Gabon. In July, Parliament adopted by a large majority a constitutional amendment enabling the country’s president to stand for re-election an unlimited number of times. According to the opposition, the constitutional change was aimed at allowing President Omar Bongo to remain the head of state. Bongo has ruled the former French colony since 1967, making him the second longest-serving head of state in Africa (after Gnassingbé Eyadema in Togo). However, he was formally elected for the first time in 1993 and has since been re-elected once. The next presidential election will be held in 2005.
According to Countryaah.com, Gabon Independence Day is August 16. Gabon highlighted claims on the island of Mbagne, just off the border between Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, by landing military there in response to neighboring country’s demands on the island. The waters around Mbagne are believed to be rich in oil.
Gabon Republic Brief Guide
According to AbbreviationFinder, Gabon is a state in Central Africa. Its neighbors are the Republic of the Congo, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. To the west, the country borders the Gulf of Guinea.
Every person participating in the trip must have a valid travel insurance that covers medical expenses in the event of illness or other similar need. Please check the validity of your own insurance and the terms and conditions of the insurance cancellation cover.
Please pay attention to the special nature of your trip and check the coverage of the insurance in that respect as well. In many locations, the insurance must also be valid when moving at an altitude of more than 3,000 meters, in which case it also covers mountain sickness.
Many hiking or diving trips require more extensive insurance, which covers, for example, diving or moving on a glacier. Please check the contents of your insurance with your insurance company.
Check that your basic vaccinations are valid (tetanus, polio and diphtheria). Hepatitis A and B vaccinations are recommended for the trip.
Yellow fever occurs in Gabon. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required. Malaria also occurs in the country.
Always check the vaccination requirements at the health center or the Vaccination and advice of the Tourist Clinic.
The low demographic consistency and the availability of huge natural resources combine to make Gabon one of the potentially richest countries in Africa. The per capita gross domestic product was estimated at $ 14,400 in 2008, but the distribution of income is very uneven and the position of Gabon in the world ranking in the human development index elaborated by the United Nations is far below that which it would compete with the country on the basis of this indicator, since the others (life expectancy at birth, 53 years; literacy rate, 63%) express a level of social development that is anything but satisfactory.
The economy of Gabon is heavily dependent on the exploitation of oil fields: this resource represents almost 80% of the value of exports and contributes for more than half to the formation of the gross domestic product. The largest oil fields are found in the coastal region and in the offshore waters, mainly in the seabed near Port-Gentil and off the southern coast. The future of the oil sector, however, appears uncertain due to the progressive decrease in extraction (less than 12 million tons in 2004, compared to more than 15 million tons per year for most of the last decade of the 20th century); decrease due to the depletion of various fields, the economic damage of which is only partially offset by the increase in oil prices on the international market.
Other important resources of the subsoil (manganese, iron, phosphates) are not sufficiently exploited. The export of timber provides a revenue equal to 5% of the national wealth: over 90% of the proceeds from sales are provided by okumè, a highly sought-after wood for the production of plywood. The availability of natural resources has not induced adequate industrial development: the only significant activities are those of wood (Port-Gentil), sugar refineries (Franceville) and some plants in the agri-food sector. Although agriculture employs 60% of the active population, it ensures less than 6% of the gross domestic product. The most common crops for self-consumption are those of cassava and yam; sugar cane continues to thrive among commercial crops,
The poor network of communication routes was made more functional by the construction of the Transgabonese Railway, almost 650 km long, which connects the port of Owendo with the iron and manganese deposits of the interior.
The trade balance is largely active, thanks above all to exports of crude oil and forest products, directed to the USA for more than half of the total value, China and France. Imports from France and other European Union countries mainly concern machinery, means of transport, textiles and food products.