Gabon is a state in Africa open to the Atlantic Ocean. Sparsely populated country, only 2,000,000 (1) for 268,000 square kilometres, Gabon enjoys a climate warm and humid equatorial.
It is covered by a dense forest which occupies 85% of its territory, and whose exploitation constitutes a important resource, alongside extractive industries such as those uranium, manganese, iron and especially oil.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the Europeans practice the black trade at the same time as the trade in ivory and ebony. However, the freed slaves founded Libreville (the capital) in 1849 and, in 1960, the Gabonese Republic gained independence, it is no longer a French colony.
After Gabon was incorporated into French Equatorial Africa in 1910. The timber farms, the first production at the time, were first confined to the vicinity of the rivers, which, only, in the absence of roads, allow the delivery of logs by flotation. Mechanization, especially after the Second World War then exploits areas further away from the rivers (2). The French colonizer made a few adjustments, including the construction of roads and the creation of cash-farming areas (cacao, coffee, rubber… (3)).
The first oil deposits are identified as soon as 1929 but the exploitation did not actually begin until the mid-1950s (4).
Uranium was mined from 1958 (5) and the manganese from 1962 (6).
In the late 1960s, oil surpassed the share of oil wood in the economy, although the country remains in the 21st century (7) the largest exporter of world of okoumé (8).
Shortly after independence in 1960 the profile Gabon’s economic crisis is mapped out with the preponderance of oil, manganese, and, until the late 1990s, uranium; it doesn’t will change only slightly until the beginning of the 21st century.
“A country middle incomes”
Gabon is one of the middle-income countries upper bracket. Fifth producer Africa’s oil prices, it recorded strong economic growth in the over the past decade, but in recent years the country has faced declining oil reserves. The authorities have therefore decided to diversify their economies.
It is the second country Africa in terms of per capita income, after Equatorial Guinea (9); however, inequality in the distribution of wealth means that almost a third of the population is considered to be poverty-spared. “The unemployment rate is a concern, estimated beyond the 20% and unemployed young people would make up 60% of the population in the unemployment(11). »
In 2014, Gabon’s external debt amounted to 3.8 billion U.S. dollars; total public debt is about 22.5% of GDP(12), which is moderate debt.
In 2014, “at the regional level, Gabon meets the four criteria convergence set by the Community Central Africa (CEMAC) as part of the multilateral monitoring of economic and monetary economies of the area, namely: compliance with the debt-to-gdp ratio gdp, the balance of the budget deficit, the payment of arrears from the debt, and the inflation rate framework. »
However, as far as the population is concerned, Gabon is faced with the socio-economic paradox of belonging by way of GDP per capita in the Intermediate Income Countries (PRI) group, while at the same time social indicators to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) group. »
“The economic outlook”
Gabon considers it essential for its development strategy to aim for a structural transformation of its Economy. That’s why he encouraged local processing of wood, palm oil and manganese, thereby raising the contribution of its sector 10% of GDP in 2017 compared to 6% in 2012 (15).
The wood sector and associated industries contribute to the GDP to the tune of 4% in 2013. In terms of employment, the sector accounts for almost a third of salaried jobs in Gabon.
There are typically three production areas. The first is close to the waterways and on the coastal fringe, allowing the evacuation of logs by flotation to the ports of Libreville and Port-Gentil.
The second zone is the one that requires the use of lorries for inland logging sites. The production of the second zone has also been used since the late 1980s trans-Gabonese, the only line of railway save., 18. This line, commissioned in 1978, 669 km and connects Owando to Franceville.
The third zone, mainly in the centre-east of the country, is very little exploited because it is difficult to penetrate and has a greater variety of species compared to forests that are much more concentrated in species marketable (mono-dominant populations of okoumé in the forests of the coastal basin).(19).
Economically, the sector has long been organized around a production hub in the hands of French companies, and a set up by SNBG, Gabon’s National Wood Company, which held the monopoly on the export of okoumé and ozigo until the end of 2005.
Production fell sharply between 2009 and 2013, 1.6 million m3 in 2013 compared to 3 million m3 in 2013 m3 in 2009. The market has also shifted sharply.
China, which in 2008 was by far the largest customer, significantly slowed its purchases. As a result, in 2012, 42% of are sold in Europe, 36% are exported to Asia and 22% to Africa America.
From an ecological point of view, unlike many other African countries, Gabon’s forest cover has been stable for more than twenty years years.
Agriculture also plays a role in the economic system Gabonese.
The climate and water availability give the country a High cultural potential; Gabonese agriculture is very undeveloped, consisting mainly of itinerant food crops for food crops self-consumption: cassava and plantain in first place, but also taro and (23).
The hyper-concentration of populations in Libreville (which half of the country’s inhabitants), Port-Gentil and Franceville-Moanda-Mounana is fuelled by the rural exodus, with the result that rural areas farmers in the country are the poorest and are emptying their population.
The development of agriculture is one of the government’s commitments as part of its economic policy.
The Agency Gabon’s National Investment Promotion (ANPI-Gabon), established in September 2014, aims to assist the Government in implementing its formalization policy business development, investment promotion and investment exports, support and promotion to the entrepreneurship of young people and support for the establishment of public-private partnerships.
Gabon is considered one of the France, for political reasons (including defence) and economic, and although Gabonese are few in number, they must improve their social policy for vulnerable or disadvantaged populations and reduce inequalities in access to public services.
Notes and references:
1) 2017 Census
2) Gardinier and Yates, 2006
3) Gardinier and Yates, 2006
4) Gardinier and Yates, 2006
5) Gardinier and Yates, 2006
6) Gardinier and Yates, 2006
7) Country Presentation – Gabon- Forrest Monitor, 2006
8) Gardinier and Yates, 2006
9) World Bank
10) CIA World Factbook
11) AfDB 2011-2015
12) “Gabon’s economic and financial situation 2014, Ministry of Finance and Public Accounts
13) Economic outlook
15) Economic Outlook in Africa, AEP, 2019
16) Economic Outlook in Africa, AEP, 2019
17) “Forest Surfaces,” World Bank, 2012
18) Gardinier and Yates, 2006
19) Peyrot, 2008
20) Gardinier and Yates, 2006
21) “The Issues by Sector – Wood,” Presidency Gabon
22) Wilks, 1990
23) Gabon pao.org
24) Montangou, 2013
25) PSGE, p 16