COUNTRIES BRIEFS Newsletter ISSN 1563-4108

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The Republic of Gabon is located in the Central Africa's region, bordering the Atlantic Ocean (Coastline: 885 km) just at the Equator, between the Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea

Its total Area: 267,670 sq. km (land: 257,670 sq. km water: 10,000 sq. km

The bordering countries are: Cameroon in the North over 298 km; Republic of the Congo in the East and South over 1,903 km; Equatorial Guinea at the North- West over 350 km

Population: 1,290,159 (July 1997); 1,321,560 (July 2003 est.).
Population growth rate: 2.8% (average for 1995-2000 period); 2.54% (2003 est.)

Capital-City: Libreville

Independence from France:17 August 1960
National holiday: Independence Day 17 August, 17 1960

Natural resources: petroleum, manganese, uranium, gold, timber, iron ore.

Agricultural productions:cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil; rubber; okoume (a tropical softwood); cattle; small fishing operations (provide a catch of about 30,000 metric tons).

Industrial production: food and beverage; textile; lumbering and plywood; cement; petroleum extraction and refining; manganese, uranium, and gold; chemicals; ship repair.

Gabon's economy is essentially based on mineral deposits (uranium, manganese, phosphates, iron ore etc.), oil and forest products exploitation. Contrary to other African countries, agriculture's contribution is less than 10% (50-60% for other sub-Saharan African countries). Consequently, large quantities of foodstuffs are imported from neighboring Cameroon and Europe. Cash crops production is marginal (cocoa: less than 1,000 metric tons / year; coffee: less than 500 metric tons / year)

The country depended on timber and manganese (3rd world producer - 1,490,000 metric tons / year) until oil was discovered offshore in the early 1970s.

These three commodities dominate the economy in such a way that the nation's budget fluctuates up and down according to their international prices. However, Oil played the biggest part and often accounted for up to 60% of the GNP. One US dollar fluctuation on prevailing international oil price generates a plus or minus discrepancy of 50 billion CFA (Click here for currency equivalence) on generated revenues. Which means that Gabon harvested big profits since March 2000 - Oil prices increased from US$ 18 - end 1999 - per barrel to nearly US$ 34.90 - Click here for current pricing of oil and other mineral commodities on the international marketplace.

However, oil's production is dwindling since 1998 (13 millions metric tons output for 2003) to a point that, for the fist time since 25 years, 2004's national budget exposes less contribution from oil than non oil contributing items. Consequently, the GNP is contracting since 2001-02.

Gabon's political authorities are now busy taking measures to compensate for the decline of oil's production and boost the production and industrial transformation of other abundant mineral resources.

Indeed, unless new oil fields are discovered, Gabon's policy-makers are now confronted with the challenge to finding economic alternatives to oil to boost the economy. Otherwise, the country will slowly enter into economic "recession" when existing oil fields dried out. However, even in case of new discoveries, oil exportation will not be the economic development driving force. It might have to compete against new sources of energy and environmental problems in Northern Hemisphere countries as some European states, like Austria, had already taken measures to banning the utilization of oil for house heating system in Year 2026. No doubt that other European countries will follow suit in the near future of 10 to 15 years.

Further, industrial growth in any economic activity is likely to be limited by a shortage of labor (skilled and hands) and high operating costs.

Nevertheless, the potential for future growth exists and is considerable for the exportation market.

Timber and fishing industries, for instance, while making strong contributions to the national economy, are not yet fully and efficiently exploited. Timber exploitation (4,340,000 to 5 millions logs per year) may garner more profits if necessary measures taken for diversification into manufacturing and selling value added products such as house flooring, wooden made house kits for African and international market; furniture production - instead of exporting only logs and plywood.

On the other hand fishing intake off Gabon's coastline can be increased beyond the actual 32,000 metric tons per year to cater for the needs of landlocked Central Africa's countries. (Chad and Central African Republic - CAR). Other axis for economic development are agribusiness, cattle ranching, phosphates based fertilizer industry (phosphates reserves are in the range of 50,000,000 metric tons); low cost housing scheme and global infrastructure establishment.

Gabon's political authorities are negotiating with international financing bodies (IMF and World Bank) to obtain additional financial means. These institutions are requesting drastic macroeconomics measures (limitation of the number of civil servants from 45,000 to 40,000; the privatization of many state run companies, strict compliance to allocations made in the national budget and the establishment of a Body in charge of fighting against "illicit enrichment". Etc.). Completion of a Structural Adjustment Program may occur before the December 2004 - the period of the next presidential ballot.

The development of the economy in Gabon had been based too much and for too long on oil exploitation alone. Huge proceeds (taking into account the population size of maximum 1,500,000 million people) gained since 1970 from oil exploitation have not been adequately used to set up an alternative economic development strategy. As long as oil price is boosted by events in Irak and the Middle East, Gabon will continue garnering "hefty" revenues. However, soon will comes the time of belt tightening.
Click to contact Dr. Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum



US$ 3.850 billion (2000); 3.350 (2003)
GNP- growth rate: 1.2 % (2000); 2.5% (2003)
GNP-per capita: US$ 3,200 (2000); 2,750 (2003)

Click here for the difference between GNP and Parity Purchasing Power

GNP-composition by sector

  1. agriculture: 15%

  2. industry: 60 %
  3. services: 25%

Exports: US$ 3.4 billion (f.o.b., 2000); 2.6 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Commodities: crude oil 74%, timber, manganese, uranium

Imports: US$ 1.1 billion (f.o.b., 2002)
Commodities: machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, petroleum products, construction materials


1- D&B Export Guide To Gabon
Digital Delivery In PDF by D&B
2- Schweitzer
A Biography by George Marshall
3- African Notebook
by Albert Schweitzer
4- Albert Schweitzer
The Albert Schweitzer Library
by James Brabazon
5- Executuve Report
In Strategies In Gabon
Digital Delivery In PDF
6- ELF Gabon
Labor Productivity Benchmarks
And International Gap Analysis
by Ltd Icon Group
7- Ecology And Behavior
Of Natural Primates
by Pierre Charles-Dominique
8- Historical Dictionary of Gabon
by David E. Gardiner
9- Abortion Policies
Gabon To Norway



Passport valid for more than 6 months required by all. VISAS: Required by all. Types of visa: Single-entry Tourist and Business.. For further details, contact addresses below listed.

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from all travelers over one year of age.

Tourism Promotion Office
P.O. Box: 2085
Libreville, Gabon
Tel: +(241) 728 543 /728 502 /728 504
Fax: 728 503
E-mail: Click here
Representation in the US
Embassy of the Gabonese Republic
Suite 200, 2034 20th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
Tel: +(1) 202 797-1000
Fax: +(1) 202 332-0668
Representation in Canada
Embassy of the Gabonese Republic
BP 368, 4 Range Road,
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 8J3
Tel: +(1) 613 232 5301 / 2
Fax: +(1) 613 232 6916
Representation in UK
Embassy of the Gabonese Republic 27 Elvaston Place, London SW7 5NL
Tel: +(44) 171 823 9986
Fax: +(44) 171) 584 0047


Gabon's national airline is Air Gabon (GN), which operates direct flights from Paris to Libreville and internal flights from / to Libreville and other provincial cities. Other international air-carriers serving Gabon are: Air France (AF) and Royal Air Maroc (AT).

Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture,
Industry and Mines

P.O. Box: 2234
Libreville. Gabon
Tel: +(241) 722 064
Fax: +(241) 746 477
Ministry of Planning
P.O. Box: 747
Libreville, Gabon
Tel: +(241) 721 432
Fax: +(241) 773 590

There are hotels equipped to international standards in Libreville, Port Gentil, Masuku (Franceville), Mouila, Lambaréné, Oyem, Koulamoutou, Makokou and Tchibanga but, like most of the accommodation in Gabon, they are expensive.

Tourist facilities, including comfortable accommodation, are being established throughout the country, especially along the coast and in towns close to the National Parks. There are hotels in other major cities and towns. For more, contact the Direction Generale de l'Hôtellerie et du Contrôle des Prix below listed

Leconi Palace Inter-Continental
PO Box 735
Tel: +(241) 677416 / 17 / 18
Fax: +(241) 677419 / 677799
E-mail: Click here
Okoume Palace Inter-Continental
P.O.Box 2254
Tel: +(241) 732185
Fax: +(241)731629
E-mail: Click here
Novotel Rapontchombo
Boulevard de l'Indépendance
P.O. Box: 48
Direction Generale de l'Hôtellerie et du Contrôle des Hotels
PO Box 12419,
Tel: +(241) 738 380
Fax: +(241) 761 345

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