ALAIN BERNARD BONGO is the first son of OMAR BONGO. In 1973, when his father converted into Islam , he was then called : ALI BEN BONGO . He studied in france , at college protestant des cevennes . His High School Studies were done at College Sainte Croix de Neuilly - sur- Seine- then he went to the University in Paris 1 Pantheon -sorbonne. Back to gabon , ALI BEN BONGO started working in his father's cabinet, from 1987 to 1989.from 1989 to 1991, he became minister of foreign affairs of the government of CASIMIR OYE MBA- Due to his age , he had to resign. the 1991 constitution requires to be at least 35 years -old to exercise ministerial fnctions- but ALI BONGO was only 32 years-old. In 1990, ALI BONGO was a candidate to the legislative and was elected as Deputy in the region of Haut - Ogooue. From february 1999 until the 2009 presidential elections, he was minister of defense.
The Republic has recently legalized a multiparty political system. Along with the major party which is the PDG (Democratic Party of Gabon), other political parties have sprouted up since the National Conference in 1990. The Republic is democratic with full adult suffrage. The President of the Republic and Head of State is henceforth elected by direct universal suffrage for a period of seven years and will be eligible for a re-election. Laws are adopted after being passed by Parliament, which consists of 120 members, and after being approved by the President. The elected parliament remains in power for a period of up to five years before a general election is held.
The exploitation of timber has grown since the building of the Trans-Gabon railroad and Gabon has become the largest plywood producer in the world. However, agriculture has not been developed due to the lack of food and labour and it concentrates essentially on local consumption. With only a rudimentary industrial base and limited transportation infrastructure, Gabon is highly dependent on narrowly concentrated but substantial French interests dating back to its colonial period. Gabon’s economy underwent an enormous shock during 1993 when this sub-Saharan nation devalued its currency by half in response to a combination of massive foreign debt and deceases in petroleum export revenues.
This move doubled import prices, hurt domestic sales, and temporarily shifted the marked away from its traditional suppliers and toward lower-priced goods from Spain, North Africa, and Asia. Gabon has a great number of ethnic groups, so there is a wide diversity of cultures and a variety of believes and rites. The worship of ancestors plays a predominant part in the life of most villagers. Masked and costumed dances accompanied by music and singing are the most important ritual ceremonies and take many forms. The country is well known for its superb and dramatic hand carved masks used in ceremony and decoration; the mask itself is considered a sacred work. Fang masks from the northern regions are the most renowned.
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