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HomeCountriesCentral Africa › Gabon

Gabon Country AET Profile

About Gabon

The educational system is patterned on that of France, but changes are being introduced gradually to adapt the curriculum to local needs and traditions. The government gives high priority to education, especially the construction of rural schools. Education is free and compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16. The adult illiteracy rate was estimated at 36.8% in 1995. Projected adult illiteracy rates for the year 2000 stand at 29.2% (males, 20.2%; females, 37.8%). About one-half of all schools are private or church-supported. As of 1999, public expenditure on education was estimated at 3.3% of GDP.

Omar Bongo University, at Libreville, includes faculties of law, sciences, and letters; teachers' training schools; and schools of law, engineering, forestry and hydraulics, administration, and management. There were 4,655 students at the university and other equivalent institutions in 1995.

Since independence, the dominant position of the petroleum sector has greatly reduced the role of agriculture. Only 1.8% of the total land area is estimated to be under cultivation, and agriculture contributes only about 8% of the GDP on the average. In 2001, agricultural imports by Gabon accounted for nearly 18% of all imports. Gabon relies heavily on other African states and Europe for much of its food and other agricultural needs. Until World War II (1939–45), agriculture was confined primarily to subsistence farming and the cultivation of such crops as manioc, bananas, corn, rice, taro, and yams. Since independence there has been an intensive effort to diversify and increase agricultural production. Experimental stations and demonstration farms have been set up, and cooperatives have been established by consolidating rural communities. However, agriculture received low priority until the 1976–81 development plan, and laborers prefer to seek employment in urban areas. The development of agriculture and small business has been hindered by a lack of international competition. Another problem is lack of transportation to markets.

Institutions in Gabon

Reports on Gabon
Gabon - Current Student Enrolment and Academic Staffing

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