Economic profile of Gabon
Gabon is a country in Central African bordered to the North by Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon, to the East and South by the Congo and by the Atlantic Ocean to the West. Its territory covers an area of 267,668 km2, and the equator runs through it. 85% of Gabon is covered by equatorial forest. Gabon is made up three main landscapes: the coastal plains, the mountainous interior, and the inland savanna.
It has an equatorial climate that is hot and humid, alternating between two dry seasons and two rainy seasons.
The average temperature is 26°C.
In 2015, Gabon’s population was estimated at 1.8 million inhabitants, comprising some sixty ethnic groups including the Fangs, who account for 35% of the population. The population is concentrated in major conglomerations including Libreville (the political capital), Port-Gentil (the economic capital) and the urban area surrounding Franceville. Some parts of the country are virtually uninhabited.
Libreville, the capital, has over 500,000 inhabitants, with 200,000 in Port Gentil, and 100,000 in Franceville.
The political structure
Gabon is a democratic republic with a semi-presidential form of government. The President, His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba, is the Head of State, and the Prime Minister Mr Emmanuel Franck Issoze Ngondet the Head of Government.
Legislative power is shared between the two Houses of Parliament: the National Assembly and the Senate. Gabon is well known for its high level of political stability, and has always played an important mediation role in central Africa.
- Political system: democratic republic with a semi-presidential system
- Land area: 267 667 km²
- Capital: Libreville (comprising one-third of the population)
- Main cities : Port-Gentil, Franceville, Oyem, Lambaréné
- Population: 1 633 000
- Population growth: 2,4%
- Life expectancy: 63 years
- Literacy rate: 84%
- School enrolment rate: 72.4%
- Global HDI ranking 2010: 93 out of 169
- Official language: French
- Currency: CFA Franc – pegged to the euro (1 EUR = 655,957 XAF)
- Breakdown of GDP: primary sector 5.7%; secondary sector 64.1%; tertiary sector 30.2%
- Natural resources: oil, natural gas, wood, manganese, iron ore, gold
- Economic profile of Gabon
Ambitions for the future: Gabon Emergent
Since the election of President Ali Bongo Ondimba in September 2009, Gabon has entered an era of change that is the result of an ambitious policy of political reform. For some time, Gabon has been dependent on the export of primary materials. Today, Gabon is committed to diversifying its economy and becoming an emerging economic power by 2025via its sustainable development strategy referred to as Gabon Emergent. This strategy is based on three pillars:
- “Gabon Vert” (Green Gabon) to sustainably develop the vast Gabonese ecosystem – 22 million hectares of forest, 1 million hectares of arable land, 13 national parks, 800 kilometres of coastline – through the timber industry, agriculture and eco-tourism.
- “Gabon Industriel” (Industry Gabon) to promote localised development of primary materials, export of high value-added products and diversification of the national economy.
- “Gabon des Services” (Services Gabon) to develop the Gabonese workforce with the goal of becoming a regional leader in financial services, ICT, the green economy, higher education and health.
Main economic indicators
COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES OF “GABON EMERGENT”
A stable country at the heart of Africa
- Stable for over 40 years
- Located in the heart of Africa with a coastline of over 800 kilometres
- Port of entry to the CEMAC (Economic Community of Central African States)
- Stable currency pegged to the euro
A country investing for its future
12 billion USD for public investment over the next six years to support economic development:
- Development of competitive and integrated transport infrastructure
- tarring of over 3,600 km of roads carrying 80% of traffic
- development of main north-south and east-west national roads
- modernisation and expansion of two main ports
- construction of a new deep-water port in southwest Gabon
- construction of river ports
- development of a part of the 3,300km of inland waterways
- Improvement of electricity generation capacity to reach 2,000 MW by 2020 compared to current capacity of 374 MW:
- Construction of three hydroelectric dams
- Construction of a natural gas fired power plant
- High-speed internet connection from 2012 with connection to the underwater ACE fibre-optic cable
Foreign trade accounts for 85% of the country’s GDP and is characterised by a structurally surplus trade balance where exports mainly comprise oil (80%), manganese, and timber.
Gabon’s main trading partners are the USA, the EU and CEMAC (The Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa).
Gabon’s main export markets are the USA (69%) and China (8.6%). France is Gabon’s main country of import, with a 35% market share.
A country opened to investors
- Quality public administration service for investors
- The Private Investment Promotion Agency offers a special counter service to ensure registration of a company within 48 hours
- The Chamber of Commerce and Industry provides information to the economic and business community
- The creation of special economic zones offering a number of fiscal benefits to investors:
- Nkok Special Economic Zone comprising 1,100 hectares near to the capital, Libreville
- Mandji Tax-Free Zone, in close proximity to Gabon’s business capital, Port-Gentil, covering an area of 1,500 hectares