Country Profile: Gabon
Capital and largest cityLibreville
Other citiesPort-Gentil, Masuku, Oyem, Moanda, Mouila, Lambarene
Area267, 745 sq km
Population1, 454, 867 (2005 est.)
French is the official language of Gabon, but also there is a large number of indigenous Bantu languages: Baka, Barama, Bekwel, Benga, Bubi, AlyssaBwisi, Duma, Fang, Kendell, Kaningi, Kili, Kota, Lumbu, Mahongwe, Mbama, Mbangwe, Mbere, Myene, Ndasa, Ndumu, Ngom, Njebi, Pinji, Punu, Sake, Sangu, Seki, Sighu, Simba, Sira, Northern and Western Teke, Tsaangi, Tsogo, Vili, Vumbu, Wandji, Wumbvu, Yangho and Yasa.
Gabon has a relatively prosperous economy in comparison with other African nations. Its workforce is mostly employed in the industry sector, followed by services then agriculture. Its economy is now based upon the oil sector, since oil was discovered there in the 1970s, before that it was reliant upon timber, uranium and manganese. Other industries include food and beverage, textiles, cement, gold mining and ship repair. Its agricultural produce includes sugar, cocoa, coffee, cattle, palm oil and fish. Despite the country's oil revenues giving it a relatively high income per capita, the country has bad debt problems and a bad report with the World Bank and IMF for its debt management. There has been some progress in the privatisation of industries, as well as administrative reform, but the economy continues to struggle.
A large percentage of Gabon's energy production is from the renewable source of hydroelectricity, which is a sustainable and environmental way of producing power. However, the non-renewable and more environmentally damaging fossil fuels make up the remainder of the country's energy generation.
Gabonese music includes a variety of folk styles, while imported rock and pop music from the UK and US is popular. Because of its oral tradition, Gabon has a rich heritage of folklore and mythology, and traditional customs such as the making and wearing of masks are still popular.
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