flag Gabon Gabon: Investing

In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in Gabon | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Investment Opportunities


FDI in Figures

According to UNCTAD's World Investment Report 2022, FDI inflows into Gabon decreased from USD 1.7 billion to USD 1.6 billion between 2020 and 2021. The FDI stock was estimated at USD 15.6 billion in 2021. According to UNCTAD’s Investment Trends Monitor, global FDI momentum weakened in 2022 in the context of the war in Ukraine, rising food and energy prices, financial turmoil and debt pressures. Historically, the mining, oil and gas, and wood sectors have attracted the most investment in Gabon, but foreign investment is promoted across a range of sectors, including infrastructure and ecotourism. In addition to the Singaporean Olam group, China is increasingly present in the country, as illustrated by the recent EUR 180 million investment of Chinese energy firm TBEA in a hydropower project, and the USD 50-100 million progressive investment by Jiangsu Wanlin Modern Logistics Co. in the construction of a high-quality furniture factory in Libreville. According to IMF data, Gabon’s main investors are Mauritius, India, the USA, China, Morocco, the Netherlands, Italy and France.

The government is actively trying to attract FDI. Its development strategy (Plan Stratégique Gabon Emergent – PSGE) aims at developing Gabon into an emerging economy by 2025 by diversifying the country and transforming Gabon into an internationally competitive investment destination. The plan calls for increased public and private investment, modernised infrastructure and improved human capital. Recently, the public-private partnership (PPP) agricultural programme (GRAINE) was launched, providing new oil palm plantations and the development of food crops. Changes in hydrocarbon legislation should also help to accelerate private investment flows. Gabon is the 4th oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, Africa’s 2nd largest producer of wood and the 2nd producer of manganese in the world. It has special economic zones where companies have tax advantages, preferential customs duties and simplified customs procedures. The country also enjoys a relatively high purchasing power compared to other Sub-Saharan African countries. However, limited market potential, bureaucracy, weak contract enforcement, an unskilled and expensive workforce, as well as poor infrastructure all constitute barriers to FDI inflows. 

Foreign Direct Investment 202020212022
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 1,7171,5291,105
FDI Stock (million USD) 13,95715,48616,591
Number of Greenfield Investments* 552
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 2,4792,120209

Source: UNCTAD - Latest available data.

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

Return to top

What to consider if you invest in Gabon

Strong Points

Among the factors that make Gabon an attractive destination for FDIs, there are:

  • an abundance of natural resources
  • the country’s strategic location along the Gulf of Guinea
  • political stability
  • its membership of the CEMAC and several other international organizations
  • the government's plan to diversify the economy (Emerging Gabon Strategic Plan)
  • the fact that Gabon is the 5th oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa; Africa’s 2nd largest producer of wood, with a plan to become the world’s leading producer of manganese
  • no restrictions or limitations for foreign investors concerning converting, transferring or repatriating funds associated with an investment in Gabon
  • free convertibility of its currency with foreign currencies by being part of the franc zone
Weak Points

Several factors still hinder Gabon’s FDI inflows:

  • the country’s economy remains dependent on revenue generated by the exportation of hydrocarbons,
  • high cost of production factors (often linked to inadequate transport and energy infrastructure),
  • high unemployment and levels of poverty (around one-third of the population lives below the poverty line - World Bank, latest data available),
  • burdensome bureaucratic procedures,
  • a lack of a clearly established and consistent process for companies to enter the market, a small domestic market,
  • relatively rigid labour laws,
  • inconsistent application of customs regulations,
  • high risk of corruption,
  • the stock of domestic and external arrears is not cleared yet,
  • reliance on imports of food and capital goods.
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
The Gabonese government is trying to implement several reforms with the objective of diversifying the country’s economy away from oil and from traditional investment partners (“Emerging Gabon 2025” plan).
Gabon has established the Investment Promotion Agency (ANPI-Gabon), which is meant to act as the gateway for investment into the country and reduce administrative procedures, costs, and waiting periods. The country also established a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) located at Nkok, which became operational in 2014. In 2017, the High Council for Investment was established to promote investment and boost the economy by increasing the dialogue between the public and private sectors.
The government encourages investments in some of Gabon's main industries (oil and gas, mining, and timber) through customs and tax incentives (for example, oil and mining companies are exempt from customs duties on imported working equipment). Gabon is also promoting FDIs across a range of sectors, particularly infrastructure and ecotourism. The new Tourism Investment Code passed in 2019 provides tax incentives to foreign tourism investors during the first eight years of operation.
Gabon’s agriculture code also provides tax and customs incentives to agricultural operators (especially for small and medium-sized enterprises). In this context, land used for agriculture and farm exploitation is exonerated from fiscal tax, and all imported fertilizers and food for ranch exploitation are exempt from customs duties.

Return to top

Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Gabon’s 1998 investment code conforms to Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) investment regulations and grants the same rights to both local and foreign companies operating in Gabon. Foreign investors are equally treated also with regards to the purchase of real estate, negotiation of licenses, and entering into commercial agreements. There is no general requirement for local participation in investments (though quotas of local workers can be imposed). Businesses are protected from expropriation or nationalization without appropriate compensation.
Certain sectors, such as mining, forestry, petroleum, agriculture, and tourism have special specific investment codes, aimed at attracting foreign investors.
Acquisition of Holdings
There are no limits on foreign ownership or control, except for certain activities customarily reserved for the state (for example military and paramilitary activities).
The state also reserves the right to participate in the equity capital of ventures established in certain sectors (e.g., petroleum and mining). There are no known systemic practices by private firms to restrict foreign investment, participation, or control.
Obligation to Declare
The standard practice is for the Gabonese Presidency to review foreign investment contracts after ministerial-level negotiations are completed. However, the lack of a standardized procedure for new entrants to negotiate deals with the government can lead to uncertain and time-consuming negotiations.
Competent Organisation For the Declaration
Requests For Specific Authorisations
ANPI-Gabon has a single-window registration process that allows domestic and foreign investors to register their business in 48 hours.
Firms are required to obtain authorization from the Ministry of Labour before hiring foreigners. Foreign workers must obtain permits before working in Gabon (depending on the availability of Gabonese nationals to fill the job in question), with quotas that can be set for the number of foreign workers. As an example, the Gabonese government decided to limit foreign workers in the oil sector to a maximum of 10% of a company’s workforce and to require that Gabonese occupy all executive posts.

Return to top

Investment Opportunities

Investment Aid Agency
National Investment Promotion Agency of Gabon
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Global Tenders Gabon
Tenders Info Gabon
Africa Gateway Gabon
Other Useful Resources
Invest in Gabon - Gabon Special Economic Zone

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.


© eexpand, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: December 2023