Gabon is blessed with abundant natural resources that have brought it a measure of prosperity compared to its neighbors. Its strongman rule has perhaps spared it the fighting over control of resources that has plagued other African nations. But that wealth is shared by only a sliver of the population. About a third live in poverty, and unemployment is widespread. Most of the people still survive on subsistence agriculture. Better planning and management that focus funds on real needs rather than grandiose projects that make the government look good are badly needed.
In 2002, the government announced it would set aside ten percent of its land for a system of national parks. Gabon's President El Hadj Omar Bongo said thirteen national parks comprising more than 10,000 square miles will be established, protecting vital habitat for wildlife and providing the foundation for an ecotourism industry that can supplant logging. This is in accord with the Unification perspective that man needs to live in harmony with nature.
A World Peace Rally was held in Gabon on September 9, 2006.