Gabon’s population in 2015 was estimated to be around 1.7 million, making it one of the least populous countries in Africa. The majority of Gabonese citizens identify as Christian, with a minority of Muslims and traditional religious groups also present. The Gabonese economy is heavily reliant on the export of oil and minerals, with oil production accounting for almost half of the country’s GDP. Other exports include timber and cocoa. Gabon has strong trade ties with its African neighbors, particularly Cameroon, as well as other countries worldwide. In terms of politics, Gabon is a unitary presidential republic with a multi-party system. In 2015 Ali Bongo Ondimba was the president after winning reelection in 2009. In foreign relations, Gabon is a member of both the United Nations and African Union and is actively involved in international affairs such as peacekeeping operations. Relations with Russia have been strained since 2014 due to Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine but Gabon has maintained close ties through diplomatic channels. See ehealthfacts for Gabon in the year of 2005.
Gabon. According to COUNTRYAAH, Libreville is the capital of Gabon which is located in Central Africa. President Ali Ben Bongo stated in August that he would donate money he inherited from his father, the late President Omar Bongo who died in 2009, to a youth foundation. Two properties in Paris would also be transferred to the state. But the succession has not taken place. In France, an investigation has been going on for several years about how Omar Bongo acquired his wealth.
- Also see AbbreviationFinder.org for Gabon country abbreviations, including geography, history, economy and politics.
The play was seen as part of Bongo’s attempt to strengthen his chances for re-election in 2016. A likely challenger will be the African Union’s former Commission President Jean Ping, who was Foreign Minister for nine years under Omar Bongo.
In April, riots broke out in the capital Libreville following the news that opposition leader André Mba Obame, who lost a disputed 2009 presidential election against Ali Ben Bongo, has died in neighboring Cameroon. Supporters claimed he was poisoned. At the beginning of the year, Mba Obama’s party, National Unity, was again allowed to operate. It was banned in 2011 since Mba Obame continued to claim that he was deprived of victory.
Continued pressure on oil prices contributed to the government’s decision in October to cut the budget by 14%.
Economic conditions. – With a per capita GDP that was around $ 3,000 in 1990, Gabon holds the second place in Africa after Libya, surpassing even South Africa. Its wealth, however, is of recent origin and derives from the discovery of oil.
Only 1.7% of the territory is reserved for agriculture, which is still covered three quarters by forests and 17.6% by meadows and pastures. After a period of liberal development entrusted to foreign companies and capital, in 1972 the government launched a policy of ” gabonization ” of the economy, consisting in the entrusting of executive positions to national executives. Since 1975 the country has signed the Lomé treaty of association with the European Community, with which it maintains close relations. The government is always supported by the presence of a French military contingent and is a member of the Franco-African Standing Conference, maintaining privileged relations with France. After the experience of UDEAC, Gabon promoted the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC),
Subsistence agriculture has undergone some improvement with the spread, alongside cassava (which remains the food base), of corn and rice. The lack of good communication routes affects the development of the commercial sector (cocoa, coffee, oil palm, sugar cane). The breeding is still very modest, waiting for the fight against the tsetse fly to give some results. The equipment of new fishing ports allows a better exploitation of coastal fish resources. After the intense uses of the past, the production of precious wood tends to decrease (3,618,000 m 3 exported in 1988).
The expansion of the economy is essentially due to the mining sector, despite the “cooling” imposed by the International Monetary Fund. Oil contributes to the formation of almost half of GDP and over 70% of exports (1989). Production, which began in 1957, rose in 1967 with the exploitation of the GambaIvinga fields and the off-shore south of Port-Gentil. In 1976, production exceeded 11 million tonnes, then settled at 8-10 million, corresponding to the quota established by OPEC (but in 1990 production exceeded 13 million tonnes). The state holds 25% of the capital of foreign companies (Elf Gabon, Shell Gabon, AMOCO Gabon).
The manganese extracted since 1962 from the Moanda field (Alto Ogooué) by a Franco-American consortium ensures Gabon the fourth place in world production (2,550,000 t in 1989) and has prospects for an increase with the arrival of the Transgabonese railway in Masuku. Uranium, extracted from 1961 in Mounana (near Moanda), covers about one fifth of the French needs (870 t in 1989). The rich iron deposits (65% hematite) of the North-East are still awaiting exploitation, for which the construction of a railway from Mékambo to Owendo is planned.
The industrial sector accounts for just 11% of GDP, thanks above all to the two oil refineries in Port-Gentil and the wood processing plants for the production of plywood. A large sugar refinery has been built in Masuku.
At Port-Gentil, the new specialized ports of Owendo (timber) and Santa Clara (minerals), connected to the Trans-Gabonese railway, have been opened to traffic. Since 1976, after leaving Air Afrique, air services have been handled by the national company Air Gabon. It has provided communications since 1981 in Moyabi, near Masuku, the most powerful radio station on the African continent, equipped with 4 transmitters of 500 kW each. Gabon has a trade balance in surplus, thanks to exports of oil, manganese, uranium and timber, which it sends mainly to France and the United States. Finally, the country’s situation of relative well-being is reflected in the foreign debt which for Gabon, in 1989, was less than 4 billion dollars.