Title: The Gabonese Republic

Population: 2,284,912

Population Change: 2.45

National Average Age: 23

Urban Percentage: 87

Christian Population: 1,081,000

Christian Percentage: 88

Introduction: Gabon a country along the Atlantic coast of Central Africa has significant areas of protected parkland. The forested coastal terrain of its famed Loango National Park shelters a diversity of wildlife from gorillas and hippos to whales. Lopé National Park consists of mostly rainforest. Akanda National Park is known for its mangroves and tidal beaches.

Overview: El Hadj Omar BONGO Ondimba - one of the longest-serving heads of state in the world - dominated the country's political scene for four decades (1967-2009) following independence from France in 1960. President BONGO introduced a nominal multiparty system and a new constitution in the early 1990s. However allegations of electoral fraud during local elections in December 2002 and the presidential election in 2005 exposed the weaknesses of formal political structures in Gabon. Following President BONGO's death in 2009 a new election brought Ali BONGO Ondimba son of the former president to power. Despite constrained political conditions Gabon's small population abundant natural resources and considerable foreign support have helped make it one of the more stable African countries.