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Gabon is a historically stable country in a volatile region that benefits from significant economic advantages: a small population (roughly 2.3 million), an abundance of natural resources, and a strategic location in the Gulf of Guinea. After taking office in 2009, President Ali Bongo Ondimba introduced reforms to diversify Gabon’s economy away from oil and traditional investment partners such as EU countries, particularly France, and to position Gabon as an emerging economy. Gabon promotes foreign investment across a range of sectors, particularly in oil and gas, infrastructure, timber, ecotourism, and mining. Gabon remains dependent on revenue from petroleum and mining.

Foreign investors participating in Gabon’s investment climate face hurdles establishing new businesses, connecting to utilities like electricity and water, and transferring company ownership. Many companies report difficulties in obtaining business financing. Banks and other financiers struggle to release funds, especially to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), due to a lack of guarantees and insufficient documentation. These challenges make Gabon a difficult place for foreign businesses to operate. According to the World Bank 2022 report, Gabon ranks 38th in Africa for the protection of minority investors and 43rd for the payment of taxes.

Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 significantly increased inflation and concerns over food security in Gabon. The government estimated overall inflation at almost 4 percent in 2022, but economic experts noted countries in the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), an organization that includes Gabon, had lower inflation than other countries in the region. However, the prices for many food items in Gabon surged with global food instability in 2022 due to the vast majority of food items being imported for consumption. Gabon was forced to continue fuel and food subsidies enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the inflationary pressure from food and energy insecurity in 2022.

Though economic conditions in Gabon recovered from the COVID-19 recession, the business environment is challenging. Corruption and lack of transparency, including inconsistently applied customs regulations and duties, remain impediments to investment. Many international companies, including U.S. firms, continue to report difficulties in collecting timely payments from the government, including significant delays in VAT reimbursements that hinder further foreign trade and investment. As part of the IMF’s 2021-2024 $553.2 million Fund Facility arrangement, the Gabonese government has agreed to enact significant governance and transparency reforms.

Historically, the petroleum and mining sectors attracted the most investment in Gabon. To entice more investors in other sectors, particularly the timber sector, Gabon created a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Nkok near Libreville in 2010. The 1,350-hectare SEZ offers considerable tax and financial incentives for local and foreign investors to start business there, provides dedicated electricity and water services to the area and preferred access to the deep-sea port of Owendo, all of which enhance industrial competitiveness and build a business-friendly ecosystem to attract investment. With the success of the Nkok SEZ, Gabon launched two new SEZs in Inkolo (June 2021) and Mpassa-Lebombi (April 2022), with a fourth planned near Port-Gentil in the future. In addition, Gabon has several business incubators active in the country that attempt to facilitate all business activities, foster entrepreneurialism, and develop startups.

Table 1: Key Metrics and Rankings




Website Address

TI Corruption Perceptions Index


136 of 180

Global Innovation Index



U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions)



World Bank GNI per capita



Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment

Gabon’s 1998 investment code conforms to the Central African Economic and Monetary Community’s (CEMAC) investment regulations and provides the same rights to foreign companies operating in Gabon as to domestic firms. The government proposed a new investment code in 2021, but it has yet to pass in parliament. If passed and implemented, the new code will shift incentives for investments away from tax exemptions and toward performance-based awards. It will also provide incentives for investors who are already established in Gabon to re-invest more, and for investments targeting Gabon’s interior.

Gabon’s domestic and foreign investors are protected from expropriation or nationalization without appropriate compensation, as determined by an independent third party. Certain sectors, such as mining, forestry, petroleum, agriculture, and tourism have specific investment codes, which encourage investment through customs and tax incentives.

Gabon established the Investment Promotion Agency (ANPI-Gabon) with the assistance of the World Bank in 2014. Its mission is to promote investment and exports, support SMEs, manage public-private partnerships (PPPs), and help companies establish themselves. It is designed to act as the gateway for investment into the country and to reduce administrative procedures, costs, and waiting periods.

Gabonese authorities have made efforts to prioritize investment. In 2017, the High Council for Investment was established to promote investment and boost the economy. This body provides a platform for dialogue between the public and private sectors, and its main objectives are to improve the economy and create jobs.

Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment

Foreign investors are largely treated in the same manner as their Gabonese counterparts regarding the purchase of real estate, negotiation of licenses, and entering into commercial agreements. There is no general requirement for local participation in investments (see local labor requirements below). Many businesses find it useful to have a local partner who can help navigate the esoteric aspects of the business environment.

There are no limits on foreign ownership or control in most sectors, though there are some ownership and control regulations surrounding petroleum and mining. For example, Gabon Oil Company, a state-owned enterprise (SOE) created in 2011, has an automatic right to purchase shares of up to a 15 percent in any petroleum sector contract at market price. The standard practice is for the Gabonese President to review foreign investment contracts after ministerial-level negotiations are completed. In certain cases, the President has appeared to intervene to keep negotiations stalled at the ministerial level, even when the deal was on track to a mutually satisfactory solution.

The President takes an active interest in meeting with investors. The lack of standardized procedures for new entrants to negotiate deals with the government can lead to confusion and time-consuming negotiations. Moreover, the centralization of decision-making by a few senior officials who are exceedingly busy can also delay the process. As a result, new entrants often find the process of finalizing deals time-consuming and difficult to navigate.

Other Investment Policy Reviews

Gabon has been a World Trade Organization (WTO) member since 1995. In June 2013, Gabon conducted an investment policy review with the WTO. The government has not conducted any investment policy reviews through the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) or the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) since 2017.

Business Facilitation

The government encourages investments through preferential customs and tax incentives in those economic sectors that contribute the greatest share to gross national product (GNP), including oil and gas, mining, and timber. For example, oil and mining companies are exempt from customs duties on imported machinery and equipment specific to their industries. The Tourism Investment Code, enacted in 2000, provides tax incentives to foreign tourism investors during the first eight years of operations. The three special economic zones (SEZs) offer tax incentives to industrial investors, and the government intends to create a fourth to attract further industrial investment.

ANPI-Gabon covers more than 20 public and private agencies, including the Chamber of Commerce, National Social Security Fund (CNSS), and National Health Insurance and Social Security (CNAMGS). It aims to attract domestic and international investors through improved methods of approving and licensing new companies, and to support public-private dialogue. It has a single-window registration process that allows domestic and foreign investors to register their businesses in 48 hours, facilitating the processing and handling of all required paperwork in one location. There are, however, no special mechanisms for the equitable treatment of women and underrepresented groups in Gabon.

ANPI-Gabon’s website contains information on investing in Gabon: 

Outward Investment

One of ANPI-Gabon’s primary goals is to promote outward investments and exports. The Gabonese government does not restrict domestic investors from investing abroad.

Gabon has bilateral investment treaties (BITs) in force with the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union, China, Germany, Italy, Republic of Korea, Morocco, Romania, and Spain. Additionally, although not in force, Gabon has signed BITs with Egypt, Lebanon, Mali, Mauritius, Portugal, South Africa, and Turkey.
Gabon has not signed a BIT or Bilateral Taxation Treaty with the United States.

Transparency of the Regulatory System

Government policies and laws often do not establish clear rules and regulations, and foreign firms can have difficulty navigating the bureaucracy. Despite reform efforts, hurdles and red tape remain, especially at the lower and mid-levels of the ministries. Lack of transparency in administrative processes and lengthy bureaucratic delays occasionally raise questions for companies about fair treatment and the sanctity of contracts.

Rule-making and regulatory authority rests at the ministerial level. There are no NGOs or private sector associations that manage informal regulatory processes. The Gabonese government has not exhibited any recent tendency to discriminate against U.S. investments, companies, or representatives.

The government does not publish proposed laws and regulations in draft form for public comment. There are no centralized online locations where key regulatory actions, or their summaries, are published. Key regulatory actions are published in the government’s printed Official Journal. It is not uncommon for legislative proposals to be provided “off the record” to the press.

Gabon is affiliated with the Organization for the Harmonization of Corporate Law in Africa (Organisation pour l’harmonisation en Afrique du droit des affaires, OHADA, /).

The Transformation Acceleration Plan (PAT) launched in January 2021 created a new enforcement mechanism to ensure administrative processes are transparent and regulations followed. The PAT monitors the implementation of administrative processes, and regularly transmit the monitoring information necessary for decision-making to the President and the Prime Minister.

No new regulatory systems have been announced in the last year, and no new reforms have been implemented in the last year, though the government is working with the IMF to enact reforms relating to the transparency and good governance of the petroleum sector in 2023.

Gabon lacks transparency on public finances and debt obligations or explicit contingent liabilities.

International Regulatory Considerations

Gabon is a member of CEMAC, along with Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Chad. Gabon is also a member of the larger Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), which is headquartered in Gabon and has 11 members: Gabon, Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Rwanda, and São Tomé and Príncipe. Both CEMAC and ECCAS work to promote economic cooperation among members.

Gabon is a member of OHADA, which includes nine validated Uniform Acts: General Commercial Law, Commercial Companies and Economic Interest Groups, Secured Transactions Law, Debt Resolution Law, Insolvency Law, Arbitration Law, Harmonization of Corporate Accounting, Contracts for the Carriage of Goods, and Cooperatives Companies Law.

Gabon has been a member of the WTO since January 1, 1995. It fulfills its duties on notification of all draft technical regulations to the WTO Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).

Legal System and Judicial Independence

Gabon’s legal system is based on French Civil Law. Regular courts handle commercial disputes in compliance with OHADA’s standards. Courts do not apply the law consistently, however, and delays are frequent in the judicial system. A lack of transparency in administrative processes and lengthy bureaucratic delays call into question the country’s commitment to fair treatment of foreign businesses and the sanctity of contracts. Judicial capacity is weak, and many government contacts underscore the need for specialized training on technical issues, such as money laundering and environmental crimes. Foreign court and international arbitration decisions are accepted, but enforcement may be difficult.

Gabon has a written code of commercial law.

Gabon’s judicial system is not independent from its executive branch, making it subject to political influence, which creates uncertainty around the fair treatment and the sanctity of contracts. Regulations or enforcement actions are appealable and are adjudicated in the national court system.

Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment

Gabon’s 1998 investment code, which gives foreign companies operating in Gabon the same rights as domestic firms, allows foreign investors to choose freely from a wide selection of legal business structures, such as a private limited liability company or a public limited liability company. The distinctions arise primarily from the minimum capital requirements and the conditions under which shares may be re-sold. Foreign investment in Gabon is subject to local law that is in many instances unsettled or unclear, and in certain cases, Gabonese law may require local majority ownership of businesses. The state reserves the right to invest 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.

No major laws have come out this past year, though Parliament has been debating a new investment code which is expected to pass in 2023 (see above).

Competition and Antitrust Laws

There are no specific ministries in charge of reviewing transactions and conduct for competition-related concerns. That responsibility lies with the ministry that is party to a contract.

The Gabonese Law No. 14/1998 of July 23, 1998, on the Establishment of the Competition Regime of Gabon on Competition, covers all aspects of competition and anti-trust measures.

Expropriation and Compensation

Foreign firms established in Gabon operate on an equal legal basis with national companies. Businesses are protected from expropriation or nationalization without appropriate compensation, as determined by an independent third party.

The Gabonese government has not exhibited a tendency to expropriate, nor have there been any indications or reports of incidences of indirect expropriation.

Dispute Settlement

ICSID Convention and New York Convention

Gabon is a member state of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and a signatory to the 1958 Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention). The 1965 Code of Civil Procedure provides for various means of enforcement of judgments (both foreign and domestic), depending on the nature of the decree or decision.

Investor-State Dispute Settlement

As noted above, Gabon does not have a BIT with the United States. The Embassy is not aware of any investment dispute involving a U.S. company. In 2018, there was a foreign arbitration award issued against the government. The Société d’Energie et d’Eau du Gabon (SEEG), a subsidiary of the French transnational Company, the Veolia Group, filed a request for conciliation against Gabon through the ICSID. Veolia and the Gabonese government signed an agreement to settle the case in February 2019. Gabon agreed to buy Veolia’s 51 percent stake in SEEG, and Veolia agreed to withdraw its arbitrage case.

International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts

No alternative dispute resolution options exist within Gabon. Investment disputes are generally negotiated directly with the governmental entity involved. There is no domestic arbitration body within the country. Local courts recognize foreign arbitral awards, but enforcement may be difficult.

The Embassy is not aware of any cases of SOEs being involved in investment disputes in the court system.

Bankruptcy Regulations

Gabon has a bankruptcy law, but it is not well developed. In the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2020, Gabon ranked 130 out of 190 economies on the ease of resolving insolvency.

Gabon’s bankruptcy law is based on OHADA regulations. According to Section 3: Art 234-239 of OHADA’s Uniform Insolvency Act, creditors and equity shareholders, collectively or individually, may designate trustees to lodge complaints or claims to the commercial court. These laws criminalize bankruptcy, and the OHADA regulations grant Gabon the discretion to apply its own remedies.

Investment Incentives

Some of Gabon’s main industries (oil and gas, mining, and timber) enjoy investment preferences through customs and tax incentives. For example, oil and mining companies are exempt from customs duties on imported machinery and equipment specific to their industries making capital investments more affordable. The government implemented a new tourism code passed in February 2019 that provides tax exemptions to foreign tourism investors during their first eight years of operation.

President Bongo outlawed the export of unprocessed wood in 2009 to boost Gabon’s value-added timber industry and increase domestic consumption. The government partnered with Singapore-based firm Olam to set up a special economic zone (SEZ) at Nkok to process timber, and later expanded its mandate to a broader range of businesses. The SEZ provides a single-window business service to participants and provides new investors with beneficial fiscal incentives, including tax-free operation for 25 years, no customs duties on imported machinery and parts, and 100 percent repatriation of funds. With the success of the Nkok SEZ, Gabon launched two new SEZs in Inkolo (June 2021) and Mpassa-Lebombi (April 2022), with a fourth planned near Port-Gentil in the future.

Gabon’s agriculture code of 2008 gives tax and customs incentives to agricultural operators, with a particular focus on SMEs. Land used for agriculture and farm exploitation is exonerated from fiscal taxes. All imported fertilizers and animal feed are also exempt from customs duties.

As a member of CEMAC, Gabon’s trade with other member countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo, and Equatorial Guinea) is subject to low or no customs duties.

In 2022, Gabon did not implement any investment incentives for net-zero or clean energy investment, nor any incentives for businesses owned by underrepresented groups such as women.

Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation

Inaugurated in 2011, the SEZ at Nkok is a public-private partnership between the government of Gabon and Arise, a subsidiary company of Singapore-based Olam Group that also operates similar industrial facilitation zones in the region after its proof-of-concept proved successful in Gabon. The SEZ offers tax and customs incentives to attract foreign investors. In 2017, the SEZ inaugurated the New Owendo International Port. With a surface area of 18 hectares, the terminal has annual capacity of three million tons.

Encouraged by the success of the SEZ at Nkok, Gabon expanded the SEZ project to three other economic hubs near Lambaréné, Franceville, and Port-Gentil.

The Lambaréné SEZ at Ikolo is located in the province of Moyen-Ogooué and began operations in June 2021. The first investor was Greenply Industries Limited, India’s largest interior infrastructure company, who started the subsidiary Greenply Gabon to create veneer, plywood, and other lumber and construction materials.

The Franceville SEZ at Mpassa-Lebombi is located in the south-eastern province of Haut-Ogooué and was launched in April 2022. In January 2023, the Gabonese government signed an agreement with the ARISE group, a privileged partner of the State, to expand Gabon’s agricultural and forestry sectors in the Mpassa-Lebombi SEZ.

The Port-Gentil SEZ at Mandji Island in the Ogooué-Maritime province was the second SEZ concept, but the process has seen hurdles due to its focus on the highly regulated petroleum sector. It is not yet operational and there is no expected launch date.

Performance and Data Localization Requirements

Gabon mandates local employment.

In 2010, the Gabonese government agreed to National Organization of Petroleum Workers demands to limit foreign workers in the oil sector to 10 percent of a company’s workforce and to require that Gabonese occupy all executive posts.

Firms are required to obtain authorization from the Ministry of Labor before hiring foreigners. Foreign workers must obtain permits before working in Gabon, and the availability of a permit for a job depends on the availability of Gabonese nationals to fill the job in question.

There is no specific requirement imposed as a condition on investment.

Labor inspectors are charged with following a company’s implementation of the “forced localization” rules under Gabonese labor laws regarding foreign workers.

There are no performance requirements for investors, nor are there any requirements for foreign IT providers to turn over source code and/or provide access to encryption. There are no measurements that prevent or unduly impede companies from freely transmitting customer or other business-related data outside Gabon’s territory. No mechanisms exist to enforce rules on local data storage.

In September 2011, Gabon adopted Law No. 001/2011 on the Protection of Personal Data (available in French at ), which defines all the rules on data storage for the following agencies:

  • the Gabon data protection authority (CNPDCP);
  • the Electronic Communications and Postal Authority (ARCEP); and
  • the General Population and Housing Census (the GPHC Order).

Real Property

Secured interest in property is recognized, and the recording system is relatively reliable.

There are no specific regulations for foreign and/or non-resident investors regarding land lease or acquisition. Laws in Gabon for private and commercial property do not provide any restrictions on nationality for the possession and ownership of property in Gabon.

Almost 85 percent of Gabon’s area (and possibly 95 percent or more) is legally owned by the state. Only 14,000 private land titles, mostly tiny urban parcels, appear to have been registered in Gabon according to a 2012 report (the most recent year for which such records exist). Urban areas constitute no more than one percent of total land area. The government created the National Agency for Urban Planning, Surveys, and the Land Registry in 2011.

If legally purchased property is unoccupied by the owner, property ownership can revert to others.

Intellectual Property Rights

Gabon is not on the U.S. Trade Representative Special 301 Report or the Notorious Markets List.

The Ministry of Commerce manages patents and copyrights in Gabon. Gabon is a member of the African Intellectual Property Office (OAPI), based in Yaoundé, Cameroon. OAPI aims to ensure the publication and protection of patent rights, encourage creativity and technology transfer, and create favorable conditions for research. As a member of OAPI, Gabon acceded to international agreements on patents and intellectual property (IP), including the Paris Convention, the Berne Convention, and the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization.

During the past year, no IP related laws or regulations were enacted concerning IP rights protection. Gabon does not report on seizures of counterfeit goods, so data is not available on enforcement.

Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment

There is no law prohibiting or limiting foreign investment in Gabon. Aside from the preference in employment given to Gabonese workers, from a general corporate law perspective, there are no specific legislative requirements. Regardless of the type of company, there must be one resident representative on the management board of all Gabonese companies. However, this resident representative can be a non-Gabonese citizen.

The State is entitled to hold a mandatory participating interest in a petroleum contract of up to 20 percent. Any acquisition by the state in excess of 20 percent must be purchased at market price. The Gabon Oil Company (i.e., the national oil and gas company) is also entitled to acquire at market price a participating interest in any petroleum contract of up to 15 percent.

The contracting company can assign its rights and obligations under any petroleum contract to a third party, subject to the prior approval of the Ministry of Oil and Gas and the Ministry of Economy. The State is entitled to the right of first refusal on assigning these rights to a third party, excluding assignments between the contracting company and its affiliates.

The Gabonese government encourages and supports foreign portfolio investment, but Gabon’s capital markets are poorly developed. Gabon is home to the Central Africa Regional Stock Exchange, which began operation in August 2008. In 2019, the Bank of Central African States finalized the consolidation of the Libreville Stock Exchange into a single CEMAC zone stock exchange based in Douala, Cameroon.

On June 25, 1996, Gabon formally notified the IMF that they accepted the obligations of Article VIII, Sections 2, 3, and 4 of the IMF Articles of Agreement. These sections provide that members shall not impose or engage in certain measures, namely restrictions on making payments and transfers for current international transactions, discriminatory currency arrangements, or multiple currency practices, without the approval of the IMF.

Foreign investors are authorized to obtain credit on the local market and have access to a variety of credit instruments offered by local banks without restriction.

Money and Banking System

Gabon shares a common Central Bank (Bank of Central African States) and a common currency, the Communauté Financière Africaine Franc (FCFA), with the other countries of CEMAC. The CFA is pegged to the Euro.

The banking sector is composed of seven commercial banks and is open to foreign institutions. Foreign banks are allowed to establish operations in the country. There is one U.S. bank (Citigroup) present in Gabon. There are no restrictions on a foreigner’s ability to establish a bank account in the local economy. However, the banking sector remains highly concentrated, with three of the largest Gabonese banks accounting for 77 percent of all loans and deposits. The lack of diversification in the economy has constrained bank growth in the country, a problem only compounded by financing of the oil sector being largely undertaken by foreign international banks. Access to banking services outside major cities is limited. As a result, Gabon’s financial system is shallow and financial intermediation levels remain low. Basic documents are required for applying for a residency permit in Gabon.

The Gabonese banking sector saw an increase in deposits and loans in 2022 mainly due to a surge in deposits and a consolidation of permanent capital, increasing its total balance sheet from 2.656 trillion FCFA to 3.041 trillion FCFA, representing a year-over-year increase of 14.6 percent. Conversely, the loan coverage rate by deposits, a ratio that compares deposit net present value to debt obligations, decreased from 157.8 percent in September 2021 to 137.3 percent in September 2022. Overdue receivables, for their part, fell by 7.9 percent, totaling 168 billion FCFA at the end of September 2021. Gabonese banks issued 1.848 trillion FCFA in gross loans in 2022, an annual growth of 15 percent compared to 1.607 trillion FCFA in 2021. According to the Central African Banking Commission (COBAC), this increase was primarily driven by an increase in loans granted to the private sector.

According to the Professional Association of Gabon Credit Institutions (APEC), BGFI Bank Gabon is the largest Gabonese bank in both deposits and loans with approximatively 45 percent market share and a total balance sheet of over 3 trillion FCFA. The Bloomfield Investment Corporation financial rating agency gave the BGFI Bank a mark of A+ in recognition of its financial strength and management system.

Foreign Exchange and Remittances

Foreign Exchange

The Bank of Central African States’ policy on foreign exchange requirements is in flux. Please contact the Embassy for additional information.

Funds associated with any form of investment to be freely converted into any world currency must go through the Bank of Central African States’ new process related to foreign and exchange currency rules.

Gabon’s currency is the FCFA, which is convertible and is tied to the Euro (EUR 1: FCFA 656). As of March 2023, 1 U.S. dollar is roughly equivalent to FCFA 609.

Remittance Policies

The Gabonese government recently changed investment remittance policies to tighten access to foreign exchange for investment remittances. There is no time limitation on capital inflows or outflows.

Sovereign Wealth Funds

Gabon created a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) in 2008. Initially called the Fund for Future Generations (Fonds des Génerations Futures), and later changed to the Sovereign Funds of the Gabonese Republic (Fonds Souverains de la République Gabonaise), the current iteration of Gabon’s SWF is referred to as Gabon’s Strategic Investment Funds (Fonds Gabonaises d’Investissements Stratégiques, the Fund, or FGIS). The most recent FGIS report from June 2022 highlighted that FGIS had nearly $2 billion in assets under management.

FGIS does not follow the Santiago principles, nor does Gabon participate in the IMF-hosted International Working Group on SWFs. The FGIS is the exclusive manager of the Sovereign Wealth Fund of the Gabonese Republic and of the non-allocated holdings of the Gabonese State portfolio.

FGIS invests to achieve shared prosperity for the benefit of the Gabonese population and future generations. As a partner of the government’s action, defined in the 2021-2023 Transformation Acceleration Plan, FGIS intervenes in three strategic areas: infrastructure financing, support for SMEs, and support for the social sectors. Its approach is guided by three fundamental principles: sustainability of impact, innovation, and risk mitigation for its stakeholders. FGIS has been designated as the sole manager of Gabon’s 187 million carbon credits that were certified by the UN in October 2022. FGIS has committed to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in its portfolio by 2050 and setting intermediate targets every five years.

FGIS provides no information on its investments, neither domestic nor international.

Government-appointed civil servants manage Gabonese SOEs, which operate primarily in the energy, extractive industries, and public utilities sectors. SOEs generally follow OECD guidelines on corporate governance by establishing a board of directors who operate under the authority of the related ministry. That ministry chooses the board members, who may be government officials or members of the public. The SOEs often consult with their associated ministry before making important business decisions. The corresponding ministry in each sector prepares and submits the budget of each SOE annually. Independent auditors examine the SOEs’ activities each year, conducting audits according to international accounting standards. Auditors do not publish their reports, but rather submit them to the relevant ministry.

There are no specific laws or rules that offer preferential treatment to SOEs. Private enterprises may compete with public enterprises under open market access conditions, however, SOEs often have a competitive advantage in the industries in which they operate. SOEs are required to respect domestic market terms that apply to all companies in the market. Gabon does not maintain a list of published SOEs and there is no evidence Gabonese SOEs compete on the international market.

Privatization Program

Gabon does not have an active privatization program. However, when there is a privatization program, foreign investors are usually invited to participate. The bidding process for these programs are typically easy to understand, non-discriminatory, and transparent.

There is a general awareness of responsible business conduct (RBC) among both producers and consumers; however, there are no formal rules or regulations pertaining to RBC in Gabon. There has been no high-profile private sector case on RBC in recent years. The government does not release any reports concerning human rights or other RBC issues.

Gabon has several NGOs working primarily in the environment, human rights, and mining sectors. The political labor unions in Gabon have taken the lead in promoting and monitoring RBC, and they are able to work freely. With a push from these labor unions, Gabon fairly enforces labor rights laws and regulations intended to protect individuals from adverse business impacts. However, Gabon has not effectively enforced consumer protection laws and regulations.

While Gabon is widely praised as a leader in environmental protection and has been praised as a positive example in Africa, it still experiences significant issues with pollution where prosecution is weak and penalties insufficient. However, the President is highly environmentally minded, and Gabon is known for its beautiful national parks and beaches.

Gabon has not put in place corporate finance, accounting, or executive compensation standards to protect shareholders. There are no domestic measures requiring supply chain due diligence for companies that source minerals.

Gabonese authorities state that they are committed to Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) principles. Gabon was a candidate for the EITI beginning in 2007. By December 2012, Gabon was required to have completed an EITI validation that demonstrated compliance with the initiative’s rules. However, after a review of Gabon’s National EITI Committee found it had missed significant deadlines and underperformed on EITI metrics, the International Council of the EITI voted in 2013 to exclude Gabon from the application process.

Gabon applied and was re-admitted as an EITI implementing partner in October 2021 under its current IMF program. Gabon has vowed to fully meet the EITI requirements and criteria on data collection for the management of natural resources, notably the oil and gas sectors. On February 2022, an EITI Secretary assessment delegation visited Libreville to review Gabon’s implementation of EITI standards before the EITI board members conduct their first evaluation of Gabon’s performance since it was re-admitted. The evaluation is expected to be released in April 2023.

There is no information on national legislation regarding private security companies. Gabon is not a signatory of The Montreux Document on Private Military and Security Companies. Little information is available on the private security industry in Gabon. An estimate from 2015 nevertheless indicated that the private security sector in Gabon employs around 7,000 personnel, indicating that it is a significant actor in the Gabonese security landscape.

Additional Resources

Department of State

Department of Labor

Climate Issues

President Bongo established the National Climate Council to develop a strategic Climate Plan that would incorporate climate change considerations into sectoral development strategies. The government’s first Climate Plan, adopted in January 2012, identified key climate change priorities, such as reducing deforestation and being a net carbon dioxide absorber.

In 2002, 11 percent of Gabonese territory was set aside for conservation as national parks, forming 13 national parks in total. Gabonese authorities promote sustainable logging activities through the strict application of forestry laws and compel all logging concessions to comply with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification by 2022. Since 2011, Gabon prohibited exportation of raw timber and required that 100 percent of timber be processed in the country; this further halted deforestation and promoted forest conservation. In 2010, President Bongo banned gas flaring in Gabon, with some experts estimating the ban will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 23 percent by 2025.

Gabon signed the 2015 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) REDD+ mechanism, creating a regulatory framework within Gabon for environmental and biodiversity protection. Gabon has played a leadership role at COP 26 in Glasgow and COP 27 in Sharm el-Sheikh and became the first country in Africa to receive results-based payments for curbing deforestation under the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI). Despite already significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it remains committed to reducing emissions by at least 50 percent by 2025.

Gabon’s fight against deforestation directly concerns current and future land use and the socio-economic activities that depend on it. With 88 percent of Gabon’s territory covered by forests, any land-based activity comes into direct confrontation with Gabon’s deforestation policies, but particularly affect the timber, mining, and agricultural sectors. Only the timber sector has specific policies that target deforestation, such as the ban on exporting raw timber.

The Gabonese Penal Code criminalizes abuse of office, embezzlement, passive and active bribery, trading in influence, extortion, offering or accepting gifts, and other undue advantages in the public sector. However, enforcement remains limited and official impunity is a problem. Private sector corruption is criminalized whenever a given company is related to a public entity. Punishments for public officials found guilty of soliciting or accepting bribes include prison sentences ranging from two to ten years, and a fine of FCFA 5 million ($8,572). Corruption is rarely prosecuted in Gabon, except in limited high-profile cases. In 2022, Transparency International ranked Gabon at 136 of 180 countries.

The government established the Commission to Combat Illicit Enrichment (CNLCEI) in 2004; however, in the summer of 2018, the CNLCEI’s five-year mandate was not renewed, nor did its regulations extend to the family members of civil servants or to political parties.

There are no known laws or regulations to counter conflicts of interest in awarding contracts or government procurements. There is no information about any action on the part of the government to encourage or require private companies to establish codes of conduct that prohibit the bribery of public officials. Some private companies use internal controls, ethics, and compliance programs to detect and prevent bribery of government officials.

Gabon is a signatory to the UN Convention against Corruption and is a member of the Task Force on Money Laundering in Central Africa (Groupe daction contre le blanchiment dargent en Afrique Centrale, or GABAC). However, no international or regional watchdog organizations operate in Gabon. Local civil society lacks the capacity to play a significant role in highlighting cases of corruption.

Companies contend with a high risk of corruption when dealing with the Gabonese extractive industries. Gabon has vast oil, manganese, and timber resources; however, contracting and licensing processes lack transparency.

Resources to Report Corruption

National Financial Investigations Agency
Tel : +241 01176 1773
Agence Nationale dInvestigation Financière
Immeuble Arambo, Boulevard Triomphal
BP :189
Libreville, Gabon 

Violence related to politics is relatively rare in Gabon, though there are reports of kidnappings and false arrests. There are several political prisoners in confinement, and credible reports of torture of prisoners. The threat of crime is high due to the large wealth disparity and high unemployment amount the youth population, with crime on the rise in 2022.

While the 2018 legislative and local elections took place without major incident, violence did break out during the 2016 elections after the National Electoral Commission announced that the incumbent President Bongo defeated his opponent Jean Ping in the presidential election by a margin of less than 2 percent. Outside observers noted numerous voting irregularities, and the opposition claimed the election was stolen from them. Protestors took to the streets, attempting to burn the National Assembly building. NGOs stated the government’s use of excessive force to disperse demonstrators resulted in approximately 20 deaths and over 1,000 arrests; the opposition claimed at least 50 people were killed.

Nationwide elections are expected in August 2023 and there have been heightened tensions in the lead up to the elections. The Gabonese government has forbidden outside observers from following the elections. Some analysts believe some degree of demonstrations and violence is inevitable during the elections.

Gabon has a population of approximately 2.3 million, with third country nationals (TCNs) making up roughly one-third of the population. Many young Gabonese are unable to acquire vocational skills and are thus excluded from the labor market. A report in October 2018 indicated that 60 percent of Gabonese under 30 are unemployed, and informal reporting indicates the percentage continues to remain steady due to the poor quality of the basic education system, insufficient output of technical and vocational training, and a lack of resources and effectiveness in the education sector. Between 2017 and 2021, the Gabonese market lost over 16,000 jobs, or about 8.3 percent of the labor market, primarily due to the COVID-19 recession.

Foreign firms report a shortage of highly skilled Gabonese labor. Chinese industrial companies import most of their workers from China. Authorization from the Ministry of Labor is required to hire foreigners. Reforms adopted in 2010 in the education and research system represent a step towards developing service training and encouraging PPPs. For example, the Petroleum and Gas Institute, located in Port-Gentil and supported by the Gabonese government and oil industry, has been training engineers specialized in oil-related technical areas since 2014.

When hiring workers, firms must give priority to Gabonese nationals. If no Gabonese worker with the appropriate qualifications can be found, a firm is expected to hire a Gabonese to work along with the foreigner and, within a reasonable time, the Gabonese worker should replace that foreigner.

Labor laws differentiate between layoffs and firings. There is no unemployment insurance or other social safety net program for workers laid off for economic reasons. However, the SEZs are not subject to the same foreign labor restrictions as the rest of the country.

Collective bargaining is common in Gabon. Gabon’s French-inspired labor code recognizes the right of workers to form and join independent unions, collectively bargain, and receive protection against antiunion discrimination. The government observes the resolution of labor disputes and takes an active interest in labor-management relations. Unions in each sector of the economy negotiate with employers over pay scales, working conditions, and benefits.

However, the right to strike is limited or restricted. Strikes may be called only after eight days’ advanced notice and only after arbitration fails. Public sector employees are not allowed to strike if public safety could be jeopardized. The law does not define essential services sectors in which workers are prohibited from striking. Despite these limitations, public and private sector strikes are frequent and disruptive. Government employees at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Environment have been on strike for most of 2022 due to failure to adhere to contractual obligations. The civil servants in the financial authorities initiated strikes several times in the past few years, slowing customs processing and work done in the tax, custom, treasury, and hydrocarbons sectors. The threat of strikes from private sector unions often leads to swift negotiations with the Gabonese government.

The Gabonese government strictly enforces the labor code’s mandatory retirement age of 60.

Gabon has ratified most of the International Labor Organization (ILO) laws and conventions. There are no gaps in compliance in law or practice with international labor standards that may pose a reputational risk to investors.

A new Gabonese Labor Code was adopted (Law no. 022/2021) in November 2021. The new code reforms several key issues, including the strengthening of protections for workers’ rights, fighting against discrimination, eliminating gender inequalities, opening up the formal labor market to new categories of work, and codifying telework. The new code was designed to improve the employability of young people and simplify work authorization procedures for large projects. It also affects professional and trade union representative elections. It has strengthened apprenticeships, bringing the world of vocational training closer to that of employment and promoting professional integration and retraining.

In 2019, the DFC issued insurance related to the GSEZ Mineral Port. Currently, the DFC is working on providing loans to finance solar energy technology and services, such as solar lighting, home systems, mini grids, and commercial solar projects in off-grid communities for Gabon through a U.S. company. The approximate investment amount is $4.5 million. DFC has also been looking into the potential of providing political risk insurance in Gabon to fund marine conservation efforts through local conservation organizations, which would require foreign government approval to move forward.

The DFC has an Investment Guaranty between Gabon and the United States, effected by exchange of notes signed in Libreville on April 10, 1963. No amendment or replacement to this Investment Guaranty has been negotiated. Existing agreements remain in force and allow for DFC activities.

Table 2: Key Macroeconomic Data, U.S. FDI in Host Country/Economy

Host Country Statistical source*

USG or international statistical source

USG or International Source of Data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other

Economic Data





Host Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ($M USD)





Foreign Direct Investment

Host Country Statistical source*

USG or international statistical source

USG or international Source of data:  BEA; IMF; Eurostat; UNCTAD, Other

U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, stock positions)





BEA data available at

Host country’s FDI in the United States ($M USD, stock positions)





BEA data available at

Total inbound stock of FDI as % host GDP





* Source for Host Country Data:  Gabon 2021 budget; the World Bank 2019-2021 report; the IMF country report; the website for the Gabonese Ministry of Economy.

Table 3: Sources and Destination of FDI
IMF CDIS does not have data for Gabon.

Lyle Mikowicz
Political and Economic Chief
U.S. Embassy Libreville
Tel: +241 1145 7118 / +241 7798 2613 

On This Page

  2. 1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment
    1. Policies Towards Foreign Direct Investment
    2. Limits on Foreign Control and Right to Private Ownership and Establishment
    3. Other Investment Policy Reviews
    4. Business Facilitation
    5. Outward Investment
  3. 2. Bilateral Investment and Taxation Treaties
  4. 3. Legal Regime
    1. Transparency of the Regulatory System
    2. International Regulatory Considerations
    3. Legal System and Judicial Independence
    4. Laws and Regulations on Foreign Direct Investment
    5. Competition and Antitrust Laws
    6. Expropriation and Compensation
    7. Dispute Settlement
      1. ICSID Convention and New York Convention
      2. Investor-State Dispute Settlement
      3. International Commercial Arbitration and Foreign Courts
    8. Bankruptcy Regulations
  5. 4. Industrial Policies
    1. Investment Incentives
    2. Foreign Trade Zones/Free Ports/Trade Facilitation
    3. Performance and Data Localization Requirements
  6. 5. Protection of Property Rights
    1. Real Property
    2. Intellectual Property Rights
  7. 6. Financial Sector
    1. Capital Markets and Portfolio Investment
    2. Money and Banking System
    3. Foreign Exchange and Remittances
      1. Foreign Exchange
      2. Remittance Policies
      3. Sovereign Wealth Funds
  8. 7. State-Owned Enterprises
    1. Privatization Program
  9. 8. Responsible Business Conduct
    1. Additional Resources
    2. Climate Issues
  10. 9. Corruption
    1. Resources to Report Corruption
  11. 10. Political and Security Environment
  12. 11. Labor Policies and Practices
  13. 12. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and Other Investment Insurance or Development Finance Programs
  14. 13. Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Portfolio Investment Statistics
  15. 14. Contact for More Information
2023 Investment Climate Statements: Gabon
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