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 December 2002 and the presidential election in 2005 exposed the weaknesses of formal political structures in Gabon. Following President BONGO's death in 2009, a new election brought Ali BONGO Ondimba, 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 stable African countries.



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

Map references



total: 267,667 sq km
land: 257,667 sq km
water: 10,000 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly smaller than Colorado

Land boundaries

total: 3,261 km
border countries (3): Cameroon 349 km, Republic of the Congo 2,567 km, Equatorial Guinea 345 km


885 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


tropical; always hot, humid


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


mean elevation: 377 m
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

agricultural land: 19%
arable land 1.2%; permanent crops 0.6%; permanent pasture 17.2%
forest: 81%
other: 0% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

40 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards


Environment - current issues

deforestation; poaching

Environment - international 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

Geography - note

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 and Society

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


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 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Gabonese (singular and plural)
adjective: Gabonese


French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi


Catholic 41.9%, Protestant 13.7%, other Christian 32.4%, Muslim 6.4%, animist 0.3%, other 0.3%, none/no answer 5% (2012 est.)

Demographic profile

Gabon’s oil revenues have given it one of the highest per capita income levels in sub-Saharan Africa, but the wealth is not evenly distributed and poverty is widespread. Unemployment is especially prevalent among the large youth population; more than 60% of the population is under the age of 25. With a fertility rate still averaging more than 4 children per woman, the youth population will continue to grow and further strain the mismatch between Gabon’s supply of jobs and the skills of its labor force.
Gabon has been a magnet to migrants from neighboring countries since the 1960s because of the discovery of oil, as well as the country’s political stability and timber, mineral, and natural gas resources. Nonetheless, income inequality and high unemployment have created slums in Libreville full of migrant workers from Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon, Benin, Togo, and elsewhere in West Africa. In 2011, Gabon declared an end to refugee status for 9,500 remaining Congolese nationals to whom it had granted asylum during the Republic of the Congo’s civil war between 1997 and 2003. About 5,400 of these refugees received permits to reside in Gabon.

Birth rate

34.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 41.98% (male 366,875/female 363,031)
15-24 years: 20.37% (male 177,501/female 176,653)
25-54 years: 29.59% (male 257,841/female 256,604)
55-64 years: 4.28% (male 35,895/female 38,533)
65 years and over: 3.77% (male 28,137/female 37,471) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 73.1%
youth dependency ratio: 64.3%
elderly dependency ratio: 8.8%
potential support ratio: 11.3% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 18.6 years
male: 18.4 years
female: 18.8 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

1.92% (2016 est.)

Death rate

13.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

-2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)


urban population: 87.2% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.7% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

LIBREVILLE (capital) 707,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

291 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 45.1 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 52 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 38 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

4.43 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 52.1 years
male: 51.6 years
female: 52.5 years (2016 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

31.1% (2012)

Health expenditures

3.4% of GDP (2014)

Hospital bed density

6.3 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Drinking water source

urban: 97.2% of population
rural: 66.7% of population
total: 93.2% of population
urban: 2.8% of population
rural: 33.3% of population
total: 6.8% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 43.4% of population
rural: 31.5% of population
total: 41.9% of population
urban: 56.6% of population
rural: 68.5% of population
total: 58.1% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

3.76% (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

46,700 (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

1,300 (2015 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria and dengue fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2016)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

15.8% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

6.5% (2012)

Education expenditures

2.7% of GDP (2014)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 83.2%
male: 85.3%
female: 81% (2015 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2012 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 35.7%
male: 30.6%
female: 41.9% (2010 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Gabonese Republic
conventional short form: Gabon
local long form: Republique Gabonaise
local short form: Gabon
etymology: name originates from the Portuguese word "gabao" meaning "cloak," which is roughly the shape that the early explorers gave to the estuary of the Komo River by the capital of Libreville

Government type

presidential republic


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


17 August 1960 (from France)

National holiday

Independence Day, 17 August (1960)


previous 1961; latest drafted May 1990, adopted 15 March 1991, promulgated 26 March 1991; amended several times, last in 2011 (2016)

Legal system

mixed legal system of French civil law and customary law

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Gabon
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Ali BONGO Ondimba (since 16 October 2009)
head of government: Prime Minister Emmanuel ISSOZE-NGONDET (since 29 September 2016)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister in consultation with the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 7-year term (no term limits); election last held on 27 August 2016 (next to be held in August 2023); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Ali BONGO Ondimba re-elected president; percent of vote - Ali BONGO Ondimba (PDG) 49.8%, Jean PING (UFC) 48.2%, other 2.0%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate or Senat (number of seats not fixed; members indirectly elected by municipal councils and departmental assemblies by absolute majority vote in two rounds; members serve 6-year terms) and the National Assembly or Assemblee Nationale (120 seats; members elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority vote in two rounds if needed; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 13 December 2014 (next to be held in January 2021); National Assembly - last held on 17 December 2011 (next to be held by July 2017)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PDG 81, CLR 7, PSD 2, ADERE-UPG 1, UPG 1, PGCI 1, independent 7; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PDG 114, RPG 3, other 3

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of 4 permanent specialized supreme courts - Supreme Court or Cour de Cassation, Administrative Supreme Court or Conseil d'Etat, Accounting Supreme Court or Cour des Comptes, Constitutional Court or Cour Constitutionnelle - and the non-permanent Court of State Security, initiated only for cases of high treason by the president and criminal activity by executive branch officials
judge selection and term of office: appointment and tenure of Supreme, Administrative, Accounting, and State Security courts NA; Constitutional Court judges appointed - 3 by the national president, 3 by the president of the Senate, and 3 by the president of the National Assembly; judges serve 7-year, single renewable terms
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; county courts; military courts

Political parties and leaders

Circle of Liberal Reformers or CLR [General Jean-Boniface ASSELE]
Democratic and Republican Alliance or ADERE [DIDJOB Divungui di Ndinge]
Gabonese Democratic Party or PDG [Ali BONGO Ondimba]
Independent Center Party of Gabon or PGCI [Luccheri GAHILA]
National Rally of Woodcutters-Democratic or RNB-D [Pierre Andre KOMBILA]
Social Democratic Party or PSD [Pierre Claver MAGANGA-MOUSSAVOU]
Union for the New Republic or UPRN [Louis Gaston MAYILA]
Union of Gabonese People or UPG [Richard MOULOMBA]
United Forced for Change or UFC [Jean PING]

Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Michael MOUSSA-NDONG (since September 19, 2011)
chancery: 2034 20th Street NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 797-1000
FAX: [1] (301) 332-0668

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Cythia AKUETTEH (since 13 August 2014); note - also accredited to Sao Tome and Principe
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] 01-45-71-00
FAX: [241] 01-74-55-07

Flag description

three equal horizontal bands of green (top), yellow, and blue; green represents the country's forests and natural resources, gold represents the equator (which transects Gabon) as well as the sun, blue represents the sea

National symbol(s)

black panther; national colors: green, yellow, blue

National anthem

name: "La Concorde" (The Concorde)
lyrics/music: Georges Aleka DAMAS
note: adopted 1960


Population below poverty line


Economy - overview

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 relied on timber and manganese exports until oil was discovered offshore

Gabon faces fluctuating prices for its oil, timber, and manganese exports. A rebound of oil prices from 2001 to 2013 helped growth, but declining production, as some fields passed their peak production, has hampered Gabon from fully realizing potential ga

Despite an abundance of natural wealth, poor fiscal management and over-reliance on oil has stifled the economy. There are frequent power cuts and water shortages. However, President BONGO has made efforts to increase transparency and is taking steps to m

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$36.22 billion (2016 est.)
$35.1 billion (2015 est.)
$33.75 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$14.56 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

3.2% (2016 est.)
4% (2015 est.)
4.3% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$19,300 (2016 est.)
$18,900 (2015 est.)
$18,500 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

30.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
33.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
42.9% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 40.8%
government consumption: 15.8%
investment in fixed capital: 31.1%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 39.8%
imports of goods and services: -27.6% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 4.5%
industry: 46.4%
services: 49.1% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber; cattle; okoume (a tropical softwood); fish


petroleum extraction and refining; manganese, gold; chemicals, ship repair, food and beverages, textiles, lumbering and plywood, cement

Industrial production growth rate

-1.5% (2016 est.)

Labor force

674,700 (2016 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 60%
industry: 15%
services: 25% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate

21% (2006 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 32.7% (2005)


revenues: $2.917 billion
expenditures: $3.464 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

20% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-3.8% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

43.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
39.3% of GDP (2015 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

1.1% (2016 est.)
0.6% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

3% (31 December 2010)
4.25% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

15.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
15.3% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$2.314 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.251 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$4.545 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$4.421 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$2.425 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.382 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares


Current account balance

-$767 million (2016 est.)
-$326 million (2015 est.)


$4.395 billion (2016 est.)
$5.181 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

crude oil, timber, manganese, uranium

Exports - partners

China 15.5%, Italy 7.3%, Trinidad and Tobago 7.2%, Australia 7%, Spain 6.3%, South Korea 5.4%, Netherlands 5%, US 4.7% (2015)


$3.002 billion (2016 est.)
$3.061 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, construction materials

Imports - partners

China 21.4%, France 19.6%, US 6.6%, Benin 4.7%, Netherlands 4% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$1.585 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.878 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$5.158 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.883 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Exchange rates

Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar -
590.8 (2016 est.)
591.45 (2015 est.)
591.45 (2014 est.)
494.42 (2013 est.)
510.53 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

population without electricity: 200,000
electrification - total population: 89%
electrification - urban areas: 97%
electrification - rural areas: 38% (2013)

Electricity - production

2.3 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

2.1 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

400 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

600,000 kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

59% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

41% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production

213,300 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

200,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

2 billion bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

21,750 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

19,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

7,212 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

5,364 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

420 million cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

420 million cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

6 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 18,758
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 2.958 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 173 (July 2015 est.)

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 with mobile cellular teledensity exceeding 170 per 100 persons
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) (2015)

Broadcast media

state owns and operates 2 TV stations and 2 radio broadcast stations; a few private radio and TV stations; transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are accessible; satellite service subscriptions are available (2007)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 401,000
percent of population: 23.5% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 5
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 7
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 137,331
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 0 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

TR (2016)


44 (2013)

Airports - with 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 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 30
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 14 (2013)


gas 807 km; oil 1,639 km; water 3 km (2013)


total: 649 km
standard gauge: 649 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)


total: 9,170 km
paved: 1,097 km
unpaved: 8,073 km (2007)


1,600 km (310 km on Ogooue River) (2010)

Merchant marine

registered in other countries: 2 (Cambodia 1, Panama 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Libreville, Owendo, Port-Gentil
oil terminal(s): Gamba, Lucina


Military branches

Gabonese Defense Forces (Forces de Defense Gabonaise): Land Force (Force Terrestre), Gabonese Navy (Marine Gabonaise), Gabonese Air Forces (Forces Aerienne Gabonaises, FAG) (2012)

Military service age and obligation

20 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)

Military expenditures

1.34% of GDP (2012)
NA% (2011)
1.34% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

UN urges Equatorial Guinea and Gabon to resolve the sovereignty dispute over Gabon-occupied Mbane Island and lesser islands and to establish a maritime boundary in hydrocarbon-rich Corisco Bay

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Gabon is primarily a destination and transit country for adults and children from West and Central African countries subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; boys are forced to work as street vendors, mechanics, or in the fishing sector, while girls are subjected to domestic servitude or forced to work in markets or roadside restaurants; West African women are forced into domestic servitude or prostitution; men are reportedly forced to work on cattle farms; some foreign adults end up in forced labor in Gabon after initially seeking the help of human smugglers to help them migrate clandestinely; traffickers operate in loose, ethnic-based criminal networks, with female traffickers recruiting and facilitating the transport of victims from source countries; in some cases, families turn child victims over to traffickers, who promise paid jobs in Gabon
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Gabon does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; Gabon’s existing laws do not prohibit all forms of trafficking, and the government failed to pass a legal amendment drafted in 2013 to criminalize the trafficking of adults; anti-trafficking law enforcement decreased in 2014, dropping from 50 investigations to 16, and the only defendant to face prosecution fled the country; government efforts to identify and refer victims to protective services declined from 50 child victims in 2013 to just 3 in 2014, none of whom was referred to a care facility; the government provided support to four centers offering services to orphans and vulnerable children – 14 child victims identified by an NGO received government assistance; no adult victims have been identified since 2009 (2015)