Gabon, in long form the Gabonese Republic, is a country located in Central Africa, crossed by the equator, bordering on the east, south-east and south of the Republic of Congo, north-north-west of Equatorial Guinea and northern Cameroon. Former French colony, Gabon has been independent since August 17, 1960.
It is a forest country where flora and fauna are still well preserved and protected in thirteen national parks including Lopé National Park, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
A small population, significant forest resources and abundant oil have made Gabon one of the most prosperous countries in Africa. The country has the highest human development index in sub-Saharan Africa according to the United Nations, with the second per capita income behind Equatorial Guinea and ahead of Botswana. The GDP grew by more than 6% per year for the period 2010-2012. However, due to large inequalities in the distribution of income, a significant proportion of the
Gabon contains the oldest traces of multicellular life known to date. They date back 2.1 billion years and were discovered in the Francevillien of the Franceville region in 2008. In June 2014, the CNRS announced the discovery of new macroscopic fossils up to 17 cm in size and confirmed the age of the fossil deposit at 2.1 billion years
Gabon is located in Central Africa, at the level of the equator. Its climate is equatorial, hot and humid, with an alternation of dry and rainy seasons throughout the year. There are two wet seasons (February-May, long rainy season and September-December, short rainy season) and two dry seasons (May-September, long dry season and December-January, short dry season).
Average temperatures are between 21 ° C in the southwest of the country (Port-Gentil, Lambaréné, Mouila, Tchibanga, Mayumba) and 27 ° C on the coast and in the interior of the country. The extremes range from 18 ° C to 36 ° C. Precipitation ranges from 1500 mm in the northeast and in the savanna regions to 3300 mm in the northwest and southwest. The atmospheric humidity rate is on average 85%, it can reach 100% in the winter season.
Gabon has a hybrid regime. It has both the characteristics of the presidential system and the so-called parliamentary one. The first president of the Gabonese Republic was Léon Mba in 1960. Omar Bongo became the second president of the Gabonese Republic in 1967, on the death of Léon Mba. He was then, at 32, the youngest head of state in the world. He remained in power from 1967 until his death in 2009.
Between 1968 and 1990, the country was under the one-party regime, the Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG). A national conference was held in March-April 1990. At the end of it, important political reforms were adopted, including the creation of a national senate, the decentralization of finances, freedom of assembly and of the press. , the abolition of the compulsory exit visa and the multiparty system, with the first multiparty legislative elections in almost thirty years in September-October 1990.
Despite this certain democratization, the economic situation of the country hardly changes while Omar Bongo and his presidential party remain in power. He died on June 8, 2009, at the age of 73. The interim is provided by the President of the Senate, Rose Rogombé, until the early election of 2009. Ali Bongo then succeeds his father.
Traditional masks have an important part in Gabonese culture. Each ethnic group has its own masks with various meanings and uses. They are frequently used in traditional ceremonies (marriage, birth, mourning, etc.).
The best known and most sought after in the major art markets are the téké, obamba, kota, punu and fang masks that can be found in major European, North American and Asian museums.
Before colonization, the peoples of Gabon shared animist beliefs characterized by various myths and rites but having as common points the cult of ancestors, whose spirit could always influence the existence of the living, and the use of fetishes. From the 19th century, there was a real competition between Catholic and Protestant missionaries to evangelize the Gabonese. In practice, many people today associate a Christian faith with ancient indigenous beliefs. Note the success in Gabon of all kinds of churches, especially evangelicals, inspired by American or African models.
Gabon is a country with a very rich subsoil. It exports manganese, petroleum (it joined the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1975 and withdrew from it in 1995 then rejoined the organization in 2016), gas, iron, wood and much more. other products of its soil and its subsoil for a long time. The exploitation of the uranium mines of Mounana, located 90 km from Franceville, was interrupted in 2001 due to the arrival on the world market of new competitors. The relaunching of the exploitation of its important uranium deposits is currently on the agenda. Since the 1980s, the train from Franceville to Libreville (the Transgabonais) has been exporting resources from manganese, uranium and iron mines located in Moanda. The Bélinga iron deposits north-east of Makokou, whose reserves are estimated at one billion tonnes, have not yet been exploited. Overall, however, the “oil manna” has only very partially served to modernize the country and diversify the economy.
The country has the highest human development index in sub-Saharan Africa, excluding Mauritius and the Seychelles104. As far as mainland Africa is concerned, it has the second largest per capita income behind Equatorial Guinea and ahead of Botswana105. The GDP per capita is relatively high, estimated between 15 and 16 000 $ US106 with the 73rd place in the world. And, although affected by the global economic crisis of 2008, Gabon’s GDP has since increased by more than 6% per year for the period 2010-2012.
However, due to the inequality in the distribution of income, a large proportion of the population remains poor. The GDP in purchasing power parity places the country in 113th place and the World Bank estimates that in 2005 a third of the population is affected by poverty. From a social point of view, “Gabon is confronted with the socio-economic paradox of belonging, by virtue of its per capita GDP, to the group of Intermediate Income Countries (MIC) while being similar, through its social indicators, to the group of the lowest countries. least developed (LDCs) ”108 knowing that the country is also experiencing a high unemployment rate, at 27% of the working population in 2012. Gabonese also have to face the deterioration [When?] of access to healthcare, the deficiency of public services, or even recurring power cuts. From 2014, the fall in oil prices led to a fall in government revenue and an increase in public debt. Gabon then approached the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the French State to obtain aid amounting to several hundred million euros over three years.