Gabon’s status as the sixth-largest crude oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa has helped the country achieve the second-highest per capita GDP in the region. While the country’s resource-dependent economy took a hit when global demand dropped during the financial crisis of 2008-09, recovery has been strong and growth has remained robust. The government has in recent years put a greater focus on economic diversification to decrease the economy’s dependence on oil revenues, which represented 19.3% of GDP in 2011. These efforts include increasing value-added activities in other areas of the economy, including rubber processing and cocoa, coffee and palm oil production. As part of the Emerging Gabon strategy, the government is also seeking to create a more open economic environment for investors with the creation of special economic zones, which will offer significant incentives.
This chapter contains interviews with Magloire Ngambia, Minister of Investment Promotion; Henri-Claude Oyima, Director and Chairman, BGFIBank; Shanta Devarajan, Chief Economist for Africa, World Bank; and Nina Abouna, Director-General, APIEX.