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

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs