021 est.)

Refined petroleum products - production

16,580 bbl/day (2017 est.)

comparison ranking: 91

Refined petroleum products - exports

4,662 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 91

Refined petroleum products - imports

10,680 bbl/day (2015 est.)

comparison ranking: 146

Natural gas

production: 319.102 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

consumption: 319.102 million cubic meters (2019 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 25.995 billion cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

2.651 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 2.025 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 626,000 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: total emissions 152

Energy consumption per capita

26.786 million Btu/person (2019 est.)

comparison ranking: 127


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 31,708 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 166

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 3,144,609 (2021 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 134 (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total subscriptions 140

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: the telecom market was liberalized in 1999 when the government awarded three mobile telephony licenses and two ISP licenses and established an independent regulatory authority; in contrast with the mobile market, Gabon’s fixed-line and internet sectors have remained underdeveloped due to a lack of competition and high prices; the country has sufficient international bandwidth on the SAT-3/WASC/SAFE submarine cable; the arrival of the ACE submarine cable, combined with progressing work on the CAB cable, has increased back haul capacity supporting mobile data traffic (2022)

domestic: fixed-line 1 per 100 subscriptions; mobile cellular subscriptions are 134 per 100 persons (2021)

international: country code - 241; landing points for the SAT-3/WASC, ACE and Libreville-Port Gentil Cable fiber-optic submarine cable that provides connectivity to Europe and West Africa; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2019)

Broadcast media

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

Internet users

total: 1.656 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 72% (2021 est.)

comparison ranking: total 142

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 44,607 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 2 (2020 est.)

comparison ranking: total 144


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 3 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 8


44 (2021)

comparison ranking: total 97

Airports - with paved runways


note: paved runways have a concrete or asphalt surface but not all have facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control; the length of a runway required for aircraft to safely operate depends on a number of factors including the type of aircraft, the takeoff weight (including passengers, cargo, and fuel), engine types, flap settings, landing speed, elevation of the airport, and average maximum daily air temperature; paved runways can reach a length of 5,000 m (16,000 ft.), but the “typical” length of a commercial airline runway is between 2,500-4,000 m (8,000-13,000 ft.)

Airports - with unpaved runways


note: unpaved runways have a surface composition such as grass or packed earth and are most suited to the operation of light aircraft; unpaved runways are usually short, often less than 1,000 m (3,280 ft.) in length; airports with unpaved runways often lack facilities for refueling, maintenance, or air traffic control


807 km gas, 1,639 km oil, 3 km water (2013)


total: 649 km (2014)

standard gauge: 649 km (2014) 1.435-m gauge

comparison ranking: total 105


total: 14,300 km (2001)

paved: 900 km (2001)

unpaved: 13,400 km (2001)

comparison ranking: total 126


1,600 km (2010) (310 km on Ogooue River)

comparison ranking: 51

Merchant marine

total: 71

by type: bulk carrier 2, general cargo 19, oil tanker 20, other 30 (2022)

comparison ranking: total 107

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Libreville, Owendo, Port-Gentil

oil terminal(s): Gamba, Lucina

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Gabonese Armed Forces (Force Armées Gabonaise or FAG; aka Gabonese Defense and Security Forces): Land Forces (Army), National Navy, Air Force, National Gendarmerie (includes Coast Guard), Corps of Firemen; Republican Guard (2023)

note: the National Police Forces, under the Ministry of Interior, and the National Gendarmerie, under the Ministry of Defense, are responsible for law enforcement and public security; elements of the armed forces and the Republican Guard, an elite unit that protects the president under his direct authority, sometimes perform internal security functions

Military expenditures

1.3% of GDP (2022 est.)
1.7% of GDP (2021 est.)
1.8% of GDP (2020 est.)
1.6% of GDP (2019 est.)
1.6% of GDP (2018 est.)

comparison ranking: 104

Military and security service personnel strengths

approximately 6,500 active-duty troops including the Republican Guard and Gendarmerie (2023)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Gabonese military is lightly armed with a mix of equipment from a variety of suppliers including Brazil, China, France, Germany, and South Africa (2023)

Military service age and obligation

18-26 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2023)

Military - note

the Gabonese military is a small and lightly-armed force that is responsible for both external and internal security; some members of the military attempted a failed coup in 2019; the French military has maintained a long-term presence in Gabon; the Army’s core forces are the Republican Guard and an airborne infantry battalion, which are supported by several small regionally-based infantry units; the Gendarmerie has regionally-based “legions,” as well as mobile forces, a national parks security unit, and a special intervention group; the Air Force has a small number of older French-made fighter aircraft and some combat helicopters, also mostly of French origin; the Navy has a small force of patrol boats (2023)

Maritime threats

the International Maritime Bureau reported no incidents in 2022 in the waters off Gabon; the territorial and offshore waters in the Niger Delta and Gulf of Guinea remain a very high risk for piracy and armed robbery of ships; past incidents have been reported where vessels were attacked and crews kidnapped; these incidents showed that the pirates / robbers in the area are well armed and violent; pirates have robbed vessels and kidnapped crews for ransom; in the past, product tankers were hijacked and cargo stolen; the Maritime Administration of the US Department of Transportation has issued a Maritime Advisory (2023-008 - Gulf of Guinea-Piracy/Armed Robbery/Kidnapping for Ransom) effective 30 June 2023, which states in part, "Piracy, armed robbery, and kidnapping for ransom continue to serve as significant threats to US-flagged vessels transiting or operating in the Gulf of Guinea"


Space agency/agencies

Gabonese Studies and Space Observations Agency (Agence Gabonaise d’Etudes et d’Observations Spatiales or AGEOS; established 2015) (2023)

Space program overview

has a small space program focused on the acquisition, processing, analysis, and furnishing of data from foreign remote sensing (RS) satellites for environmental management, mapping, natural resources, land use planning, and maritime surveillance, as well as research and innovation; has relationships with Brazil, China, the European Space Agency (ESA) and its member states (particularly France), Kenya, Niger, Rwanda, South Africa, and the US; shares RS data with neighboring countries (2023)

note: further details about the key activities, programs, and milestones of the country’s space program, as well as government spending estimates on the space sector, appear in Appendix S

Transnational Issues

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

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List — Gabon does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so; officials investigated more trafficking crimes and convicted more traffickers; however, the government did not demonstrate overall increasing efforts compared to the previous year to improve its anti-trafficking capacity; for the third consecutive year, the government did not adopt its anti-trafficking national action plan and lacked inter-ministerial coordination; fewer potential victims were identified and efforts to identify, protect, and provide justice for victims remained inadequate; the government did not amend its law to ensure penalties for adult sex trafficking were commensurate with penalties for other grave crimes, nor report investigating allegations of judicial corruption related to trafficking crimes; therefore, Gabon was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List (2022)

trafficking profile: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Gabon, as well as victims from Gabon abroad; Gabon is a primary destination and transit country for West and Central African men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; poverty continues to represent a key risk factor in forced labor and sex trafficking; girls are exploited in forced labor in domestic service, markets, or roadside restaurants, and boys are forced to work as street vendors, mechanics, and laborers in the fishing sector; West African women are coerced into domestic servitude or commercial sex within Gabon; criminals may exploit children in illegal gold mines and wildlife trafficking; Gabonese labor recruiters force some Cameroonians to work on rubber and palm oil plantations in northern Gabon; West African traffickers reportedly exploit children from other countries to work in markets and urban centers in Gabon; shopkeepers force or coerce Gabonese children to work in markets; smugglers who assist foreign adults migrating to or through Gabon subject them to forced labor or commercial sex; some families willingly give children to intermediaries promising education or employment who instead subject the children to forced labor; women are exploited in sex trafficking at roadside bars, and brothel owners reportedly conduct child sex trafficking (2022)