Economy of Gabon

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Economy - overview: Gabon enjoys a per capita income four times that of most nations of sub-Saharan Africa. This has supported a sharp decline in extreme poverty; yet because of high income inequality a large proportion of the population remains poor. Gabon depended on timber and manganese until oil was discovered offshore in the early 1970s. The oil sector now accounts for 50% of GDP. Gabon continues to face fluctuating prices for its oil, timber, manganese, and uranium exports. Despite the abundance of natural wealth, the economy is hobbled by poor fiscal management. In 1992, the fiscal deficit widened to 2.4% of GDP, and Gabon failed to settle arrears on its bilateral debt, leading to a cancellation of rescheduling agreements with official and private creditors. Devaluation of its Francophone currency by 50% on 12 January 1994 sparked a one-time inflationary surge, to 35%; the rate dropped to 6% in 1996. The IMF provided a one-year standby arrangement in 1994-95, a three-year Enhanced Financing Facility (EFF) at near commercial rates beginning in late 1995, and stand-by credit of $119 million in October 2000. Those agreements mandate progress in privatization and fiscal discipline. France provided additional financial support in January 1997 after Gabon had met IMF targets for mid-1996. In 1997, an IMF mission to Gabon criticized the government for overspending on off-budget items, overborrowing from the central bank, and slipping on its schedule for privatization and administrative reform. The rebound of oil prices in 1999-2000 helped growth, but drops in production hampered Gabon from fully realizing potential gains. An expected decline in oil output may lead to contraction in GDP in 2001-02.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $7.7 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 1.2% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $6,300 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 10%
industry: 60%
services: 30% (1999 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.5% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 600,000
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 60%, services and government 25%, industry and commerce 15%
Unemployment rate: 21% (1997 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $1.5 billion
expenditures: $1.3 billion, including capital expenditures of $302 million (1996 est.)
Industries: food and beverage; textile; lumbering and plywood; cement; petroleum extraction and refining; manganese, uranium, and gold mining; chemicals; ship repair
Industrial production growth rate: 2.3% (1995)
Electricity - production: 1.02 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel:  29.9%
hydro:  70.1%
nuclear:  0%
other:  0% (1999)
Agriculture - products: cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber; cattle; okoume (a tropical softwood); fish
Exports: $3.4 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Exports - commodities: crude oil 75%, timber, manganese, uranium (1998)
Exports - partners: US 47%, France 19%, China 8%, Japan 1.3% (1999)
Imports: $1 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, petroleum products, construction materials
Imports - partners: France 64%, US 4%, UK 2%, Netherlands 2%, (1999)
Debt - external: $3.9 billion (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: $331 million (1995)
Currency: Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States

SOURCE: The World Factbook

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Gabon > Map Economy