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Map of Gabon



   Introduction    Gabon Top of Page
Background:
Definition Field Listing
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 contry's political scene for almost 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    Gabon Top of Page
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Western Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean at the Equator, between Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
1 00 S, 11 45 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Africa
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 267,667 sq km
land: 257,667 sq km
water: 10,000 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly smaller than Colorado
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2,551 km
border countries: Cameroon 298 km, Republic of the Congo 1,903 km, Equatorial Guinea 350 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
885 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
tropical; always hot, humid
Terrain:
Definition Field Listing
narrow coastal plain; hilly interior; savanna in east and south
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Iboundji 1,575 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum, natural gas, diamond, niobium, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore, hydropower
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 1.21%
permanent crops: 0.64%
other: 98.15% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
70 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
NA
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
deforestation; poaching
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
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 Top of Page
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,424,906
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 2006 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 42.1% (male 300,914/female 299,141)
15-64 years: 53.9% (male 383,137/female 384,876)
65 years and over: 4% (male 23,576/female 33,262) (2006 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 18.6 years
male: 18.4 years
female: 18.8 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.13% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
36.16 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12.25 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
-2.65 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
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 (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 54.51 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 63.65 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 45.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 54.49 years
male: 53.21 years
female: 55.81 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.74 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
48,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
Definition Field Listing
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria (2005)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Gabonese (singular and plural)
adjective: Gabonese
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
Christian 55%-75%, animist, Muslim less than 1%
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 63.2%
male: 73.7%
female: 53.3% (1995 est.)
   Government    Gabon Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Gabonese Republic
conventional short form: Gabon
local long form: Republique gabonaise
local short form: Gabon
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
republic; multiparty presidential regime
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
name: Libreville
geographic coordinates: 0 23 N, 9 27 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
9 provinces; Estuaire, Haut-Ogooue, Moyen-Ogooue, Ngounie, Nyanga, Ogooue-Ivindo, Ogooue-Lolo, Ogooue-Maritime, Woleu-Ntem
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
17 August 1960 (from France)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Founding of the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG), 12 March (1968)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
adopted 14 March 1991
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
21 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
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%
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
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: Senate - last held 26 January and 9 February 2003 (next to be held by January 2009); National Assembly - last held 9 and 23 December 2001 (next to be held December 2006)
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 86, RNB-RPG 8, PGP 3, ADERE 3, CLR 2, PUP 1, PSD 1, independents 13, others 3
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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 [Simplice Nguedet MANZELA] (former sole party); Gabonese Party for Progress or PGP [Pierre-Louis AGONDJO-OKAWE]; National Rally of Woodcutters or RNB; 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]; Union for Democracy and Social Integration or UDIS; Union of Gabonese People or UPG [Pierre MAMBOUNDOU]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
NA
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AU, BDEAC, CEMAC, FAO, FZ, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ITU, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OIF, ONUB, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Jules Marius 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:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Barrie R. WALKLEY
embassy: Boulevard du Bord de Mer, Libreville
mailing address: Centre Ville, B. P. 4000, Libreville
telephone: [241] 76 20 03 through 76 20 04, after hours - 74 34 92
FAX: [241] 74 55 07
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
three equal horizontal bands of green (top), yellow, and blue
   Economy    Gabon Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Gabon enjoys a per capita income four times that of most of sub-Saharan African nations. 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, poor fiscal management hobbles the economy. Devaluation of its currency by 50% in 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 mandated progress in privatization and fiscal discipline. France provided additional financial support in January 1997 after Gabon 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. Gabon signed a 14-month Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF in May 2004, and received Paris Club debt rescheduling later that year. Short-term progress depends on an upbeat world economy and fiscal and other adjustments in line with IMF policies.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$9.535 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
Definition Field Listing
$6.697 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.1% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$6,800 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 6.1%
industry: 59.2%
services: 34.8% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
640,000 (2005 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 60%
industry: 15%
services: 25%
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
21% (1997 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
-0.1% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
24.7% of GDP (2005 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $2.463 billion
expenditures: $1.618 billion; including capital expenditures of $325 million (2005 est.)
Public debt:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
33.6% of GDP (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber; cattle; okoume (a tropical softwood); fish
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum extraction and refining; manganese, gold; chemicals, ship repair, food and beverages, textiles, lumbering and plywood, cement
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.6% (2002 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.487 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.383 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
268,900 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12,250 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA bbl/day
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.921 billion bbl (2005 est.)
Natural gas - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
90 million cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
90 million cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
33.98 billion cu m (2005)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$675 million (2005 est.)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$5.813 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
crude oil 77%, timber, manganese, uranium (2001)
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 53.5%, France 6.4%, China 6.3%, Trinidad and Tobago 4% (2005)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.533 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, construction materials
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
France 40.6%, US 6.4%, Cameroon 4.2% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$675.2 million (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$3.903 billion (2005 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$331 million (1995)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XAF) per US dollar - 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004), 581.2 (2003), 696.99 (2002), 733.04 (2001)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Gabon Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
39,100 (2005)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
489,400 (2004)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
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: country code - 241; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); fiber optic submarine cable (SAT-3/WASC) provides connectivity to Europe and Asia
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 6, FM 7 (and 11 repeaters), shortwave 4 (2001)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
4 (plus four low-power repeaters) (2001)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.ga
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
310 (2005)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
40,000 (2005)
   Transportation    Gabon Top of Page
Airports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
56 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 11
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 45
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 23 (2006)
Pipelines:
Definition Field Listing
gas 210 km; oil 1,385 km (2004)
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 814 km
standard gauge: 814 km 1.435-m gauge (2005)
Roadways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 32,333 km
paved: 6,247 km
unpaved: 26,086 km (2003)
Waterways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,600 km (310 km on Ogooue River) (2005)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
registered in other countries: 2 (Cambodia 1, Panama 1) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Definition Field Listing
Gamba, Libreville, Lucinda, Owendo, Port-Gentil
   Military    Gabon Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Army, Navy, Air Force, National Gendarmerie, National Police
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 278,826
females age 18-49: 279,865 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 159,198
females age 18-49: 156,122 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 15,325
females age 18-49: 15,367 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$253.5 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.4% (2005 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Gabon Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
UN presses Equatorial Guinea and Gabon to resolve the sovereignty dispute over Gabon-occupied Mbane Island and to establish a maritime boundary in hydrocarbon-rich Corisco Bay; only a few hundred out of the 20,000 Republic of the Congo refugees who fled militia fighting in 2000 remain in Gabon

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