Gabon is a country in Africa which is located on the west coast (Atlantic coast) of the continent. The capital of Gabon is Libreville. The currency used in Gabon is Central African Franc. It has a population of 2.119m people as estimated in 2019 by World Bank. Let’s learn 10 important facts about Gabon.
1. Gabon obtained freedom from France
In 1960, like the rest of the African countries obtaining freedom, Gabon also got freedom from France. The rule of France over a few coastal regions was established in mid-19th century; when certain local chiefs signed away the sovereignty of the territory.
Later in 1910, the gradual occupation made Gabon one of the territories of the French Equatorial Africa. The modern history of Gabon under occupation is almost entirely about French colonisation.
On 15th of July, 1960, France announced independence of Gabon.
2. Gabon is one of the stablest African country
A lot of people believe that economically, Africa is not a stable continent. Gabon begs to differ. It stands 13th on our list of most developed countries in Africa with a good Human Development Index of 0.702.
The country witnessed a long reign of four decades lead by El Hadj Omar BONGO Ondimba. The reign started in 1967 and ended in 2009 with the death of Omar BONGO. Currently, his son Ali BONGO Ondimba is the president of Gabon.
Back in 2016, the re-election of Ali BONGO Ondimba caused a lot of controversy and criticism from the opposition. However, after a legal review of the elections, the results were declared clear of any corruption.
3. Christianity is the major religion followed in Gabon
The advent of the French didn’t stop the christian missionaries arriving from the New England. Such missionaries and the colonial rule became the cause of christianity preaching in Gabon society.
42.3% of the people adhere to Roman Catholicism. Some 12.3% are Protestants while there is a small percentage of Muslims (9.8%) present in Gabon.
4. French is the Official Language of Gabon
Despite ethnic diversity, a foreign language is the official language of Gabon. French has been given the status of official language in the country. Other than French, local languages such as Fang, Mbere and Sira are also spoken. A few of these languages (other than Fang) are from the Bantu group.
One estimate shows that 32% of the people speak Fang as their day to day language. The administration of France due to their massive involvement normalised French for the local population.
Few efforts are being made to introduce English to the local people so that they may feel comfortable with the international transactions.
5. Gabon enjoys a relatively good Economy
The economy of Gabon is somehow better than the other countries in the same region. The Per Capita Income of Gabon is four times better than the neighbouring countries. Mining and Wood sector played an important role in the economic uplift of Gabon.
A turning point in economy was witnessed with the discovery of oil in the early 1970s. A massive portion of the Gabon economy relies on Oil.
Contrary to the availability of mineral wealth, the country faces troubles in its path to modernisation. Lack of good management and inequality in population is one big reasons behind dragging the country downwards.
6. A quarter of African gorillas live in Gabon
Gorillas are important because of their reducing population around the globe. When gorillas and Africa is mentioned, Gabon is one country which never goes unmentioned. One quarter of Gorilla population in Africa is found in Gabon.
Starting from 1980, a census of the gorilla population was carried out in Gabon. The census ended in 1983 and 34,764 gorillas were found.
7. Manioc roots and Plantains serve as Gabon staple food
Cassava, also know as Manioc is the most favourite dish in Gabon. It’s a root vegetable which is cooked with water. Its shape is like sweet potatoes.
Other than Cassava, plantains are equally liked in Gabon. A common name for plantains is Cooking Banana. Sometimes these plantains are fried for consumption.
8. Libreville is the capital and largest city of Gabon
Libreville is a port city, as can be seen in the map of Gabon which is attached in the starting of this compilation of facts about Gabon. It’s located in the province of Estuaire, Gabon. The census of 2013 shows that the city has a residing population of 703k people.
During the French colonial rule, the city provided them with a good trading post. Further, it also served as a an administrative centre for the France. One estimate shows, that nearly half of the Gabon population lives in Libreville.
The international airport of Libreville is the best airport in Gabon.
9. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the Gabon footballer playing for Arsenal Football Club
Don’t underestimate Gabon when it comes to football. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang plays forward for the Premiere League club Arsenal. He also plays in the Gabon National Football Team. He is pretty popular in the Premiere League; further as a soccer player he is well liked in the global rankings.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has different interests. In a recent news, the player revealed that he is about to setup his own esports league for sake of promoting the video gaming.
10. Gabon is a leader in conservation of wildlife and nature
The world is worried about climate change while Gabon is taking the matter seriously. Starting from early 2000s, Gabon has dedicated its efforts to create 13 national parks for sake of conservation. Further, it has taken many other measures to conserve the rain forests. Gabon is home to 12% of the Congo Basin forests.
The Congo Basin forests are a part of the Tropical rain forest; it is worth mentioning that Amazon Rainforest is the world’s largest tropical rain forest and the other one after Amazon is Congo Rainforest. The deforestation rate in Gabon is around 0.1% annually.