While Gabon has a well-established niche in the global mining market as a key manganese exporter, its ambition to significantly expand exploration is generating strong interest from junior miners. With mining accounting for 6.3% of GDP and 6% of exports in 2012, according to the African Development Bank, there is potential for growth. The implementation of a new mining code in late 2013 is set to revise several rules. As Gabon seeks to catalyse investment in exploration and increase its downstream processing capacity, striking the balance between its development prerogatives and incentives for investment will be crucial.
The domestic industrial base is small, but with a concerted government strategy intended to leverage the country's sizeable natural endowments towards higher-value-added processing, there is growth potential. Existing capacity is focused in the areas of building materials, food, beverages and limited timber and manganese processing. Industrial activity accounted for 7.7% of GDP and 4% of the labour force in 2012. Close coordination and timely completion of state-run infrastructure projects will be critical to the policy’s success.
This chapter contains an interview with Regis Immongault Tatagani, Minister of Industry and Mining.