Gabon - geography
Gabon - geography, Gabon lies in the tropical belt with high temperatures and
high rainfall; in the rainy season from October to June falls 1600-4000 mm and 3/4 of
the area is covered by tropical rainforest.
Compared to the size of the country, the population is modest and large areas
are extremely sparsely populated; approximately 80% of the residents live in the
cities. Unlike many other developing countries, Gabon is perceived as
underpopulated and government initiatives are trying to boost population growth,
which in 2006 is expected to be 2.1% against 10 ‰ in 1960.
Do you know how many people there are in Gabon? Check this site to see
population pyramid and resident density about this country.
Most of the economic activity takes place in the coastal region. The economy
has expanded sharply almost continuously since independence, and for a long time
there has been a great shortage of labor. Gabon has therefore attracted many
migrant workers from other countries in the region, but in the context of
economic crises, the Gabonese government has expelled them in great style; most
recently in 1995, when there were approximately 75,000 migrant workers in the
country. Prohibition of child labor was introduced in 2001, after it became
known that foreign children of thousands were smuggled into Gabon for forced
Mining. The first oil discoveries were made in 1930, but only in
1957 were the large fields south of the port city of Port-Gentil found, which
together with later offshore finds form the basis for the large oil
sector. Foreign companies account for the extraction; the largest are the French
Elf and Shell. Gabon was hit hard by falling oil prices after 1980, but new
findings in 1985 could offset the falling prices. However, since 1990, no new
fields of importance have been found, and Gabon has also had difficulty raising
the quota for crude oil production that landed in OPEC(Organization of Oil
Exporting Countries). The economic outlook was poor and Gabon therefore withdrew
from OPEC in 1996 to increase oil production. The oil sector accounts for 74% of
export revenue (1999).
Manganese is the country's second most important export product. The deposits
are inland at Moanda and are estimated to account for 6-20% of the world's known
manganese reserves. Exploitation has been hampered by Gabon's limited
infrastructure. For 25 years, the ore was transported by the world's longest
cable car 74 km to Mbinda in the Congo and from there by rail to the port city
of Pointe-Noire. Since 1988, transport has been on the Transgabonese railroad
from Franceville to Libreville.
Uranium production began in 1958; until 1974, all production was reserved for
France's Military and Civilian Atomic Energy Commission. Since then, Gabon has
also sold uranium to other countries, including Japan and Italy.
The iron ore deposit at Belinga towards NO is considered to be among the
largest in the world. A railroad connection is planned, but due to the economic
crisis of the 1990's, the building has been postponed and the ore is not
utilized. The same applies to deposits of lead and zinc and probably other
minerals. In 2006, the Gabonese government granted a Chinese company exclusive
rights to the extraction of iron ore at Belinga; the Chinese are expected to
complete the rail link to Belinga.
Agriculture. Only half a percent of the land is cultivated, and
although much of the workforce is farmers, many foods are imported. Government
initiatives have been launched to strengthen agriculture, partly to curb
migrations to cities, and partly to increase food and export
production. However, several plantations have had to reduce the production of eg. coffee and palm oil due to labor shortages.
Logging continues to contribute to exports. The most important
varieties are okoumé and ozigo, both used in the furniture
industry and for veneer production. The industry is characterized by a small
number of European companies licensed to specific areas. Only a small part of
the vast forest land is available, traditionally the areas around the rivers and
most recently also by rail.
The industry is only weakly developed and most consumer goods are
imported. Oil and wood processing is most important; Port-Gentil has a large,
modern veneer factory. The development of the industrial sector is supported by
the state, but is limited by the modest national market in the small country.
Economy. Since 1986, Gabon has had growing economic problems due to
the evolution of the oil price. Attempts to diversify the economy have only
succeeded to a modest extent, and the country remains heavily dependent on the
world oil market.
Tourism. Gabon is an expensive country and the limited tourism
sector is based on exclusive safaris, etc. Some national parks are established
in the rainforest, but the tourist industry is hampered by the country's
Gabon - language
Gabon - language spoken approximately 50 languages, almost all of which are Bantu
languages. The most widespread is fang that is spoken by just under a
third of the population. French is the official language and is used at all
levels of education.
Gabon - religion
Gabon - Religion, The majority of the population is Christian and the
Catholic Church is the largest denomination. Few percent are Muslims. The
original African religions have largely been included as elements of Christian
practice, for example in the independent churches.