Gabon is located in Central Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean at the Equator, between Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea. Its capital city, Libreville, has a population of 619,000 (2009) and is well serviced by the Trans-Gabon Railway and Port Owendo. The country covers an area of 267,667km2 and has an overall estimated population of over 1.6 million (July 2012).
Gabon's small population, abundant natural resources including petroleum, natural gas, manganese, uranium, timber and iron ore, and considerable foreign support have helped make it one of the more prosperous and stable African countries.
Gabon’s current president, Ali Bongo, succeeded his father, Omar Bongo, who was in power for over four decades in the period following Gabon’s independence from France in 1960and was Africa’s longest serving head of state.
Gabon enjoys a per capita income four times that of most sub-Saharan African nations with GDP per Capita estimated at $16,000 in 2011.
Gabon has long been dependent on oil and gas as its main source of revenue. In 2010, the economy was reliant on oil for about 50% of its GDP, about 70% of revenues, and 87% of goods exports, although some fields have passed their peak production. As a result, the country is trying to diversify away from oil whose earnings have been decreasing and is taking steps to make Gabon a more attractive investment destination to diversify the economy.
Source: CIA World Fact Book; BBC Monitoring; The Official Portal of the Gabonese Republic (www.legabon.org)