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Busines and Economy of Gabon

Gabon was once regarded as the economic miracle of Equatorial Africa but lost its economic strength during the oil glut, the recession in early 1980s and the downturn in the steel industry. Though it has now diversified its policy, it will take some time for the economy to recover.

Gabon's wealth lies in its oil reserves and mineral deposits of manganese and uranium that made it one of Africa's more successful economies. Agriculture employs two thirds of the population and continues to be contributing only 5.7% to the GDP of US$21.44 billion with cash crops of sugarcane, cocoa, coffee, rubber, cassava and maize. The manufacturing sector is based on the oil refineries, production of plywood, paints, varnishes detergents, dry batteries, cement, cigarettes and textiles. The per capita income is a terrific US$ 14,400; important natural resources include petroleum and uranium deposits, iron ore and timber.

Gabon is a member of the central African economic and customs union, CEEAC, and of the CFA Franc Zone but is no longer a member of OPEC. The country's main trading partners are the EU countries, USA and Japan.

Business Guide

Gabon has a free market economy with a strong GDP and high per capita income. Private enterprise is actively encouraged particularly in the sectors of oil production and manufacturing. Foreign investment is welcomed and laws are usually investor friendly.

French is the official language for business and businessmen not fluent in it should ask for the facilities of translators and interpreters. France continues to be the biggest trade partner but competition from the US and Japan is increasing. Tropical suits are the most appropriate gear for business meetings; a measure of formality is required and basic, western business rules of conduct apply. Office hours: 0730-1200 and 1430-1800 Monday to Friday.

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