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Africa :: Gabon
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Gabon
(CONTAINS DESCRIPTION)
Location of Gabon
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Map of Gabon
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Introduction ::Gabon
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Until recently, only two autocratic presidents had ruled Gabon since its independence from France in 1960. The recent president of Gabon, El Hadj Omar BONGO Ondimba -one of the longest-serving heads of state in the world - had dominated the country's political scene for four decades. 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. President BONGO died in June 2009 and was replaced in accordance with the constitution by Rose Francine ROGOMBE, the president of the Senate. New elections are planned for the summer of 2009. This will be the first Gabonese elections in which BONGO is not participating. Despite political conditions, a small population, abundant natural resources, and considerable foreign support have helped make Gabon one of the more prosperous and stable African countries.
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Geography ::Gabon
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Western Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean at the Equator, between Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea
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1 00 S, 11 45 E
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total: 267,667 sq km
country comparison to the world: 76
land: 257,667 sq km
water: 10,000 sq km
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slightly smaller than Colorado
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total: 2,551 km
border countries: Cameroon 298 km, Republic of the Congo 1,903 km, Equatorial Guinea 350 km
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885 km
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territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
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tropical; always hot, humid
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narrow coastal plain; hilly interior; savanna in east and south
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lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Iboundji 1,575 m
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petroleum, natural gas, diamond, niobium, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore, hydropower
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arable land: 1.21%
permanent crops: 0.64%
other: 98.15% (2005)
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70 sq km (2003)
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164 cu km (1987)
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total: 0.12 cu km/yr (50%/8%/42%)
per capita: 87 cu m/yr (2000)
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NA
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deforestation; poaching
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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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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
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People ::Gabon
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1,514,993
country comparison to the world: 151
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 2009 est.)
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0-14 years: 42.1% (male 320,414/female 318,027)
15-64 years: 53.9% (male 407,461/female 409,633)
65 years and over: 3.9% (male 24,799/female 34,659) (2009 est.)
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total: 18.6 years
male: 18.4 years
female: 18.9 years (2009 est.)
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1.934% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 65
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35.57 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 35
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12.76 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 32
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-3.48 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 154
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urban population: 85% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 2.1% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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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: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
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total: 51.78 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 48
male: 60.17 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 43.15 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
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total population: 53.11 years
country comparison to the world: 198
male: 52.19 years
female: 54.05 years (2009 est.)
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4.65 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
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5.9% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
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49,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 65
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2,300 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 57
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degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria and chikungunya
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
animal contact disease: rabies (2009)
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noun: Gabonese (singular and plural)
adjective: Gabonese
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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
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Christian 55%-75%, animist, Muslim less than 1%
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French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 63.2%
male: 73.7%
female: 53.3% (1995 est.)
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3.8% of GDP (2000)
country comparison to the world: 118
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Government ::Gabon
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conventional long form: Gabonese Republic
conventional short form: Gabon
local long form: Republique Gabonaise
local short form: Gabon
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republic; multiparty presidential regime
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name: Libreville
geographic coordinates: 0 23 N, 9 27 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
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9 provinces; Estuaire, Haut-Ogooue, Moyen-Ogooue, Ngounie, Nyanga, Ogooue-Ivindo, Ogooue-Lolo, Ogooue-Maritime, Woleu-Ntem
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17 August 1960 (from France)
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Independence Day, 17 August (1960)
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adopted 14 March 1991
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based on French civil law system and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
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21 years of age; universal
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chief of state: President Ali BONGO Ondimba (since 16 October 2009)
head of government: Prime Minister Paul BIYOGHE MBA (since 15 July 2009)
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 30 August 2009 (next to be held in 2016); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: President Ali BONGO Ondimba elected; percent of vote - Ali 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 where held on 30 August 2009 and the son of the former president, Ali BONGO Ondimba, was elected president
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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 18 January 2009 (next to be held in January 2015); National Assembly - last held 17 and 24 December 2006 (next to be held in December 2011)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PDG 75, GPR 6, UGDD 3, CLR 2, PGCI 2, UPG 2, ADERE 1, independents 9; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PDG 82, RPG 8, UPG 8, UGDD 4, ADERE 3, CLR 2, PGP-Ndaot 2, PSD 2, independents 4, others 5
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Supreme Court or Cour Supreme consisting of three chambers - Judicial, Administrative, and Accounts; Constitutional Court; Courts of Appeal; Court of State Security; County Courts
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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 (former sole party) [Simplice Nguedet MANZELA]; 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]
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NA
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ACCT, ACP, AfDB, AU, BDEAC, CEMAC, FAO, FZ, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURCAT, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIS, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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chief of mission: Ambassador Carlos BOUNGOU
chancery: Suite 200, 2034 20th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 797-1000
FAX: [1] (202) 332-0668
consulate(s): New York
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chief of mission: Ambassador Eunice S. REDDICK
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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three equal horizontal bands of green (top), yellow, and blue
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Economy ::Gabon
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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 oil sector now accounts for more than 50% of GDP. Gabon continues to face fluctuating prices for its oil, timber, and manganese exports. Despite the abundance of natural wealth, poor fiscal management hobbles the economy. In 1997, an IMF mission to Gabon criticized the government for overspending on off-budget items, overborrowing from the central bank, and slipping on its schedule for privatization and administrative reform. The rebound of oil prices since 1999 have helped growth, but drops in production have hampered Gabon from fully realizing potential gains, and will continue to temper the gains for most of this decade. In December 2000, Gabon signed a new agreement with the Paris Club to reschedule its official debt. A follow-up bilateral repayment agreement with the US was signed in December 2001. Gabon signed a 14-month Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF in May 2007, and received Paris Club debt rescheduling later that year.
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$21.11 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
$20.69 billion (2007 est.)
$19.6 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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$14.52 billion (2008 est.)
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2% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
5.6% (2007 est.)
1.2% (2006 est.)
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$14,200 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
$14,200 (2007 est.)
$13,700 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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agriculture: 5.6%
industry: 57.8%
services: 36.6% (2008 est.)
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581,000 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 151
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agriculture: 60%
industry: 15%
services: 25% (2000 est.)
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21% (2006 est.)
country comparison to the world: 168
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NA%
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lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
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27.3% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
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revenues: $4.511 billion
expenditures: $2.932 billion (2008 est.)
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19.8% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
29.3% of GDP (2004 est.)
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5.3% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89
5% (2007 est.)
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NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 83
5.25% (31 December 2007)
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NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 43
15% (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 102
$1.547 billion (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 123
$799.3 million (31 December 2007)
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$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 152
$359.8 million (31 December 2007)
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$NA
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cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber; cattle; okoume (a tropical softwood); fish
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petroleum extraction and refining; manganese, gold; chemicals, ship repair, food and beverages, textiles, lumbering and plywood, cement
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1% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 124
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1.774 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
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1.446 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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0 kWh (2008 est.)
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247,800 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
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14,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
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227,300 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
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4,185 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 164
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2 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
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90 million cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
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90 million cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 103
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0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 175
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 178
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28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 71
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$2.727 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
$1.549 billion (2007 est.)
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$9.333 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
$7.046 billion (2007 est.)
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crude oil 70%, timber, manganese, uranium (2001)
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US 25.4%, China 17.9%, Japan 10.2%, Malaysia 5.8%, France 5.4%, Spain 4% (2008)
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$2.577 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 143
$2.2 billion (2007 est.)
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machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, construction materials
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France 32.1%, US 11.1%, China 5.2%, Belgium 4.6%, Cameroon 4.4%, Netherlands 4.2% (2008)
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$1.925 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
$1.238 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
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$2.473 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131
$4.895 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
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Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar - 447.81 (2008 est.), 481.83 (2007), 522.89 (2006), 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004)
note: since 1 January 1999, the Central African CFA franc (XAF) has been pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 CFA francs per euro; Central African CFA franc (XAF) coins and banknotes are not accepted in countries using West African CFA francs (XOF), and vice versa, even though the two currencies trade at par
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Communications ::Gabon
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26,500 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 182
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1.3 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 137
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general assessment: adequate service by African standards and improving with the help of a growing mobile cell network system with multiple providers; mobile-cellular subscribership reached nearly 90 per 100 persons in 2008
domestic: adequate system of cable, microwave radio relay, tropospheric scatter, radiotelephone communication stations, and a domestic satellite system with 12 earth stations
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) (2008)
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AM 6, FM 7 (plus 11 repeaters), shortwave 4 (2001)
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4 (plus 4 repeaters) (2001)
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.ga
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91 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 199
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90,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 158
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Transportation ::Gabon
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44 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 98
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total: 13
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2009)
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total: 31
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 14 (2009)
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gas 240 km; oil 723 km (2008)
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total: 814 km
country comparison to the world: 100
standard gauge: 814 km 1.435-m gauge (2008)
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total: 9,170 km
country comparison to the world: 138
paved: 937 km
unpaved: 8,233 km (2004)
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1,600 km (310 km on Ogooue River) (2008)
country comparison to the world: 51
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registered in other countries: 2 (Cambodia 1, Panama 1) (2008)
country comparison to the world: 143
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Gamba, Libreville, Lucinda, Port-Gentil
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Military ::Gabon
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Army, Navy, Air Force, National Gendarmerie, National Police
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20 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service (2007)
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males age 16-49: 331,181
females age 16-49: 332,498 (2008 est.)
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males age 16-49: 195,519
females age 16-49: 190,519 (2009 est.)
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male: 16,933
female: 16,942 (2009 est.)
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3.4% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 38
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Transnational Issues ::Gabon
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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
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refugees (country of origin): 7,178 (Republic of Congo) (2007)
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current situation: Gabon is predominantly a destination country for children trafficked from other African countries for the purpose of forced labor; girls are primarily trafficked for domestic servitude, forced market vending, forced restaurant labor, and sexual exploitation, while boys are trafficked for forced street hawking and forced labor in small workshops
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - Gabon is on the Tier 2 Watch List for its failure to provide evidence of increasing efforts to combat human trafficking in 2007, particularly in terms of efforts to convict and punish trafficking offenders; the government has not reported the convictions or sentences of any trafficking offenders; the government did not take steps to reduce demand for commercial sex acts (2008)
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The online Factbook is updated bi-weekly. ISSN 1553-8133
For additional information on government leaders in selected foreign countries, go to World Leaders.