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"The Gabonese Republic, or Gabon, is a country in west central Africa. It borders on Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo and the Gulf of Guinea. Since its independence from France on August 17, 1960, the Republic has been ruled by only two autocratic Presidents; the incumbent El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba has been in power since 1967 and is currently (2007) Africa's longest-serving head of state. Gabon introduced a multiparty system and a new democratic constitution in the early 1990s that allowed for a more transparent electoral process and for reforms of governmental institutions. A small population, abundant natural resources, and foreign private investment have helped make Gabon one of the most prosperous countries in the region. Its coat of arms shows two jungle cats, representing the country's pride in its animals."