The natural wealth of Gabon is not limited to oil and gas, and the country is turning to mining to help diversify away from its reliance on hydrocarbons.
The African Development Bank estimated that in 2012 the mining sector contributed 6.3% of GDP and 6% of exports, though estimates from the Ministry of Economy and Planning put it much lower, at under 2% of GDP. Either way, the sector has the potential to be a major economic driver, and the government hopes to quadruple mining’s contribution to GDP by 2025 under the Industrial Gabon development plan. In line with the government’s industrialisation strategy, local processing requirements are gradually being imposed to increase the sector’s added value and boost non-hydrocarbons activity, although infrastructure and personnel shortages will be an obstacle to development in the medium term.
Today, industrial activity is limited to agro-industry, beverages, construction materials and some timber, petroleum and mineral processing, but the state has outlined a plan to establish several industrial clusters by 2025 and double the sector’s contribution to GDP.
Industry was identified as one of three economic development pillars under the Emerging Gabon strategy launched in 2009. Under the Industrial Gabon plan, the state is working to encourage investment in downstream processing for all natural resource operations. Local processing requirements are gradually being introduced, starting with the 2010 ban on raw timber exports, which is helping to increase export value and reduce Gabon’s reliance on hydrocarbons. While the transition has not always been smooth, the economy stands to benefit significantly in the medium term from the uptick in value-added activity.
This chapter contains interviews with Régis Immongault, Minister of Mines, Industry and Tourism; and Pietro Amico, General Representative, Eramet Gabon.
The natural richesse of Gabon is not limited to oil and gas, and the country is turning to mining to help diversify away from its reliance on hydrocarbons, which still represent 45% of GDP and 80% of export receipts. The African Development Bank estimated that in 2012 that the mining sector contributed 6.3% of GDP and 6% of exports, though estimates from the Ministry of Economy and Planning put it much lower, at under 2% of GDP. Either way, the sector has the potential to be a major economic driver,…
Interview: Régis Immongault
What strategies should be pursued to increase the attractiveness of the mining sector?
REGIS IMMONGAULT: Gabon has remarkable mining potential and is committed to international standards. Even with our vast resources of manganese, iron, gold and tantalum, only three companies are exploiting them. This figure is insufficient for a country that aims to become a major mining producer and use the sector to foster industrialisation. However, the contribution to GDP is expected…
According to African Development Bank estimates, Gabon’s mining sector is the second-highest-contributing industry after oil and gas, providing 6.3% of GDP and 6% of export receipts in 2012. Yet its continued reliance on manganese and gold leaves a number of potential avenues underexploited. The government aims to quadruple the sector’s contribution to 25% of GDP by 2025, through a combination of exploration projects and value-added local processing.
The sector still faces several obstacles,…
How can value-added activities be encouraged?
PIETRO AMICO: The first sine qua non condition for industries such as metallurgy is the supply of energy at a sustainable competitive price, in particular electricity. Second is the availability of expertise. Anyone who considers processing activities knows that this stage goes beyond the typical mining activities well in place in the country. As the industry moves forward, skilled and qualified human capital is needed:…
Like many countries in Africa, Gabon’s economy has largely developed on the back of its natural resources, primarily oil, minerals and timber. Most of these are still exported in raw form, bringing limited economic benefit to the country. However, the industrial sector – and the revenues and jobs it creates – is a focal point for the government’s development plans, with several initiatives looking to encourage domestic processing and manufacturing. Today, industrial activity is limited to…
As in most sub-Saharan markets, the retail sector has traditionally been dominated by small grocery stores, markets and street sellers in Gabon. However, large-scale retailing took off in the 1990s and continues to expand, thanks in large part to not only headline growth rates, but also to rising household consumption among middle and upper-middle class segments, where spending is particularly robust on a regional level as a result of Gabon’s high per capita income.
While small-scale and informal…