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Gabon:
Geography

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Gabon Page


Background
Definition
Only two autocratic presidents have ruled Gabon since independence from France in 1960. The current president of Gabon, El Hadj Omar BONGO Ondimba - one of the longest-serving heads of state in the world - has 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 have exposed the weaknesses of formal political structures in Gabon. Gabon's political opposition remains weak, divided, and financially dependent on the current regime. 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.
Location
Definition
Western Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean at the Equator, between Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea
Geographic coordinates
Definition
1 00 S, 11 45 E
Map references
Definition
Africa
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 267,667 sq km
land: 257,667 sq km
water: 10,000 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly smaller than Colorado
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 2,551 km
border countries: Cameroon 298 km, Republic of the Congo 1,903 km, Equatorial Guinea 350 km
Coastline
Definition
885 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate
Definition
tropical; always hot, humid
Terrain
Definition
narrow coastal plain; hilly interior; savanna in east and south
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Iboundji 1,575 m
Natural resources
Definition
petroleum, natural gas, diamond, niobium, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore, hydropower
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 1.21%
permanent crops: 0.64%
other: 98.15% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
70 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
164 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 0.12 cu km/yr (50%/8%/42%)
per capita: 87 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
NA
Environment - current issues
Definition
deforestation; poaching
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note
Definition
a small population and oil and mineral reserves have helped Gabon become one of Africa's wealthier countries; in general, these circumstances have allowed the country to maintain and conserve its pristine rain forest and rich biodiversity


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