Gabon’s economy has reached a critical juncture in 2016, with the drop in global oil prices having increased the need for and urgency of economic diversification, while reducing the availability of public financing to back the transformation. Under the now seven-year-old economic strategy, the Emerging Gabon Strategic Plan, the government has hastened efforts to expand the scope of economic activity, focusing on financial services, tourism and agriculture.
- Economy – Branching Out: The authorities have adopted a range of measures to deal with challenges stemming from the lower oil price environment, including stepped-up efforts to improve the business environment and thereby compensate for reduced state investment capacity through additional private investment.
- Banking – Looking Up: Banks in commodity-dependent Gabon were hit by the macroeconomic slowdown, but with several new players looking to flex their muscles, lending to the private sector and households is expected to rise in the near term.
- Tourism – Tropical Gem: In 2015 the contribution of travel and tourism to GDP was 2.7%, a figure authorities are seeking to raise via a new development plan aimed at boosting ecotourism and business tourism. The sector is expected to develop in the next few years on the back of expanded hotel capacity, upgraded transport infrastructure and better air links.
- Agriculture – Seeds of Growth: Much attention is being focused on developing the country’s roughly 15m ha of fertile land. Advancing the sector is a key part of the Emerging Gabon Strategic Plan, which aims to increase agriculture’s contribution to GDP from its current level of around 5% to 20% and achieve food self-sufficiency by 2020.