République Gabonaise (Gabonese Republic)
Reference work entry


  • Capital: Libreville

  • Population estimate, 2015: 1.73 m.

  • GNI per capita, 2014: (PPP$) 16,367

  • HDI/world rank, 2014: 0.684/110=

  • Internet domain extension: .ga

Civil Aviation

There are international airports at Libreville (Léon M’Ba Airport), Port-Gentil and Franceville (Masuku); scheduled internal services link these to a number of domestic airfields. Libreville, the main airport, handled 839,571 passengers and 18,268 tonnes of freight in 2012. In 2012 scheduled airline traffic of Gabonese-based carriers flew 2.6 m. km; passenger-km totalled 115 m. in the same year. Gabon Airlines was established in July 2006 as a successor to the bankrupt national carrier Air Gabon, but it ceased operations in 2011.


The climate is equatorial, with high temperatures and considerable rainfall. Mid-May to mid-Sept. is the long dry season, followed by a short rainy season, then a dry season again from mid-Dec. to mid-Feb., and finally a long rainy season once more. Libreville, Jan. 80 °F (26.7 °C), July 75 °F (23.9 °C). Annual rainfall 99″ (2,510 mm).

Constitution and Government

On 21 March 1997 the government presented to the Parliament legislation aimed at reforming the constitution in a number of key areas: notably, the bill mandated the creation of a Vice-President of the Republic, the extension of the presidential term of office from 5 to 7 years, and the transformation of the Senate into an Upper Chamber of Parliament. Gabon has a bicameral legislature, consisting of a 120-member National Assembly (with members elected by direct, popular vote to serve 5-year terms) and a 102-member Senate (elected for 6-year terms in single-seat constituencies by local and departmental councillors). In July 2003 Gabon’s parliament approved an amendment to the constitution that allows the president to seek re-election indefinitely. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who appoints a Council of Ministers.


The unit of currency is the franc CFA (XAF) with a parity of 655.957 francs CFA to one euro.


In 2013 military expenditure totalled US$263 m. (US$161 per capita), representing 1.4% of GDP.


Agriculture accounted for 5% of GDP in 2009, industry 54% and services 41%. Gabon’s ‘shadow’ (black market) economy is estimated to constitute approximately 47% of the country’s official GDP.


The labour force in 2013 was 628,000 (472,000 in 2003). 62.5% of the population aged 15–64 was economically active in 2013. In the same year 20.3% of the population was unemployed. There is a 40-h working week. Gabon had 14,000 people living in slavery according to the Walk Free Foundation’s 2013 Global Slavery Index.


In 2008 there was one government-controlled daily newspaper (L’Union) with a circulation of 20,000.


The 669 km standard gauge Transgabonais railway runs from the port of Owendo to Franceville. Total length of railways, 2011, 810 km. In 2011 passenger-km travelled came to 118 m. and freight tonne-km to 2,417 m.


According to the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, 76.5% of the population in 2010 was Christian and 11.2% Muslim, with 6.0% followers of folk religions; of the Christians, 69% were Catholics and 31% Protestants.


Gabon has some 10,000 km of roads. In 2010 there were about 195,000 registered vehicles. There were 252 deaths in road accidents in 2010.


In Jan. 2009 there were 12 ships of 300 GT or over registered, totalling 6,000 GT. Owendo (near Libreville), Mayumba and Port-Gentil are the main ports. Rivers are an important means of inland transport.

Social Statistics

2008 estimates: births, 39,000; deaths, 14,000. Estimated rates, 2008 (per 1,000 population): births, 27.3; deaths, 9.7. Annual population growth rate, 2000–08, 2.0%. Expectation of life at birth, 2013, 62.4 years for males and 64.5 years for females. Infant mortality, 2010, 54 per 1,000 live births; fertility rate, 2008, 3.3 births per woman.


In 2010 there were 30,400 landline telephone subscriptions (equivalent to 20.2 per 1,000 inhabitants) and 1,610,000 mobile phone subscriptions (or 1,069.4 per 1,000 inhabitants). Fixed internet subscriptions totalled 22,200 in 2010 (14.7 per 1,000 inhabitants).

Territory and Population

Gabon is bounded in the west by the Atlantic Ocean, north by Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon and east and south by the Republic of the Congo. The area covers 267,670 km2, including 10,000 km2 of inland waters. Its population at the 2013 census was reported as 1,811,079. United Nations estimate, 2013, 1.82 m.; density, 7 per sq. In 2011, 86.4% of the population were urban. The capital is Libreville (703,940 inhabitants, 2013 census), other large towns (2013 census) being Port-Gentil (136,462), Franceville (110,568), Owendo (79,300) and Oyem (60,685). French is the official language.


358,000 non-resident tourists arrived at Libreville airport in 2008, up from 169,000 in 2001.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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