#190 Country to Visit Our BLOG! Welcome GABON!


 

 Background
El Hadj Omar BONGO Ondimba – one of the longest-serving heads of state in the world – dominated the country’s political scene for four decades (1967-2009) following independence from France in 1960. 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. Following President BONGO’s death in 2009, new elections in brought Ali Ben BONGO, son of the former president, to power. Despite constrained political conditions, Gabon’s small population, abundant natural resources, and considerable foreign support have helped make it one of the more prosperous and stable African countries.
 Geography
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
Location: Central Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean at the Equator, between Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea
Geographic coordinates: 1 00 S, 11 45 E
Area: total: 267,667 sq km land: 257,667 sq km water: 10,000 sq kmSize comparison: 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: 40 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards: NA
Current Environment Issues: deforestation; poaching
International Environment 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
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 People
Population: 1,608,321 (July 2012 est.) 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
Age structure: 0-14 years: 42.2% (male 333,746/female 330,959) 15-64 years: 54% (male 424,392/female 426,478) 65 years and over: 3.9% (male 25,687/female 35,403) (2011 est.)
Median age: total: 18.6 years male: 18.4 years female: 18.9 years (2012 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.977% (2012 est.)
Birth rate: 35 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)
Death rate: 13.07 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.16 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 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: 0.73 male(s)/female total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 49 deaths/1,000 live births male: 56.68 deaths/1,000 live births female: 41.09 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 52.29 years male: 51.65 years female: 52.93 years (2012 est.)
Total fertility rate: 4.56 children born/woman (2012 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 5.2% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 46,000 (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 2,400 (2009 est.)
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: 88.4% male: 91.9% female: 84.9% (2010 est.)
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 Government
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: mixed legal system of French civil law and customary law
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: President Ali Ben BONGO Ondimba (since 16 October 2009) head of government: Prime Minister Raymond NDONG SIMA (since 27 February 2012) 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 were 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 December 2011 (next to be held in December 2016) 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 114, RPG 3, others 3
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, 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, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Michael MOUSSA-ADAMO chancery: Suite 200, 2034 20th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 note: temporary address: 1630 Connecticut Avenue NW, 7th floor, 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 Eric D. BENJAMINSON 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
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 Economy
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 economy was reliant on oil for about 50% of its GDP, about 70% of revenues, and 87% of goods exports for 2010, although some fields have passed their peak production. A rebound of oil prices from 1999 to 2008 helped growth, but declining production has 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. Gabon continues to face fluctuating prices for its oil, timber, and manganese exports. Despite the abundance of natural wealth, poor fiscal management has stifled the economy. However, President BONGO has made efforts to increase transparency and is taking steps to make Gabon a more attractive investment destination to diversify the economy. BONGO intends to boost growth by increasing government investment in human resources and infrastructure.
GDP (purchasing power parity): GDP (purchasing power parity): $24.89 billion (2011 est.) $23.53 billion (2010 est.) $22.07 billion (2009 est.) note: data are in 2011 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate): GDP (official exchange rate): $16.18 billion (2011 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 5.8% (2011 est.) 6.6% (2010 est.) -1.4% (2009 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): GDP – per capita (PPP): $16,400 (2011 est.) $15,700 (2010 est.) $15,000 (2009 est.) note: data are in 2011 US dollars
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 5.2% industry: 54.4% services: 40.4% (2011 est.)
Labor force: 737,200 (2011 est.)
Labor force – by occupation: agriculture: 60% industry: 15% services: 25% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: 21% (2006 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.5% highest 10%: 32.7% (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.2% (2011 est.) 1.5% (2010 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): Investment (gross fixed): 28.6% of GDP (2011 est.)
Budget: revenues: $5.517 billion expenditures: $4.429 billion (2011 est.)
Public debt: 20.6% of GDP (2011 est.) 21.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
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.)
Electricity – production: 1.963 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity – consumption: 1.6 billion kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity – exports: 0 kWh (2009 est.)
Electricity – imports: 0 kWh (2009 est.)
Oil – production: 227,900 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Oil – consumption: 18,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Oil – exports: 213,500 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil – imports: 4,822 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil – proved reserves: 2 billion bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
Natural gas – production: 80 million cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – consumption: 80 million cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – exports: 0 cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – imports: 0 cu m (2009 est.)
Natural gas – proved reserves: 28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
Current account balance: $3.52 billion (2011 est.) $3.509 billion (2010 est.)
Exports: $10.86 billion (2011 est.) $9.371 billion (2010 est.)
Exports – commodities: crude oil, timber, manganese, uranium
Exports – partners: US 40.9%, Australia 9.1%, Malaysia 8.6%, Japan 5.9%, China 5%, Spain 4.8% (2011)
Imports: $3.194 billion (2011 est.) $2.5 billion (2010 est.)
Imports – commodities: machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, construction materials
Imports – partners: France 32.9%, China 8.4%, US 6.3%, Belgium 5.8%, Cameroon 4.3% (2011)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $2.32 billion (31 December 2011 est.) $1.746 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Debt – external: $2.726 billion (31 December 2011 est.) $2.331 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Exchange rates: Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs per US dollar – 465.2 (2011 est.) 495.28 (2010 est.) 472.19 (2009) 447.81 (2008) 481.83 (2007)
Fiscal year: calendar year
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 Communications
Telephones in use: 30,400 (2009) country comparison to the world: 181
Cellular Phones in use: 1.61 million (2009)
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 100 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)
Radio broadcast stations:
Television broadcast stations:
Internet country code: .ga
Internet hosts: 103 (2010)
Internet users: 98,800 (2009)
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 Transportation
Airports: 45 (2012) country comparison to the world: 96
Airports (paved runways): total: 14 over 3,047 m: 1 2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 1,524 to 2,437 m: 9 914 to 1,523 m: 1 under 914 m: 1 (2012)
Airports (unpaved runways): total: 31 1,524 to 2,437 m: 7 914 to 1,523 m: 10 under 914 m: 14 (2012)
Pipelines: gas 294 km; oil 893 km (2010)
Railways: total: 649 km standard gauge: 649 km 1.435-m gauge (2008)
Roadways: total: 9,170 km paved: 937 km unpaved: 8,233 km (2004)
Waterways: 1,600 km (310 km on Ogooue River) (2010)
Merchant marine: registered in other countries: 2 (Cambodia 1, Panama 1) (2010)
Ports and terminals: Gamba, Libreville, Lucinda, Owendo, Port-Gentil
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 Military
Military branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, National Gendarmerie, National Police
Military service age and obligation: 20 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2009)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 350,640 females age 16-49: 351,718 (2010 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 202,404 females age 16-49: 195,389 (2010 est.)

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