Gabon is a central African country located on the Atlantic Ocean and bordering Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and the Republic of Congo. With a population of just over 2 million, Gabon’s forests cover 85% of its territory and form part of the Congo Basin, the second largest tropical forest on earth. With 13 National Parks established to protect the country’s unique biodiversity, Gabon has taken a leadership role in mainstreaming conservation into development policy and planning.
The country is renowned for its rich natural resources. The fifth largest oil producer in Africa, its economic growth has historically been driven by the production of oil (currently at 187,000 barrels per day) and manganese (5.3 million tons in 2018). The oil sector has accounted for 80% of exports and 45% of GDP on average over the past five years. To reduce vulnerability to commodity price shocks and build resilience, the government is driving a strong economic diversification strategy.
Since 2009, Gabon has pursued its ‘Emerging Gabon’ strategy to transform the country around three pillars:
New models for sustainable development
Economic diversification and transformation
Develop the tertiary sector and maximise job creation
Despite a challenging global economic context, Gabon has already made major strides in diversifying the economy, attracting significant volumes of new FDI, creating thousands of new jobs and opening up opportunities in the fields of agriculture, mining, tourism, infrastructure and new technologies. The forestry and timber industries have particularly benefited from the Emerging Gabon strategy. In 2009, the export of unprocessed logs was banned to stimulate the development of the local timber processing industry and retain more value in Gabon. Since then, these industries have proliferated and Gabon is now Africa’s second largest timber producer, employing over 10,000 people.
The Government has also prioritised reforms to improve the business climate, streamlining the time taken to register new businesses and creating a PPP unit to oversee the delivery of major projects.
approx FDI inflows in 2017 (up from $270 million in 2007)
African producer of timber
created in the wood industry between 2010 and 2015
First African country
to require all timber to be FSC certified by 2022