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    Gabon Economy - 2002

      Economy - overview Gabon enjoys a per capita income four times that of most nations of sub-Saharan Africa. This has supported a sharp decline in extreme poverty; yet because of high income inequality a large proportion of the population remains poor. Gabon depended on timber and manganese until oil was discovered offshore in the early 1970s. The oil sector now accounts for 50% of GDP. Gabon continues to face fluctuating prices for its oil, timber, and manganese exports. Despite the abundance of natural wealth, the economy is hobbled by poor fiscal management. In 1992, the fiscal deficit widened to 2.4% of GDP, and Gabon failed to settle arrears on its bilateral debt, leading to a cancellation of rescheduling agreements with official and private creditors. Devaluation of its Francophone currency by 50% on 12 January 1994 sparked a one-time inflationary surge, to 35%; the rate dropped to 6% in 1996. The IMF provided a one-year standby arrangement in 1994-95, a three-year Enhanced Financing Facility (EFF) at near commercial rates beginning in late 1995, and stand-by credit of $119 million in October 2000. Those agreements mandate progress in privatization and fiscal discipline. France provided additional financial support in January 1997 after Gabon had met IMF targets for mid-1996. In 1997, an IMF mission to Gabon criticized the government for overspending on off-budget items, overborrowing from the central bank, and slipping on its schedule for privatization and administrative reform. The rebound of oil prices in 1999-2000 helped growth, but drops in production hampered Gabon from fully realizing potential gains. In December 2000, Gabon signed a new agreement with the Paris Club to reschedule its official debt. A follow-up bilateral repayment agreement with the US was signed in December 2001.

      GDP purchasing power parity - $6.7 billion (2001 est.)

      GDP - real growth rate 2.5% (2001 est.)

      GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $5,500 (2001 est.)

      GDP - composition by sector
      agriculture: 10%
      industry: 60%
      services: 30% (1999 est.)

      Population below poverty line NA%

      Household income or consumption by percentage share
      lowest 10%: NA%
      highest 10%: NA%

      Inflation rate (consumer prices) 1.5% (2001 est.)

      Labor force 600,000

      Labor force - by occupation agriculture 60%, services and government 25%, industry and commerce 15%

      Unemployment rate 21% (1997 est.)

      revenues: $1.8 billion
      expenditures: $1.8 billion, including capital expenditures of $310 million (2002 est.)

      Industries food and beverage; textile; lumbering and plywood; cement; petroleum extraction and refining; manganese, and gold mining; chemicals; ship repair

      Industrial production growth rate -6.4% (2001 est.)

      Electricity - production 850 million kWh (2000)

      Electricity - production by source
      fossil fuel: 29.41%
      hydro: 70.59%
      other: 0% (2000)
      nuclear: 0%

      Electricity - consumption 790.5 million kWh (2000)

      Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2000)

      Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2000)

      Agriculture - products cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber; cattle; okoume (a tropical softwood); fish

      Exports $2.5 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

      Exports - commodities crude oil 81%, timber, manganese, uranium (2000)

      Exports - partners US 51%, France 17%, China 8%, Netherlands Antilles 4% (2000)

      Imports $921 million (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

      Imports - commodities machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, chemicals, construction materials

      Imports - partners France 62%, Cote d'Ivoire 7%, US 5%, Belgium 3% (2000)

      Debt - external $3.6 billion (2001 est.)

      Economic aid - recipient $331 million (1995)

      Currency Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States

      Currency code XAF

      Exchange rates Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XAF) per US dollar - 742.79 (January 2002), 733.04 (2001), 711.98 (2000), 615.70 (1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997); note - from 1 January 1999, the XAF is pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 XAF per euro

      Fiscal year calendar year

      NOTE: The information regarding Gabon on this page is re-published from the 2002 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Gabon Economy 2002 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Gabon Economy 2002 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 30-Jan-03
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