Gabon, better known as the Gabonese Republic, is a sovereign state located on the West side of the African continent. The population of Gabon is roughly around 2 million people who are very little compared to other African countries. But the small size of this country doesn’t mean any business opportunities. Many foreign exporters started trading on the Gabon market once they realized the real options that this market offers. And there are plenty of local importers to choose from as well. Gabon imports and exports a variety of goods every year so there is a chance of success for any exporter or importer.
Gabon is a country with a stable economy, but its way of functioning is quite interesting as well. Gabon economy is relying almost completely on oil and oil revenues are a significant part of the government’s budget. Gabon GDP is also represented by the oil industry in the proportion of 43 percent. However, Gabon is exporting a lot of oil as well which is what increases the level of the national economy.
To be more precise, Gabon’s exports are represented by oil in the proportion of 81 percent. But the price of oil seems to go down slow but sure from one year to another. Not exploiting the oil as much as they were doing it in the past years would be a serious economic shock for Gabon. But even if the country needs a new plan to support its local economy and power of investment, they are still working on an alternative to oil exports.
Gabon exports many minerals as well and timber and manganese which need to be mined to be valued in an international transaction. This types of activities, maintain an active economy and social activity for people living in Gabon because it creates jobs on a constant route. Locals don’t only have a place to work at and a profession to look forward to, but they can also feed their families and contribute to the social economy in the best way possible.
Even if Gabon main exports rely on mineral and different types of fuels, the government is struggling to develop several other districts to increase the number of exports. An improved economy based on better exports will facilitate other aspects of Gabon’s social and economic life.
Gabon is a country that produces very little goods they consume, which is why they rely on imports. Imports need to satisfy the demand of the local market and create a decent lifestyle for locals. This is why imports are a crucial aspect of Gabon’s well-functioning as a country. One problem is that the possibility to import different categories of goods also relies on the local economy. And if Gabon’s economy is suffering, so are the people and the rest of activities in the country. With no money to invest in certain imports, there is no alternative to satisfy the population.
The GDP of Gabon is represented in the proportion of 4.5 percent by agriculture while different industries make for 62.5 percent of it and services complete the rest of 32.8 percent. The main goal of Gabon’s government is to increase the problematic aspects such as the agriculture one and stimulate local production of goods, so imports will quit being a necessity. However, with such a small country, the problems might persist for the next years, and this works in favor of foreign exporters as well as local importers getting together to seal advantageous deals.
What Gabon Imports And How Can You Get Involved In This Type Of Trading
As a small country, Gabon is still relying on a variety of imports to survive. And maybe the most consistent and important good that Gabon is importing from foreign countries is meat. Gabon imports are important, but that doesn’t mean the government is not working to reduce them and increase local production. When it comes to meat imports, the problem is a little more delicate.
Gabon’s environment and overall its climate are affected by the tsetse fly, and this has a direct effect on animal husbandry. Authorities try to enforce the resistance of different animals and increase their lifespan by purchasing some vaccine from Senegal, but this will take time to implement.
Another plan of the government is to set up new ranches where animals can be grown by different people in areas that are not so exposed to the tsetse fly or other unfortunate conditions. And the authorities set aside around 200 000 hectares which are the equivalent of 490 000 acres for the rehabilitation of this situation. However, until then, Gabon’s people rely on frozen beef imports more than any other type of meat.
Gabon is also importing another type of foods from rice to different ingredients and dairy products and also clothing and electronics. If you want to break into Gabon’s market, you can import almost everything that you can think of, but you will have to adapt the quantities. For instance, if we refer to goods that are consumed by a large number of people such as rice or sugar or bread, you can hope to import a tonne or maybe even more of products. It is especially true if you are importing an ingredient like sugar that can be used in a variety of local productions as well. You can supply the sugar demand for a bakery for instance, and in such a case you can be sure to have a profit in the long run.
However, when it comes to less commercial goods such as clothes or different electronics, you might have to limit your imports to a lot less than you would import in countries like Nigeria. Since Gabon has almost 2 million people, and Nigeria can reach not less than 190 million, the differences and the necessities of these two countries are extremely particular to each one of them.
Most of Gabon’s imports come from France, but there is always space for new players on the international market. Gabon trade tends to be a great start especially for small businesses from all over the world. It includes both importers and exporters. Many exporters are tempted to invest in areas of Gabon to develop local business and skip the international trading. It offers any exporter the possibility to advance to an investor stage and understand how the market works from this position.
But it also puts the exporter in contact with local importers and offers the possibility to create new connections and business opportunities. But to become an investor in Gabon, you need to be informed foreign exports, so you know exactly what industry you want to invest in.
When it comes to different levels of Gabon agriculture, the country is trying to produce more goods locally, but they are still working on the development of this aspect. Among the products that are produced locally, there are cocoa, coffee, sugar, palm oil, rubber. But this doesn’t mean that Gabon doesn’t import more of these products as well. Doesn’t matter how hard the government tries to stabilize Gabon’s agriculture, the results are variable from year to year which leaves little space for reliability.
And until there is a constant result, people in Gabon can’t rely on their production. Not to mention that such products could be successfully exported as well but for that to happen some funds need to be invested in the local production. Another aspect to consider is the available surface of Gabon which is not the widest in Africa, summing only 267,667 km2. From this surface, not all of it is eligible for agricultural development considering that Gabon has plenty of urban areas as well.
When it comes to the labor force in Gabon, more than 60 percent is involved in some aspect of agriculture, but considering the low population of the country, this number is still not enough to make a difference. The next most popular industry after agriculture is the industry of different services which cover around 25 percent of the labor force.
There are also certain goods that you shouldn’t consider importing so much because they can be found locally. This is the case when it comes to fish, even if not all types of fish. In the local waters of Gabon, locals can fish up to 15,000 tons of tuna and 12,000 tons of sardines, and this goes on every year.
So, if you had these two types of fish on your import list, you might want to replace it with other species. No one says you can’t import fish at all; just try to focus on the type of fish that is hard to find in Gabon, even if it is a delicacy such as a shark or octopus. African people will eat this kind of fish, but they can’t rely on local production so importing it is the only option.
As a general rule, it will always work in your favor as an importer to identify those goods that are hard to produce locally in Gabon. But you also have to decide and evaluate the demand for them. If a product is highly appreciated, but it can’t be produced in Gabon, you can reach incredible success by importing it from some foreign exporter. This strategy goes for all categories of goods including food, electronics, and clothes but also sports and entertainment.
You can also import certain toys and cosmetics even if in small quantities. Such imports would bring you a fast profit, and you will have to invest little effort considering that the cargo would not be a matter of tonnes but more like a matter of items. At the same time, you can always test the market and see how a new product can sell or not by sending samples to different stores or evaluators.
These samples will be provided by your exporter partner and are meant to evaluate the potential of the market regarding certain investments that you two can make in the future. For the right price, Gabon people are excited to try almost everything without significant limitations when it comes to new industries of goods breaking into the market.
If You Want To Become An Importer In Gabon, There Are Some Aspects You Need To Consider
Becoming an importer in such a small country can seem easier than it is. However, you should know from the start that this is not always the case. Before having your mind set on this type of business, you should identify certain aspects about Gabon that you will have to work with.
First, you need to know Gabon important products and decide which ones of those you can supply. It might mean that you will have to adapt your business to different necessities of the country, but this is not always something hard to do. In most cases, it only means that you will have to find a new exporter partner to work with. As an importer, you will be concerned of finding the right provider of different goods and establishing a good deal with them. The best products to import into Gabon are sugar, rice, and meat like we discussed above.
However, you can always try the market out with different gadgets or electronics before you can decide if they are worth it or not. You can even try with some vehicles, and since the country is smaller than most African countries, you can import somewhere around five or ten vehicles while you are testing the market and see how they sell. These are also a consistent investment, and you don’t want to lose funds for the long run so it is better to import less but sell it all than to import more than you can sell.
After you decide the best goods to import in Gabon, you can decide on how to become a successful import in the country. If you live in Gabon, you are lucky because you will already be familiar with the market and maybe even the legal requirements. It will save you a lot of research in the long run, and it will also give you the freedom to focus on more important details. Make sure you have a great team to work with because there are several papers that you will need to fill in your relationship with Gabon’s authority which is different for importers and exporters.
Consider the shipping method which can be by air or by sea and also the costs and risks involved in the process. For instance, if you import rice, you will need to consider the resistance of the wrapping as well as the potential danger when it comes to transporting your rice. There are several insurance companies that you can contact to ease your job and be sure that your clients will get exactly what you ordered for them. In such a business, quality is mandatory, and it should be a concern for both the importer and the exporter.
To become an importer in Gabon, you don’t need to live there as well, though, even if this would bring you a variety of facilities. You can put together a team that would include lawyers, local researchers of Gabon’s market and accountants to help you with the details. Your team will also help you in a relationship with Gabon’s authorities and the people in ports or airports. It may sound like a lot of people that need to be involved in such trading, but for the long run, it is all going to worth it.