Geographic and Governmental Profile of 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.
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
Continent / Subcontinent
Africa
Area
total:
267,667 sq km
rank:
77
land:
257,667 sq km
water:
10,000 sq km
Area - comparative
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)
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Irrigated land
40 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
164 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
0.12 cu km/yr (50%/8%/42%)
per capita:
87 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
NA
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
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
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
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
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%
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
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
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 anthem
name:
"La Concorde" (The Concorde)
lyrics/music:
Georges Aleka DAMAS
adopted 1960
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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