Gabon’s finest export: footballer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang © Getty Images
Gabon’s finest export: footballer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang © Getty Images

In the spotlight: Gabon

28 March 2017

Supply Management goes globetrotting to evaluate the procurement potential of countries around the world...


AREA 267,667km2

THE HELICOPTER VIEW Gabon is one of Africa’s largest producers of oil. The Central African state continues to experience robust growth with analysts predicting GDP will expand by 5.4% this year. Inflation is set to remain at 2.5%, according to World Bank data. 

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK While lower oil prices have meant that Gabon’s GDP has slowed somewhat, a programme of economic diversification is underway, designed to utilise the country’s other considerable resources: timber logging; and mining of manganese.

BIGGEST FOREIGN INVESTOR Petroleum conglomerates like Perenco and Total are among the biggest investors, as is Anglo/Dutch-owned Shell. South Korean electronics giant Samsung built Gabon’s state-of the art oil refinery at Port-Gentil.

SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUES Gabon is a member of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). Gabon ranked 162 out of the 189 countries listed in the World Bank’s 2016 Doing Business report.

STRENGTHS Gabon is backed by relative political stability – current President Ali Bongo Ondimba was elected in 2009 following the death of his father Omar who himself had governed for over 40 years.

CHALLENGES Social problems that stem from the uneven distribution of wealth remain a stern test. The World Bank counts Gabon as an upper-middle income country (one of only six in Sub-Saharan Africa), yet a 2013 McKinsey report described a third of the population as economically vulnerable.

BOTTOM LINE Gabon’s economic future lies in its ability to reduce its reliance on natural resource extraction and attract increased foreign investment.

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