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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2002
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2002.

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

Map of Gabon

Legend: Definition Definition Field Listing Field Listing
   Introduction    Gabon
Definition Field Listing
Ruled by autocratic presidents since independence from France in 1960, Gabon introduced a multiparty system and a new constitution in the early 1990s that allowed for a more transparent electoral process and for reforms of governmental institutions. A small population, abundant natural resources, and considerable foreign support have helped make Gabon one of the more prosperous black African countries.
   Geography    Gabon
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
Definition Field Listing
total: 267,667 sq km
water: 10,000 sq km
land: 257,667 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
Definition Field Listing
885 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
contiguous zone: 24 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
Definition Field Listing
tropical; always hot, humid
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, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore, hydropower
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 1.26%
permanent crops: 0.66%
other: 98.08% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
150 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
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, Nuclear Test Ban, 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
Definition Field Listing
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 2002 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 33.3% (male 205,559; female 204,796)
15-64 years: 60.6% (male 376,103; female 371,422)
65 years and over: 6.1% (male 37,220; female 38,253) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
0.97% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing
27.24 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing
17.59 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing
93.5 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing
total population: 49.11 years
female: 50.25 years (2002 est.)
male: 48.01 years
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing
3.65 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing
9% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing
23,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing
2,000 (1999 est.)
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
Definition Field Listing
Christian 55%-75%, animist, Muslim less than 1%
Definition Field Listing
French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi
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
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Gabonese Republic
conventional short form: Gabon
local short form: Gabon
local long form: Republique Gabonaise
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
republic; multiparty presidential regime (opposition parties legalized in 1990)
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
9 provinces; Estuaire, Haut-Ogooue, Moyen-Ogooue, Ngounie, Nyanga, Ogooue-Ivindo, Ogooue-Lolo, Ogooue-Maritime, Woleu-Ntem
Definition Field Listing
17 August 1960 (from France)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Founding of the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG), 12 March (1968)
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
Definition Field Listing
21 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: President El Hadj Omar BONGO (since 2 December 1967)
head of government: Prime Minister Jean-Francois NTOUTOUME-EMANE (since 23 January 1999)
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; election last held 6 December 1998 (next to be held NA 2005); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: President El Hadj Omar BONGO reelected; percent of vote - El Hadj Omar BONGO 66.6%, Pierre MAMBOUNDOU 16.5%, Fr. Paul M'BA-ABESSOLE 13.4%
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: National Assembly - last held 9 and 23 December 2001 (next to be held NA December 2006); Senate - last held 26 January and 9 February 1997 (next to be held in January 2004)
election results: 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; Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PDG 53, RNB 20, PGP 4, ADERE 3, RDP 1, CLR 1, independents 9
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
African Forum for Reconstruction or FAR [Leon MBOU-YEMBI]; 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, former sole party [Simplice Nguedet MANZELA, secretary general]; Gabonese Party for Progress or PGP [Pierre-Louis AGONDJO-OKAWE, president]; Gabonese People's Union or UPG [Pierre MAMBOUNDOU]; 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]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Jules-Darius OGOUEBANDJA
consulate(s): New York
FAX: [1] (202) 332-0668
telephone: [1] (202) 797-1000
chancery: Suite 200, 2034 20th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Kenneth P. MOOREFIELD
embassy: Boulevard de la 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
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Gabon enjoys a per capita income four times that of most nations of sub-Saharan Africa. 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, the economy is hobbled by poor fiscal management. In 1992, the fiscal deficit widened to 2.4% of GDP, and Gabon failed to settle arrears on its bilateral debt, leading to a cancellation of rescheduling agreements with official and private creditors. Devaluation of its Francophone currency by 50% on 12 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 mandate progress in privatization and fiscal discipline. France provided additional financial support in January 1997 after Gabon had 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.
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $6.7 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.5% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing
purchasing power parity - $5,500 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 10%
industry: 60%
services: 30% (1999 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing
1.5% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing
600,000 600,000
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 60%, services and government 25%, industry and commerce 15%
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing
21% (1997 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $1.8 billion
expenditures: $1.8 billion, including capital expenditures of $310 million (2002 est.)
Definition Field Listing
food and beverage; textile; lumbering and plywood; cement; petroleum extraction and refining; manganese, and gold mining; chemicals; ship repair
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
-6.4% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing
850 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 29%
hydro: 71%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing
790.5 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber; cattle; okoume (a tropical softwood); fish
Definition Field Listing
$2.5 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
crude oil 81%, timber, manganese, uranium (2000)
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 51%, France 17%, China 8%, Netherlands Antilles 4% (2000)
Definition Field Listing
$921 million f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, construction materials
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
France 62%, Cote d'Ivoire 7%, US 5%, Belgium 3% (2000)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing
$3.6 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$331 million (1995) (1995)
Definition Field Listing
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XAF) per US dollar - 742.79 (January 2002), 733.04 (2001), 711.98 (2000), 615.70 (1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997); note - from 1 January 1999, the XAF is pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 XAF per euro
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Gabon
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing
39,000 (1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing
120,000 (2000)
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: satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); fiber optic submarine cable to be in service in 2002
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 6, FM 7 (and 11 repeaters), shortwave 4 (2001)
Definition Field Listing
208,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
4 (plus four low-powered repeaters) (2001)
Definition Field Listing
63,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
1 (2001)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing
18,000 (2002)
   Transportation    Gabon
Definition Field Listing
total: 649 km
standard gauge: 649 km 1.435-m gauge; single-track (2001)
Definition Field Listing
total: 8,454 km
paved: 838 km (including 30 km of expressways)
unpaved: 7,616 km (2000)
Definition Field Listing
1,600 km (perennially navigable)
Definition Field Listing
crude oil 270 km; petroleum products 14 km
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Cap Lopez, Kango, Lambarene, Libreville, Mayumba, Owendo, Port-Gentil
Definition Field Listing
59 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 10
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 47
1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
914 to 1,523 m: 15
under 914 m: 24 (2002)
   Military    Gabon
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Army, Navy, Air Force, Presidential (Republican) Guard (charged with protecting the president and other senior officials), National Gendarmerie, National Police
Military manpower - military age:
Definition Field Listing
20 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 284,358 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 146,908 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 11,304 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing
$70.8 million (FY01)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing
2% (FY01)
   Transnational Issues    Gabon
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
maritime boundary dispute with Equatorial Guinea because of disputed sovereignty over islands in Corisco Bay

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003

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