The Republic of Gabon is a central African country located on the Atlantic Ocean. It borders with Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and the Republic of Congo. It is sparsely populated, with a population of approximately 2.1 million (2017).
The capital, Libreville, and Port Gentil are home to 59% of the population. One in two Gabonese citizens is under the age of 20, and more than four in five Gabonese citizens live in cities. The literacy rate is 89%. French is the official language.
The first Europeans arrived in the 15th century. Gabon became part of French Equatorial Africa in 1910. The French federation of four territories survived until 1959 and on 17 August 1960, Gabon became independent.
There are nine (9) provinces in Gabon, which are Estuaire, Haut-Ogooue, Moyen-Ogooue, Ngounie, Nyanga, Ogooue-Ivindo, Ogooue-Lolo, Ogooue-Maritime, and Woleu-Ntem. These are further broken down into 37 departments.
Gabon is a unitary Republic with a national legislature comprising two (2) chambers. The National Assembly (Lower Chamber) has 143 members who are elected for five (5) years by universal adult suffrage. The Senate (Upper Chamber) has 102 members who are elected for five (5) years by municipal and regional councillors.
The President, currently Ali Bongo Ondimba, is head of state and is elected for a seven (7) year term (next election 2023). The constitution was amended in 2003 to remove the restrictions on the number of terms a President can serve. The government is led by a Prime Minister in charge of day-to-day executive operations. The President appoints and can dismiss the Prime Minister, Cabinet and Judges of the Supreme Court and has authority to dissolve the National Assembly.
A Minister of Mines supported by functional Directeur Generals and technical and administrative personnel comprise the Mining Administration, which oversees the mining industry with reference to a Mining Code and Implementing Regulations.
Natural resource endowment includes petroleum, natural gas, diamonds, niobium, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore, and hydropower. Gabon is currently the second largest producer of manganese ore in the world and the eighth largest crude oil producer in Africa. It has had strong economic growth over the past decade, driven by its production of oil and manganese.