Gabon is a central African country rich is natural resources. It is bordered by Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and the Republic of Congo to the east, and by the Atlantic Ocean to the west. With a population of 1.9 million over a surface area of 268,000 square kilometers, Gabon is a sparsely populated country with forests covering 85% of the territory.
Gabon possesses one of the highest urbanization rates in Africa, with more than four in five Gabonese citizens living in urban areas. The capital, Libreville, along with Port Gentil, the economic capital of the country,
The Gabonese Democratic Party (Parti démocratique
On August 31,
Gabon is an upper-middle-income country. The fifth largest oil producer in Africa, it has experienced strong economic growth over the past decade, driven in particular by oil and manganese production. On average, over the past five years, the oil sector has accounted for 80% of exports, 45% of GDP, and 60% of fiscal revenue. However, as the country is facing a decline in its oil reserves, the Gabonese Government has based its new strategy on economic diversification.
Gabon’s fiscal position worsened in 2015, with the country recording a fiscal deficit for the first time since 1998. Despite the Governmen
This trend is attributable to
A more favorable trade balance has facilitated
Debt is projected to remain steady and sustainable in 2018 (59.1% of GDP excluding payment arrears) before declining in 2019.
The poor quality of Gabon’s business climate is a major barrier to the diversification of its economy. Gabon ranked 167 out of 190 countries in the 2018 Doing Business report. The Government’s strategy for the promotion of non-oil sectors has so far been based on the granting of specific incentives to foreign investors. A recent World Bank policy note has highlighted the importance of improving human capital, building a fair and transparent business environment, and improving the quality and cost of core infrastructure, three critical building blocks for economic and export diversification. Recent measures adopted by the Government to improve the business climate include the creation of a one-stop shop for investors; the adoption of a public-private partnership (PPP) framework, the creation of a domestic arbitration court, and the adoption of codes for hydrocarbons and mining.
Moreover, Gabon must boost its social expenditure. A 2013 McKinsey report suggests that about 30% of the population remains vulnerable, living with monthly incomes below the guaranteed minimum wage of CFAF 80,000 (approximately $150). The study further states that the social situation has deteriorated in terms of access to basic social services (e.g. health care, drinking water, and electricity) in 60% of the regions. In 2016, Gabon ranked 109 out of 188 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index developed by the United Nations Development Programme. On the basis of this report, Gabon undertook to improve its social policy by focusing on the following three objectives:
- assist the most vulnerable populations (the elderly, orphans, the disabled), through integrated social programs;
- help low-income people develop income-generating activities
- reduce inequalities in access to basic public services. Although the enrollment rate of 96.4% is one of the highest in Africa, the Gabonese education system continues to have a high repetition rate and a low primary completion rate (37.2%).
The weakness of the national statistical system is another challenge that Gabon needs to address, especially in the current context of lower oil prices, where an understanding of the social impact of the ongoing adjustments in the public sector is critical. Reliable data on poverty and income distribution are not available and the most recent national accounts date back to 2010. Furthermore, the consumer price index is still based on a household consumption structure from a 2003 survey.
Last Updated: Jun 01, 2018