We’ll be finishing up our coverage shortly, and we’re aware that the dramatic events in Gabon have drawn in new readers.
So, for those less familiar with the country, here are a few things you may not know about the resource-rich former French colony that has been dominated for most of its post-independence history by the Bongo family.
1. Dubbed “central Africa’s little emirate” because of its oil that was discovered in the 1970s. With a relatively small population, this has allowed a strong middle class to grow – and oil makes up 60% of the country’s revenues
View of forest elephants mud bathing and salt licking at Langoue Bais from a platform made for observation purposes
2. Nearly 90% of Gabon is covered by tropical rainforest, which captures more carbon than the country emits, and where large herds of forest elephant, chimpanzees and an abundance of other wildlife live
3. British environmentalist Lee White became minister of forestry, the environment and climate change in 2019, leading the way for it to become Africa’s first country to receive payment for reducing carbon emissions by protecting its rainforests
4. Footballer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the former Arsenal striker who now plays for Marseille, is Gabon’s all-time top scorer. Although born in France, his father is Gabonese and a former professional player
5. President Bongo wanted to be a pop star in his youth, releasing a funk album in 1978 when he was known as Alain Bongo.