Gabon’s Economic Incentives Attract Investors, Multinationals

Gabon’s Economic Incentives Attract Investors, Multinationals

According to How We Made it in Africa, multinational companies including French retailer Carrefour and Singapore-based agribusiness Olam, have stepped into Gabon’s business arena. Now the country, through special incentives, is encouraging more investors to set up shop, create jobs and help stimulate the economy.

Gabon industries such as agriculture, gas, mining, oil and forestry have the greatest potential for expansion and production, according to How We Made it in Africa.

“The government is doing a lot of infrastructure and housing around its forestry and agriculture industries, and the opportunities are driven by government for the private sector,” Cheikh Ndoye, the DHL country manager for Gabon, said in the report.“Businesses need to invest in training local talent. When it comes to hiring local talent – training, training, training, and keeping people motivated are key to success.”

If companies conduct business in special economic zones, the report noted, investors can benefit from offerings that make the francophone nation more than ideal. A 3,706 acres stretch of land near Port-Gentil, for example hosts the Mandji Tax Free Zone. There gas and oil companies are encouraged to explore.

For the first ten years in which investors carry out business in Gabon, they are awarded full tax exemption. Added value tax, cost related to manufacturing — importation and export fees are also excluded. Following an investor’s first ten years in business, Gabon will only require a concessional tax of 10 percent, How We Made it in Africa reported.

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Relaxed labor laws and a 50 percent discount on electricity expenses — within specific economic zones — are also inviting incentives.

Gabon is and has been easy to overlook because of business dealings that happen at a slower pace than foreign investors are used, bureaucratic roadblocks sometimes stand in the way, and in addition, credit card use is rare.  However, in relation to business transactions, Libreville — the country’s capital — is said to be very secure.

How We Made it in Africa also reported that business in the country has picked up since February. Clearing processes and improved efficiency, the report noted, contributed to the boost.

Despite challenges that potential investors may have been made aware of, knowing the right people, Ndoye says, is important and essential to building a successful entity in Gabon.

“Introduce yourself to the Chamber of Commerce – that’s a starting point,” he told How We Made it in Africa. “If you know someone, then they will know someone, who will know someone, who can help you in your business.”