Country FilesCentralCountry Profile 2014: GABON

Wed,22Nov2017

Posted on Friday, 07 February 2014 17:59

Country Profile 2014: GABON

The politics of changing mentalities

President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba celebrated four years in office in October 2013. Ahead of the next national elections in 2016 he said that voters should judge him on his results and that his government is still battling the corrupt and inefficient mentalities left by his father’s 42-year rule. While political debates remain sterile, the oil industry awaits new legislation and a new bidding round, and companies are developing several new mining and agricultural projects.

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

TOP GABONESE COMPANIES

TOP GABONESE BANKS

 

ar-infographie-gabon-2014The politics of changing mentalities

Offshore explorers are awaiting approval of a new petroleum code

The Grand Poubara dam beganproducing electricity in September

President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba celebrated four years in office in October 2013. Ahead of the next national elections in 2016 he said that voters should judge him on his results and that his government is still battling the corrupt and inefficient mentalities left by his father’s 42-year rule. While political debates remain sterile, the oil industry awaits new legislation and a new bidding round, and companies are developing several new mining and agricultural projects.

Discussions about biometric enrolment delayed local elections until 14 December2013.They were not expected to alter the Parti Démocratique Gabonais’s monopoly on political power. The Union Nationale, led by the ailing André Mba Obame, has been undecided about how to engage in politics after it was banned by the interior ministry in January 2011 for forming arival government. In 2013, it campaigned unsuccessfully for a national conference to discuss problems between the government, the ruling party and the opposition.

PAYROLL KEEPS ON PAYING

The government is trying to crack down on spending levels. It revealed in October that 27,000 civil servants were receiving wages without working. Later in the month, it offered early retirement packages to public sector workers to reduce their numbers by up to 70,000.

The government has increased the amount it spends on new roads and other projects, but two areas where progress is slow are housing and education. President Bongo made an election promise in 2009 that the government would build 5,000 new houses per year, but production has been nowhere near the 20,000 units that should have been built. Université Omar Bongo in Libreville has been a hot bed for strikes in recent times, and the government says that it is not able to train enough teachers for the country’s public school system. Just 17% of students hadpassing grades in the first round of the baccalaureate exam for the 2012/2013 school year.

Structural joblessness is another consistent problem. Unemployment for among the under-24s remains at more than 35%, according to economy ministry statistics. A government reshuffle is possible as President Bongo said that Prime Minister Raymond Ndong Sima’s government would have to deliver on key policies or he would find someone else who could do so.

The oil industry has been in a period of decline for about a decade. Production continues to be stagnant, at less than 250,000 barrels per day. However, the government says that the country’s geology is similar to Brazil’s rich deep offshore, and Total and its partners made the first discovery in Gabon’s pre-salt deepwater areas in August with the Diaman-1B well.

DEEP OFFSHORE DOUBTS

The government restarted an already delayed licensing round but was yet to approve a new petroleum code. It awarded 13 new blocks in late October. Investors have worried that the code would make it less profitable to conduct new exploration, especially in the high-risk deep offshore.

The Sinohydro-built Grand Poubara dam began producing 160MW in September and will later have its capacity expanded to 280MW. It will provide electricity to COMILOG’s metallurgical processing plant in Moanda, which is expected to produce 65,000tn of silicomanganese and 20,000tn of manganese metal per year. More news from the large Bélinga iron ore mine is expected in 2014. The government cancelled its joint venture with a Chinese company for the mine’s development in late 2012 and hired consultants to map out the iron ore resources in north-eastern Gabon before re-engaging in negotiations with companies interested in building the mine and associated infrastructure.

Singaporean company Olam, which has promised an agricultural revolution for a country dependent on oil exports, has been slow out of the gates. The development of its fertiliser plant has been delayed by concerns about the project’s viability and the investment needed. Olamis continuing with its oil palm and rubber tree planting programmes, butthose have also been slowed by local opposition. It will use just about 7,000ha of its 20,000ha permit area near Kango for oil palm and plans to start constructing its processing factory in 2014.

 

TOP GABONESE COMPANIES

Rank 2012Rank 2011CompanySectorCountryTurnover (Thds $)Turnover changeNet profits
96109TOTAL GABONPETROLEUMGABON1,570,61617.14%352,072
115-SHELL GABONPETROLEUMGABON1,304,680NA0
155-SOCIT GABONAISE DE RAFFINAGEREFININGGABON913,388NA-16,482
184155COMPAGNIE MINIRE DE LOGOOUMININGGABON732,610-19.18%251,278
259344MAUREL & PROM GABONPETROLEUMGABON524,93657.17%208,760
330350CECAGADISRETAILGABON371,95314.82%23,321
370412SOCIT DNERGIE ET DEAU DU GABONWATEr, ELECTr.GABON319,93621.49%12,155
426476AIRTEL GABONTELECOMSGABON261,46018.43%0
434448COMPAGNIE DU KOMODIVERSIFIEDGABON253,4867.22%22,716
436423TOTAL MARKETING GABON*PETROL. SERVICESGABON251,945NA7,562
449475SOCIT DES BRASSERIES DU GABONBEVERAGESGABON242,6759.84%34,832
 

TOP GABONESE BANKS

Rank 2012Rank 2011Bank nameCountryTotal assetsNet interest incomeLoansDeposits
7269BGFIBANK HOLDING CORP.*GABON2,753,760163,2171,383,6662,034,646
92111BGFIBANK GABONGABON1,950,67690,5521,296,0221,597,980
161143BICIGGABON740,36348,271321,855643,879
179165UNION GABONAISE DE BANQUEGABON566,47844,138292,171469,054
 


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