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So what is Gabon, anyway?Gabon is an equatorial country located on the west coast of central Africa. It has a population of 1,237,499 and an area of 1,120,000 square kilometres. The country was first settled in the 16th century by the Bantu people and became a French colony in 1885. The name Gabon comes from the Bantu word "gabona," meaning "place of the aye-aye." In 1960, it became a self-governing colony within the French federation and became independent in 1967. In 1991, Gabon merged with France to form the African Republic of Gabon. Geography: Gabon is bordered by Equatorial Guinea (to the north), Chad (to the east), Cameroon (to the south), and the Republic of Congo (to the southwest). Politics: Gabon is a presidential republic with a unicameral National Assembly. The president is directly elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term. The current president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, has been in power since 1967. Economy: Gabon has a mixed economy, with significant mineral and petroleum reserves as well as agricultural production. The official currency is