Economy overview: Gabon’s per capita income is four times that of most countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This explains the strong decline in recent years in the share of the population below the poverty line; nevertheless, incomes in the country are distributed very unevenly, and a significant part of the population remains poor. Gabon’s economy depended on the timber and manganese trade until the early 1970s. no oil was found in the sea. Now the share of the oil sector in GDP is about 50%. The economy continues to suffer from fluctuating prices for exported crude oil, timber, manganese and uranium. Despite the abundance of natural resources, the economy also suffers from poor financial management. In 1992, the budget deficit rose to 2.4% of GDP, and Gabon failed to make regular payments, which led to the cancellation of debt restructuring agreements with public and private creditors. The 50% devaluation of the CFA franc (January 12, 1994) set off a wave of inflation that reached 35%; in 1996, its rate dropped to 6%. The IMF entered into a one-year foreign exchange reserve lending agreement with Gabon (for 1994-95) and a three-year extended lending agreement at near-commercial interest rates in late 1995, and in October 2000 a loan was extended to replenish foreign exchange reserves in $119 million. These agreements require progress in privatization and the establishment of financial discipline. In January 1997, after Gabon complied with the requirements of the IMF in mid-1996, France provided additional financial support to Gabon. In 1997 The IMF office in Gabon has criticized the government for excessive off-budget spending, heavy borrowing from the Central Bank, and a delay in privatization and governance reform. The rise in oil prices in 1999 may have boosted the economy, but due to the decline in production, Gabon failed to make possible profits. The expected decline in oil production may lead to a contraction in GDP in 2001-02. See cheeroutdoor.com to know more about Gabon Business.
GDP: at purchasing power parity – $7.7 billion (2000 est.).
Real GDP growth rate: 1.2% (2000 est.).
GDP per capita: at purchasing power parity – $6,300 (2000 est.).
The composition of GDP by sectors of the economy: agriculture: 10%; industry: 60%; services: 30% (1999 est.).
Proportion of the population below the poverty line: no data available.
Percentage distribution of household income or consumption: for the poorest 10% of households: n/a; by top 10% of households: no data.
Inflation rate at consumer prices: 1.5% (2000 OTs.).
Labor force: 600,000 people
Employment structure: agriculture 60%, services and authorities 25%, industry and trade 15%.
Unemployment rate: 21% (1997 est.).
Budget: revenues: $1.5 billion; expenditures: $1.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $302 million (1996 est.).
Spheres of economy: production of foodstuff and drinks; textile industry; timber industry and plywood production; cement production; extraction and refining of oil; mining of manganese, uranium and gold; production of chemicals; ship repair.
Growth in industrial production: 2.3% (1995).
Electricity generation: 1.02 billion kWh (1998)
Sources of electricity generation: fossil fuels: 29.9%; hydropower: 70.1%; nuclear fuel: 0%; others: 0% (1999).
Electricity consumption: 948.6 million kWh (1999)
Electricity export: 0 kWh (1999).
Electricity import: 0 kWh (1999).
Agricultural products: cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber; livestock; okume (soft tropical wood); fish.
Exports: $3.4 billion (free on board, 2000 est.)
Exports: crude oil 75%, timber, manganese, uranium (1998).
Export partners: USA 47%, France 19%, China 8%, Japan 1.3% (1999).
Imports: $1 billion (free on board, 2000 est.)
Import articles: engineering machinery and industrial equipment, food products, chemicals, oil products, building materials.
Import partners: France 64%, US 4%, UK 2%, Netherlands 2% (1999).
External debt: $3.9 billion (2000 est.) Economic aid recipient: $331 million (1995)
Economic aid donor:
Currency: African Financial Community Franc (CFA franc, Communaute Finan-ciere Africaine franc); note – the circulation of the CFA franc is regulated by the Central Bank of West African countries.
Currency code: XOF.
Exchange rate: XOF/USD – 699.21 (January 2001), 711.98 (2000), 615.70 (1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997), 511.55 (1996); note: since January 1, 1999, the CFA franc has been exchanged for the euro at a ratio of 655.957 CFA francs to 1 euro.
Fiscal year: calendar year.
Telecommunications Telephone lines: 37,000 (1997).
Mobile cell phones: 9,500 (1997).
Telephone system: domestic: satisfactory system of cable communication, microwave radio relay communication, troposcatter communication, radiotelephone stations and national satellite system with 12 earth stations; international: satellite earth stations – 3 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean).
Broadcast stations: AM – 6, FM – 7, shortwave – 6 (1998).
Radio receivers: 208,000 (1997).
Television broadcast stations: 4 (and 5 low power repeaters) (1997).
TVs: 63,000 (1997).
Internet country code: ga
Internet Service Providers: 1 (2000).
Number of users: 5,000 (2000).
Transport Railways: total length: 649 km (Gabonese State Railways [OCTRA]); with standard gauge: 649 km (single-track; 1.435 m gauge) (1994).
Roads: total length: 7,670 km; paved: 629 km (including 30 km of motorways); unpaved: 7,041 km (1996 est.)
Waterways: 1,600 km permanently navigable.
Pipelines: for crude oil – 270 km; for oil products – 14 km.
Ports and harbors: Cap Lopez, Cango, Lambarene, Libreville, Mayumba, Ovendo, Port Gentil.
Airports: 59 (2000 est.).
Airports with paved runways: total: 10; over 3,047 m: 1; from 2438 to 3047 m:1; from 1524 to 2437 m:7; from 914 to 1523 m: 1 (2000 est.).
Airports with unpaved runways: total: 49; from 1,524 to 2,437 m: 8; from 914 to 1523 m:17; less than 914 m: 24 (2000 est.).
Branches of the Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Air Force, Republican Guard (whose duties include the protection of the President and other senior officials), National Gendarmerie, National Police.
Enlistment age: 20 years old.
Total Military Manpower: Male 15 to 49: 281,218 (2001 est.).
Eligible for military service: males aged 15 to 49: 145,062 (2001 est.).
Number of persons reaching military age each year: male: 11,304 (2001 est.).
Military spending in dollar terms: $91 million (1996)
Military spending as part of GDP: 1.6% (1996).
International problems International disputes: a dispute over the maritime border with Equatorial Guinea, which arose because of the ownership of the islands in Corisco Bay.