The Journal of Modern African Studies


Gabon: a Neo-Colonial Enclave of Enduring French Interest

Michael C. Reeda1*

a1 Doctoral Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Washington, Seattle

French culture, economy, and polity have long dominated the small African country of Gabon. The French control of the colonial era, which reached its nadir in the 1898–1930 period of the brutal ‘concessionary companies’, has been replaced, since independence in 1960, by an insidious rapprochement with Paris, fashioned by Gabon's leadership. A French journalist long familiar with the continent has written, ‘Gabon is an extreme case, verging on caricature, of neocolonialism ’.


* The author undertook fieldwork in Gabon during 1983–5, including one year in the small town of Ndjolé, a capitale départementale with a population of 3,000–4,000.