Gabon, or the Gabonese Republic, is a country in west central Africa. It borders on Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo and the Gulf of Guinea. Since its independence from France on August 17, 1960, the Republic has been ruled by only two autocratic presidents; the incumbent El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba has been in power since 1967 and is currently Africa's longest-serving head of state. Gabon introduced a multiparty system and a new democratic constitution in the early 1990s that allowed for a more transparent electoral process and for reforms of governmental institutions.
Gabon has at least forty ethnic groups with separate languages and cultures, of which the Fang are generally thought to be the largest. A small population, abundant natural resources (including offshore petroleum reserves), and foreign private investment have helped make Gabon one of the most prosperous countries in the region, with a per capita income of four times the average for Sub-Saharan Africa, although the distribution of income from this industry is extremely unequal. (Read more...)