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World > Africa > Gabon > Economy (Notes)

Gabon - Economy (Notes)


ECONOMY
Gabon's economy is dominated by oil. Oil revenues comprise 65% of the Government of Gabon budget, 43% of gross domestic product (GDP), and 81% of exports. Oil production is now declining rapidly from its high point of 370,000 barrels per day in 1997. In spite of the decreasing oil revenues, little planning has been done for an after-oil scenario. Gabon public expenditures from the years of significant oil revenues were not spent efficiently. Overspending on the Transgabonais railroad, the oil price shock of 1986, the CFA franc devaluation of 1994, and low oil prices in the late 1990s caused serious debt problems. Gabon has earned a poor reputation with the Paris Club and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the management of its debt and revenues. Successive IMF missions have criticized the government for overspending on off-budget items (in good years and bad), over-borrowing from the Central Bank, and slipping on the schedule for privatization and administrative reform. In September 2005, Gabon successfully concluded a 15-month Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF. Gabon seeks a multi-year successor arrangement.

Gabon's oil revenues have given it a strong per capita GDP of $7,200, extremely high for the region. On the other hand, a skewed income distribution and poor social indicators are evident. The richest 20% of the population receives over 90% of the income, and about a third of Gabonese live in poverty. The economy is highly dependent on extraction of abundant primary materials. After oil, logging and manganese mining are the other major sectors. Foreign and Gabonese observers have consistently lamented the lack of transformation of primary materials in the Gabonese economy. Various factors have so far stymied more diversification--small market of 1 million people, dependence on French imports, inability to capitalize on regional markets, lack of entrepreneurial zeal among the Gabonese, and the fairly regular stream of oil 'rent'. The small processing and service sectors are largely dominated by just a few prominent local investors. At World Bank and IMF insistence, the government embarked on a program of privatization of its state-owned companies and administrative reform, including reducing public sector employment and salary growth, but progress has been slow.


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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