Gabon

Africa

BNP per innbygger ($)
$9,770.9
Population (in 2021)
2.2 million

Vurdering

Landrisiko
C
Forretningsklima
D
Tidligere:
C
Tidligere:
D

suggestions

Oppsummering

Styrker

  • Abundant natural resources: sub-Saharan Africa's fourth-largest oil producer (2021), the world's second-largest manganese producer (2022) and one of the continent's leading producers of tropical timber.
  • Under-exploited mining potential: deposits of iron, gold, uranium, diamonds, copper, zinc and rare earths
  • Efforts to diversify the economy undertaken as part of the 2010-2025 Emerging Gabon Strategic Plan (EGSP)
  • Hydroelectric potential
  • Huge forestry capital (sale of carbon credits)
  • Tourism potential with the coastline and natural reserves
  • Member of CEMAC and the Commonwealth

Svakheter

  • Economy heavily dependent on the oil sector
  • High cost of production factors, linked to inadequate infrastructure (transport and electricity)
  • Dependence on imports of food and capital goods
  • High unemployment, endemic poverty, poor distribution of wealth, informal economy (estimated at 40-50% of GDP)
  • Widespread corruption
  • Stock of domestic and external arrears not cleared yet

Børshandel

Eksportav varer i % av total

Kina
34%
Europa
29%
Sør-Korea
11%
USA
6%
Thailand
5%

Importav varer i % av total

Europa 47 %
47%
Kina 16 %
16%
USA 5 %
5%
India 4 %
4%
Storbritannia 3 %
3%

Utsikter

Denne delen er et verdifullt verktøy for økonomiansvarlige og kredittansvarlige i bedrifter. Den gir informasjon om betalings- og inkassopraksis i landet.

Growth reliant on extractive industries

Despite the military coup of 30 August 2023, economic activity is expected to expand, albeit at a moderate pace in 2023 and 2024, underpinned by oil production and exports (around 40% of GDP and 64% of total exports). It will benefit from durably high international oil prices. These will be boosted by the development of new oil wells, notably at the Ruche/Hibiscus offshore field, where BW Energy brought a sixth oil well on stream in mid-September 2023, the fourth to be commissioned at the site this year. The economy will also benefit from the robustness of the agricultural sector (accounting for 5.5% of GDP and around a third of all employment, including informal activity) associated with the development of timber and palm oil production. This sector will be supported by public investment aimed at increasing the production of palm oil and ultimately biodiesel, which will also contribute to reduce imports of refined petroleum products. While mining will continue to support growth in 2023 and 2024, particularly through manganese extraction and exports, the sector is likely to be adversely impacted by the fall in FDI, as the coup has made investors more cautious. However, the Belinga iron ore mine development project run by the Australian company Fortescue Metals Group, for which the agreement was signed in February 2023, does not seem to have been affected by the events, as the new government has kept domestic job creation a priority. However, weak transport and energy infrastructure will continue to weigh on foreign investment opportunities in the sector. Meanwhile, the country intends to take advantage of its status as a net carbon absorber thanks to the preservation of its tropical forests (covering just under 90% of its territory) by marketing its carbon credits for an estimated amount of more than a billion USD. Furthermore, while high oil prices are favourable to exports, those of imported foodstuffs, on which the country is heavily dependent, will maintain inflationary pressures. However, they are expected to ease in 2024 as food prices fall. Furthermore, the peg of the CFA franc to the euro is also expected to keep inflationary pressure in check. Following in the footsteps of the European Central Bank, the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) could, after a possible final tightening of 25 basis points at the end of 2023, put an end to the increase in its key rate that began in December 2021, which rose from 3.25% to 5% between December 2021 and March 2023, in order to contain inflation in the countries of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC).

Resurgence of twin deficits

Comfortable revenue generated by high oil prices, improved mobilisation of non-oil revenues and control of current expenditure have helped to generate a budget surplus in 2022. Nevertheless, the situation is expected to deteriorate in 2023 and 2024, with the balance expected to shift back to a deficit as oil revenues fall compared with 2022. At the same time, tensions on government spending will remain high, with continued food and energy subsidies and the heavy cost of the public wage bill (around 36% of expenditure). In addition, while the USD 46 million disbursement scheduled for December 2022 does not appear to have taken place, probably due to non-compliance with some of the targets set by the IMF, the cumulative disbursements of USD 206 million scheduled for 2023 and 2024 under the USD 553 million Extended Credit Facility agreed with the IMF in 2021 could also be postponed pending clarification of the situation following the coup. The ratio of public debt to GDP is likely to continue to rise as a result of the return to a deficit, and despite the transitional government's renewed determination to pay off the domestic portion (40% of the total) by setting up the Libreville Club of domestic holders of Gabonese debt. Eurobonds account for 35% of the external debt and multilateral debt for 32%. While the rise in oil revenues has increased the trade surplus and helped to generate a current account in 2022, the decline in these revenues will have the opposite effect in 2023 and 2024, despite the fall in food prices and energy imports. The persistent deficit in the balance of services, due to imported skills in the timber and hydrocarbons sectors, and the repatriation of dividends from foreign companies will also weigh on the current account balance.

A military coup following the re-election of the outgoing president

On 30 August 2023, a group of senior army officers announced that they had seized power, dissolving Gabon's state institutions and closing its borders. The coup followed the controversial re-election on 26 August 2023 of President Ali Bongo Ondimba for a third term. Ali Bongo Ondima had been in office since 2009, following the death of his father Omar Bongo Ondimba, who was in power since 1967. Prior to the coup, the opposition denounced election fraud orchestrated by the ruling party, while international media and observers were refused entry to the country. The military leaders behind the coup have declared that they plan to organise free elections in two years’ time and that they will respect all the internal and external country's commitments. The Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions (CTRI), led by its self-proclaimed President and head of the Republican Guard, Brice Oligui Nguema, has also pledged to submit a draft constitution to a referendum, as well as to introduce a new electoral code. The new Prime Minister, Raymond Ndong Sima, appointed by the Committee on 7 September 2023 at the same time as a transitional government, was part of the opposition coalition in the disputed presidential and legislative elections. Following his appointment, he announced his intention to set up a national dialogue in the spring of 2024 which would lead to the drafting of a new Constitution. While the international community has condemned the coup, the new government seems to be benefiting from the population's widespread dissatisfaction with the former President, against a backdrop of high inflation and corruption. Moreover, certain countries, including France, have been discreet in condemning the situation. The country has nevertheless been suspended from the Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and the African Union, pending a return to democratic institutions. At the end of October 2023, the US also announced the suspension of all financial aid, with the exception of humanitarian, health and educational assistance. However, the amount of US assistance was minor and the country is considering a resumption of aid if Gabonese authorities fulfill their commitment to return to democratic functioning. The former regime and China, Gabon's main trading partner and bilateral creditor, cultivated close relations which are expected to be preserved provided the security situation remains stable.

Last updated: October 2023

Andre land med lignende landrisiko