Gabon - Country Commercial Guide
Market Overview
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Gabon is located on the Gulf of Guinea in Africa and has a population of approximately 2.3 million.  Immigrants from surrounding countries are estimated to form up to a third of Gabon’s population.  Forested areas account for 88 percent of all land, with 90.2 percent of Gabon’s population living in urban centers.

President Ali Bongo Ondimba was first elected president in 2009 and reelected in 2016.  On August 30, 2023, a military takeover ended the Bongo regime and installed a Transitional Government headed by General Brice Oligui Nguema, head of the Republican Guard. As of September 2023, the situation is stable with no reports of violence.

President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s 2012 reform plan, “The Strategic Plan for an Emerging Gabon,” focused on developing infrastructure and promoting sustainable development and the growth of Gabon’s services and manufacturing industries by 2025.  The objective was to diversify an economy that has largely depended on the petroleum sector for revenue generation.  On February 17, 2021, Prime Minister Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda signed a decree that created 20 task forces to implement priority reforms of its Transformation Acceleration Plan (PAT, 2021-2023).  As part of the implementation of the PAT, the Minister of Investment Promotion launched a task force on the business environment in April 2021.  The goal of the PAT is to strengthen the competitiveness of the regulatory and fiscal framework to support the development of the private and export sectors, based on six main activities: 1) relaunching meetings of the various bodies of the High Council for Investment (HCI), 2) strengthening the attractiveness and competitiveness of the regulatory framework for priority sectors, 3) reviewing the parafiscal system and digitization of administrative investment procedures, 4) disseminating a clear process for validating investment projects, 5) supporting program for small and medium-sized enterprises and industries (SMEs/SMIs), and 6) facilitating access to land. The transitional Gabonese government is expected to update objectives and governmental bodies, to include the PAT.

Gabon’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $21.07 billion in 2022 (World Bank 2022) and is expected to reach 21.64 USD Billion by the end of 2023.  Gabon’s growth is expected to be 2.7 percent in 2023 and 2.8 percent in 2024; the budget balance would remain in surplus at 1.6 percent in 2023 and 1.2 percent in 2024; the current account balance is expected to decrease to -1.9 percent in 2023 and -2.1 percent in 2024. (African Development Bank 2022)

Gabon’s per capita GDP of $8,820 (World Bank 2022) is one of the highest in sub-Saharan Africa.  While Gabon is considered an upper middle-income country, income inequality remains high.

Gabon’s rankings on human social indicators do not reflect its relative wealth.  The UNDP Human Development Index ranked Gabon 112 out of 191 ( with data through December 2021.  It estimated that 30 percent of the population had a monthly income below the guaranteed monthly minimum wage of $143.

Gabon’s largest industries are petroleum, minerals (mostly manganese), and timber.  The government plans to develop Gabon’s agricultural sector and to improve its national infrastructure.  While export restrictions remain on raw timber, the industry is expanding into the manufacturing of furniture and plywood products.

Gabon has historically belonged to the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (Communauté Economique et Monétaire de l’Afrique Centrale, CEMAC) and uses the Central African franc (CFA), which is pegged to the euro (CFA 656 = €1).  The Economic Community of Central African (ECCAS) and the African Union (UA) suspended Gabon’s membership since the military takeover of August 30, 2023.

Gabon, as a member of Bank of Central African States (BEAC), benefits from monetary integration and financial stability with its regional neighbors.  ECCAS guarantees free trade and funds for development programs through its Central African States Development Bank (BDEAC).

Gabon gained independence from France in 1960 but it maintains strong economic, political, and cultural ties with the French. The government has increased its bilateral and multilateral engagements with other partners as it attempts to diversify Gabon’s international relationships, including strengthening economic ties with the United States and other nations.  Gabon joined the Commonwealth in June 2022.

Political Environment

For background information on the political and economic environment of the country, please consult the U.S. Department of State 

Countries & Areas website.