Gabon Country Profile
Gabon at a Glance
|Location:||Western Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean at the Equator, between Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea|
|Climate:||tropical; always hot, humid|
|Terrain:||narrow coastal plain; hilly interior; savanna in east and south|
|Resources:||petroleum, natural gas, diamond, niobium, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore, hydropower|
A Brief Profile of Gabon
Until recently, only two autocratic presidents had ruled Gabon since its independence from France in 1960. The recent president of Gabon, El Hadj Omar BONGO Ondimba -one of the longest-serving heads of state in the world - had dominated the country's political scene for four decades. President BONGO introduced a nominal multiparty system and a new constitution in the early 1990s. However, allegations of electoral fraud during local elections in 2002-03 and the presidential elections in 2005 exposed the weaknesses of formal political structures in Gabon. President BONGO died in June 2009 and was replaced in accordance with the constitution by Rose Francine ROGOMBE, the president of the Senate. New elections are planned for the summer of 2009. This will be the first Gabonese elections in which BONGO is not participating. Despite political conditions, a small population, abundant natural resources, and considerable foreign support have helped make Gabon one of the more prosperous and stable African countries.