Gabon - Poverty and wealth

The population of Gabon earns a per capita income 4 times that of most other sub-Saharan African nations. Although the relative strength of Gabon's economy has led to a decline in the sharp poverty that is familiar to these other African nations, much of the population remains poor and income inequality is high. The portion of the population that does suffer from poverty is almost all in the 40 percent of the population that relies on agriculture for its income.

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Gabon 6,480 5,160 4,941 4,442 4,630
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Nigeria 301 314 230 258 256
Cameroon 616 730 990 764 646
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Gabon 40 3 9 3 7 4 34
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
Nigeria 51 5 31 2 8 2 2
Cameroon 33 12 8 2 9 8 28
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
a Excludes energy used for transport.
b Includes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

Social security, based on the French system, was introduced in 1956. Under this program, family allowances are paid to all salaried workers. There is a national fund for state insurance, which provides medical care.

The UN's Human Development Index (HDI), which attempts to measure the quality of life on the basis of real GDP per capita, the adult literacy rate, and life expectancy at birth, placed Gabon at 123 out of 174 countries in 1999, in the medium human development category.

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