Gabon is bordered by Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon to the north, the Republic of the Congo to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The islands of Sao Tome and Principe are situated off the coast. It has a land mass of 267,668km²and a coastline of 885km, a population of 2.3 million people and a GDP of US$20.2bn.
Gabon contains unexploited deposits of iron ore, potash and uranium and gold. It is Africa’s second-largest manganese producer and Africa’s fifth largest oil producer. About 50% of the country’s gold output is produced by artisanal and small-scale miners.
Gabon’s government wants to decrease the economy’s dependence on oil by attracting investment into the mining industry, especially in manganese, gold and iron ore. In the 2019 Mining Code, mineral export fees were reduced and mining licences’ validity period was extended from 10 to 20 years. The Moanda School of Mining and Metallurgy in Gabon is the only school of mining in Central Africa.
Real GDP grew 3.0% in 2022, up from 1.5% in 2021, due to the healthy state of the oil sector, which grew 7.1%, and the nonoil sector which grew 2.3%. Growth in the oil sector was driven by the 45.3% rise in the oil price and a 6.1% increase in oil production in 2022. Growth in the nonoil sector was driven by agriculture, which grew 4.9%, forestry (6.5%) and transportation (4.2%). The Bank of Central African States tightened monetary policy in 2022 by raising key rates several times to respond to inflationary pressures and boost foreign reserves. Inflation rose to 4.2% in 2022 from 1.1% in 2021 due to higher food prices and the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Real GDP is projected to grow 2.7% in 2023 and 2.8% in 2024 due to high demand for export products including oil, manganese, wood and palm oil. Inflation is projected to rise to 3.8% in 2023, still above the 3% target, due to effects of the war in Ukraine, before dropping to 2.9% in 2024.
Sources: Who Owns Whom sector reports, CIA Factbook, African Development Bank, World Bank, Trading Economics, African Statistical Yearbook and IMF.