Gabon is a sovereign state on the west coast of Central Africa. It borders Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, and the Republic of the Congo on the east and south. To its west is the Atlantic Ocean's Gulf of Guinea. It has an area of nearly 270,000 km², and its population is estimated at 1.5 million people.
The majority of the Gabonese are Christian and there are three times as many Roman Catholics as Protestants. These beliefs are simultaneously held with Bwiti, an ancestral worship. There are also several thousand Muslims, most of whom have immigrated from other African countries.
Gabon's abundant natural resources include its forests, oil and gas deposits near Port Gentil, together with manganese and uranium. These mineral deposits make Gabon one of Africa's wealthier countries. However, agriculture still employs about 75% of the workforce, most farmers producing little more than they need to support their families.
Gabon has an equatorial climate, with year-round high temperatures and humidity. Rainfall varies from an annual average of 120 inches (3,050 mm) at Libreville to 150 inches (3,810 mm) on the northwest coast, with almost all of it falling between October and May. In the period from June to September there is little or no rainfall, but humidity remains high.
The state owns and operates 2 TV stations and 2 radio broadcast stations; a few private radio and TV stations.Transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are accessible. Satellite service subscriptions are available.
Gabon achieved independence from France in 1960. Léon M’Ba, the new Republic’s President, established a one-party state. His successor, Albert-Bernard Bongo (later El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba), instituted the Parti démocratique gabonais (PDG) as the ruling party.
The upturn of raw material prices and the growth of foreign demand have driven the rise of merchandise exports. Concurrently, however, imports of capital goods and services, along with profit repatriation by foreign investors, have rebounded, thereby limiting the size of the current account surplus. Gabon's overall financial position remains solid even though the fiscal and current account surpluses have contracted since the economic crisis that affected the world in 2008-09.
The ethnic makeup of the Gabonese is diversified, although almost all the inhabitants are Bantu-speaking. Of the country’s approximately 40 ethnic groups, the largest are the Fang, the Eshira, and the Adouma. Europeans, mostly French, form a small but prominent minority.
More than 60% of the adult population is literate. Schooling is compulsory in Gabon for all children between the ages of 6 and 16. In the early 1990s about 210,000 pupils were annually attending primary schools, and about 42,900 students were enrolled in secondary schools.
Relations between the United States and Gabon are excellent. In 1987, President Bongo made an official visit to Washington, DC. In September 2002, Secretary of State Colin Powell made a brief but historic visit to Gabon to highlight environmental protection and conservation in the Central Africa region
In 2000, the infant mortality rate was 58 per 1000 live births and life expectancy was 53 years. Common diseases are leprosy, sleeping sickness, malaria, filariasis, intestinal worms, and tuberculosis.
Credit institutions make small loans for the repair of existing houses and larger loans for the construction of new houses. The government has established a national habitation fund, and there have been a number of urban renewal projects.