The Gabonese Republic is located along the Equator in central Africa between the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea. It also borders the Atlantic Ocean with 885 kilometres of coastline. The terrain comprises of coastal plain, hilly interior, and savanna in the east and south. The climate is always hot, humid and tropical.
On August, 17, 1960, the Republic of Gabon formally achieved its independence from France. During the first post-independence election and under a new presidential system, the primary legislative elections were held in February 1961; the Gabonese Democratic Bloc (Bloc Démocratique Gabonais-BDG) and Gabonese Democratic and Social Union (Union Démocratique et Sociale Gabonaise-UDSG) coalition won all seats in the National Assembly which declared former Vice President Gabriel Leon Mba the first elected president of the Gabonese Republic. Within the same year, the initial constitution was introduced and the guidelines of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches of Government as well as other applicable institutions were explicitly outlined.
In November 1966, President Leon M’ba appointed Albert Bernard Bongo (also known as El Hadj Omar BONGO-Ondimba) as Vice-President. Following the demise of former President Leon Mba, Vice-President Albert Bernard Bongo became the transitional President until winning the 1967 presidential election. After six consecutive re-elections, there were several modifications made to the constitution under President Bongo’s administration but the most significant amendment of the constitution was adopted in 1991. This restoration of the constitution combined the legal system of the French civil law in conjunction with the Gabonese customary law; the provisions reformed the judiciary as well as reinstated the multiparty system and other key institutions that ensured the stability, prosperity, and protection of the Republic of Gabon and its people.
As one of the longest serving Heads of State, President El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba remained in power for approximately forty-two years (1967-2009) until his death on June 8, 2009 at the age of 73. In accordance with Article 13 of the Gabonese’s Constitution, vacancy of presidential power is relinquished to the active president of the senate; Rose Francine Rogombe became the transitional president and also made history by becoming the first female president. During the 2009 presidential election, the citizens of the Republic of Gabon democratically elected its third President, former Minister of Defense Ali Bongo Ondimba. On January 27, 2014, the current Commander in Chief appointed former Professor Daniel ONA ONDO as the new Prime Minister. Prime Minister Daniel ONA ONDO heads the Government which consists of the following: the Council of Ministers who are jointly chosen by the President, the legislative branch of government which is bicameral (members of the Senate 102 seats are elected by the municipal councils and serve a six-year term; National Assembly which embodies 120 deputies who are directly elected by the locals to a five year term) and the Supreme Court which encompasses of the three chambers: Judicial, Administrative and Accounts.
Official Name: the Gabonese Republic
Independence Day: 17 August 1960
Currency: CFA Franc
Area: 267,667 sq km (similar in size to Colorado)
Time Zone: GMT +1
Country Dialing Code: +241
National Anthem: la Concorde by Georges Aleka Damas
Population: Estimated at 1.6 million people, including roughly 650,000 people in Libreville. The rest of the country is relatively rural with low population density.
Economy: The Gabonese Republic’s per capita income is almost four times higher than that of other African nations and as of 2013, Gabon’s estimated GDP is $30.06 billion. Natural resources of Gabon include petroleum, natural gas, diamonds, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore and hydropower. Gabon continues to diversify its economy through increased government investment in human resources and infrastructure as well as a huge emphasis on green technology.
Main Cities: Libreville is the largest city in Gabon with an estimated population of about 650,000 people. Port-Gentil is the second largest city with a prominent seaport; it is an island that is surrounded by swamps and ocean but it is notably known for being the nation’s oil capital. The third largest city and the birthplace of the late, former President Omar Bongo-Ondimba is Franceville; it is also the head of the Trans-Gabonese Railway. A popluar vacation spot is Mouila; it is famously known for its Lac Bleu, a lake known for its bright, beautiful blue water.
Government: The Republic of Gabon adopted its constitution on 15 March 1991, mixing a legal system of French civil law and customary law. As a multiparty presidential republic and stable democratic nation, Gabon elects a president to the executive branch of government every seven years. The current president, elected in 2009, is President Ali Bongo Ondimba.