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Eren Ertem

on 9 June 2014

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Transcript of http://www.worldmapfinder.com/Images/FlagImages/Gabon.gif

"Union, Travail, Justice"

It has the richest tropical forests in all Africa. It might even rival South American rainforests. It hosts 8.000 plant species and 200 mammal species. Gabon was discovered by the Portuguese in 1470 and began to attract French traders around 1840. It became a French colony in the second half of the nineteenth century, and integrated into French Equatorial Africa. The first dwellers of Gabon were Pygmy people who were only 4 feet and 11 inches maximum.
At the end of the 13th century Bantu tribes started to immigrate to the area . Of the 40 or so Bantu tribes now present in Gabon, the largest are the Fang, Eshira, Mbele and Okande. Only a small percentage of native Gabonese live in the towns, as the population is concentrated in the coastal areas and the villages along the banks of the many rivers, following a more traditional rural style of life. Each ethnic group in Gabon has their own traditions and own rituals even for death and birth.
Gabon is an independent country which lies on the Equator, on the Atlantic Ocean coast, between the Republic of the Congo to the south and east, Equatorial Guinea to the northwest and Cameroon to the north. Flag of Gabon is three equal horizontal bands of green at top, yellow, and blue. Gabon is one of the richest countries of Africa due to its oil and mineral reserves. On the other hand it is one of the smallest countries of Africa. It is only 267,667 km2 and only has 1,424,906 dwellers. French, Fang, Myene, Bateke, Bapounou languages are spoken in Gabon.
The colonization of Gabon started rather wilder than the other sub-Saharan African countries. France started treating Gabon's coastlines in 1839. This bickering lasted for 2 more years until 1841. A year later Americans started doing missions at the mouth of the Komo River. In 1849 France spotted an illegal ship with illegal slaves. They caught the ship and freed the slaves. It may not sound that heroic to us but it surely won some Gabon citizens hearts. The other penetration point occurred because of the jungles. Gabon always had the richest rainforests so it was impossible for France to miss them. France send explorers but by that time France's relationships with Gabon was surely increased significantly. Gabon even used their own guides and explorers to aid French explorers. During these exploration years (1862-1887) French decided to occupy with Gabon. Gabon happily accepted the offer. However It genuinely was an occupation agreement. None of the countries wanted to dominate, dictate or control the other one.
As the time goes on things started to change piece by piece and finally in 1903 France officially took control over Gabon. Unlike most of the colonized countries Gabon partly succeeded to protect its own pre-colonized cultured. Yet this harsh protection caused ethnic, tribal and linguistic diversity. Still it is much more better than being completely enslaved. Even it is better than having one language, one type of people and one tribe all over the same country. Because different cultures creates different ideas.
Gabon is a republic with a presidential form of government. The president is elected by universal suffrage for a seven-year term. A 2003 constitutional amendment removed presidential term limits and facilitated a presidency for life. However I wouldn't say it is really democratically. The president holds almost every single power he could possible have in his hand. The president can appoint and dismiss the prime minister, the cabinet, and judges of the independent Supreme Court. The president also has other strong powers, such as authority to dissolve the National Assembly, declare a state of siege, delay legislation, and conduct referenda. The country also has a senate composed of 102 people. The current president Omar Bongo has been getting selected 3 times in a row. Yet no one can assure if the country really wants him in charge. Overall in the last election only 51% of the votes could be counted. So things never go democratically enough in Gabon. However and that’s an enormously however putting everything aside when Ali Bongo got elected he worked so hard to get rid of corruption and eliminated 17 minister-level positions. He reorganized lots of political issues and tried to raise the reputation of its country. So maybe having that much power as a minister isn't so bad after all if you are using it for the sake of your citizens. Gabon is divided into nine provinces and further divided into 37 departments.
Gabon even has a small but professional army composed of 5.000 people. Still it is divided into army, navy, air force, and national police. The army of Gabon has been training only defensive tactics and never been educated by offensive ones. After independence (1960) Gabon developed another motto rather than ''Union, Work, Justice'' and it was "Evolution before revolution. " which is quite ironic because to evolve you need to get rid of your sins but for Gabon they just got corrupted after this motto(until Ali Bongo of course).
when it comes to natural resources and habitats no African country can pass the republic of Gabon. However they aren't so wise at managing fiscal. Putting the amazing and colorful rainforests apart there is another massive factor which is Oil! Gabon's Economy is mostly dominated by oil. Oil revenues comprise 65% of the Government of Gabon budget, 43% of gross domestic product (GDP), and 81% of exports. Oil production is now declining rapidly from its high point of 370,000 barrels per day in 1997. In spite of the decreasing oil revenues, little planning has been done for an after-oil scenario. Gabon public expenditures from the years of significant oil revenues were not spent efficiently. The current government(he has been in power for too long) is actually improving the economy but considering all those resources it still can't reach where it had to be.
Eren Ertem
10-D 198
Thank You :)
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