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Gabon, See : Flags, Maps

Gabon (Africa)

Introduction ::Gabon

Background:

Until recently, only two autocratic presidents had ruled Gabon since its independence from France in 1960. The recent president of Gabon, El Hadj Omar BONGO Ondimba - one of the longest-serving heads of state in the world - had dominated the country's political scene for four decades. President BONGO introduced a nominal multiparty system and a new constitution in the early 1990s. However, allegations of electoral fraud during local elections in 2002-03 and the presidential elections in 2005 exposed the weaknesses of formal political structures in Gabon. President BONGO died in June 2009. New elections in August 2009 brought Ali Ben BONGO, son of the former president, to power. 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. In January 2010, Gabon assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2010-11 term.

Geography ::Gabon

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

Area:

total: 267,667 sq km country comparison to the world: 76 land: 257,667 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:

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 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, natural gas, diamond, niobium, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore, hydropower

Land use:

arable land: 1.21%

permanent crops: 0.64%

other: 98.15% (2005)

Irrigated land:

70 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

164 cu km (1987)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 0.12 cu km/yr (50%/8%/42%)

per capita: 87 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:
NA

Environment - current issues:

deforestation; poaching

Environment - international agreements:

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

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 ::Gabon

Population:

1,545,255 country comparison to the world: 151 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 2010 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 42.1% (male 320,414/female 318,027)

15-64 years: 53.9% (male 407,461/female 409,633)

65 years and over: 3.9% (male 24,799/female 34,659) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 18.6 years

male: 18.4 years

female: 18.9 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.025% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 53

Birth rate:

35.39 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 33

Death rate:

12.9 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 25

Net migration rate:

-2.24 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 176

Urbanization:

urban population: 85% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 2.1% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 50.88 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 49 male: 59 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 42.51 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 52.75 years country comparison to the world: 206 male: 51.96 years

female: 53.58 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

4.62 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 34

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

5.9% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 13

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

49,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 65

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

2,300 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 57

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: very high

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

vectorborne disease: malaria and chikungunya

water contact disease: schistosomiasis

animal contact disease: rabies (2009)

Nationality:

noun: Gabonese (singular and plural)

adjective: Gabonese

Ethnic groups:

Bantu tribes, including four major tribal groupings (Fang, Bapounou, Nzebi, Obamba); other Africans and Europeans, 154,000, including 10,700 French and 11,000 persons of dual nationality

Religions:

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

Languages:

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

Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 63.2%

male: 73.7%

female: 53.3% (1995 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 13 years

male: 13 years

female: 12 years (1999)

Education expenditures:

3.8% of GDP (2000) country comparison to the world: 120

Government ::Gabon

Country name:

conventional long form: Gabonese Republic

conventional short form: Gabon

local long form: Republique Gabonaise

local short form: Gabon

Government type:

republic; multiparty presidential regime

Capital:

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:

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)

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; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:

21 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Ali Ben BONGO Ondimba (since 16 October 2009)

head of government: Prime Minister Paul BIYOGHE MBA (since 15 July 2009)

cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the president (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: president elected by popular vote for a seven-year term (no term limits); election last held on 30 August 2009 (next to be held in 2016); prime minister appointed by the president

election results: President Ali Ben BONGO Ondimba elected; percent of vote - Ali Ben BONGO Ondimba 41.7%, Andre MBA OBAME 25.9%, Pierre MAMBOUNDOU 25.2%, Zacharie MYBOTO 3.9%, other 3.3%

note: President BONGO died on 8 June 2009 after serving as president for 32 years; in accordance with the constitution he was replaced on an interim basis by the president of the Senate, Rose Francine ROGOMBE on 10 June 2009; new elections where held on 30 August 2009 and the son of the former president, Ali Ben BONGO Ondimba, was elected president

Legislative branch:

bicameral legislature consists of the Senate (102 seats; members elected by members of municipal councils and departmental assemblies to serve six-year terms) and the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (120 seats; members are elected by direct, popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections: Senate - last held on 18 January 2009 (next to be held in January 2015); National Assembly - last held on 17 and 24 December 2006 (next to be held in December 2011)

election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PDG 75, RPG 6, UGDD 3, CLR 2, PGCI 2, PSD 2, UPG 2, ADERE 1, independents 9; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PDG 82, RPG 8, UPG 8, UGDD 4, ADERE 3, CLR 2, PGP-Ndaot 2, PSD 2, independents 4, others 5

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court or Cour Supreme consisting of three chambers - Judicial, Administrative, and Accounts; Constitutional Court; Courts of Appeal; Court of State Security; County Courts

Political parties and leaders:

Circle of Liberal Reformers or CLR [General Jean Boniface ASSELE];
Congress for Democracy and Justice or CDJ [Jules Aristide Bourdes
OGOULIGUENDE]; Democratic and Republican Alliance or ADERE
[Divungui-di-Ndinge DIDJOB]; Gabonese Democratic Party or PDG
[Simplice Nguedet MANZELA] (former sole party); Gabonese Party for
Progress or PGP [Benoit Mouity NZAMBA]; Gabonese Union for Democracy
and Development or UGDD [Zacherie MYBOTO]; National Rally of
Woodcutters or RNB; National Rally of Woodcutters-Rally for Gabon or
RNB-RPG (Bucherons) [Fr. Paul M'BA-ABESSOLE]; Party of Development
and Social Solidarity or PDS [Seraphin Ndoat REMBOGO]; People's
Unity Party or PUP [Louis Gaston MAYILA]; Social Democratic Party or
PSD [Pierre Claver MAGANGA-MOUSSAVOU]; Union for Democracy and
Social Integration or UDIS; Union of Gabonese Patriots or UPG
[Pierre MAMBOUNDOU]

Political pressure groups and leaders:
NA

International organization participation:

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 (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA,
NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD,
UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Carlos Victor BOUNGOU

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: Ambassador Eunice S. REDDICK

embassy: Boulevard du Bord de Mer, Libreville

mailing address: Centre Ville, B. P. 4000, Libreville; pouch:2270 Libreville Place, Washington, DC 20521-2270

telephone: [241] 76 20 03 through 76 20 04, after hours - 07380171
FAX: [241] 74 55 07

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 anthem:

name: "La Concorde" (The Concorde)

lyrics/music: Georges Aleka DAMAS

note: adopted 1960

Economy ::Gabon

Economy - overview:

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 depended on timber and manganese until oil was discovered offshore in the early 1970s. The oil sector now accounts for more than 50% of GDP although the industry is in decline as fields pass their peak production. Gabon continues to face fluctuating prices for its oil, timber, and manganese exports and the global recession led to a GDP contraction of 1.4% in 2009. Despite the abundance of natural wealth, poor fiscal management hobbles the economy. In 1997, an IMF mission to Gabon criticized the government for overspending on off-budget items, overborrowing from the central bank, and slipping on its schedule for privatization and administrative reform. The rebound of oil prices from 1999 to 2008 helped growth, but drops in production have hampered Gabon from fully realizing potential gains. Gabon signed a 14-month Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF in May 2007, and later that year issued a $1 billion sovereign bond to buy back a sizable portion of its Paris Club debt.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$22.54 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 120 $21.39 billion (2009 est.)

$21.69 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$12.56 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

5.4% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 47 -1.4% (2009 est.)

2.3% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$14,600 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 78 $14,100 (2009 est.)

$14,600 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 4.5%

industry: 62.7%

services: 32.8% (2010 est.)

Labor force:

712,000 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 148

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 60%

industry: 15%

services: 25% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate:

21% (2006 est.); NA% country comparison to the world: 170

Population below poverty line:
NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.5%

highest 10%: 32.7% (2005)

Investment (gross fixed):

28.8% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 22

Public debt:

25.8% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 94 27.6% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

-1.3% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 4 1.9% (2009 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

4.25% (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 99 4.75% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

NA% (31 December 2009 est.)

NA% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$1.835 billion (31 December 2010 est) country comparison to the world: 122 $1.623 billion (31 December 2009 est)

Stock of broad money:

$2.764 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 135 $2.468 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$1.074 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 148 $826.8 million (31 December 2009 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA

Agriculture - products:

cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber; cattle; okoume (a tropical softwood); fish

Industries:

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

Industrial production growth rate:

4.8% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 69

Electricity - production:

1.774 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 135

Electricity - consumption:

1.446 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 141

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

241,700 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 41

Oil - consumption:

14,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 139

Oil - exports:

227,300 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 51

Oil - imports:

4,185 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 164

Oil - proved reserves:

2 billion bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 36

Natural gas - production:

90 million cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 80

Natural gas - consumption:

90 million cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 104

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 176

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 177

Natural gas - proved reserves:

28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 73

Current account balance:

$591 million (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 50 $887 million (2009 est.)

Exports:

$6.803 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 100 $6.04 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - commodities:

crude oil 70%, timber, manganese, uranium

Exports - partners:

Russia 30.62%, US 16.56%, China 15.87%, France 4.28% (2009)

Imports:

$2.433 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 147 $2.298 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, construction materials

Imports - partners:

France 32.21%, US 7.92%, China 7.02%, Belgium 4.99%, Italy 4.81%,
Cameroon 4.56%, Netherlands 4.35% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$2.602 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 89 $1.993 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - external:

$2.374 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 135 $2.352 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange rates:

Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs per US dollar - 507.71 (2010), 472.19 (2009), 447.81 (2008), 481.83 (2007), 522.89 (2006)

Communications ::Gabon

Telephones - main lines in use:

26,500 (2009) country comparison to the world: 181

Telephones - mobile cellular:

1.373 million (2009) country comparison to the world: 141

Telephone system:

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; subscribership reached 90 per 100 persons in 2009

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) (2009)

Broadcast media:

state owns and operates 2 TV stations and 2 radio broadcast stations; a few private radio and TV stations are operational; transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are accessible; satellite service subscriptions are available (2007)

Internet country code:

.ga

Internet hosts:

90 (2010) country comparison to the world: 205

Internet users:

98,800 (2009) country comparison to the world: 160

Transportation ::Gabon

Airports:

44 (2010) country comparison to the world: 97

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 13

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 9

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 31

1,524 to 2,437 m: 6

914 to 1,523 m: 11

under 914 m: 14 (2010)

Pipelines:

gas 240 km; oil 858 km (2009)

Railways:

total: 814 km country comparison to the world: 100 standard gauge: 814 km 1.435-m gauge (2008)

Roadways:

total: 9,170 km country comparison to the world: 138 paved: 937 km

unpaved: 8,233 km (2004)

Waterways:

1,600 km (310 km on Ogooue River) (2010) country comparison to the world: 51

Merchant marine:

registered in other countries: 2 (Cambodia 1, Panama 1) (2010) country comparison to the world: 148

Ports and terminals:

Gamba, Libreville, Lucinda, Owendo, Port-Gentil

Military ::Gabon

Military branches:

Army, Navy, Air Force, National Gendarmerie, National Police

Military service age and obligation:

20 years of age for voluntary military service; there is no conscription (2009)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 344,147

females age 16-49: 345,292 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 198,970

females age 16-49: 192,807 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 17,283

female: 17,276 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

0.9% of GDP (2009) country comparison to the world: 145

Transnational Issues ::Gabon

Disputes - international:

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

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

refugees (country of origin): 7,178 (Republic of Congo) (2007)

Trafficking in persons:

current situation: Gabon is predominantly a destination country for children trafficked from other African countries for the purpose of forced labor; girls are primarily trafficked for domestic servitude, forced market vending, forced restaurant labor, and sexual exploitation, while boys are trafficked for forced street hawking and forced labor in small workshops

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Gabon is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat human trafficking in 2007, particularly in terms of efforts to convict and punish trafficking offenders; the government has not reported the convictions or sentences of any trafficking offenders; the government did not take steps to reduce demand for commercial sex acts (2008)

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