Gabon Trade and Foreign Investment

By | July 23, 2022


  • Business Relationships
  • Foreign direct investment
  • FTAs ​​and Treaties
  • Development Cooperation
  • Prospective fields of study (MOP)

Business relations

Trade relations with the EU

The EU is one of Gabon’s most important trading partners. In 2020, EU countries imported goods worth €621 million and exported goods worth €726 million from Gabon.

  • Allcountrylist: Overview of major industries in Gabon, including mining, construction, transportation, tourism, and foreign trade.

In 2021, EU countries imported goods worth EUR 964 million from Gabon, which is 30% more than last year, and exported goods worth EUR 734 million, the balance was positive compared to 2020.

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Exports from the EU (million EUR) 807.6 835.9 839.1 725.7 734.8
Imports into the EU (million EUR) 745.2 765.7 690.9 620.8 964.3
Balance with the EU (million EUR) -62.3 -70.2 -148.2 -104.9 229.6

Source: European Commission

Trade relations with the Czech Republic

The main import commodities in 2021 were manganese ores, gum confectionery and plants for perfumery. Imports were mainly dominated by processors, disk drives, refrigerated display cases and plastic products for transporting goods. Exports in 2021 reached 48 million crowns and imports 7 million crowns.

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Exports from the Czech Republic (billion CZK) 0 0 0 0 0
Imports to the Czech Republic (billion CZK) ON ON ON ON 0
Balance with the Czech Republic (billion CZK) 0 0 0 0 0

Source: CZSO

Trade relations with countries outside the EU

Gabon’s main imports are: machinery, construction materials, cereals and other foodstuffs. Gabon’s main import partner is France, with more than 30 percent of total imports. Others include: Belgium, China, United States of America and Cameroon.

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Exports from countries outside the EU (million EUR) 3,737.4 4,398.4 4,901.0 3,390.0 4,270.0
Imports to countries outside the EU (million EUR) 1,708.2 1,753.2 1,876.3 1,797.6 1,615.5
Balance with non-EU countries (million EUR) 2,029.1 2,645.2 3,024.7 1,592.4 2,654.6

Source: EIU, Eurostat

Foreign direct investment

Gabon encourages foreign investment in a wide range of sectors, particularly oil and gas, infrastructure, timber, ecotourism and mining. Gabon remains dependent on hydrocarbon revenues.

According to the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2021, foreign direct investment inflows to Gabon increased from US$billion to US$ billion between 2019 and 2020.

There are no FDIs of the Czech Republic in the country yet.

FTAs and treaties

Treaties with the EU

Post-Cotonou Partnership Agreement – ​​signed in April 2021 as a continuation of the agreement between the EU and African countries. It regulates, among other things, economic relations and development issues.

Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs): The EU is one of the most important donors of foreign development aid and an important trade partner in the region. Gabon has not yet signed the agreement, but benefits from free access to the EU market.

Contracts with the Czech Republic

No bilateral agreement has been signed between the Czech Republic and Gabon. The Trade Agreement between the Government of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the Government of Gabon (Libreville, on 24 March 1983) has not entered into force; since the entry of the Czech Republic into the EU, relations have been regulated by the common policy of the EU. In April 2012, the Gabonese side submitted drafts of several treaty documents, including an agreement on the promotion and protection of investments, an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation, and a trade agreement. Negotiations on the text of the agreement on the prevention of double taxation have been completed, but the agreement has not yet been signed.

Developmental cooperation

In 2012, surgical instruments worth CZK 114,971 were handed over to Gabon for a hospital in Libreville. For the 2013-2014 school year, Gabonese students were offered 4 scholarships from the government of the Czech Republic to study at Czech universities.

Development aid received and provided: Gabon is the country with the second highest GDP/population. in sub-Saharan Africa and has the status of an upper-middle income country. The donors are the EU, USA, Japan and Germany.

Within the framework of the 11th EDF (2014 – 2020), 13 million Euro should be provided mainly for technical education. Gabon, on the other hand, provides aid, currently participating in the stabilization of the Central African Republic.

Prospective fields of study (MOP)

It is a small market characterized by the low purchasing power of the majority of the population – the exporter should focus on the entire CEMAC zone. On the other hand, the share of domestic production is very low, almost all goods are imported to Gabon, which opens up opportunities for Czech exporters. Prospective items for export include especially those products that comply with the “GABON EMERGENT” strategy. These currently include food commodities and technological equipment for the food industry. There could also be considerable interest from the Gabonese side in tractors and other agricultural machinery for private farmers, including supplies of fertilizers and chemicals against pests. In the near future, the expansion program of sea and river fishing (fish processing technology, freezing operations, etc.) will offer enormous potential.

The most promising sectors are still the oil and mining sector (diamonds, ores) and the sector of processed wood. The development of mining, especially of newly discovered reserves of gold, diamonds, barite, talc and phosphates, is expected. The use of these reserves will require the supply of mining technologies and relevant means of transport. Gabon invests in the development of infrastructure – from this point of view, construction machines, airport equipment, residential buildings, hospitals, equipment for hydroelectric power plants, small hydroelectric power plants, but also renewable sources of electricity (solar…) that can be connected off-grid are promising. Reserves of usable wood mass in Gabon are estimated at up to 400 million cubic meters. The Gabonese government has banned the export of unprocessed wood and logs, there will be a huge opportunity for companies in a short time, which will be able to supply equipment/invest in large capacity sawmills and wood processing lines. Gabon’s light industry will represent considerable potential for the entry of foreign companies or the supply of components if the current high costs of energy and transport infrastructure can be reduced.

The tourism industry has great potential. The offer of subcontracting for foreign companies operating in Gabon could also be successful. Gabon also offers a very good perspective perspective market for, for example, Czech small transport aircraft (the country has the largest private civil aviation fleet of small aircraft), as well as an ever-growing market for telecommunications equipment and services.

Currently, the most promising sectors for Czech investments are: • flour and pasta production, • agriculture, operations for processing agricultural production • beverage production (including microbreweries) • palm oil production • geological exploration and mining of raw material deposits • production of building materials • expansion and improvement transport infrastructure • production of electricity from non-traditional energy sources (solar and wind) • digitization and expansion of telecommunications • wood processing, paper production, • hotel industry and tourism.

Gabon Trade