Gabon flag Gabon: Economic outline

Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

The Gabonese economy was hit hard by the joint effects of declining demand for oil, decreasing oil prices and the containment measures implemented to tackle the coronavirus crisis. After a contracting by an estimated -1.8% in 2020, GDP growth recovered in 2021, reaching 1.5% (IMF estimates). Higher oil prices, increasing vaccination rates and good agriculture and forestry performances supported economic recovery. According to IMF forecast, GDP growth is expected to accelerate to 3.9% in 2022 before stabilizing at 3.2% in 2023. The economic recovery will remain fragile and subject to risks from the pandemic and oil prices (IMF). The Economist forecasts economic growth to slow in 2024-26 as oil prices dip sharply.

The Gabonese economy has faced challenging circumstances brought on by the fall of the prices and of the global demand for oil, its main export commodity, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic. The authorities responded to the crisis with a recovery plan estimated at EUR 381 million (approximately 3% of the GDP), and benefited from IMF assistance through an extended arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). The authorities focused on fiscal and governance reforms to support economic recovery and enhance debt sustainability. After widening to an estimated -2.1% GDP (-7.4% of the non-oil GDP) in 2020, global fiscal deficit was forecast by the IMF at -3.5% GDP (-7.1% of the non-oil GDP) in 2021 and -0.3% GDP (-4.9% of the non-oil GDP) in 2022. Fiscal consolidation should enable global fiscal budget to return into surplus in 2023. Public debt, which soared to an estimated 77.4% GDP in 2020, decreased to 72.1% GDP in 2021 and is forecast to further reduce to 63.7% GDP in 2022 and 62.7% GDP in 2023 (IMF). Inflation remained contained thanks to Gabon’s membership in the CFA franc currency. Estimated at 1.3% in 2020, it increased to 2% in 2021 due to supply disruptions, and is forecast to stabilize at that level in 2022 and 2023 (IMF). The Gabonese government is focused on decreasing the dependency on oil and speeding up the Strategic Plan for Food Sovereignty (Euler Hermes). To revert dependence on raw materials and lack of economic diversification, Gabon seeks to revive its agricultural sector (cocoa, coffee, and palm oil). The country is also planning to develop tourism, and particularly eco-tourism, to take advantage of its forest heritage. Gabon has also launched a broad public investment program (PSGE) to become one of the fastest-growing economies by 2025. The 2022 budget aims at reducing public debt and transforming the economy, but includes additional Covid-19 related spending. Among the challenges identified by the IMF, strengthening domestic revenue and public financial management, securing higher oil and mining revenue, enhancing debt sustainability, reforming the tax system and protecting the most vulnerable are key priorities.

Gabon is classified as an upper-middle-income country with a GDP per capita above its neighbors. However, social indicators lag behind the country's wealth. A third of the population lives below the poverty line (nearly 5% live on less than a dollar and a half every day) and unemployment is very high. In 2020, the unemployment rate in the country was at 20.5% (ILO Estimate). There is also a large gap between economic development in urban and rural populations. Moreover, city rents exploded as a result of the exodus from rural areas to cities (four major cities house more than 85% of Gabon's population).

 
Main Indicators 201920202021 (e)2022 (e)2023 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 16.88e15.34e18.2919.6320.29
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 3.9e-1.8e1.53.93.2
GDP per Capita (USD) 8,111e7,277e8,5699,0849,277
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 59.877.4e72.163.762.7
Inflation Rate (%) 2.01.3e1.12.92.6
Current Account (billions USD) -0.15-0.92e-0.69-0.40-0.51
Current Account (in % of GDP) -0.9-6.0e-3.8-2.0-2.5

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, 2016

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
CFA Franc (XOF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 ZAR 40.3143.7641.9240.6934.94

Source: World Bank, 2015

 

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Latest Update: July 2022