Economy of Gabon

Gabon enjoys a per capita income four times that of most nations of sub-Saharan Africa, its reliance on resource extraction industry releasing much of the population from extreme poverty.

Economy of Gabon
Libreville beachfront 3
Libreville is the capital and financial center of Gabon
Currency1 Central African CFA franc (XAF) = 100 centimes
calendar year
GDP$22.54 billion (2010 est.)
GDP growth
3.9% (2015), 2.1% (2016),
0.6% (2017e), 2.6% (2018f) [1]
GDP per capita
$14,600 (2010 est.)
GDP by sector
agriculture: 4.5%; industry: 62.7%; services: 32.8% (2010 est.)
-1.3% (2010 est.)
Labour force
712,000 (2010 est.)
Labour force by occupation
agriculture: 60%; industry: 15%; services: 25% (2000 est.)
Unemployment27% (2012 est.)
Main industries
petroleum extraction and refining; manganese, gold; chemicals, ship repair, food and beverages, textiles, lumbering and plywood, cement
164th (2017)[2]
Exports$6.803 billion (2010 est.)
Export goods
crude oil 70%, timber, manganese, uranium
Main export partners
 United States 15.1%
 China 13.7%
 Hong Kong 11.3%
 South Africa 8.6%
 Indonesia 7.1%
 Canada 6.2% (2013 est.)[3]
Imports$2.433 billion (2010 est.)
Import goods
machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, construction materials
Main import partners
 France 21.8%
 Cameroon 16.2%
 Belgium 10.1%
 China 9.6%
 United States 5.5%
 Netherlands 5.1% (2013 est.)[4]
$2.374 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Public finances
25.8% of GDP (2010 est.)
Revenues$3.557 billion (2010 est.)
Expenses$2.945 billion (2010 est.)
Economic aidrecipient: $331 million (1995)
BB- (Domestic)
BB- (Foreign)
BBB- (T&C Assessment)
(Standard & Poor's)[5]
Foreign reserves
$2.602 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.


Gabon depended on timber and manganese until oil was discovered offshore in the early 1970s. The oil sector now accounts for 50% of GDP and 80% of exports. Although there have been recent offshore finds,[6][7] oil production is now declining from its peak of 370,000 barrels per day (59,000 m3/d) in 1997, and periods of low oil prices have had a negative impact on government revenues and the economy. In 2012 there were six active oil rigs in Gabon.[8] Public expenditures from the years of significant oil revenues have not been spent well.

The government announced in 2012 that it would reassess exactly how much iron ore the Belinga site contains before awarding the concession to a mining company, most likely to be China’s CMEC, which temporarily secured the rights to the ore in 2007.[9]

Financial problems

Overspending on the Trans-Gabon (Transgabonais) Railway and the France CFA devaluation of 1994 have caused debt problems. Gabon has earned a poor reputation with the Paris Club and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for management of its debt and revenues. IMF missions (related to the now lapsed EFF program) have criticized the government for overspending on off-budget items (in good years and bad), over-borrowing from the Central Bank, and slipping on the schedule for privatization and administrative reform.

Gabon's oil revenues have given it a per capita GDP of more than $10,000, unusually high for the region.[10] On the other hand, a skewed income distribution and poor social indicators are evident. The economy is highly dependent on extraction of abundant primary materials. After oil, timber and manganese mining are the other major sectors. Gabon continues to face fluctuating prices for its oil, timber, manganese, and uranium exports. Foreign and Gabonese observers have consistently lamented the lack of transformation of primary materials in the Gabonese economy. Various factors have so far stymied more diversification: a small market of 1 million people, dependence on French imports, inability to capitalize on regional markets, lack of entrepreneurial zeal among the Gabonese, and the fairly regular stream of oil "rent". The small processing and service sectors are largely dominated by just a few prominent local investors.

In 1992, Gabon failed to settle arrears on its bilateral debt, leading to a cancellation of rescheduling agreements with official and private creditors. Devaluation of its CFA franc by 50% on 12 January 1994 sparked a one-time inflationary surge, to 35%; the rate dropped to 6% in 1996. The IMF provided a one-year standby arrangement in 1994–1995 and a three-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) at near-commercial rates beginning in late 1995. Those agreements mandate progress in privatization and fiscal discipline. France provided additional financial support in January 1997 after Gabon had met IMF targets for mid-1996. In 1997, an IMF mission to Gabon criticized the government for overspending on off-budget items, over-borrowing from the central bank, and slipping on its schedule for privatization and administrative reform. The rebound of oil prices in 1999 helped growth, but drops in production hampered Gabon from fully realizing potential gains.

Animal husbandry

Animal husbandry is limited by the presence of the tsetse fly, though tsetse-resistant cattle have recently been imported from Senegal to a cattle project. In 2005 there were an estimated 212,000 hogs, 195,000 sheep, 90,000 goats, 35,000 head of cattle, and 3.1 million chickens. In an effort to reduce Gabon's reliance on meat imports, the government set aside 200,000 hectares (490,000 acres) in Gabon's unpopulated Savannah region for three ranches at Ngounie, Nyanga, and Lekabi. Currently, however, frozen imports are the most important source of beef, costing four times less than locally produced beef. Poultry production satisfies about one-half of Gabon's consumption demand. Typical annual production of poultry amounts to 3,600 tons.


While there have been recent improvements in the fishing industry, it is still relatively undeveloped. Traditional fishing accounts for two-thirds of total catch. The waters off the Gabonese coast contain large quantities of fish. Gabonese waters are estimated to be able to support an annual catch of 15,000 tons of tuna and 12,000 tons of sardines. The fishing fleet was formerly based chiefly in Libreville. A new fishing port was built at Port-Gentil in 1979, which is now the center of operations for the industrial fleet. Plans for a cannery, fish-meal factory, and refrigerated storage facilities are underway. The total catch in 2003 was 44,855 tons, 80 percent from the Atlantic. By international agreement and Gabonese law, an exclusive economic zone extends 200 miles (320 km) off the coast, which prohibits any foreign company to fish in this zone without governmental authorization. However, since Gabon has no patrol boats, foreign trawlers (especially French and Spanish) often illegally capture tuna in Gabonese waters.


Gabon's industry is centered on petroleum, manganese mining, and timber processing. Most industrial establishments are located near Libreville and Port-Gentil. Virtually all industrial enterprises were established with government subsidies in the oil boom years of the 1970s. Timber-related concerns include five veneer plants and a large 50-year-old plywood factory in Port-Gentil, along with two other small plywood factories. Other industries include textile plants, cement factories, chemical plants, breweries, shipyards, and cigarette factories. Gabonese manufacturing is highly dependent on foreign inputs, and import 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 government has taken steps to privatize parastatal enterprises.

Because the Gabonese economy is dependent upon oil (crude oil accounts for over 80% of the country's exports, 43% of GDP, and 65% of state revenue), it is subject to worldwide price fluctuations. Gabon is sub-Saharan Africa's third-largest crude oil producer and exporter, although there are concerns that proven reserves are declining and production has declined as well. Thus the country has taken steps to diversify the economy, and to engage in further petroleum exploration. The country produced 240,000 barrels (38,000 m3) of oil per day in 2014, a decrease of 35% from the 1997 peak. Gabon's proven oil reserves were estimated at 2.0 billion barrels (320×106 m3) in 2015, and its proven natural gas reserves were estimated at 1.0 trillion cubic feet (28 km3).

The Sogara oil refinery at Port-Gentil is the sole refinery in Gabon, built in 1968 by a consortium that included Total, Shell, Mobil, Texaco, Petrofina and Agip. Sogara (Societe Gabonaise de Raffinage) is owned by the government of Gabon (25%), Total (43.8%), Shell (17%), and Agip (2.5%).[11] In 2012 Gabon signed an agreement with Samsung for the construction of a new refinery at Port-Gentil.[12]


The following table shows the main economic indicators in 1980–2017.[13]

Year 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
GDP in $
6.78 bil. 9.89 bil. 12.00 bil. 15.76 bil. 17.35 bil. 20.35 bil. 20.58 bil. 22.46 bil. 23.30 bil. 22.94 bil. 24.68 bil. 26.97 bil. 28.91 bil. 31.00 bil. 32.96 bil. 34.61 bil. 35.78 bil. 36.73 bil. 40.78 bil.
GDP per capita in $
9,056 11,853 12,903 14,788 14,395 14,923 14,720 15,601 15,590 14,789 15,326 16,138 16,665 17,196 18,020 18,655 19,017 19,254 20,123
GDP growth
... 5.8 % 5.1 % 5.0 % −1.9 % −0.8 % −1.9 % 6.3 % 1.7 % −2.3 % 6.3 % 7.1 % 5.3 % 5.5 % 4.4 % 3.9 % 2.1 % 0.8 % 0.4 %
(in Percent)
12.3 % 7.3 % 15.4 % 9.6 % 0.5 % 1.2 % −1.4 % −1.0 % −5.3 % 1.9 % 1.4 % 1.3 % 2.7 % 0.5 % 4.5 % −0.1 % 2.1 % 3.0 % 2.0 %
Government debt
(Percentage of GDP)
... ... 90 % 73 % 72 % 49 % 40 % 39 % 20 % 26 % 21 % 21 % 21 % 31 % 34 % 45 % 64 % 61 % 62 %

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5.7%
industry: 57.2%
services: 37% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (2008 est.)

Labour force: 592,000 (2008 est.)

Labour force - by occupation: agriculture 60%, services and government 25%, industry and commerce 15% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate: 21% (2006 est.)

revenues: $4.46 billion
expenditures: $2.75 billion (2008 est.)

Industries: food and beverage; textile; lumbering and plywood; cement; petroleum extraction and refining; manganese, uranium, and gold mining; chemical production; ship repair

Industrial production growth rate: 1.5% (2008)

Oil - production 244,000 bbl/d (38,800 m3/d) (2007 est.)

Oil - consumption 13,170 bbl/d (2,094 m3/d) (2007 est.)

Oil - exports 255,000 bbl/d (40,500 m3/d) (2005 est.)

Oil - imports 2,485 bbl/d (395.1 m3/d) (2005 est.)

Oil - proven reserves 2 billion barrels (320×106 m3) (1 January 2008 est.)

Natural gas - production 100 million cu m (2006 est.)

Natural gas - consumption 100 million cu m (2006 est.)

Natural gas - exports 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - imports 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - proven reserves 28.32 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Electricity - production: 1.671 TWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 27.8%
hydro: 72.2%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 1.365 GWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber; cattle; okoume (a tropical hardwood); fish

Current account - balance $591 million (2010 est.)

Currency: 1 Communauté financière africaine franc (CFAF) = 100 centimes

Exchange rates: Communauté financière africaine francs (CFAF) per US$1 – 507.71 (2010), 472.19 (2009), 447.81 (2008), 481.83 (2007), 522.89 (2006), 647.25 (January 2000), 615.70 (1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997), 511.55 (1996), 499.15 (1995)
note: since 1 January 1999, the CFAF is pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 CFA francs per euro

See also


  1. ^ "World Bank forecast for Gabon, June 2018 (p. 153)" (PDF). World Bank. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Ease of Doing Business in Gabon". Retrieved 2017-01-24.
  3. ^ "Export Partners of Gabon". CIA World Factbook. 2013. Retrieved 2015-05-11.
  4. ^ "Import Partners of Gabon". CIA World Factbook. 2013. Retrieved 2015-05-11.
  5. ^ "Sovereigns rating list". Standard & Poor's. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  7. ^ "Gabon: FirstAfrica completes offshore EOV development drilling program". September 9, 2006.
  8. ^ Geological Survey (2015). Minerals Yearbook - Area Reports; International Review: 2012 Africa and the Middle East. Government Printing Office. ISBN 1411336771 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ Reuters, "Gabon's Belinga iron-ore deal to be awarded as late as 2014", Mining Weekly (30 August 2012)
  10. ^ Report for Selected Countries and Subjects
  11. ^ "Oil Refining in Gabon". MBendi Information Services. 29 August 2016.
  12. ^ "Samsung will build a replacement oil refinery". Economist. June 21, 2012.
  13. ^ "Report for Selected Countries and Subjects". Retrieved 2018-09-05.

External links

Alexandré Barro Chambrier

Alexandré Barro Chambrier (born 25 August 1958) is a Gabonese politician and MP of the 4th district of Libreville, standing member of the political bureau and member of the Pan African Parliament.

BGFIBank Group

BGFIBank Group, whose full name is BGFIBank Group S.A., is a financial services organization headquartered in Gabon. The group has subsidiaries in eight countries including Gabon, Benin, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar, France and Cote d'Ivoire.

Bank of Central African States

The Bank of Central African States (French: Banque des États de l'Afrique Centrale, BEAC) is a central bank that serves six central African countries which form the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa:


Central African Republic


Equatorial Guinea


Republic of the CongoPhilibert Andzembe of Gabon was Governor of the BEAC from July 2007 until October 2009, when he was fired by the new president of Gabon, Ali Bongo, in response to a bank scandal in which $28.3 million went missing from the bank's Paris branch. Jean Félix Mamalepot, also from Gabon, was Governor for preceding 17 years.In December 2010, a WikiLeaks memo dated July 7, 2009, said that Gabonese officials working for the Bank of Central African States stole US$36 million over a period of five years from the pooled reserves, giving much of the money to members of France's two main political parties.

Central African CFA franc

The Central African CFA franc (French: franc CFA or simply franc, ISO 4217 code: XAF) is the currency of six independent states in Central Africa: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. These six countries have a combined population of 48.0 million people (as of 2014), and a combined GDP of US$88.2 billion (as of 2012).CFA stands for Coopération financière en Afrique centrale ("Financial Cooperation in Central Africa"). It is issued by the BEAC (Banque des États de l'Afrique Centrale, "Bank of the Central African States"), located in Yaoundé, Cameroon, for the members of the CEMAC (Communauté Économique et Monétaire de l'Afrique Centrale, "Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa"). The franc is nominally subdivided into 100 centimes but no centime denominations have been issued.

In several west African states, the West African CFA franc, which is of equal value to the Central African CFA franc, is in circulation.

Economic Community of Central African States

The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS; French: Communauté Économique des États de l'Afrique Centrale, CEEAC; Spanish: Comunidad Económica de los Estados de África Central, CEEAC; Portuguese: Comunidade Económica dos Estados da África Central, CEEAC) is an Economic Community of the African Union for promotion of regional economic co-operation in Central Africa. It "aims to achieve collective autonomy, raise the standard of living of its populations and maintain economic stability through harmonious cooperation".

Forestry in Gabon

Gabon’s forests, which cover an estimated 77% of its land surface, have always supplied many of the necessities of life, especially fuel and shelter. The forests contain over 400 species of trees, with about 100 species suitable for industrial use. Commercial exploitation began as early as 1892, but only in 1913 was Okoumé, Gabon’s most valuable wood, introduced to the international market.

Forestry was the primary source of economic activity in the country until 1968, when the industry was supplanted by crude oil as an earner of foreign exchange. Gabon is the largest exporter of raw wood in the region, and its sales represent 20% of Africa’s raw wood exports. Forestry is second only to the petroleum sector in export earnings, at $319.4 million in 2003. Gabon’s reserves of exploitable timber include: okoumé, 100 million cubic meters; ozigo, 25–35 million cubic meters; ilomba, 20–30 million cubic meters; azobé, 15–25 million cubic meters; and padouk, 10–20 million cubic meters.

Gabon supplies 90% of the world’s okoumé, which makes excellent plywood, and also produces hardwoods, such as mahogany, kevazingo, and ebony. Other woods are dibetou (tigerwood or African walnut), movingui (Nigerian satinwood), and zingana (zebrano or zebrawood). Roundwood removals were estimated at 4 million cubic meters in 2004, with 13% used as fuel wood.

Exploitation had been hampered, to some extent, by the inadequacy of transportation infrastructure, a deficiency now alleviated by the Trans-Gabon Railway and Ndjole-Bitam highway. Reforestation has been continuously promoted, and selective thinning and clearing have prevented the okoumé from being forced out by other species. Over 50 firms are engaged in exploitation of Gabon’s forests. Logging concessions covering about 50,000 square kilometres (19,000 sq mi) have been granted by the government, with the development of the least accessible areas largely carried out by foreign firms. Traditional demand in Europe for African lumber products has declined in recent years; during the 1980s, European demand for okoumé dropped by almost one-third. Markets in Japan, Morocco, and Israel, however, have become more receptive to African imports.

List of Gabonese provinces by Human Development Index

This is a list of Gabonese provinces by Human Development Index as of 2017.Note: Libreville (capital of Gabon and Estuaire Province) and Port Gentil (capital of Ogooué-Maritime Province and second-largest city) are grouped and have their own HDI.

List of companies of Gabon

Gabon, officially the Gabonese Republic, is a sovereign state on the west coast of Central Africa located on the equator. Gabon's economy is dominated by oil. Oil revenues comprise roughly 46% of the government's budget, 43% of gross domestic product (GDP), and 81% of exports. Oil production is now declining rapidly from its high point of 370,000 barrels per day in 1997. The economy is highly dependent on extraction of abundant primary materials. Prior to the discovery of oil, logging was the pillar of the Gabonese economy. Today, logging and manganese mining are the other major income generators.

Mining in Gabon

Gabon was the richest of the former French Equatorial African colonies in known mineral deposits. In addition to oil, which accounted for 80% of the country’s exports in 2004, Gabon is a world leader in manganese. Potash, uranium, niobium, iron ore, lead, zinc, diamonds, marble, and phosphate have also been discovered, and several deposits are being exploited commercially. Ownership of all mineral rights is vested in the government, which has increased its share of the profits accruing to foreign companies under development contracts.


The marché Mont-Bouët (Mont-Bouet market), in Libreville is Gabon's largest market, with hundreds of stalls selling fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry (live and dead), fabric, clothing, jewelry, household goods, traditional medicine and a variety of other goods. It is easy to get lost in the narrow passageways of the market and there are pickpockets, so visitors should keep track of their money and valuables at all times.

On the outskirts of the market is a large shopping district. Many of the shops carry a wide variety of the popular print fabrics used to make clothing. Above many of the shops, local women run restaurants out of their apartments. Good Middle Eastern and north African food may be had at reasonable prices.

Children wander the market, selling plastic bags for holding goods, bags of drinking water, bean sandwiches and other items for shoppers.

Next to the market is the old location of the gare routier, or major bush taxi stop. Due to a high incidence of violence and robbery, the main gare is now closed. Bush taxis must now be obtained on the outskirts of Libreville along the main highways, particularly at PK8 (Point Kilometer 8) along the N1 road.

Across from the market is a prison. It is a wide, open area surrounded by a high concrete wall.

Outline of Gabon

The following outline is provided as an overview and topical guide to Gabon (the Gabonese Republic):

Gabon – country in west central Africa sharing borders with the Gulf of Guinea to the west, Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, and Cameroon to the north, with the Republic of the Congo curving around the east and south. The small population density together with abundant natural resources and foreign private investment have helped make Gabon one of the most prosperous countries in the region, with the highest HDI in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Telecommunications in Gabon

Telecommunications in Gabon include radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones, and the Internet.

Sovereign states
States with limited
Dependencies and
other territories

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