News / Africa

Gabon Implements Policies to Woo Investors

Multimedia

Audio
  • Clottey interview with Gert Vandersmissen, top official of a tropical agricultural investment company, SIAT

Peter Clottey
This is Part Five of a six-part series on Gabon
Continue to Parts:     1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

 

The administration of President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba says it is working to attract investment to the country.

Officials say, for example, that the government will establish an agency to guarantee a “single window clearance” policy, specifically for investors. They say it should help expedite the necessary documents they need to start their businesses.

They cite the sharp increase in direct foreign funding as a symbol of the country’s dynamic economy and the government’s continuing partnerships with private organizations.

Even so, some experts say the country still lags in attracting private investors.  The yearly publication called Doing Business 2012 rates Gabon as 156 out of 183 nations evaluated.


The report rates Gabon lower with regard to “ease of doing business” than several neighboring countries, including  Cameroon,  Sao Tome and Principe, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, and the Central African Republic.

The publication, issued by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation, shows that it takes an investor about 58 days to start a business in Gabon, compared to15 days in Cameroon, 21 in Central African Republic and 10 in Sao Tome and Principe.

In addition, the 2011 and 2012 reports did not show an improvement in the total number of days needed to start a business in Gabon.

Nor did it show an improvement in the number of days needed to receive a construction permit. The latest report says getting a permit in Gabon took 201 days, which is more than the number of days required in Cameroon (147), Democratic Republic of Congo (117) and Equatorial Guinea (166).  In contrast, neighbors Angola (321) and Central African Republic (203) did worse.

But set some investors do see promise.  Among them are officials with the France-based Investment Organization for Tropical Agriculture, which manages nearly 2,000 hectares of rubber and palm oil plantations in Gabon.

Gert Vandersmissen, a top official with the company, said he appreciates government efforts to improve the business climate.  But he says political stability in Gabon – as in other countries – is just one element needed for business to thrive.

“As a private company,” he said, “we need good infrastructure and a solid judicial system, without corruption, so that we can do what we do best. So, far the government is not pushing us and is not working against us so that we can do our job and that is how it should be.”

Another investor, Tauhid Monif,  says his investment company, the Abhijeet group,  is planning a long-term presence in the country.

“Avenues have opened up [including an offer to set] up one of the biggest plants over here,” said Monif.

His India-based company specializes in power generation, mining, ferroalloys, steel and roads – all of which are needed to raise living standards in a nation with high levels of poverty and income inequality.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Head: Breach Won't Happen Again

update Julia Pierson answers questions about the latest break-in well as several other embarrassing incidents involving the agency More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: George Nyouki
March 05, 2012 4:40 AM
Investor should also try the Gambia the haven of peace in Africa and they will never regret it.We are a wonderful place to do business


by: Michael Alao
March 04, 2012 1:50 PM
GABON's dream for break through will be realised in conducive ECONONIC/ BUSINESS climate.Also pragmatic POLITICAL WILL in viable enabling environment is required. Good INFRASTRUCTURE and maintanance culture along side Political Stability will attract Agricultural Investment to be sustained by only equitable Peace of course. Thanks.


by: almoros
March 03, 2012 6:26 AM
Next great news from Gabon, Thank You SIAT! This's what Africa is in great need, another more greater sceams!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid