Mining Review Africa: Gabon - Mining supports economic diversification goals

Since Ali Bongo became president of Gabon in 2009, he has been on a mission to diversify the Gabonese economy away from oil. Hydrocarbons made Gabon one of the wealthiest countries in sub-Saharan Africa in terms of GDP per capita, but dependency on petroleum undermined efforts to develop other sectors of the economy.

Now, faced with declining output since 1998 as oil fields mature and energy majors depart, Gabon is endeavouring to wean itself off oil and develop alternative sectors to support economic growth.

Diversification plan

The vision to diversify the Gabonese economy was first elaborated in the 2011 Emerging Gabon Strategic Plan (Plan Stratégique Gabon Émergent, PSGE), which constitutes the national development plan up to 2025. While Gabon has since grabbed international attention principally for its climatic and environmental efforts – including harnessing its vast forests and biodiversity through sustainable forestry and carbon markets – the country is also working to diversify and grow its well-established mining industry.

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