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This article is about the country. Gabon_sentence_0

For other uses, see Gabon (disambiguation). Gabon_sentence_1


Gabonese Republic

République gabonaise  (French)Gabon_header_cell_0_0_0


and largest cityGabon_header_cell_0_1_0

Official languagesGabon_header_cell_0_2_0 FrenchGabon_cell_0_2_1
Vernacular languagesGabon_header_cell_0_3_0 ListGabon_cell_0_3_1
Religion (2012)Gabon_header_cell_0_4_0 Gabon_cell_0_4_1
Demonym(s)Gabon_header_cell_0_5_0 Gabon_cell_0_5_1
GovernmentGabon_header_cell_0_6_0 Unitary dominant-party presidential republicGabon_cell_0_6_1
PresidentGabon_header_cell_0_7_0 Ali Bongo OndimbaGabon_cell_0_7_1
Prime MinisterGabon_header_cell_0_8_0 Rose Christiane RapondaGabon_cell_0_8_1
LegislatureGabon_header_cell_0_9_0 ParliamentGabon_cell_0_9_1
Upper houseGabon_header_cell_0_10_0 SenateGabon_cell_0_10_1
Lower houseGabon_header_cell_0_11_0 National AssemblyGabon_cell_0_11_1
Independence from FranceGabon_header_cell_0_12_0
GrantedGabon_header_cell_0_13_0 August 17, 1960Gabon_cell_0_13_1
Area Gabon_header_cell_0_14_0
TotalGabon_header_cell_0_15_0 267,667 km (103,347 sq mi) (76th)Gabon_cell_0_15_1
Water (%)Gabon_header_cell_0_16_0 3.76%Gabon_cell_0_16_1
2018 estimateGabon_header_cell_0_18_0 2,119,275 (146th)Gabon_cell_0_18_1
DensityGabon_header_cell_0_19_0 7.9/km (20.5/sq mi) (216th)Gabon_cell_0_19_1
GDP (PPP)Gabon_header_cell_0_20_0 2018 estimateGabon_cell_0_20_1
TotalGabon_header_cell_0_21_0 $38.280 billionGabon_cell_0_21_1
Per capitaGabon_header_cell_0_22_0 $18,647Gabon_cell_0_22_1
GDP (nominal)Gabon_header_cell_0_23_0 2018 estimateGabon_cell_0_23_1
TotalGabon_header_cell_0_24_0 $17.212 billionGabon_cell_0_24_1
Per capitaGabon_header_cell_0_25_0 $8,384Gabon_cell_0_25_1
Gini (2017)Gabon_header_cell_0_26_0 38


HDI (2018)Gabon_header_cell_0_27_0 0.702

high · 115thGabon_cell_0_27_1

CurrencyGabon_header_cell_0_28_0 Central African CFA franc (XAF)Gabon_cell_0_28_1
Time zoneGabon_header_cell_0_29_0 UTC+1 (WAT)Gabon_cell_0_29_1
Driving sideGabon_header_cell_0_30_0 rightGabon_cell_0_30_1
Calling codeGabon_header_cell_0_31_0 +241Gabon_cell_0_31_1
ISO 3166 codeGabon_header_cell_0_32_0 GAGabon_cell_0_32_1
Internet TLDGabon_header_cell_0_33_0 .gaGabon_cell_0_33_1

Gabon (/ɡəˈbɒn/; French pronunciation: ​[ɡabɔ̃), officially the Gabonese Republic (French: République gabonaise), is a country on the west coast of Central Africa. Gabon_sentence_2

Located on the equator, Gabon is bordered by Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, the Republic of the Congo on the east and south, and the Gulf of Guinea to the west. Gabon_sentence_3

It has an area of nearly 270,000 square kilometres (100,000 sq mi) and its population is estimated at 2.1 million people. Gabon_sentence_4

Its capital and largest city is Libreville. Gabon_sentence_5

The official language is French. Gabon_sentence_6

Since its independence from France in 1960, the sovereign state of Gabon has had three presidents. Gabon_sentence_7

In the early 1990s, Gabon introduced a multi-party system and a new democratic constitution that allowed for a more transparent electoral process and reformed many governmental institutions. Gabon_sentence_8

Abundant petroleum and foreign private investment have helped make Gabon one of the most prosperous countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the 7th highest HDI and the fourth highest GDP per capita (PPP) (after Mauritius, Equatorial Guinea and Seychelles) in the region. Gabon_sentence_9

GDP grew by more than 6% per year from 2010 to 2012. Gabon_sentence_10

However, because of inequality in income distribution, a significant proportion of the population remains poor. Gabon_sentence_11

Etymology Gabon_section_0

Gabon's name originates from gabão, Portuguese for "cloak", which is roughly the shape of the estuary of the Komo River by Libreville. Gabon_sentence_12

History Gabon_section_1

Main articles: History of Gabon and French Equatorial Africa Gabon_sentence_13

The earliest inhabitants of the area were Pygmy peoples. Gabon_sentence_14

They were largely replaced and absorbed by Bantu tribes as they migrated. Gabon_sentence_15

In the 15th century, the first Europeans arrived. Gabon_sentence_16

By the 18th century, a Myeni speaking kingdom known as Orungu formed in Gabon. Gabon_sentence_17

Through its control of the slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was able to become the most powerful of the trading centers that developed in Gabon during that period. Gabon_sentence_18

On February 10, 1722, Bartholomew Roberts, Barti Ddu, a Welsh pirate known in English as Black Bart, died at sea off Cape Lopez. Gabon_sentence_19

He raided ships off the Americas and West Africa from 1719 to 1722. Gabon_sentence_20

French explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza led his first mission to the Gabon-Congo area in 1875. Gabon_sentence_21

He founded the town of Franceville, and was later colonial governor. Gabon_sentence_22

Several Bantu groups lived in the area that is now Gabon when France officially occupied it in 1885. Gabon_sentence_23

In 1910, Gabon became one of the four territories of French Equatorial Africa, a federation that survived until 1959. Gabon_sentence_24

In World War II, the Allies invaded Gabon in order to overthrow the pro-Vichy France colonial administration. Gabon_sentence_25

The territories of French Equatorial Africa became independent on August 17, 1960. Gabon_sentence_26

The first president of Gabon, elected in 1961, was Léon M'ba, with Omar Bongo Ondimba as his vice president. Gabon_sentence_27

After M'ba's accession to power, the press was suppressed, political demonstrations banned, freedom of expression curtailed, other political parties gradually excluded from power, and the Constitution changed along French lines to vest power in the Presidency, a post that M'ba assumed himself. Gabon_sentence_28

However, when M'ba dissolved the National Assembly in January 1964 to institute one-party rule, an army coup sought to oust him from power and restore parliamentary democracy. Gabon_sentence_29

French paratroopers flew in within 24 hours to restore M'ba to power. Gabon_sentence_30

After a few days of fighting, the coup ended and the opposition was imprisoned, despite widespread protests and riots. Gabon_sentence_31

French soldiers still remain in the Camp de Gaulle on the outskirts of Gabon's capital to this day. Gabon_sentence_32

When M'Ba died in 1967, Bongo replaced him as president. Gabon_sentence_33

In March 1968, Bongo declared Gabon a one-party state by dissolving the BDG and establishing a new party—the Parti Democratique Gabonais (PDG). Gabon_sentence_34

He invited all Gabonese, regardless of previous political affiliation, to participate. Gabon_sentence_35

Bongo sought to forge a single national movement in support of the government's development policies, using the PDG as a tool to submerge the regional and tribal rivalries that had divided Gabonese politics in the past. Gabon_sentence_36

Bongo was elected president in February 1975; in April 1975, the position of vice president was abolished and replaced by the position of prime minister, who had no right to automatic succession. Gabon_sentence_37

Bongo was re-elected President in both December 1979 and November 1986 to 7-year terms. Gabon_sentence_38

In early 1990 economic discontent and a desire for political liberalization provoked violent demonstrations and strikes by students and workers. Gabon_sentence_39

In response to grievances by workers, Bongo negotiated with them on a sector-by-sector basis, making significant wage concessions. Gabon_sentence_40

In addition, he promised to open up the PDG and to organize a national political conference in March–April 1990 to discuss Gabon's future political system. Gabon_sentence_41

The PDG and 74 political organizations attended the conference. Gabon_sentence_42

Participants essentially divided into two loose coalitions, the ruling PDG and its allies, and the United Front of Opposition Associations and Parties, consisting of the breakaway Morena Fundamental and the Gabonese Progress Party. Gabon_sentence_43

The April 1990 conference approved sweeping political reforms, including creation of a national Senate, decentralization of the budgetary process, freedom of assembly and press, and cancellation of an exit visa requirement. Gabon_sentence_44

In an attempt to guide the political system's transformation to multiparty democracy, Bongo resigned as PDG chairman and created a transitional government headed by a new Prime Minister, Casimir Oye-Mba. Gabon_sentence_45

The Gabonese Social Democratic Grouping (RSDG), as the resulting government was called, was smaller than the previous government and included representatives from several opposition parties in its cabinet. Gabon_sentence_46

The RSDG drafted a provisional constitution in May 1990 that provided a basic bill of rights and an independent judiciary but retained strong executive powers for the president. Gabon_sentence_47

After further review by a constitutional committee and the National Assembly, this document came into force in March 1991. Gabon_sentence_48

Opposition to the PDG continued after the April 1990 conference, however, and in September 1990, two coup d'état attempts were uncovered and aborted. Gabon_sentence_49

Despite anti-government demonstrations after the untimely death of an opposition leader, the first multiparty National Assembly elections in almost 30 years took place in September–October 1990, with the PDG garnering a large majority. Gabon_sentence_50

Following President Omar Bongo's re-election in December 1993 with 51% of the vote, opposition candidates refused to validate the election results. Gabon_sentence_51

Serious civil disturbances and violent repression led to an agreement between the government and opposition factions to work toward a political settlement. Gabon_sentence_52

These talks led to the Paris Accords in November 1994, under which several opposition figures were included in a government of national unity. Gabon_sentence_53

This arrangement soon broke down, however, and the 1996 and 1997 legislative and municipal elections provided the background for renewed partisan politics. Gabon_sentence_54

The PDG won a landslide victory in the legislative election, but several major cities, including Libreville, elected opposition mayors during the 1997 local election. Gabon_sentence_55

Facing a divided opposition, President Omar Bongo coasted to easy re-election in December 1998, with large majorities of the vote. Gabon_sentence_56

While Bongo's major opponents rejected the outcome as fraudulent, some international observers characterized the results as representative despite many perceived irregularities, and there were none of the civil disturbances that followed the 1993 election. Gabon_sentence_57

Peaceful though flawed legislative elections held in 2001–2002, which were boycotted by a number of smaller opposition parties and were widely criticized for their administrative weaknesses, produced a National Assembly almost completely dominated by the PDG and allied independents. Gabon_sentence_58

In November 2005 President Omar Bongo was elected for his sixth term. Gabon_sentence_59

He won re-election easily, but opponents claim that the balloting process was marred by irregularities. Gabon_sentence_60

There were some instances of violence following the announcement of his win, but Gabon generally remained peaceful. Gabon_sentence_61

National Assembly elections were held again in December 2006. Gabon_sentence_62

Several seats contested because of voting irregularities were overturned by the Constitutional Court, but the subsequent run-off elections in early 2007 again yielded a PDG-controlled National Assembly. Gabon_sentence_63

On June 8, 2009, President Omar Bongo died of cardiac arrest at a Spanish hospital in Barcelona, ushering in a new era in Gabonese politics. Gabon_sentence_64

In accordance with the amended constitution, Rose Francine Rogombé, the President of the Senate, became Interim President on June 10, 2009. Gabon_sentence_65

The first contested elections in Gabon's history that did not include Omar Bongo as a candidate were held on August 30, 2009 with 18 candidates for president. Gabon_sentence_66

The lead-up to the elections saw some isolated protests, but no significant disturbances. Gabon_sentence_67

Omar Bongo's son, ruling party leader Ali Bongo Ondimba, was formally declared the winner after a 3-week review by the Constitutional Court; his inauguration took place on October 16, 2009. Gabon_sentence_68

The court's review had been prompted by claims of fraud by the many opposition candidates, with the initial announcement of election results sparking unprecedented violent protests in Port-Gentil, the country's second-largest city and a long-time bastion of opposition to PDG rule. Gabon_sentence_69

The citizens of Port-Gentil took to the streets, and numerous shops and residences were burned, including the French Consulate and a local prison. Gabon_sentence_70

Officially, only four deaths occurred during the riots, but opposition and local leaders claim many more. Gabon_sentence_71

Gendarmes and the military were deployed to Port-Gentil to support the beleaguered police, and a curfew was in effect for more than three months. Gabon_sentence_72

A partial legislative by-election was held in June 2010. Gabon_sentence_73

A newly created coalition of parties, the Union Nationale (UN), participated for the first time. Gabon_sentence_74

The UN is composed largely of PDG defectors who left the party after Omar Bongo's death. Gabon_sentence_75

Of the five hotly contested seats, the PDG won three and the UN won two; both sides claimed victory. Gabon_sentence_76

In January 2019, there was an attempted coup d'état led by soldiers against the President Ali Bongo; the coup ultimately failed. Gabon_sentence_77

Government Gabon_section_2

Main article: Politics of Gabon Gabon_sentence_78

Gabon is a republic with a presidential form of government under the 1961 constitution (revised in 1975, rewritten in 1991, and revised in 2003). Gabon_sentence_79

The president is elected by universal suffrage for a seven-year term; a 2003 constitutional amendment removed presidential term limits and facilitated a presidency for life. Gabon_sentence_80

The president can appoint and dismiss the prime minister, the cabinet, and judges of the independent Supreme Court. Gabon_sentence_81

The president also has other strong powers, such as authority to dissolve the National Assembly, declare a state of siege, delay legislation, and conduct referenda. Gabon_sentence_82

Gabon has a bicameral legislature with a National Assembly and Senate. Gabon_sentence_83

The National Assembly has 120 deputies who are popularly elected for a 5-year term. Gabon_sentence_84

The Senate is composed of 102 members who are elected by municipal councils and regional assemblies and serve for 6 years. Gabon_sentence_85

The Senate was created in the 1990–1991 constitutional revision, although it was not brought into being until after the 1997 local elections. Gabon_sentence_86

The President of the Senate is next in succession to the President. Gabon_sentence_87

Despite the democratic system of government, the Freedom in the World report lists Gabon as "not free", and elections in 2016 have been disputed. Gabon_sentence_88

Political culture Gabon_section_3

In 1990, the government made major changes to Gabon's political system. Gabon_sentence_89

A transitional constitution was drafted in May 1990 as an outgrowth of the national political conference in March–April and later revised by a constitutional committee. Gabon_sentence_90

Among its provisions were a Western-style bill of rights, creation of a National Council of Democracy to oversee the guarantee of those rights, a governmental advisory board on economic and social issues, and an independent judiciary. Gabon_sentence_91

After approval by the National Assembly, the PDG Central Committee, and the President, the Assembly unanimously adopted the constitution in March 1991. Gabon_sentence_92

Multiparty legislative elections were held in 1990–91, despite the fact that opposition parties had not been declared formally legal. Gabon_sentence_93

In spite of this, the elections produced the first representative, multiparty National Assembly. Gabon_sentence_94

In January 1991, the Assembly passed by unanimous vote a law governing the legalization of opposition parties. Gabon_sentence_95

After President Omar Bongo was re-elected in 1993, in a disputed election where only 51% of votes were cast, social and political disturbances led to the 1994 Paris Conference and Accords. Gabon_sentence_96

These provided a framework for the next elections. Gabon_sentence_97

Local and legislative elections were delayed until 1996–97. Gabon_sentence_98

In 1997, constitutional amendments put forward years earlier were adopted to create the Senate and the position of vice president, as well as to extend the president's term to seven years. Gabon_sentence_99

In October 2009, newly elected President Ali Bongo Ondimba began efforts to streamline the government. Gabon_sentence_100

In an effort to reduce corruption and government bloat, he eliminated 17 minister-level positions, abolished the vice presidency and reorganized the portfolios of numerous ministries, bureaus and directorates. Gabon_sentence_101

In November 2009, President Bongo Ondimba announced a new vision for the modernization of Gabon, called "Gabon Emergent". Gabon_sentence_102

This program contains three pillars: Green Gabon, Service Gabon, and Industrial Gabon. Gabon_sentence_103

The goals of Gabon Emergent are to diversify the economy so that Gabon becomes less reliant on petroleum, to eliminate corruption, and to modernize the workforce. Gabon_sentence_104

Under this program, exports of raw timber have been banned, a government-wide census was held, the work day has been changed to eliminate a long midday break, and a national oil company was created. Gabon_sentence_105

In provisional results, the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) won 84 out of 120 parliamentary seats. Gabon_sentence_106

On January 25, 2011, opposition leader André Mba Obame claimed the presidency, saying the country should be run by someone the people really wanted. Gabon_sentence_107

He also selected 19 ministers for his government, and the entire group, along with hundreds of others, spent the night at UN headquarters. Gabon_sentence_108

On January 26, the government dissolved Mba Obame's party. Gabon_sentence_109

AU chairman Jean Ping said that Mba Obame's action "hurts the integrity of legitimate institutions and also endangers the peace, the security and the stability of Gabon." Gabon_sentence_110

Interior Minister Jean-François Ndongou accused Mba Obame and his supporters of treason. Gabon_sentence_111

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said that he recognized Ondimba as the only official Gabonese president. Gabon_sentence_112

The 2016 presidential election was disputed, with very close official results reported. Gabon_sentence_113

Protests broke out in the capital and met a brutal repression which culminated in the alleged bombing of opposition party headquarters by the presidential guard. Gabon_sentence_114

Between 50 and 100 citizens were killed by security forces and 1,000 arrested. Gabon_sentence_115

International observers criticized irregularities, including unnaturally high turnout reported for some districts. Gabon_sentence_116

The country's supreme court threw out some suspect precincts, but a full recount was not possible because ballots had been destroyed. Gabon_sentence_117

The election was declared in favor of the incumbent Ondimba. Gabon_sentence_118

European Parliament issued 2 resolutions denouncing the unclear results of the election and calling for an independent investigation on the human rights violations. Gabon_sentence_119

Foreign relations Gabon_section_4

Further information: Foreign relations of Gabon Gabon_sentence_120

Since independence, Gabon has followed a nonaligned policy, advocating dialogue in international affairs and recognizing each side of divided countries. Gabon_sentence_121

In inter-African affairs, Gabon espouses development by evolution rather than revolution and favors regulated private enterprise as the system most likely to promote rapid economic growth. Gabon_sentence_122

Gabon played an important leadership role in the stability of Central Africa through involvement in mediation efforts in Chad, the Central African Republic, Angola, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C. Gabon_sentence_123

), and Burundi. Gabon_sentence_124

In December 1999, through the mediation efforts of President Bongo, a peace accord was signed in the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville) between the government and most leaders of an armed rebellion. Gabon_sentence_125

President Bongo was also involved in the continuing D.R.C. Gabon_sentence_126

peace process, and played a role in mediating the crisis in Ivory Coast. Gabon_sentence_127

Gabonese armed forces were also an integral part of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) mission to the Central African Republic. Gabon_sentence_128

Gabon is a member of the United Nations (UN) and some of its specialized and related agencies, as well as of the World Bank; the IMF; the African Union (AU); the Central African Customs Union/Central African Economic and Monetary Community (UDEAC/CEMAC); EU/ACP association under the Lome Convention; the Communaute Financiere Africaine (CFA); the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC); the Nonaligned Movement; and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS/CEEAC), among others. Gabon_sentence_129

In 1995, Gabon withdrew from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), rejoining in 2016. Gabon_sentence_130

Gabon was elected to a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for January 2010 through December 2011 and held the rotating presidency in March 2010. Gabon_sentence_131

Military Gabon_section_5

Further information: Armed Forces of Gabon Gabon_sentence_132

Gabon has a small, professional military of about 5,000 personnel, divided into army, navy, air force, gendarmerie, and police force. Gabon_sentence_133

Gabonese forces are oriented to the defense of the country and have not been trained for an offensive role. Gabon_sentence_134

A 1,800-member guard provides security for the president. Gabon_sentence_135

Administrative divisions Gabon_section_6

Main article: Subdivisions of Gabon Gabon_sentence_136

Gabon is divided into nine provinces, which are further subdivided into 50 departments. Gabon_sentence_137

The president appoints the provincial governors, the prefects, and the subprefects. Gabon_sentence_138

The provinces are (capitals in parentheses): Gabon_sentence_139


  1. Estuaire (Libreville)Gabon_item_0_0
  2. Haut-Ogooué (Franceville)Gabon_item_0_1
  3. Moyen-Ogooué (Lambaréné)Gabon_item_0_2
  4. Ngounié (Mouila)Gabon_item_0_3
  5. Nyanga (Tchibanga)Gabon_item_0_4
  6. Ogooué-Ivindo (Makokou)Gabon_item_0_5
  7. Ogooué-Lolo (Koulamoutou)Gabon_item_0_6
  8. Ogooué-Maritime (Port-Gentil)Gabon_item_0_7
  9. Woleu-Ntem (Oyem)Gabon_item_0_8

Geography Gabon_section_7

Main articles: Geography of Gabon and Geology of Gabon Gabon_sentence_140

Gabon is located on the Atlantic coast of central Africa on the equator, between latitudes 3°N and 4°S, and longitudes and 15°E. Gabon_sentence_141

Gabon generally has an equatorial climate with an extensive system of rainforests, with 89.3% of its land area forested. Gabon_sentence_142

There are three distinct regions: the coastal plains (ranging between 20 and 300 km [10 and 190 mi] from the ocean's shore), the mountains (the Cristal Mountains to the northeast of Libreville, the Chaillu Massif in the centre), and the savanna in the east. Gabon_sentence_143

The coastal plains form a large section of the World Wildlife Fund's Atlantic Equatorial coastal forests ecoregion and contain patches of Central African mangroves especially on the Muni River estuary on the border with Equatorial Guinea. Gabon_sentence_144

Geologically, Gabon is primarily ancient Archean and Paleoproterozoic igneous and metamorphic basement rock, belonging to the stable continental crust of the Congo Craton, a remnant section of extremely old continental crust. Gabon_sentence_145

Some formations are more than two billion years old. Gabon_sentence_146

Ancient rock units are overlain by marine carbonate, lacustrine and continental sedimentary rocks as well as unconsolidated sediments and soils that formed in the last 2.5 million years of the Quaternary. Gabon_sentence_147

The rifting apart of the supercontinent Pangaea created rift basins that filled with sediments and formed the hydrocarbons which are now a keystone of the Gabonese economy. Gabon_sentence_148

Gabon is notable for the Oklo reactor zones, the only known natural nuclear fission reactor on Earth which was active two billion years ago. Gabon_sentence_149

The site was discovered during uranium mining in the 1970s to supply the French nuclear power industry. Gabon_sentence_150

Gabon's largest river is the Ogooué which is 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) long. Gabon_sentence_151

Gabon has three karst areas where there are hundreds of caves located in the dolomite and limestone rocks. Gabon_sentence_152

Some of the caves include Grotte du Lastoursville, Grotte du Lebamba, Grotte du Bongolo, and Grotte du Kessipougou. Gabon_sentence_153

Many caves have not been explored yet. Gabon_sentence_154

A National Geographic Expedition visited the caves in the summer of 2008 to document them. Gabon_sentence_155

Gabon is also noted for efforts to preserve the natural environment. Gabon_sentence_156

In 2002, President Omar Bongo Ondimba designated roughly 10% of the nation's territory to be part of its national park system (with 13 parks in total), one of the largest proportions of nature parkland in the world. Gabon_sentence_157

The National Agency for National Parks manages Gabon's national park system. Gabon_sentence_158

Natural resources include petroleum, magnesium, iron, gold, uranium, and forests. Gabon_sentence_159

Economy Gabon_section_8

Main article: Economy of Gabon Gabon_sentence_160

Gabon's economy is dominated by oil. Gabon_sentence_161

Oil revenues constitute roughly 46% of the government's budget, 43% of the gross domestic product (GDP), and 81% of exports. Gabon_sentence_162

Oil production is currently declining rapidly from its high point of 370,000 barrels per day in 1997. Gabon_sentence_163

Some estimates suggest that Gabonese oil will be expended by 2025. Gabon_sentence_164

In spite of the decreasing oil revenues, planning is only now beginning for an after-oil scenario. Gabon_sentence_165

The Grondin Oil Field was discovered in 50 m (160 ft) water depths 40 km (25 mi) offshore, in 1971 and produces from the Batanga sandstones of Maastrichtian age forming an anticline salt structural trap which is about 2 km (1.2 mi) deep. Gabon_sentence_166

Gabonese public expenditures from the years of significant oil revenues were not spent efficiently. Gabon_sentence_167

Overspending on the Trans-Gabon Railway, the CFA franc devaluation of 1994, and periods of low oil prices caused serious debt problems that still plague the country. Gabon_sentence_168

Gabon earned a poor reputation with the Paris Club and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over the management of its debt and revenues. Gabon_sentence_169

Successive IMF missions have criticized the government for overspending on off-budget items (in good years and bad), over-borrowing from the Central Bank, and slipping on the schedule for privatization and administrative reform. Gabon_sentence_170

However, in September 2005 Gabon successfully concluded a 15-month Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF. Gabon_sentence_171

Another 3-year Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF was approved in May 2007. Gabon_sentence_172

Because of the financial crisis and social developments surrounding the death of President Omar Bongo and the elections, Gabon was unable to meet its economic goals under the Stand-By Arrangement in 2009. Gabon_sentence_173

Negotiations with the IMF were ongoing. Gabon_sentence_174

Gabon's oil revenues have given it a per capita GDP of $8,600, unusually high for the region. Gabon_sentence_175

However, a skewed income distribution and poor social indicators are evident. Gabon_sentence_176

The richest 20% of the population earn over 90% of the income while about a third of the Gabonese population lives in poverty. Gabon_sentence_177

The economy is highly dependent on extraction, but primary materials are abundant. Gabon_sentence_178

Before the discovery of oil, logging was the pillar of the Gabonese economy. Gabon_sentence_179

Today, logging and manganese mining are the next-most-important income generators. Gabon_sentence_180

Recent explorations suggest the presence of the world's largest unexploited iron ore deposit. Gabon_sentence_181

For many who live in rural areas without access to employment opportunity in extractive industries, remittances from family members in urban areas or subsistence activities provide income. Gabon_sentence_182

Foreign and local observers have lamented the lack of diversity in the Gabonese economy. Gabon_sentence_183

Various factors have so far limited the development of new industries: Gabon_sentence_184


  • the market is small, about a millionGabon_item_1_9
  • dependent on imports from FranceGabon_item_1_10
  • unable to capitalize on regional marketsGabon_item_1_11
  • entrepreneurial zeal not always present among the GaboneseGabon_item_1_12
  • a fairly regular stream of oil "rent", even if it is diminishingGabon_item_1_13

Further investment in the agricultural or tourism sectors is complicated by poor infrastructure. Gabon_sentence_185

The small processing and service sectors that do exist are largely dominated by a few prominent local investors. Gabon_sentence_186

At World Bank and IMF insistence, the government embarked in the 1990s on a program of privatization of its state-owned companies and administrative reform, including reducing public sector employment and salary growth, but progress has been slow. Gabon_sentence_187

The new government has voiced a commitment to work toward an economic transformation of the country but faces significant challenges to realize this goal. Gabon_sentence_188

Society Gabon_section_9

Demographics Gabon_section_10

Main article: Demographics of Gabon Gabon_sentence_189

Gabon has a population of approximately 2.1 million. Gabon_sentence_190

Historical and environmental factors caused Gabon's population to decline between 1900 and 1940. Gabon_sentence_191

Gabon has one of the lowest population densities of any country in Africa, and the fourth highest Human Development Index in Sub-Saharan Africa. Gabon_sentence_192

Ethnic groups Gabon_section_11

Almost all Gabonese are of Bantu origin. Gabon_sentence_193

Gabon has at least forty ethnic groups with differing languages and cultures. Gabon_sentence_194

The Fang are generally thought to be the largest, although recent census data seem to favor the Nzebi. Gabon_sentence_195

Others include the Myene, Kota, Shira, Puru, and Kande. Gabon_sentence_196

There are also various indigenous Pygmy peoples: the Bongo, Kota, and Baka; the latter speak the only non-Bantu language in Gabon. Gabon_sentence_197

More than 10,000 native French live in Gabon, including an estimated 2,000 dual nationals. Gabon_sentence_198

Ethnic boundaries are less sharply drawn in Gabon than elsewhere in Africa. Gabon_sentence_199

Most ethnicities are spread throughout Gabon, leading to constant contact and interaction among the groups, and there is no ethnic tension. Gabon_sentence_200

One important reason for this is that intermarriage is extremely common and every Gabonese person is connected by blood to many different tribes. Gabon_sentence_201

Indeed, intermarriage is often required because among many tribes, marriage within the same tribe is prohibited because it is regarded as incest. Gabon_sentence_202

This is because those tribes consist of the descendants of a specific ancestor, and therefore all members of the tribe are regarded as close kin to each other (identical to the clan system of Scotland or the Gotra system in the Hindu caste system). Gabon_sentence_203

French, the language of its former colonial ruler, is a unifying force. Gabon_sentence_204

The Democratic Party of Gabon (PDG)'s historical dominance also has served to unite various ethnicities and local interests into a larger whole. Gabon_sentence_205

Population centres Gabon_section_12

Further information: List of cities in Gabon Gabon_sentence_206

Languages Gabon_section_13

Further information: Languages of Gabon Gabon_sentence_207

French is the country's sole official language. Gabon_sentence_208

It is estimated that 80% of Gabon's population can speak French, and that 30% of Libreville residents are native speakers of the language. Gabon_sentence_209

Nationally, 32% of the Gabonese people speak the Fang language as a mother tongue. Gabon_sentence_210

The 2013 census found that only 63.7% of Gabon's population could speak a Gabonese language, broken down by 86.3% in rural areas and 60.5% in urban areas speaking at least one national language. Gabon_sentence_211

In October 2012, just before the 14th summit of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, the country declared an intention to add English as a second official language, reportedly in response to an investigation by France into corruption in the African country, though a government spokesman insisted it was for practical reasons only. Gabon_sentence_212

It was later clarified that the country intended to introduce English as a first foreign language in schools, while keeping French as the general medium of instruction and the sole official language. Gabon_sentence_213

Religion Gabon_section_14

Further information: Religion in Gabon Gabon_sentence_214

The majority of people in Gabon are Christians. Gabon_sentence_215

Major religions practiced in Gabon include Christianity (Roman Catholicism and Protestantism), Bwiti, Islam, and indigenous animistic religion. Gabon_sentence_216

Many persons practice elements of both Christianity and traditional indigenous religious beliefs. Gabon_sentence_217

Approximately 73 percent of the population, including noncitizens, practice at least some elements of Christianity, including the syncretistic Bwiti; 12 percent practice Islam. Gabon_sentence_218

10 percent practice traditional indigenous religious beliefs exclusively; and 5 percent practice no religion or are atheists. Gabon_sentence_219

A vivid description of taboos and magic is provided by Schweitzer. Gabon_sentence_220

Health Gabon_section_15

Main article: Health in Gabon Gabon_sentence_221

Most of the health services of Gabon are public, but there are some private institutions, of which the best known is the hospital established in 1913 in Lambaréné by Albert Schweitzer. Gabon_sentence_222

Gabon's medical infrastructure is considered one of the best in West Africa. Gabon_sentence_223

By 1985 there were 28 hospitals, 87 medical centers, and 312 infirmaries and dispensaries. Gabon_sentence_224

As of 2004, there were an estimated 29 physicians per 100,000 people. Gabon_sentence_225

Approximately 90% of the population had access to health care services. Gabon_sentence_226

In 2000, 70% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 21% had adequate sanitation. Gabon_sentence_227

A comprehensive government health program treats such diseases as leprosy, sleeping sickness, malaria, filariasis, intestinal worms, and tuberculosis. Gabon_sentence_228

Rates for immunization of children under the age of one were 97% for tuberculosis and 65% for polio. Gabon_sentence_229

Immunization rates for DPT and measles were 37% and 56% respectively. Gabon_sentence_230

Gabon has a domestic supply of pharmaceuticals from a factory in Libreville. Gabon_sentence_231

The total fertility rate has decreased from 5.8 in 1960 to 4.2 children per mother during childbearing years in 2000. Gabon_sentence_232

Ten percent of all births were low birth weight. Gabon_sentence_233

The maternal mortality rate was 520 per 100,000 live births as of 1998. Gabon_sentence_234

In 2005, the infant mortality rate was 55.35 per 1,000 live births and life expectancy was 55.02 years. Gabon_sentence_235

As of 2002, the overall mortality rate was estimated at 17.6 per 1,000 inhabitants. Gabon_sentence_236

The HIV/AIDS prevalence is estimated to be 5.2% of the adult population (ages 15–49). Gabon_sentence_237

As of 2009, approximately 46,000 people were living with HIV/AIDS. Gabon_sentence_238

There were an estimated 2,400 deaths from AIDS in 2009 – down from 3,000 deaths in 2003. Gabon_sentence_239

Education Gabon_section_16

Main article: Education in Gabon Gabon_sentence_240

Gabon's education system is regulated by two ministries: the Ministry of Education, in charge of pre-kindergarten through the last high school grade, and the Ministry of Higher Education and Innovative Technologies, in charge of universities, higher education, and professional schools. Gabon_sentence_241

Education is compulsory for children ages 6 to 16 under the Education Act. Gabon_sentence_242

Most children in Gabon start their school lives by attending nurseries or "Crèche", then kindergarten known as "Jardins d'Enfants". Gabon_sentence_243

At age 6, they are enrolled in primary school, "École Primaire" which is made up of six grades. Gabon_sentence_244

The next level is "École Secondaire", which is made up of seven grades. Gabon_sentence_245

The planned graduation age is 19 years old. Gabon_sentence_246

Those who graduate can apply for admission at institutions of higher learning, including engineering schools or business schools. Gabon_sentence_247

In Gabon as of 2012, the literacy rate of its population ages 15 and above was 82%. Gabon_sentence_248

The government has used oil revenue for school construction, paying teachers' salaries, and promoting education, including in rural areas. Gabon_sentence_249

However, maintenance of school structures, as well as teachers' salaries, has been declining. Gabon_sentence_250

In 2002 the gross primary enrollment rate was 132 percent, and in 2000 the net primary enrollment rate was 78 percent. Gabon_sentence_251

Gross and net enrollment ratios are based on the number of students formally registered in primary school and therefore do not necessarily reflect actual school attendance. Gabon_sentence_252

As of 2001, 69 percent of children who started primary school were likely to reach grade 5. Gabon_sentence_253

Problems in the education system include poor management and planning, lack of oversight, poorly qualified teachers, and overcrowded classrooms. Gabon_sentence_254

Culture Gabon_section_17

Main article: Culture of Gabon Gabon_sentence_255

A country with a primarily oral tradition up until the spread of literacy in the 21st century, Gabon is rich in folklore and mythology. Gabon_sentence_256

"Raconteurs" are currently working to keep traditions alive such as the mvett among the Fangs and the ingwala among the Nzebis. Gabon_sentence_257

Gabon also features internationally celebrated masks, such as the n'goltang (Fang) and the reliquary figures of the Kota. Gabon_sentence_258

Each group has its own set of masks used for various reasons. Gabon_sentence_259

They are mostly used in traditional ceremonies such as marriage, birth and funerals. Gabon_sentence_260

Traditionalists mainly work with rare local woods and other precious materials. Gabon_sentence_261

Music Gabon_section_18

Further information: Music of Gabon Gabon_sentence_262

Gabonese music is lesser-known in comparison with regional giants like the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon. Gabon_sentence_263

The country boasts an array of folk styles, as well as pop stars like Patience Dabany and Annie-Flore Batchiellilys, a Gabonese singer and renowned live performer. Gabon_sentence_264

Also known are guitarists like Georges Oyendze, La Rose Mbadou and Sylvain Avara, and the singer Oliver N'Goma. Gabon_sentence_265

Imported rock and hip hop from the US and UK are popular in Gabon, as are rumba, makossa and soukous. Gabon_sentence_266

Gabonese folk instruments include the obala, the ngombi [], the balafon and traditional drums. Gabon_sentence_267

Media Gabon_section_19

Further information: Media of Gabon Gabon_sentence_268

Radio-Diffusion Télévision Gabonaise (RTG), which is owned and operated by the government, broadcasts in French and indigenous languages. Gabon_sentence_269

Color television broadcasts have been introduced in major cities. Gabon_sentence_270

In 1981, a commercial radio station, Africa No. Gabon_sentence_271

1, began operations. Gabon_sentence_272

The most powerful radio station on the continent, it has participation from the French and Gabonese governments and private European media. Gabon_sentence_273

In 2004, the government operated two radio stations and another seven were privately owned. Gabon_sentence_274

There were also two government television stations and four privately owned. Gabon_sentence_275

In 2003, there were an estimated 488 radios and 308 television sets for every 1,000 people. Gabon_sentence_276

About 11.5 of every 1,000 people were cable subscribers. Gabon_sentence_277

Also in 2003, there were 22.4 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 26 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. Gabon_sentence_278

The national press service is the Gabonese Press Agency, which publishes a daily paper, Gabon-Matin (circulation 18,000 as of 2002). Gabon_sentence_279

L'Union in Libreville, the government-controlled daily newspaper, had an average daily circulation of 40,000 in 2002. Gabon_sentence_280

The weekly Gabon d'Aujourdhui is published by the Ministry of Communications. Gabon_sentence_281

There are about nine privately owned periodicals which are either independent or affiliated with political parties. Gabon_sentence_282

These publish in small numbers and are often delayed by financial constraints. Gabon_sentence_283

The constitution of Gabon provides for free speech and a free press, and the government supports these rights. Gabon_sentence_284

Several periodicals actively criticize the government and foreign publications are widely available. Gabon_sentence_285

Cuisine Gabon_section_20

Further information: Gabonese cuisine Gabon_sentence_286

Gabonese cuisine is influenced by French cuisine, but staple foods are also available. Gabon_sentence_287

Sports Gabon_section_21

Main article: Sports in Gabon Gabon_sentence_288

The Gabon national football team has represented the nation since 1962. Gabon_sentence_289

The Under-23 football team won the 2011 CAF U-23 Championship and qualified for the 2012 London Olympics. Gabon_sentence_290

Gabon were joint hosts, along with Equatorial Guinea, of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, and the sole hosts of the competition's 2017 tournament. Gabon_sentence_291

The Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang plays for the Gabon national team. Gabon_sentence_292

The Gabon national basketball team, nicknamed Les Panthères, finished 8th at the AfroBasket 2015, its best performance ever. Gabon_sentence_293

Gabon has competed at most Summer Olympics since 1972. Gabon_sentence_294

The country's sole Olympic medalist is Anthony Obame, who won a silver medal in taekwondo at the 2012 Olympics, held in London. Gabon_sentence_295

Gabon has excellent recreational fishing and is considered one of the best places in the world to catch Atlantic tarpon. Gabon_sentence_296

See also Gabon_section_22


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