Gabon 1997Gabon

 Gabon | | | | | |
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Iberostar Hotels

Gabon - Introduction 1997
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Background: 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 foreign private investment have helped make Gabon one of the more prosperous black African countries.

Gabon - Geography 1997
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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 referenceAfrica

Total: 267,670 km²
Land: 257,670 km²
Water: 10,000 km²
Comparative: slightly smaller than Colorado

Land boundaries
Total: 2,551 km
Border countries: (3) Cameroon 298 km; , Republic of the Congo 1,903 km; , Equatorial Guinea 350 km

Coastline: 885 km

Maritime claims
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; always hot, humid

Terrain: narrow coastal plain; hilly interior; savanna in east and south

Extremes lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
Extremes highest point: Mont Iboundji 1,575 m

Natural resources: petroleum, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 1%
Permanent crops: 1%
Permanent pastures: 18%
Forests and woodland: 77%
Other: 3% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 40 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: NA


Gabon - People 1997
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Population: 1,190,159 (July 1997 est.)
Growth rate: 1.47% (1997 est.)

Noun: Gabonese (singular and plural)
Adjective: Gabonese

Ethnic groups: Bantu tribes including four major tribal groupings (Fang, Eshira, Bapounou, Bateke), other Africans and Europeans 154,000, including 6,000 French and 11,000 persons of dual nationality

Languages: French (official), Fang, Myene, Bateke, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi

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

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 34% (male 199,730; female 199,369)
15-64 years: 61% (male 368,086; female 359,086)
65 years and over: 5% (male 31,475; female 32,413) (July 1997 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 1.47% (1997 est.)

Birth rate: 28.11 births/1000 population (1997 est.)

Death rate: 13.39 deaths/1000 population (1997 est.)

Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1000 population (1997 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: deforestation; poaching

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female
Total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (1997 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 87.8 deaths/1000 live births (1997 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 56.05 years
Male: 53.13 years
Female: 50.06 years (1997 est.)

Total fertility rate: 3.85 children born/woman (1997 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

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

Youth unemployment

Gabon - Government 1997
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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 (opposition parties legalized 1990)

Capital: Libreville

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

Dependent areas

Independence: 17 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday: Independence Day, 17 August (1960) (Gabon granted full independence from France)

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; compulsory ICJ jurisdiction not accepted

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President El Hadj Omar BONGO (since 2 December 1967)
Head of government: Prime Minister Paulin OBAME Nguema (since 9 December 1994)
Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the president
Elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 5 December 1993 (next to be held NA 1998); prime minister appointed by the president
Election results: President Omar BONGO reelected; percent of vote - Omar BONGO 51%

Legislative branch: bicameral legislature consists of a Senate (91 seats) and a National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (120 seats); members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms
Elections: National Assembly - last held in December 1996 (next to be held in December 2001); Senate - last held 12 January 1997 (next to be held in January 2002)
Election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PDG 100, Morena-Bucherons/RNB 8, PUP 3, CLR 3, FAR 1, UPG 1, USG 2, PGP 2; Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PDG 51, RNB 17, PGP 4, ADERA 3, RDP 1, others 15
Note: the provision of the constitution for the establishment of a senate was implemented in the 12 January 1997 elections

Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme consisting of three chambers - Judicial, Administrative, and Accounts; Constitutional Court; Courts of Appeal (2; Court of State Security; County Courts

Political parties and leaders

International organization participation: ACCT, ACP, AfDB, BDEAC, CCC, CEEAC, ECA, FAO, FZ, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OIC, UDEAC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation
In the us chief of mission: Ambassador Paul BOUNDOUKOU-LATHA
In the us chancery: Suite 200, 2,034 20th Street NW, Washington, DC 20,009
In the us telephone: [1] (202) 797-1000
In the us FAX: [1] (202) 332-0668
In the us consulates: New York
From the us chief of mission: Ambassador Elizabeth RASPOLIC
From the us embassy: Boulevard de la Mer, Libreville
From the us mailing address: B. P. 4,000, Libreville
From the us telephone: [241] 76 20 03 through 76 20 04, 74 34 92
From the us FAX: [241] 74 55 07

Flag descriptionflag of Gabon: three equal horizontal bands of green (top), yellow, and blue

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Gabon - Economy 1997
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Economy overview: Notwithstanding its serious ongoing economic problems, Gabon enjoys a per capita income three times that of most nations of sub-Saharan Africa. Gabon depended on timber and manganese until oil was discovered offshore in the early 1970s. The oil sector now accounts for 50% of GDP. Real GDP growth has been feeble since 1991 and Gabon continues to face fluctuating prices for its oil, timber, manganese, and uranium exports. Despite an abundance of natural wealth and a manageable rate of population growth, 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 and a three-year Enhanced Financing Facility (EFF) at near commercial rates beginning in late 1995. 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.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 2.6% (1996 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 8.2%
Industry: 44.7%
Services: 47.1% (1993 est.)

Agriculture products: cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil; rubber; okoume (a tropical softwood; cattle; small fishing operations (provide a catch of about 30,000 metric tons)

Industries: food and beverage; textile; lumbering and plywood; cement; petroleum extraction and refining; manganese, uranium, and gold mining; chemicals; ship repair

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Labor force: NA
By occupation agriculture: 65%
By occupation services and government: 25%
By occupation industry and commerce: 10%
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 10%-14% (1993 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index

Revenues: $1.3 billion
Expenditures: $1.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $311 million (1993 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Total value: $2.7 billion (f.o.b., 1995)
Commodities: crude oil 78%, timber 14%, manganese 4%, uranium
Partners: US 59%, France 12%, Japan 4%, China 5%, Spain, Germany

Total value: $700 million (f.o.b., 1995)
Commodities: machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, petroleum products, construction materials
Partners: France 39%, Cote d'Ivoire 13%, US 6%, Netherlands 5%, Japan

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $3.9 billion (1996 )

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: CFA francs (CFAF) per US$1 - 541.69 (January 1997), 511.55 (1996), 499.15 (1995), 555.20 (1994), 283.16 (1993), 264.69 (1992)
Note: beginning 12 January 1994, the CFA franc was devalued to CFAF 100 per French franc from CFAF 50 at which it had been fixed since 1948

Gabon - Energy 1997
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 930 million kWh (1994)

Electricity consumption
Per capita: 744 kWh (1994 est.)

Electricity exports

Electricity imports

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Gabon - Communication 1997
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular

Telephone 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)

Broadcast media

Internet country code

Internet users

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Gabon - Military 1997
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $154 million (1993)
Percent of gdp: 2.4% (1993)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Gabon - Transportation 1997
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 54 (1996 est.)
With paved runways total: 31
With paved runways over 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 7
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 1
With paved runways under 914 m: 21 (1996 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 23
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 10
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 13 (1996 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 31
Over 3047 m: 1
2438 to 3047 m: 1
15-24 to 2437 m: 7
914 to 1523 m: 1
Under 914 m: 21 (1996 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 23
15-24 to 2437 m: 10
914 to 1523 m: 13 (1996 est.)


Pipelines: crude oil 270 km; petroleum products 14 km

Total: 649 km Gabon State Railways (OCTRA)
Standard gauge: 649 km 1.435-m gauge; single track (1994)


Waterways: 1,600 km perennially navigable

Merchant marine: total:3 bulk (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 37,003 GRT/60,663 DWT (1996 est.)

Ports and terminals

Gabon - Transnational issues 1997
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Disputes international: maritime boundary dispute with Equatorial Guinea because of disputed sovereignty over islands in Corisco Bay

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs


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