Gabon, officially known as the Gabonese Republic, is situated in central Africa, bordering Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and the Republic of Congo. Industry is centred on Libreville, the country’s capital, and Port-Gentil.
Until the discovery of oil in the 1970s, the Gabonese economy was dependent on exports of timber and manganese. Both industries remain important, but have been eclipsed by oil. Today, oil accounts for around 80% of exports, bringing in around 50% of GDP. The country is the third-largest producer of crude oil in sub-Saharan Africa. Like many oil producing countries, Gabon’s economy has been affected by the global downturn in oil prices. However, Gabon’s GDP per capita remains around $10,000, four times higher than the regional average. At present, Gabon has only one oil refinery. In 2012 Gabon agreed to develop a new facility, with the assistance of Samsung. Both refineries will be located in Port -Gentil.
The Gabonese economy is dominated by a small number of local investors, and owing to a lack of industrial diversity, the country is unusually dependent on imports. In recent years the government has taken steps to diversify the economy, though progress has been slow.
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