The World Factbook (1982)/Gabon

The World Factbook (1982)
by the Central Intelligence Agency


World Factbook (1982) Gabon.jpg
(See reference map VII)


264,180 km2; 75% forested, 15% savanna, 9% urban and wasteland, less than 1% cultivated

Land boundaries: 2,422 km


Limits of territorial waters (claimed): 100 nm; fishing, 150 nm

Coastline: 885 km


Population: 662,000 (July 1982), average annual growth rate 1.3%

'Nationality: noun—Gabonese (sing., pl.); adjective—Gabonese

Ethnic divisions: about 40 Bantu tribes, including 4 major tribal groupings (Fang, Eshira, Mbede, Okande); about 100,000 expatriate Africans and Europeans, including 20,000 French

Religion: 55% to 75% Christian, less than 1% Muslim, remainder animist

Language: French official language and medium of instruction in schools; Fang is a major vernacular language

Literacy: government claims more than 80% of school age children in school, but literacy rate is substantially below this figure—20%

Labor force: about 280,000 of whom 98,000 are wage earners in the modern sector (late 1979)

Organized labor: there are 38,000 members of the national trade union, the Gabonese Trade Union Confederation (COSYGA)


Official name: Gabonese Republic

Type: republic; one-party presidential regime since 1964

Capital: Libreville

Political subdivisions: nine provinces subdivided into 36 prefectures

Legal system: based on French civil law system and customary law; constitution adopted 1961; judicial review of legislative acts in Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court; legal education at Center of Higher and Legal Studies at Libreville; compulsory ICJ jurisdiction not accepted

National holiday: 12 March, 17 August

Branches: power centralized in President, elected by universal suffrage for seven-year term; unicameral 93-member National Assembly (including nine members chosen by Omar Bongo) has limited powers; constitution amended in 1979 so that Assembly deputies will serve five-year terms; independent judiciary

Government leader: President El Hadj Omar BONGO

Suffrage: universal over age 18

Elections: Presidential election last held December 1979, next presidential election scheduled for 1986; parliamentary election last held February 1980, next election scheduled for 1985; constitutional change separates dates for presidential and parliamentary elections

Political parties and leaders: Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) led by President Bongo is only legal party

Communists: no organized party; probably some Communist sympathizers

Member of: AFDB, Conference of East and Central African States, BDECA (Central African Development Bank), EAMA, EIB (associate), FAO, G-77, GATT, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCO, ICO, IDA, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMCO, IMF, IPU, ISCON, ITU, NAM, OAB (African Wood Organization), OAU, OPEC, UDEAC, UN, UNESCO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO


GDP: $3.8 billion (1980), $6,333 per capita; 7.1% annual growth rate (1971-81)

Agriculture: commercial—cocoa, coffee, wood, palm oil, rice; main food crops—bananas, manioc, peanuts, root crops; imports food

Fishing: catch 10,000 metric tons (excluding shellfish) (1978)

Major industries: petroleum production, sawmills, petroleum refinery; mining of increasing importance; major minerals—manganese, uranium, iron (not produced)

Electric power: 175,400 kW capacity (1980); 564 million kWh produced (1980), 869 kWh per capita

Exports: $1,770 million (f.o.b., 1979); crude petroleum, wood and wood products, minerals (manganese, uranium concentrates, gold), coffee

Imports: $615 million (f.o.b., 1979); excluding UDEAC trade; mining, roadbuilding machinery, electrical equipment, transport vehicles, foodstuffs, textiles

Major trade partners: France, US, West Germany, and Curacao

Budget: (1979) revenues $1.1 billion, current expenditures $605 million, development expenditures $344 million

Monetary conversion rate: 212.7 Communaute Financiere Africaine francs=US$1 (1979)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 970 km standard gauge (1.437 m) under construction; 180 km are completed

Highways: 6,947 km total; 459 km paved, 5,517 km gravel and improved and 971 km unimproved

Inland waterways: approximately 1,600 km perennially navigable

Pipelines: crude oil, 270 km

Ports: 2 major (Owendo and Port-Gentil), 3 minor

Civil air: 20 major transport aircraft

Airfields: 121 total, 98 usable; 6 with permanent-surface runways; 2 with runways 2,440-3,659 m, 22 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: adequate system of open-wire, radio-relay, tropospheric scatter links and radiocommunication stations; 1 Atlantic Ocean satellite station; 7 AM, 2 FM, and 8 TV stations; 11,600 telephones (1.2 per 100 popl.)


Military manpower: males 15-49, 158,000; 81,000 fit for military service; 5,000 reach military age (20) annually

Military budget: for fiscal year ending 31 December 1981, $49.5 million; 3.1% of central government budget