Nyanga

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Nyangan Free State
L'Etat Libre Nyangan
Motto: Liberté,Unité,Faculté (Freedom, Unity, Power)
Anthem: 
Abres Verts
Green Trees
Dark Blue = Nyanga, Light Blue = Countries in the Africa Union
CapitalMayumba
Official language(s) French, English
Recognised regional languages Myene,Punu,Nzebi
Demonym Nyanganese/Nyangan
Government Presidential Republic
 -  President Ebele Makanzu
 -  Deputy President Enitan Baako
Establishment
 -  Arrival of European Traders 1832 
 -  Merge with French Gabon 1900 
 -  Independence From Gabon 1992 
Area
 -  21,285 km2 
8,218 sq mi 
Population
 -  2014 estimate 1,570,500 
 -  2010 census 1,386,357 
GDP (PPP) 2013 estimate
 -  Total $26.722 billion 
 -  Per capita $16,845 
HDI  Increase.png0.638 
Currency Central African CFA franc (XAF)
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)
 -  Summer (DST)  (UTC+1)
Not observed
Date formats dd/mm/yy
Drives on the Left
Calling code +275

The Nyangan Free State is a small country, on the west coast of Central Africa bordering Gabon in the north and Congo in the south. Located on the Equator. It has an area of 21.285km square kilometres (8,218 sq mi) and its population is estimated at 1.6 million people. Its capital and largest city is Mayumba.

Nyanga has been colonised by two diferent countries since the 1840s and up until 1992, a province of Gabon. Nyanga joined the Africa Union in 2000. It is a Presidential Republic, with the seat of government in the capital. The country is made up of 4 districts Haute-Banio, Mougoutsi, Basse-Banio and Douigni.

Nyanga is moderately industrialised with a thriving oil and petroleum industry in the west and a steady tourist and agricultural industry in the east.

History

Main Article: History of Nyanga

History of Nyanga
Coat of Arms Nyanga.jpeg
This article is part of a series
Key Events
Bantu Migration
Tchibanga Kingdoms
European Settlement
Independence
Alabode Johnathon
Independence League of Nyanga

Nyanga Portal

The earliest inhabitants of the region comprising present-day Nyanga were the Bambuti people. The Bambuti were linked to Pygmy tribes whose Stone Age culture was slowly replaced by Bantu tribes coming from regions north of present-day Republic of Congo about 1,700 years ago. Bantu tribes living in the Nyanganese Region, established kingdoms along the coast and along the Nyanga River. The capital of these Kingdoms was Tchibanga.

French, Histalian and Dutch traders were some of the first European colonists’ to arrive in Nyanga. They traded mainly with silver and glass for various types of, plant and animal products. Histalpol first colonised Nyanga in 1846, following the French in their colonising of the area. Many Histalians immigrated to Nyanga to start new industries and businesses after the 1885 Berlin Conference. After the fall of the Histalian Empire in the 1900s France claimed Nyanga and merged it with Gabon forming one of Gabons’ nine provinces.

After Gabon's independence in 1960 and M'Ba's bloodless coup in 1964, Nyanga's population wanted a way out. When Omar Bongo's one party state came into rule desire for political liberalization provoked violent demonstrations. Strikes by students and workers occured in early 1990. Tensions worsened after Several PDG politcians were murdered in Maybumba, ILN leader, Alabode Johnathon, urged his followers to end the violence and continue peacefully. In June 1991 Alabode and his coleagues' housing complex in Mayumba was raided during the night and he was taken to Libreville for questioning.

He was released a week later but was under surrveillance. Alabode spoke at ILN rally in Tchibanga, requesting a referendum for Nyanga's inpedendence be made following a poll in Nyanga. Bongo responed to the referendum on a positive note, making it a requirment of a 65% in favour for the bill to pass. Voting began in July through to August, the results were 83% in favour.

The Independence League of Nyanga, with Alabode Johnathon as president won with 56% of vote in the first democratic elections in Nyanga. During Alabode’s second term as president (1997-2001) Nyanga experienced an economic downturn following the many civil wars taking place on the continent. In 2001 elections took for the third time during the whole month of March. The Democratic Alliance won with 37% of the vote. Since then the Democratic Alliance has won the 2004, 2008 and 2013 being the current political party in state.

Geography

Nyanga is located on the Atlantic coast of central Africa. Located on the equator. Nyanga generally has an equatorial climate with an extensive system of rainforests covering most of the area. Nyanga has three distinct regions, the coastal plains, streching from Mayumba, north to the border of Gabon and the mountainous regions in the east, (Mpolo Range and Nkezi Plateu) and the karst regions of the southern coast, which hundreds of caves are located.

There is one major river, the Nyanga River which rises on Mount Berongou, in the Republic of Congo. The Nyanga River provides water and irrgation to many towns along its course and also gives way to some shipping routes from Tchibanga in the Mpolo Valley.

Natural resources include: petroleum, natural gas, diamond, niobium, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore, coal and hydropower.

Climate

Nyanga has the moist, hot climate typical of tropical regions. The hottest month is January, with an average high at Mayumba of 31°C and an average low of 23°C. Average July temperatures in the capital range between 20º and 28°C. From June to September there is virtually no rain but high humidity; there is occasional rain in December and January. During the remaining months, rainfall is heavy. The excessive rainfall is caused by the condensation of moist air resulting from the meeting, directly off the coast, of the cold Benguela Current from the south and the warm Guinea Current from the north. At Mayumba, the average annual rainfall is more than 2540 mm. Farther north on the coast, it is 3810 mm.

Flora and Fauna

See also: List of Mammals in Nyanga

Plant growth is rapid and dense. About 85 percent of the country is covered by tropical humid forest. The dense green of the vegetation never changes, since the more than 6,000 species of plants flower and lose their leaves continuously throughout the year according to species. Tree growth is especially rapid; some trees tower as high as 60 m, and the trunks are thickly entwined with vines. There are about 300 species of trees. In the coastal regions, marine plants abound, and wide expanses are covered with tall papyrus grass.

Rainforest in western Nyanga.
African Forest Elephant.

Wildlife includes forest elephants, buffalo, various antelope and monkey species, sitatungas, leopards, three species of crocodiles, chimps and gorillas, and several marine turtle species which nest along the coast. As of 2002, there were at least 190 species of mammals.

Nyanga has a wide variety of plants that differ from the coast and inland areas. The coastal areas have typically dense mangroves or forest behind a narrow sandy beach. They have developed on the coastal plains which has allowed water from the mountains in the east to form many rivers, streams and wetlands in these regions. Dense rainforest covers more than 75% of the land area.

In the mountain ranges of eastern Nyanga the forest becomes less dense, and in some parts of the Nkezi Plateu the forest becomes grassland. In the Mpolo valley, farming has been the main industry for centuries, leading to a loss of the natural forests this has changed much of land permantly to savannah or seasonally flooded grassland.

In the south there is the karst region, known by locals as Ebe Onwu where the flora is drastically different. There are many rocky inlets and coves, where caves and hollows have formed. Vines, shrubs and low trees are typically found here growing in amongst the caves systems. In the low lying areas the forest is permantly flooded fresh water swamp forest. The forest has a high canopy, dense undergrowth and has a muddy floor. It has not been disturbed very much by outside influences and so remains largely pristine as getting through this forest is called "almost impossible"

Government

Nyanga is a republic with a presidential form of government under the 1993 constitution. The president is elected by universal suffrage for a four-year term; a 2009 constitutional amendment removed presidential term limits. The country has a bicameral legislature with a National Assembly and Senate. The National Assembly has 50 deputies who are popularly elected for a 3-year term. The Senate is composed of 47 members who are elected by municipal councils and regional assemblies and serve for 4 years.

Economy

Nyanga’s economy is conisidered diverse for central west Africa. The economy is based out of Mayumba, having the main financial centre, industrial centre and the port located there. Virtually all industrial enterprises were established with government subsidies, under Gabon's rule in the 1970s, in the early stages of the Democratic Alliances government steps were taken to privatize the remaining parastatal enterprises.

Costs rose significantly in 1994 when the CFA franc was devalued. Increased costs and oversized capacity have made the manufacturing sector less competitive and it mainly supplies the domestic market.

The mainly historical timber industry is centred around Tchibanga. Several plants operate there including two veneer plants and a large plywood factory. Other industries throughout Nyanga include textile plants, cement factories, chemical plants, breweries, shipyards, and cigarette factories. There is one refinery in Nyanga located 4km outside of Mayumba at the newly built Global Service Port.

Oil Industry

Oil was discovered offshore in the early 1970s. The oil sector now accounts for 30% of GDP and 60% of exports. Oil production is now declining from its peak, in 1997. The 1998 fall-off in oil prices had a negative impact on government revenues and the economy.

Nyanga's oil revenues have given it a strong per capita GDP of more than $15,000, extremely high for the region. The economy is highly dependent on extraction of abundant primary materials. After oil, timber and coal mining are the other major sectors. Because the Nyangan economy is dependent upon oil, it is subject to worldwide price fluctuations. Due to this the country has taken steps to diversify the economy, and to engage in further petroleum exploration.

Transport

Transport in Nyanga is governed by the Ministry of Transport. Road and Shipping are the most developed and most used, aviation is gaining popularity with many government NGOs and the recent introduction of Nyangan Air. Rail is the least funded, and the least used due to its safety issues.

Rail

The Class 66 in Tchibanga.

Rail is owned and operated by the governmental organisation Nyangan Rail Services, NRS. They operate two routes, one between Mayumba and Tchibanga that was built during colonial times, which operates freight and passenger services daily and the freight service between Tchibanga and the Global Services Port (GSP) in Mayumba which was completed in 2010. The Mayumba to Tchibanga route uses 4 British Rail Class 56 locomotives for both freight and passengers services while the Tchibanga to the GSP uses newer EMD Class 66.

Passenger rail in Nyanga is regarded as highly unsafe. Many passengers illegally carry weapons onboard and smuggle contraband through the routes. The Minister of Transport is trying to introduce better security guard training programs and more at the stations as well as on the trains. Thoughts are that undercover police will soon be introduced into the system.

Shipping

Nyanga is highly dependent on shipping, with 54% of all foreign imports and exports occuring in this sector. There is two freight terminals, one in Port of Mayumba the other in the Global Service Port (GSP), the passenger terminal is also located there. Port of Mayumba is the busiest and oldest port in Nyanga, first built by the Histalian settlers, while the GSP was built in 2005.

The Global Service Port is located 4km away from the central business district in Mayumba, and 2km from Port of Mayumba. Construction started in 1995 on a new oil terminal and refinery for the rising oil production on the coast. That intially was completed in 2000 but new plans were added and the port was expanded to make it serve as a container and later, expanded again for a passenger terminal. This largely replaced much of the container traffic at Port of Mayumba, which is now primarily bulk shipping, such as coal.

Aviation

Aviation has been becoming increasingly popular with international tourists entering the country and with the Nyanganese for domestic travel and travel to neighbouring countries. There is only two paved runways in Nyanga, being at Alabode Johnathon International Airport and the other at Tchibanga Airport, all other airports have either gravel, dirt or grass ruunways. In total there are 5 airports in Nyanga owned by the government and several others being privately owned.

Nyangan Air operates as Nyanga's flag carrier. It was formed in 2011 as a state owned corporation, by 2013 a 24% stake was bought by National Group. The airline has routes to all of Nyanga's airports and routes to Nigeria, The Republic of Congo, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. It is headquartered and has its main hub at Alabode Johnathon International Airport. The airline operates three Airbus A319s and two Bombardier Dash 8-200.

Road

Roads in Nyanga fall under control by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure. It is the most used transport system in Nyanga and account for 80% of all travels. Cars are usually older models and poorly maintained, but Mayumba has introduced several new hybrid buses eventually to be implemented on the planned bus-rapid transit system. Construction for the two motorways in Nyanga began shortly after independence in 1994. The regional road system was introduced during colonial times and the highway system was made during Gabon's independence, but was expanded substantially in 2001-2006.

The different road symbols in Nyanga.

In Nyanga there are four road classifications:

  • Motorway: These are dual carriageways with a median of a steel barrier, grass or a hedge. They allow speeds of 100km/h to 120km/h. Motorways have limited access points at Junctions, which are labelled as J (e.g: J14). There are two motorways in Nyanga; the M1 from Mayumba to Tchibanga and the M2; a partial ring road around Mayumba that was completed by the end of 2014.
  • Highway: These are typically single carriageway roads but some have 3 or 4 lanes either side. They do not have a median and allow speeds up to 100km/h, although more commonly 60-80km/h. They are fairly common throughout Nyanga but at a higher quality than R roads (see below). Highways are classified as H roads.
  • Regional Roads: These are very common roads that were usually built up from older dirt tracks or gravel roads. They are the most frequently used roads, connecting towns and cities. They typically use a lower quality grade tarmac than Highways and often have potholes or other obstructions on them. Regional roads are classified as R roads.
  • Streets: These are the most common form of road in Nyanga as they are found in cities, suburbs, towns and villages. Streets can be made from tarmac, concrete, gravel or clay. They are generally the worst quality roads in Nyanga often having potholes, speed ramps and flooding. Streets are usually named after significant landmarks or numbered.

Demographics

Major Settlements

Education

Main Article: Education in Nyanga

For the size of the nation, Nyanga offers a comprehensive and relatively good education available to every citizen. Since 2005 education in Nyanga has been divided into two separately run departments under the Ministry of Education; the Department of Basic Education(DBE) and the Department of Tertiary Education (DTE). Students follow a 3 tier system, starting with primary school which is followed by secondary school. These both fall under the DBE as they are mandatory for every child below the age of 17 to attend. The tertiary education system encompasses all state owned and subsidised universities, institutes of technology (IT) and trade schools. There is one large, well established university, University of Mayumba (UM) and several smaller privately owned colleges around the country, focussed on specialised fields such as ecology and anatomy. There are two technical institutes, Tchibanga and Mayumba IT and several state sponsored trade schools exist throughout the country. In 2005 the DA government placed a firm stance on increasing and improving education in Nyanga, attempting to have the best standards and the highest percentage of skilled workers in Africa.

Health

Since independence from Gabon, the government has been able to invest in the specific healthcare needs of the country. There is a comprehensive government healthcare service,which operates under two sectors. The Nyangan Healthcare Initiative (NHI), deals with mainly preventative medicine in poor communities and rural areas. The Nyangan Health Executive (NHE) runs major hospitals that deal with most patients.

Security Forces

Main Article: Security Forces

Safety in Nyanga is mainly dealt with by the Security Forces, which controls the military, navy and all police and investigation services. The Security Forces is often looked at as a ministry of its own, but it is overuled by the Ministry of State Security and Defence.

The FGP in service.

The Security Forces of Nyanga consists of two sections; Defence Force of Nyanga and the Police Force. The Defence forces also contain the Nyangan Navy Service and Nyangan Air Force. There is around 11,000 personnel with 800 reserve soldiers in the military and navy. The minimum age for joining the defence force is 18 years old while in the Police Force it is 20. The military is mainly used for border checkpoints and patrols, as airport security and for anti poaching in national parks. The navy is mainly used for fisheries protection and anti piracy around the oil fields.

The Police Force has four departments; the Nyangan Investigation Bureau (NIB), First Response Service (in joint with fire departments and medical services), City Police and the Special Police Force, FGP. The Nyangan Investigation Bureau deals with ongoing investigations, such as murders and robberies, they are permitted one concealed handgun. First Response Service responds to 911 calls and is merged with the City Police in Urban areas. The First response service is a higher skilled officer, that is trained to deal with emergencies such as car accidents. Officers in this branch carry a handgun, knife (though not for weapon use), pepper spray and/or taser. Most have first aid kits permitted by the Security Forces, but it is not a requirement.

City Police, or traffic police deal mostly with vehicle related crimes but are offically assigned to general work in urban areas. There are two branches within the City Police, Thcibanga Police and Mayumba Police. The Special Police Force, FGP (Forces de la Garde de Protection) are military-styled and use specialized tactics in high-risk operations that fall outside of the capabilities of regular police. They can carry a variety of weapons depending on the service required.

Culture

Nyanga has a rich and diverse culture made up of a mix of about 20 indigenous populations and just as many languages and customs. Nyanganese culture has combines the influence of traditional to the region, but also has combined influences from abroad which arrived during the era of colonization and have continued to have a strong influence, without destroying the individuality of many tribes' customs.

La Sape

A typical Sapeur in Tchibanga

La sape can be traced back to the early years of colonialism in Africa, and in particular Mayumba. The French mission was to civilize the “uncouth” and “naked” African people. They brought second hand clothing from Europe as a bargaining tool to gain the loyalty of the chiefs.

By the end of the 19th century “houseboys” were the first to embrace European modernity because they would be given clothing instead of money as compensation for their work. The Nyanganese elite not only included the houseboys, but also those who held lower positions as clerks in colonial offices and other places.

The 1950s gave rise to the cosmopolitan, thus bringing prominence to the music scene. Nightclubs and beer halls made up the venues home to the music and young urbanites of the townships of Mayumba and Tchibanga. During the postcolonial years, the unique dynamics of La Sape coalesced in 1960 when Gabon was granted independence. Economic chaos ensued and many were left jobless. This caused numerous Nyanganese people to move abroad to western cities like London and Paris. Since they were also not very welcome, La Sape acted as refuge for them to cope with European life.

Religion

The main religions in Nyanga are:

There are small communities of Jews and Hindus who work in commercial urban areas. Atheism is very rare.

Music

Nyanganese music is little-known in comparison with regional giants like the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon. The country boasts an array of folk styles, as well as pop.

Imported rock and hip hop from the US and UK are popular in Nyanga, as are rumba, makossa and soukous. Nyanganese folk instruments include the obala, the ngombi, balafon and traditional drums.

Cuisine

Only 10% of the land is cultivated, and most of this is used for subsistence farming. People gather wild fruit, mushrooms, and honey, as well as hunt and fish. They will often sell these crops at markets or by the roadside.

Nyanga's farmland is the source of a wide variety of crops. These include maize, rice, cassava, sweet potato, yam, taro, plantain, tomato, pumpkin and varieties of peas and nuts. These foods are eaten throughout the country, but there are also regional dishes. The most important crops for export are coffee and palm oil.