With a gross national income (GNI) of (2017) US $ 6,610 per resident, Gabon is one of the richest countries in sub-Saharan Africa. With an unemployment rate of (2016) 20.5%, the income gap is extremely high. The basis of the economy are the raw materials crude oil, tropical wood and manganese ore, with which the majority of export revenues are generated. Due to the expected depletion of oil reserves in the foreseeable future and the strongly fluctuating world market prices for raw materials, Gabon is facing a structural change (including the need to develop alternative sources of foreign exchange). Visit weddinginfashion for Economy of Africa.
Foreign trade: Gabon generates a slight foreign trade surplus structurally (imports 2016: 3.2 billion US $; exports 4.4 billion US $). By far the most important export goods are crude oil, as well as tropical woods and manganese. The main import goods are foodstuffs, tools and machines as well as consumer goods. The most important foreign trade partners are France on the import side and the USA on the export side.
Although around a quarter of the workforce is assigned to the agricultural sector, this sector only accounts for 5.3% of GDP. The cultivated products (especially manioc, yams, taro, plantains, corn, vegetables) mainly serve the self-sufficiency of the rural population. Export products such as cocoa, coffee, palm oil and rubber hardly play a role in Gabon’s economy or the world market. The food security of the urban population is heavily dependent on food imports.
Forestry: As one of the most densely forested countries in Africa, Gabon is one of the signatories of international rainforest protection agreements. A few of the more than 400 tree species are used for forestry, especially the okoumé tree, which is qualitatively almost exclusively suitable for veneer and plywood. Wood is the third most important source of foreign exchange in the country.
Fisheries: Fish is an important local foodstuff, but fishing is not an important part of the country’s economy.
The economic development of OPEC member Gabon is highly dependent on oil exports. The production, which is mainly concentrated in the coastal area around Port-Gentil (first discoveries in 1955) has stabilized at 11 million t annually since the record year 1997 due to decreasing reserves (secured 300 million t). Natural gas (secured reserves 28 billion m 3) is among other things. used for electricity generation. The manganese ore mined near Moanda (estimated reserves 22 million t) is the country’s second most important export good. The well-known mineral deposits such as gold, uranium, platinum, copper, nickel, titanium, iron ore (64% iron content) or even rare earths such as niobium have not yet been developed commercially.
Due to the low level of traffic in the country, industrial sites (Libreville-Owendo, Port-Gentil, Moanda, Franceville) have an island character. The oil, wood and manganese ore processing as well as the building materials, food and textile industries are important. In 2016 the manufacturing industry (including mining and construction) generated 47.9% of GDP.
Due to unfavorable climatic conditions and an inadequate infrastructure, tourism has so far been of no importance for the country’s economy. However, there are plans to open up the 13 national parks created since 2002 (including the trinational rainforest park Dja-Odzala-Minkébé, formed in 2004 from areas of the Republic of the Congo, Cameroon and Gabon) for high-price ecotourism.
Large parts of the interior of the country have no rail or road network due to the geographic conditions (dense forests, swamps and river landscapes); they can only be reached by plane. The only rail connection is the Transgabunbahn. It serves among other things. transporting ore and timber. Of the approximately 9,200 km long road network, around 1,600 km are asphalted. In the many rainy months, the roads are often difficult to pass. Shipping plays an important role in transport on the Ogowe and its tributaries. Important seaports are Port-Gentil (oil, wood) and Libreville-Owendo (wood, manganese). Libreville, Port-Gentil and Franceville have international airports. Planned transport projects are the construction of another deep-water port near Libreville (Santa Clara) and branches of the Transgabunbahn to these ports and to the iron ore deposits of Bélinga.