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Gabon vs. Republic of the Congo

Introduction

GabonRepublic of the Congo
BackgroundFollowing, independence from France in 1960, El Hadj Omar BONGO Ondimba - one of the longest-ruling heads of state in the world - dominated the country's political scene for four decades (1967-2009). 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 his son, Ali BONGO Ondimba, 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.
President Ali BONGO Ondimba’s controversial August 2016 reelection sparked unprecedented opposition protests that resulted in the burning of the parliament building. The election was contested by the opposition after fraudulent results were flagged by international election observers. Gabon’s Constitutional Court reviewed the election results but ruled in favor of President BONGO, upholding his win and extending his mandate to 2023.
Upon independence in 1960, the former French region of Middle Congo became the Republic of the Congo. A quarter century of experimentation with Marxism was abandoned in 1990 and a democratically elected government took office in 1992. A brief civil war in 1997 restored former Marxist President Denis SASSOU-Nguesso, and ushered in a period of ethnic and political unrest. Southern-based rebel groups agreed to a final peace accord in March 2003. The Republic of Congo is one of Africa's largest petroleum producers, but with declining production it will need new offshore oil finds to sustain its oil earnings over the long term.

Geography

GabonRepublic of the Congo
LocationCentral Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean at the Equator, between Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea
Central Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Angola and Gabon
Geographic coordinates1 00 S, 11 45 E
1 00 S, 15 00 E
Map referencesAfrica
Africa
Areatotal: 267,667 sq km
land: 257,667 sq km
water: 10,000 sq km
total: 342,000 sq km
land: 341,500 sq km
water: 500 sq km
Area - comparativeslightly smaller than Colorado
slightly smaller than Montana
Land boundariestotal: 3,261 km
border countries (3): Cameroon 349 km, Republic of the Congo 2,567 km, Equatorial Guinea 345 km
total: 5,008 km
border countries (5): Angola 231 km, Cameroon 494 km, Central African Republic 487 km, Democratic Republic of the Congo 1,229 km, Gabon 2,567 km
Coastline885 km
169 km
Maritime claimsterritorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climatetropical; always hot, humid
tropical; rainy season (March to June); dry season (June to October); persistent high temperatures and humidity; particularly enervating climate astride the Equator
Terrainnarrow coastal plain; hilly interior; savanna in east and south
coastal plain, southern basin, central plateau, northern basin
Elevation extremesmean elevation: 377 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Iboundji 1,575 m
mean elevation: 430 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Berongou 903 m
Natural resourcespetroleum, natural gas, diamond, niobium, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore, hydropower
petroleum, timber, potash, lead, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphates, gold, magnesium, natural gas, hydropower
Land useagricultural land: 19%
arable land 1.2%; permanent crops 0.6%; permanent pasture 17.2%
forest: 81%
other: 0% (2011 est.)
agricultural land: 31.1%
arable land 1.6%; permanent crops 0.2%; permanent pasture 29.3%
forest: 65.6%
other: 3.3% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land40 sq km (2012)
20 sq km (2012)
Natural hazardsNA
seasonal flooding
Environment - current issuesdeforestation; poaching
air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage; tap water is not potable; deforestation
Environment - international agreementsparty 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
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - notea 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
about 70% of the population lives in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, or along the railroad between them

Demographics

GabonRepublic of the Congo
Population1,738,541
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.)
4,852,412
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.)
Age structure0-14 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.)
0-14 years: 41.53% (male 1,016,677/female 998,331)
15-24 years: 17.26% (male 419,248/female 418,397)
25-54 years: 34% (male 831,091/female 818,853)
55-64 years: 4.18% (male 101,118/female 101,879)
65 years and over: 3.03% (male 64,519/female 82,299) (2016 est.)
Median agetotal: 18.6 years
male: 18.4 years
female: 18.8 years (2016 est.)
total: 19.7 years
male: 19.6 years
female: 19.9 years (2016 est.)
Population growth rate1.92% (2016 est.)
2.06% (2016 est.)
Birth rate34.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
35.1 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate13.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
9.7 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Net migration rate-2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
-4.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratioat 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.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Infant mortality ratetotal: 45.1 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 52 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 38 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
total: 56.4 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 61.4 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 51.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 52.1 years
male: 51.6 years
female: 52.5 years (2016 est.)
total population: 59.3 years
male: 58.1 years
female: 60.6 years (2016 est.)
Total fertility rate4.43 children born/woman (2016 est.)
4.63 children born/woman (2016 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate3.76% (2015 est.)
2.75% (2014 est.)
Nationalitynoun: Gabonese (singular and plural)
adjective: Gabonese
noun: Congolese (singular and plural)
adjective: Congolese or Congo
Ethnic groupsBantu 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
Kongo 48%, Sangha 20%, M'Bochi 12%, Teke 17%, Europeans and other 3%
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS46,700 (2015 est.)
80,700 (2014 est.)
ReligionsCatholic 41.9%, Protestant 13.7%, other Christian 32.4%, Muslim 6.4%, animist 0.3%, other 0.3%, none/no answer 5% (2012 est.)
Roman Catholic 33.1%, Awakening Churches/Christian Revival 22.3%, Protestant 19.9%, Salutiste 2.2%, Muslim 1.6%, Kimbanguiste 1.5%, other 8.1%, none 11.3% (2010 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths1,300 (2015 est.)
4,400 (2014 est.)
LanguagesFrench (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi
French (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread)
Literacydefinition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 83.2%
male: 85.3%
female: 81% (2015 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 79.3%
male: 86.4%
female: 72.9% (2015 est.)
Major infectious diseasesdegree 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)
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria and dengue fever
animal contact disease: rabies
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2016)
Education expenditures2.7% of GDP (2014)
6.2% of GDP (2010)
Urbanizationurban population: 87.2% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 2.7% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
urban population: 65.4% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.22% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Drinking water sourceimproved:
urban: 97.2% of population
rural: 66.7% of population
total: 93.2% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2.8% of population
rural: 33.3% of population
total: 6.8% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 95.8% of population
rural: 40% of population
total: 76.5% of population
unimproved:
urban: 4.2% of population
rural: 60% of population
total: 23.5% of population (2015 est.)
Sanitation facility accessimproved:
urban: 43.4% of population
rural: 31.5% of population
total: 41.9% of population
unimproved:
urban: 56.6% of population
rural: 68.5% of population
total: 58.1% of population (2015 est.)
improved:
urban: 20% of population
rural: 5.6% of population
total: 15% of population
unimproved:
urban: 80% of population
rural: 94.4% of population
total: 85% of population (2015 est.)
Major cities - populationLIBREVILLE (capital) 707,000 (2015)
BRAZZAVILLE (capital) 1.888 million; Pointe-Noire 969,000 (2015)
Maternal mortality rate291 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
442 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
Children under the age of 5 years underweight6.5% (2012)
12.3% (2015)
Health expenditures3.4% of GDP (2014)
5.2% of GDP (2014)
Obesity - adult prevalence rate15.8% (2014)
9.7% (2014)
Mother's mean age at first birth20.3 years
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2012 est.)
19.8 years
note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2011/12 est.)
Contraceptive prevalence rate31.1% (2012)
30.1% (2014)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 73.1
youth dependency ratio: 64.3
elderly dependency ratio: 8.8
potential support ratio: 11.3 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 86.2
youth dependency ratio: 79.4
elderly dependency ratio: 6.8
potential support ratio: 14.7 (2015 est.)

Government

GabonRepublic of the Congo
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
"
"conventional long form: Republic of the Congo
conventional short form: Congo (Brazzaville)
local long form: Republique du Congo
local short form: Congo
former: French Congo, Middle Congo, People's Republic of the Congo, Congo/Brazzaville
etymology: named for the Congo River, which makes up much of the country's eastern border; the river name derives from Kongo, a Bantu kingdom that occupied its mouth at the time of Portuguese discovery in the late 15th century and whose name stems from its people the Bakongo, meaning ""hunters""
"
Government typepresidential republic
presidential republic
Capitalname: Libreville
geographic coordinates: 0 23 N, 9 27 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
name: Brazzaville
geographic coordinates: 4 15 S, 15 17 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions9 provinces; Estuaire, Haut-Ogooue, Moyen-Ogooue, Ngounie, Nyanga, Ogooue-Ivindo, Ogooue-Lolo, Ogooue-Maritime, Woleu-Ntem
12 departments (departments, singular - department); Bouenza, Brazzaville, Cuvette, Cuvette-Ouest, Kouilou, Lekoumou, Likouala, Niari, Plateaux, Pointe-Noire, Pool, Sangha
Independence17 August 1960 (from France)
15 August 1960 (from France)
National holidayIndependence Day, 17 August (1960)
Independence Day, 15 August (1960)
Constitutionprevious 1961; latest drafted May 1990, adopted 15 March 1991, promulgated 26 March 1991; amended several times, last in 2011 (2016)
previous 1992; latest approved by referendum 20 January 2002; amended 2015; note - the constitutional referendum approved in October 2015 changed the head of government from the president to the prime minister, eliminated the presidential age maximum, reduced the presidential term from 7 to 5 years and limited total presidential terms to 3 (2017)
Legal systemmixed legal system of French civil law and customary law
mixed legal system of French civil law and customary law
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
18 years of age; universal
Executive branchchief 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%
chief of state: President Denis SASSOU-Nguesso (since 25 October 1997)
head of government: Prime Minister Clement MOUAMBA (since 23 April 2016); note - a constitutional referendum held in 2015 approved the change of the head of government from the president to the prime minister
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed for a 5-year term (eligible for 2 additional terms); election last held on 20 March 2016 (next to be held in 2021)
election results: Denis SASSOU-Nguesso reelected president; percent of vote - Denis SASSOU-Nguesso (PCT) 60.4%, Guy Price Parfait KOLELAS (MCDDI) 15.1%, Jean-Marie MOKOKO (independent) 13.9%, Pascal Tsaty MABIALA (UPADS) 4.4%, other 6.2%
Legislative branchdescription: 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
description: bicameral Parliament or Parlement consists of the Senate (72 seats; members indirectly elected by regional councils by simple majority vote to serve 6-year terms with one-half of membership renewed every three years) and the National Assembly (139 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority popular vote in two rounds if needed; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 12 October 2014 for 36 of the expiry seats (next to be held in 2020); National Assembly - last held on 15 July and 5 August 2012 (next to be held on 16 and 30 July 2017)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - RMP 33, FDU 23, UPADS 2, other 7, independent 7; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PCT 89, MCDDI 7, UPADS 7, RDPS 5, MAR 4, RC 3, MUST 2, UPDP 2, CPR 1, PRL 1, PUR 1, UFD 1, UR 1, independent 12, vacant 3
Judicial branchhighest 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
highest court(s): Supreme Court or Cour Supreme (consists of NA judges); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 members); note - a High Court of Justice, outside the judicial authority, tries cases involving treason by the president of the republic
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges elected by Parliament and serve until age 65; Constitutional Court members appointed by the president of the republic - 3 directly by the president and 6 nominated by Parliament; members appointed for renewable 9-year terms with one-third of the membership renewed every 3 years
subordinate courts: Court of Audit and Budgetary Discipline; courts of appeal; regional and district courts; employment tribunals; juvenile courts;
Political parties and leadersCircle 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]
Action Movement for Renewal or MAR [Roland BOUITI-VIAUDO]
Citizen's Rally or RC
Congolese Labour Party or PCT [Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO]
Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development or MCDDI [Guy Price Parfait KOLELAS]
Movement for Unity, Solidarity, and Work or MUST [Claudine MUNARI]
Pan-African Union for Social Development or UPADS [Pascal Tsaty MABIALA]
Party for the Unity of the Republic or PUR
Patriotic Union for Democracy and Progress or UPDP [Auguste-Celestin GONGARD NKOUA
Prospects and Realities Club or CPR
Rally for Democracy and Social Progress or RDPS [Bernard BATCHI]
Rally of the Presidential Majority or RMP
Republican and Liberal Party or PRL
Union for the Republic or UR
Union of Democratic Forces
Union for Democracy and Republic or UDR
United Democratic Forces or FDU [Sebastian EBAO]; many smaller parties
Political pressure groups and leadersNA
Congolese Trade Union Congress or CSC
General Union of Congolese Pupils and Students or UGEEC
Revolutionary Union of Congolese Women or URFC
Union of Congolese Socialist Youth or UJSC
International organization participationACP, 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, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
ACP, AfDB, AU, BDEAC, CEMAC, EITI (compliant country), FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the USchief 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
chief of mission: Ambassador Serge MOMBOULI (since 31 July 2001)
chancery: 1720 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 726-5500
FAX: [1] (202) 726-1860
Diplomatic representation from the USchief 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
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Mary DASCHBACH (since January 2015)
embassy: 70-83 Section D, Maya-Maya Boulevard, Brazzaville
mailing address: B.P. 1015, Brazzaville
telephone: [242] 06 612-2000
Flag descriptionthree 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
divided diagonally from the lower hoist side by a yellow band; the upper triangle (hoist side) is green and the lower triangle is red; green symbolizes agriculture and forests, yellow the friendship and nobility of the people, red is unexplained but has been associated with the struggle for independence
note: uses the popular Pan-African colors of Ethiopia
National anthem"name: ""La Concorde"" (The Concorde)
lyrics/music: Georges Aleka DAMAS
note: adopted 1960
"
"name: ""La Congolaise"" (The Congolese)
lyrics/music: Jacques TONDRA and Georges KIBANGHI/Jean ROYER and Joseph SPADILIERE
note: originally adopted 1959, restored 1991
"
International law organization participationhas not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)black panther; national colors: green, yellow, blue
lion, elephant; national colors: green, yellow, red
Citizenshipcitizenship 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
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of the Republic of the Congo
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 10 years

Economy

GabonRepublic of the Congo
Economy - overviewGabon 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 in the early 1970s. From 2010 to 2016, oil accounted for approximately 80% of Gabon’s exports, 45% of its GDP, and 60% of its state budget revenues.

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 gains. GDP grew nearly 6% per year over the 2010-14 period, but slowed significantly in 2015 as oil prices declined. Low oil prices also weakened government revenue and negatively affected the trade and current account balances.

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. Significant cuts in budget expenditures -- Gabon’s budget has contracted for four years in a row -- have not extended to the government’s priority projects, like a new stadium for the Africa Cup of Nations.
The economy is a mixture of subsistence farming and hunting, an industrial sector based largely on oil and support services, and government spending. Oil has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy, providing a major share of government revenues and exports. Natural gas is increasingly being converted to electricity rather than being flared, greatly improving energy prospects. New mining projects, particularly iron ore, which entered production in late 2013, may add as much as $1 billion to annual government revenue.

Economic reform efforts have been undertaken with the support of international organizations, notably the World Bank and the IMF, including the recently concluded Article IV consultations. The current administration faces difficult economic challenges of stimulating recovery and reducing poverty. The recent drop in oil prices has constrained government spending; lower oil prices forced the government to cut more than $1 billion in planned spending. However, the government increased infrastructure spending for the September 2015 All-Africa Games and the March 2016 presidential election, which put further pressure on the budget. The fiscal deficit exceeded 18% of GDP in 2015. Substantial macroeconomic imbalances continued in 2016 following sustained low oil prices.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$35.98 billion (2016 est.)
$35.1 billion (2015 est.)
$33.75 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$30.27 billion (2016 est.)
$29.75 billion (2015 est.)
$29.08 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - real growth rate2.5% (2016 est.)
4% (2015 est.)
4.3% (2014 est.)
1.7% (2016 est.)
2.3% (2015 est.)
6.8% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$19,300 (2016 est.)
$18,900 (2015 est.)
$18,500 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
$6,800 (2016 est.)
$6,800 (2015 est.)
$6,800 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 4.5%
industry: 46.4%
services: 49.1% (2016 est.)
agriculture: 4.9%
industry: 69.8%
services: 25.3% (2016 est.)
Population below poverty lineNA% (2015 est.)
46.5% (2011 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 32.7% (2005)
lowest 10%: 2.1%
highest 10%: 37.1% (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)1.1% (2016 est.)
0.6% (2015 est.)
4.2% (2016 est.)
2.6% (2015 est.)
Labor force674,700 (2016 est.)
1.807 million (2013 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 64%
industry: 12%
services: 24% (2005 est.)
agriculture: 35.4%
industry: 20.6%
services: 42.2% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate28% (2015 est.)
20.4% (2014 est.)
36% (2014 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $2.917 billion
expenditures: $3.464 billion (2016 est.)
revenues: $3.562 billion
expenditures: $4.233 billion (2016 est.)
Industriespetroleum extraction and refining; manganese, gold; chemicals, ship repair, food and beverages, textiles, lumbering and plywood, cement
petroleum extraction, cement, lumber, brewing, sugar, palm oil, soap, flour, cigarettes
Industrial production growth rate-1.5% (2016 est.)
3.5% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productscocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber; cattle; okoume (a tropical softwood); fish
cassava (manioc, tapioca), sugar, rice, corn, peanuts, vegetables, coffee, cocoa; forest products
Exports$4.395 billion (2016 est.)
$5.181 billion (2015 est.)
$4.777 billion (2016 est.)
$5.231 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiescrude oil, timber, manganese, uranium
petroleum, lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds
Exports - partnersChina 15.6%, Italy 7.4%, Trinidad and Tobago 7.2%, Australia 7.1%, Spain 6.4%, South Korea 5.5%, Netherlands 5%, US 4.8% (2015)
China 41.9%, Italy 16.8%, India 4.9%, US 4.9%, Portugal 4.2% (2015)
Imports$3.002 billion (2016 est.)
$3.061 billion (2015 est.)
$3.447 billion (2016 est.)
$3.934 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, construction materials
capital equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs
Imports - partnersChina 21.5%, France 19.7%, US 6.6%, Benin 4.7%, Netherlands 4% (2015)
China 20.6%, France 14.4%, South Korea 10%, US 4.9%, UK 4.5%, Italy 4.2%, India 4.1% (2015)
Debt - external$5.158 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.883 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$4.817 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.324 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratesCooperation 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.)
Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar -
589.4 (2016 est.)
591.45 (2015 est.)
591.45 (2014 est.)
494.42 (2013 est.)
510.53 (2012 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt43.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
39.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
70% of GDP (2016 est.)
48% of GDP (2015 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$1.585 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.878 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.989 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.244 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Current Account Balance-$1.279 billion (2016 est.)
-$779 million (2015 est.)
-$2.27 billion (2016 est.)
-$3.668 billion (2015 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$14.56 billion (2016 est.)
$8.834 billion (2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
$NA
Central bank discount rate3% (31 December 2010)
4.25% (31 December 2009)
4.25% (31 December 2009)
4.75% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate15.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
15.3% (31 December 2015 est.)
14% (31 December 2016 est.)
14.8% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$2.425 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.382 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$1.825 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.807 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$2.314 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.251 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$3.274 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.131 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$4.545 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$4.421 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$4.875 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$4.858 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Taxes and other revenues20% of GDP (2016 est.)
40.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-3.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
-7.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold 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.)
household consumption: 50%
government consumption: 10.5%
investment in fixed capital: 48.7%
investment in inventories: 0.2%
exports of goods and services: 44.5%
imports of goods and services: -53.9% (2016 est.)
Gross national saving28.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
35.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
42.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
22.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
12.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
38.9% of GDP (2014 est.)

Energy

GabonRepublic of the Congo
Electricity - production2.3 billion kWh (2014 est.)
1.7 billion kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - consumption2.1 billion kWh (2014 est.)
900 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - exports0 kWh (2013 est.)
22 million kWh (2014 est.)
Electricity - imports400 million kWh (2014 est.)
18 million kWh (2014 est.)
Oil - production213,300 bbl/day (2015 est.)
269,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Oil - imports0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - exports200,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)
252,300 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - proved reserves2 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
1.6 billion bbl (1 January 2016 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
90.61 billion cu m (1 January 2016 es)
Natural gas - production420 million cu m (2014 est.)
1.5 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - consumption420 million cu m (2014 est.)
1.5 billion cu m (2014 est.)
Natural gas - exports0 cu m (2013 est.)
39 million cu m (2012 est.)
Natural gas - imports0 cu m (2013 est.)
0 cu m (2013 est.)
Electricity - installed generating capacity600,000 kW (2014 est.)
500,000 kW (2014 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels59% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
12.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants41% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
87.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production21,750 bbl/day (2013 est.)
18,550 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption19,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
16,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports7,212 bbl/day (2013 est.)
5,426 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports5,364 bbl/day (2013 est.)
2,615 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy6 million Mt (2013 est.)
6.5 million Mt (2013 est.)
Electricity accesspopulation without electricity: 200,000
electrification - total population: 89%
electrification - urban areas: 97%
electrification - rural areas: 38% (2013)
population without electricity: 2,600,000
electrification - total population: 42%
electrification - urban areas: 62%
electrification - rural areas: 5% (2013)

Telecommunications

GabonRepublic of the Congo
Telephones - main lines in usetotal subscriptions: 18,758
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (July 2015 est.)
total subscriptions: 17,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2015 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 2.958 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 173 (July 2015 est.)
total: 5.216 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 110 (July 2015 est.)
Telephone systemgeneral 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)
general assessment: primary network consists of microwave radio relay and coaxial cable with services barely adequate for government use; key exchanges are in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, and Loubomo; intercity lines frequently out of order
domestic: fixed-line infrastructure inadequate, providing less than 1 connection per 100 persons; in the absence of an adequate fixed-line infrastructure, mobile-cellular subscribership has surged to 110 per 100 persons
international: country code - 242; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2015)
Internet country code.ga
.cg
Internet userstotal: 401,000
percent of population: 23.5% (July 2015 est.)
total: 362,000
percent of population: 7.6% (July 2015 est.)
Broadcast mediastate 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)
1 state-owned TV and 3 state-owned radio stations; several privately owned TV and radio stations; satellite TV service is available; rebroadcasts of several international broadcasters are available (2007)

Transportation

GabonRepublic of the Congo
Railwaystotal: 649 km
standard gauge: 649 km 1.435-m gauge (2014)
total: 510 km
narrow gauge: 510 km 1.067-m gauge (2014)
Roadwaystotal: 9,170 km
paved: 1,097 km
unpaved: 8,073 km (2007)
total: 17,000 km
paved: 1,212 km
unpaved: 15,788 km (2006)
Waterways1,600 km (310 km on Ogooue River) (2010)
1,120 km (commercially navigable on Congo and Oubanqui Rivers above Brazzaville; there are many ferries across the river to Kinshasa; the Congo south of Brazzaville-Kinshasa to the coast is not navigable because of rapids, necessitating a rail connection to Pointe Noire; other rivers are used for local traffic only) (2011)
Pipelinesgas 807 km; oil 1,639 km; water 3 km (2013)
gas 232 km; liquid petroleum gas 4 km; oil 982 km (2013)
Ports and terminalsmajor seaport(s): Libreville, Owendo, Port-Gentil
oil terminal(s): Gamba, Lucina
major seaport(s): Pointe-Noire
river port(s): Brazzaville (Congo); Impfondo (Oubangi); Ouesso (Sangha); Oyo (Alima)
oil terminal(s): Djeno
Merchant marineregistered in other countries: 2 (Cambodia 1, Panama 1) (2010)
registered in other countries: 1 (Democratic Republic of the Congo 1) (2010)
Airports44 (2013)
27 (2013)
Airports - with paved runwaystotal: 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)
total: 8
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runwaystotal: 30
1,524 to 2,437 m: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 14 (2013)
total: 19
1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 2 (2013)

Military

GabonRepublic of the Congo
Military branchesGabonese Defense Forces (Forces de Defense Gabonaise): Land Force (Force Terrestre), Gabonese Navy (Marine Gabonaise), Gabonese Air Forces (Forces Aerienne Gabonaises, FAG) (2012)
Congolese Armed Forces (Forces Armees Congolaises, FAC): Army (Armee de Terre), Navy, Congolese Air Force (Armee de l'Air Congolaise); Gendarmerie; Special Presidential Security Guard (GSSP) (2013)
Military service age and obligation20 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription (2012)
18 years of age for voluntary military service; women may serve in the Armed Forces (2012)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP1.19% of GDP (2015)
NA% 1.14% of GDP (2014)
1.6% of GDP (2013)
1.62% of GDP (2012)
1.46% of GDP (2011)
4.97% of GDP (2014)
2.61% of GDP (2013)

Transnational Issues

GabonRepublic of the Congo
Disputes - internationalUN 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
the location of the boundary in the broad Congo River with the Democratic Republic of the Congo is undefined except in the Pool Malebo/Stanley Pool area
Trafficking in personscurrent 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)
current situation: the Republic of the Congo is a source and destination country for children, men, and women, subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; most trafficking victims are from Benin, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and, to a lesser extent, other neighboring countries and are subjected to domestic servitude and market vending by West African and Congolese nationals; adults and children, the majority from the DRC, are also sex trafficked in Congo, mainly Brazzaville; internal trafficking victims, often from rural areas, are exploited as domestic servants or forced to work in quarries, bakeries, fishing, and agriculture
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List - the Republic of the Congo does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the country drafted an action plan based on anti-trafficking legislation, which remains pending in the Supreme Court; the government made minimal anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts in 2014, failing to prosecute or convict suspected traffickers from cases dating back to 2010; serious allegations of official complicity continue to be reported; the government lacks a systematic means of identifying victims and relies on NGOs and international organizations to identify victims and NGOs and foster families to provide care to victims; the quality of care varied widely because the foster care system was allegedly undermined by inadequate security and official complicity (2015)

Source: CIA Factbook