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Gabon: Country Profile

ABC News, from 1998 CIA Factbook

GABON is perhaps best known as the country where medical missionary Albert Schweitzer, winner of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize, founded and ran his hospital. The coast of this mountainous west African country became a slave-trading center for Europeans, who arrived in the 16th century. Today, Gabon's economy is based largely on oil, although the wealth is confined in large part to the urban upper class. Gabon imports 90 percent of its food.



French (official), Fang, Myene, Bateke, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi
Major Religions Christian 55%-75%, Muslim less than 1%, animist
Ethnic groups Bantu tribes (four major tribal groupings: Fang, Eshira, Bapounou, Bateke), other Africans and Europeans 154,000
Growth rate 1.48%
Birth rate 28 births/1,000
Death rate 13.23 deaths/1,000
Fertility rate 3.81 children/woman
Male life expectancy 53
Female life expectancy 59
Infant mortality rate 85.43 deaths/1,000 live births


Labor force 120,000 (1996)
Unemployment rate 10% (1993)
Inflation Rate 6.2% (1996)
Gross domestic product
(total value of goods
and services produced
$6.0 billion (1996 est.)
Budget $1.3 billion (1996 est.)
Debt $3.9 billion (1996)
Exports $3.1 billion (1996 est.), primarily crude oil 81%, timber 12%, manganese 5%, uranium (1996)
Imports $969.0 million (1996 est.), primarily machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, petroleum products, construction materials
Defense spending 2.4% of GDP (1996 est.)
Highways 7,670 km (1996)

Source: 1998 CIA World Factbook