Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, the U.S. market share, the political situation if relevant, the top reasons why U.S. companies should consider exporting to this country, and other issues that affect trade, e.g., terrorism, currency devaluations, trade agreements.
Last Published: 4/9/2019
Gabon is located on the Gulf of Guinea in Africa and has a population of nearly 2 million.

President Ali Bongo Ondimba was first elected president in 2009 and reelected in 2016.  Gabon is a multiparty democracy, and currently the ruling Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) controls the government, the Senate and most local offices.  Legislative elections that were supposed to be organized at the end of 2016 were postponed several times until, as a result, the parliament was ordered disbanded by the Constitutional court until new elections could be conducted.  Those elections, along with those scheduled for December 2018 to elect local and community leaders, will be held on October 6 with a second round, as needed, to be held on October 27, 2018.

President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s reform plan, “The Strategic Plan for an Emerging Gabon,” focuses on building infrastructure, sustainable development and the growth of Gabon’s services and manufacturing industries.  The objective is to diversify an economy that has largely depended on the petroleum sector for revenue generation.

Gabon’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was USD 15.9 billion in 2017 (International Monetary Fund estimate).   The IMF forecasts 2% growth for 2018.

Gabon’s per capita GDP of $7,972 (International Monetary Fund, 2017 estimate) is one of the highest in sub-Saharan Africa and it is thereby considered an upper middle income county.

The economy remains heavily dependent on oil, but the government is committed to diversifying to other sectors.  

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.  The timber industry is moving downstream into furniture and plywood products.

Gabon’s income distribution is highly skewed and its rankings on human social indicators do not reflect its relative wealth.  As recently as 2017, the Human Development Index ranked Gabon 109th out of 165.  Estimates are that 30 % of the population has a monthly income below the guaranteed minimum wage of $143.
Gabon belongs to the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (Communauté Economique et Monétaire de l’Afrique Centrale, CEMAC).  As a CEMAC member, it uses the Central African franc (CFA), which is pegged to the euro (CFA 656 = € 1).

A former French colony, Gabon gained independence in 1960 but maintains strong economic, political, and cultural ties with France.  The government has increased its bilateral and multilateral engagements as it attempts to diversify Gabon’s international relationships and, in pursuit of that objective, has worked to strengthen economic ties with the United States.  

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.