In recent years, the country has sought to accelerate economic diversification, emphasising growth in its industrial, agricultural and service sectors. The second-biggest economy of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, which the country is chairing in 2013, Gabon has a population of 1.6m, according to the most recent data available from the World Bank.
The country benefits from a wide base of natural resources, including large mineral deposits and timber, as well as arable land – all of which have helped feed its export revenues and boost headline indicators. However, it is the oil and gas sector that has been the dominant sector, with the country’s onshore and offshore blocks making it the fifth-largest producer on the continent. Production has been maturing recently, prompting the search to shift to deep-offshore blocks, but also encouraging greater diversification through the government’s Gabon Emergent strategy, which looks to channel capital and activity into key sectors such as tourism and manufacturing.