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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 hazardsnone
seasonal flooding
Environment - current issuesdeforestation; burgeoning population exacerbating disposal of solid waste; oil industry contributing to water pollution; wildlife 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
Population distributionthe relatively small population is spread in pockets throughout the country; the largest urban center is the capital of Libreville, located along the Atlantic coast in the northwest
the population is primarily located in the south, in and around the capital of Brazzaville

Demographics

GabonRepublic of the Congo
Population1,772,255
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 2017 est.)
4,954,674
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 2017 est.)
Age structure0-14 years: 41.9% (male 373,307/female 369,237)
15-24 years: 20.46% (male 181,823/female 180,837)
25-54 years: 29.52% (male 262,511/female 260,673)
55-64 years: 4.36% (male 37,178/female 40,014)
65 years and over: 3.76% (male 28,664/female 38,011) (2017 est.)
0-14 years: 41.67% (male 1,041,761/female 1,022,763)
15-24 years: 17.1% (male 424,521/female 422,755)
25-54 years: 33.89% (male 843,856/female 835,041)
55-64 years: 4.29% (male 106,776/female 105,573)
65 years and over: 3.06% (male 66,962/female 84,666) (2017 est.)
Median agetotal: 18.6 years
male: 18.4 years
female: 18.8 years (2017 est.)
total: 19.7 years
male: 19.5 years
female: 19.8 years (2017 est.)
Population growth rate1.92% (2017 est.)
2.11% (2017 est.)
Birth rate34.2 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
34.4 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Death rate13 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
9.5 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Net migration rate-2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
-3.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 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: 44.1 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 50.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 37.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
total: 54.9 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 59.8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 49.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
Life expectancy at birthtotal population: 52.1 years
male: 51.7 years
female: 52.5 years (2017 est.)
total population: 59.8 years
male: 58.6 years
female: 61.1 years (2017 est.)
Total fertility rate4.39 children born/woman (2017 est.)
4.59 children born/woman (2017 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate3.6% (2016 est.)
3.1% (2016 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/AIDS48,000 (2016 est.)
91,000 (2016 est.)
ReligionsRoman Catholic 42.3%, Protestant 12.3%, other Christian 27.4%, Muslim 9.8%, animist 0.6%, other 0.5%, none/no answer 7.1% (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 - deaths1,500 (2016 est.)
3,800 (2016 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: 87.6% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 2.38% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
urban population: 66.2% of total population (2017)
rate of urbanization: 3.02% annual rate of change (2015-20 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% (2016)
9.6% (2016)
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% (2014/15)
Dependency ratiostotal dependency ratio: 67.4
youth dependency ratio: 59.9
elderly dependency ratio: 7.6
potential support ratio: 13.2 (2015 est.)
total dependency ratio: 84.5
youth dependency ratio: 78.3
elderly dependency ratio: 6.2
potential support ratio: 16.1 (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)
Constitutionhistory: previous 1961; latest drafted May 1990, adopted 15 March 1991, promulgated 26 March 1991
amendments: proposed by the president of the republic, by the Council of Ministers, or by one-third of either house of Parliament; passage requires Constitutional Court evaluation, at least two-thirds majority vote of two-thirds of the Parliament membership convened in joint session, and approval in a referendum; constitutional articles on Gabon’s democratic form of government cannot be amended; amended several times, last in 2011 (2017)
history: several previous; latest approved by referendum 25 October 2015
amendments: proposed by the president of the republic or by Parliament; passage of presidential proposals requires Supreme Court review followed by approval in a referendum; such proposals may also be submitted directly to Parliament, in which case passage requires at least three-quarters majority vote of both houses in joint session; proposals by Parliament require three-fourths majority vote of both houses in joint session; constitutional articles including those affecting the country’s territory, republican form of government, and secularity of the state are not amendable (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 reelected 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 (vacant); Prime Minister Clement MOUAMBA (since 23 April 2016) resigned on 18 August 2017; 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 2 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 2 rounds if needed; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 13 December 2014 (next to be held in January 2020); National Assembly - last held on 17 December 2011 (next originally scheduled on 27 December 2016, was rescheduled several times, latest to April 2018)
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 113, RPG 3, other 4
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 3 years) and the National Assembly (151 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by absolute majority popular vote in 2 rounds if needed; members serve 5-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 12 October 2014 for expiry of half the seats (next to be held in 2020); National Assembly - last held on 16 and 30 July 2017 (next to be held in July 2022)
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]
Rally for Gabon or RPG
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]
Union of Forces for Change or UFC [Jean PING]
Action Movement for Renewal or MAR [Roland BOUITI-VIAUDO]
Citizen's Rally or RC [Claude Alphonse NSILOU]
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 [Bonaventure MIZIDY]
Union for the Republic or UR
Union of Democratic Forces or UDF
Union for Democracy and Republic or UDR
many smaller parties
Political pressure groups and leadersGabones Trade Union Confederation or GOSYGA [Martin ALLINI] (affiliated with the International Union Confederation)
National Convention of Trade Unions in the education sector or CONASYSED (banned by the governemnt in early 2017)
Congolese Trade Union Confereration or CSC
General Union of Congolese Pupils and Students or UGEEC
Revolutionary Union of Congolese Women or URFC
Congolese Socialist Youth Union 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 9, 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 Cynthia 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. Power cuts and water shortages are frequent. 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, but had subsided to about 11% of GDP by 2017. Substantial macroeconomic imbalances continued in 2016 following sustained low oil prices.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$36.75 billion (2017 est.)
$36.4 billion (2016 est.)
$35.66 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
$29.16 billion (2017 est.)
$30.26 billion (2016 est.)
$31.13 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - real growth rate1% (2017 est.)
2.1% (2016 est.)
3.9% (2015 est.)
-3.6% (2017 est.)
-2.8% (2016 est.)
2.6% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$19,300 (2017 est.)
$19,400 (2016 est.)
$19,200 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
$6,700 (2017 est.)
$7,100 (2016 est.)
$7,500 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 4.5%
industry: 44%
services: 51.5% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 8.9%
industry: 50.8%
services: 40.3% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line34.3% (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)2.5% (2017 est.)
2.1% (2016 est.)
-0.4% (2017 est.)
3.6% (2016 est.)
Labor force557,800 (2017 est.)
2.055 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 64%
industry: 12%
services: 24% (2005 est.)
agriculture: 35.4%
industry: 20.6%
services: 44% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate28% (2015 est.)
20.4% (2014 est.)
36% (2014 est.)
Budgetrevenues: $3.122 billion
expenditures: $3.991 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: $2.516 billion
expenditures: $3.336 billion (2017 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 rate2% (2017 est.)
2% (2017 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$5.078 billion (2017 est.)
$4.364 billion (2016 est.)
$5.238 billion (2017 est.)
$4.116 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiescrude oil, timber, manganese, uranium
petroleum, lumber, plywood, sugar, cocoa, coffee, diamonds
Exports - partnersUS 45.7%, China 14.6%, South Korea 6.6%, Ireland 5.5%, Italy 5.1% (2016)
China 39.8%, Italy 10.2%, Australia 7%, Gabon 6.6%, Angola 6%, Singapore 4.2% (2016)
Imports$3.224 billion (2017 est.)
$3.19 billion (2016 est.)
$3.519 billion (2017 est.)
$3.498 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, construction materials
capital equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs
Imports - partnersFrance 24.7%, Belgium 14.7%, China 12.8%, Australia 6.7% (2016)
South Korea 18.2%, France 12.8%, China 12.2%, Norway 11.2%, Belgium 6.9% (2016)
Debt - external$5.599 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$5.321 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.197 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$4.721 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange ratesCooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar -
605.3 (2017 est.)
593.01 (2016 est.)
593.01 (2015 est.)
591.45 (2014 est.)
494.42 (2013 est.)
Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF) per US dollar -
579.8 (2017 est.)
593.01 (2016 est.)
593.01 (2015 est.)
591.45 (2014 est.)
494.42 (2013 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
calendar year
Public debt42.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
42.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
92.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
83.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$834.9 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$804.1 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$813.4 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$727.1 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance-$1.348 billion (2017 est.)
-$1.432 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.243 billion (2017 est.)
-$5.514 billion (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$14.47 billion (2016 est.)
$7.799 billion (2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$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 2017 est.)
15.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
14% (31 December 2017 est.)
14% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$2.915 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.097 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.703 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.901 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$2.17 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.053 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.955 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.456 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money$3.372 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.207 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$3.581 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.037 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues21.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
32.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-6% of GDP (2017 est.)
-10.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 39.9%
government consumption: 15.5%
investment in fixed capital: 28.3%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 45.2%
imports of goods and services: -28.9% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 54.8%
government consumption: 12.8%
investment in fixed capital: 46.5%
investment in inventories: 0.1%
exports of goods and services: 58.2%
imports of goods and services: -72.4% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving24.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
24% of GDP (2016 est.)
29.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
13.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
-26.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
-2.2% of GDP (2015 est.)

Energy

GabonRepublic of the Congo
Electricity - production2.045 billion kWh (2015 est.)
1.676 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - consumption1.907 billion kWh (2015 est.)
900.5 million kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - exports0 kWh (2016 est.)
22 million kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity - imports337 million kWh (2015 est.)
18 million kWh (2015 est.)
Oil - production210,800 bbl/day (2016 est.)
308,400 bbl/day (2016 est.)
Oil - imports0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
0 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Oil - exports202,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
254,400 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Oil - proved reserves2 billion bbl (1 January 2017 es)
1.6 billion bbl (1 January 2017 es)
Natural gas - proved reserves28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2017 es)
90.61 billion cu m (1 January 2017 es)
Natural gas - production378 million cu m (2015 est.)
1.5 billion cu m (2015 est.)
Natural gas - consumption957 million cu m (2015 est.)
2.6 billion cu m (2015 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 capacity670,000 kW (2015 est.)
545,000 kW (2015 est.)
Electricity - from fossil fuels50.7% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
61.7% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants49.3% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
38.3% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from nuclear fuels0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity - from other renewable sources0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - production16,810 bbl/day (2014 est.)
16,530 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - consumption22,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
18,000 bbl/day (2015 est.)
Refined petroleum products - exports5,118 bbl/day (2014 est.)
6,058 bbl/day (2014 est.)
Refined petroleum products - imports8,851 bbl/day (2014 est.)
6,821 bbl/day (2014 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: 18,946
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (July 2016 est.)
total subscriptions: 17,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2016 est.)
Telephones - mobile cellulartotal: 2,582,542
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 149 (July 2016 est.)
total: 5.216 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 110 (July 2016 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 approaching 150 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) (2016)
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: 835,408
percent of population: 48.1% (July 2016 est.)
total: 362,000
percent of population: 7.6% (July 2016 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 marinetotal: 27
by type: general cargo 11, oil tanker 1, other 15 (2017)
total: 33
by type: general cargo 18, oil tanker 1, other 14 (2017)
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 (2017)
total: 8
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5 (2017)
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)
National air transport systemnumber 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)
number of registered air carriers: 3
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 12
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 657,926
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 2,987,493 mt-km (2015)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefixTR (2016)
TN (2016)

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 GDP1.43% of GDP (2016)
1.19% of GDP (2015)
1.14% of GDP (2014)
1.6% of GDP (2013)
1.62% of GDP (2012)
7.17% of GDP (2016)
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