Sandra Appiah March 02, 2011

Gabon sits on the Equator in western Africa. Oil, timber, and manganese earn this thinly settled republic one of the highest per capita incomes in Africa. However, the income is largely based on oil money going to a few—most live by subsistence farming. France gained control starting in 1839, and Libreville (Free Town), Gabon’s capital, got its name when French forces freed slaves there in 1849. With independence in 1960, it functioned mostly as a one-party state until 1991, when a new constitution brought multiparty democracy. In 2002 the country created 13 new national parks—some 11 percent of Gabon’s area—to protect its forests and wildlife from logging.


GABONFast Facts


Capital:Libreville; 611,000

Area:267,667 square kilometers (103,347 square miles)

Language:French, Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi

Religion:Christian, indigenous beliefs

Currency:CFA franc

Life Expectancy:59

GDP per Capita:U.S. $6,500

Literacy Percent:63




  •  Industry: Petroleum extraction and refining, manganese and gold mining, chemicals
  • Agriculture: Cacao, coffee, sugar, palm oil; cattle; okoume (a tropical softwood); fish
  •   Exports: Crude oil, timber, manganese, uranium

Source: The National Geographic
CIA- The World Factbook

Last Edited by: Updated: February 25, 2014


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