Gabon. In the presidential election in early December, as expected, the then-sitting president, 63-year-old Omar Bongo, was re-elected for another seven-year term with 66% of the vote. He was challenged by seven opposition candidates, five from the political opposition and two independents.
According to Countryaah, the capital of Gabon is Libreville. The election campaign was characterized by contradictions between the two leading political blocs, and President Bongo accused his opponents of planning violent actions if they lost the election. He therefore closed the country’s borders during the elections. Opposition politicians, for their part, accused Bongo and the ruling party of the Parti Démocratique Gabonais (PDG) for planning widespread electoral fraud in order to secure Bongo’s re-election.
- Abbreviationfinder: What does GAB stand for in geography? Here, this 3 letter acronym refers to the country of Gabon.
GABON. – Presidential republic (independent since 17 August 1960), in which the head of state, elected by direct universal suffrage for seven years, is at the same time head of the government, flanked by a national assembly of 70 members. The territory (267,667 km 2) is divided into 9 regions, which in turn are divided into 31 districts, 6 urban municipalities and an autonomous district (Sette Cama-Gamba), directly under the Ministry of the Interior. A third-order division concerns rural communities. The residents are about 540,000 (1974), mostly of Bantu lineage, with a prevalence of the Fang (94,200), Eshira (78,300), Mbédé (63,100), mostly Christians (310,000 Catholics). The capital is Libreville (53,291 residents In 1967), but the most important industrial center (refinery, wood industry, food, etc.) is Port-Gentil (25,000). Lambaréné (4000 residents), The capital of Medio Ogooué, is known for the hospital founded by A. Schweitzer. The population is centered around urban centers, forestry yards, mines, while in the villages of the interior, following the exodus of the most valid elements, the number of women far exceeds that of men. There is therefore a lively contrast between the regions where the modern European economy prevails (which ensures 75% of production) and the rural sector with an archaic economy.
In Gabon emerge rocks of the ancient base (granite, gneiss), often covered by layers of sandstone, schist, limestone, while in the west, in the low and marshy areas, more recent soils (tertiary) prevail. The Gabon coincides broadly with the basin of the Ogooué river (220,000 km 2) which after Lambaréné divides into several branches and forms a delta that advances into the ocean. The land rises to 1575 m in the Chaillu massif (M. Iboundi); less high is the Mayombe chain to the south-west and the Crystal Mountains to the north-west.
Just the fortieth part of the soil is cultivated with a prevalence of plants that are used to feed the indigenous people (millet, sorghum, cassava), while industrial crops are of limited importance. Breeding and fishing are also of little importance, practiced by the Japanese (especially shrimp) rather than by the natives. Meadows and pastures are not very extensive (19%), while woods prevail (75%), which extend over more than 20 million ha (including wooded savannahs), favored by heavy rainfall (Libreville receives 2700 mm of rain year, with always very high values, except between June and October) and high temperatures (average of 26 ° 6, with monthly excursions below 3 ° C). The timber therefore assumes a fundamental importance in the life of the country, but it is a predominantly destructive economy and exports involve rough timber rather than plywood or veneer. It is hard, precious wood, mainly okoumé (over one million m3 exported in 1974), but limba is also gaining in importance. The trade is managed by a special Office des Bois which has established that European companies that exploit the forest must operate in inland areas, while the coastal ones (more profitable) are reserved for Gabonese companies.
For some years now, Gabon has assumed considerable importance for the resources of the subsoil and in the first place oil (1959: 753,000 t; 1975: 11.3 million), which now exceeds the value of timber in exports; the first wells, opened at Capo Lopez, were joined by those of Anguillé, Gamba, Ivinga. And natural gas is often associated with oil. A refinery has sprung up (October 1967) in PortGentil, due to five states that have formed an economic union (UDEAC). Since 1962, manganese has also begun to be exported (976,000 t in 1973) which is of a very high content (50-52%) and is located around Moanda: a long cableway (76 km) transports it to M’Binda, where a railway section (290 km) connects to the Brazzaville-Pointe Noire line (port of embarkation). In Mounana, uranium oxide began to be extracted (from 1961) (1400 t in 1973), while gold production is in decline. There is an important deposit of iron (hematite) with a high content (over 60%) in the Makokou-Mékambo area, but evacuation is difficult and export is only expected in 1980; less rich, but closer to the coast (70 km) is the Tchibanga deposit, which uses the port of Nyanga for the shipment of the ore. A hydroelectric power station was created through the Kinguélé dam on the Mbéi. Communications always leave something to be desired. In December 1973 the construction of the Trans-Gabonese railway was started (with the Owendo-Booué section), which starts from a new port, under construction near Libreville, and is to connect the capital to the north-east and south-east regions. The Ayem-Lastourville road has also been opened, which completes the Libreville-Franceville artery and thus makes it easier to reach the Mounana-Moanda mines. In the western regions, much of the transport uses river arms, canals and lagoons. The trade balance (given the export of timber, oil and minerals) is active and for a good half of the buyers are the countries of the European Economic Community.