The Gabon Industriel pillar sets out to promote the local development of raw materials, the export of products with high added value, and the diversification of the national economy.
Gabon has long been dependent on oil and gas as its main source of revenue. The country is presently the third largest producer of oil in Africa and has about 30 oilfields in production. Gabon is mindful of the limited lifespan of this resource, and is keen to pursue the pro-active and sustainable development of other sources of natural wealth.
As well as enjoying large reserves of oil and gas, Gabon is also rich in manganese and is the world’s second-largest producer of manganese. The country also has iron ore resources that are estimated to amount to nearly 1 billion tons as well as reserves of gold, diamond, lead/zinc, niobium and phosphates, potassium salts and magnesium.
Explorations have revealed the existence of over 900 sites with the potential for mineral operations. The aim is to increase mining operations, to add as much value on-site as possible to these mining resources, and to enhance the economic development of the regions where these sites are being developed.
The current mining code is being revised so as to make mining more attractive to investors.
In order to support the plans for national industrialisation, the government of Gabon has set itself the target of taking its energy production capacity from 374 megawatts at present to over 2,000 megawatts in 2020. This target will be reached via considerable investment in the production of natural gas and hydroelectricity, as well as through the development of renewable energy. The aim is to progressively cut back on the production of electricity from fossil fuels and to reach the targets set out in the Gabon Vert policy. Three hydroelectric dams and a gas power plant are presently being built.
The economic zones
In order to provide Gabon with an industrial base that delivers real added value and creates jobs, the state has made the decision to create economic and special economic zones that will facilitate the emergence of new economic growth zones across the country that will act as a magnet for investors. Two zones have been launched: The Special Economic Zone of Nkok with 1,100 hectares mostly dedicated to the timber industry close to the capital Libreville, and the special tax concession zone of the island of Mandji, right beside the economic capital of Gabon, Port-Gentil, with a surface area of 1,500 hectares.