Like most of the countries of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), shaken by the Covid-19 pandemic – which came after several years of financial crisis linked to the fall in production and prices of crude oil, 2014 to 2019 –, Gabon experienced a recession, its growth rate falling from 3.9% in 2019 to – 1.9% in 2020. However, the latter returned to nearly 1% in 2021 and, according to projections from the International Monetary Fund (FMI), it should stand at 2.7% this year and 3.4% in 2023 (see table). A rebound driven by an increase in production and the added value of the wood, agriculture and mining industries (in particular the manganese sector), by the resumption of activities in the construction sector, not to mention the rise in hydrocarbon prices.
For Gomez Agou, the IMF representative in Libreville, this rebound is the result of “significant control of the crisis” by the public authorities. In fact, the country implemented a post-Covid recovery strategy in January 2021 – the 2021-2023 Transformation Acceleration Plan (PAT) – the objective of which is not only to adapt the development plan of the country in the current difficult situation, but also to anticipate the consequences of future global crises, on the one hand by reducing the dependence of the Gabonese economy on imports and the sale of hydrocarbons, and on the other hand by improving the competitiveness of the country, so as to attract private investment.
Gabon: why the IMF is less worried about public debt
In July 2021, in the cadre of the Extended Credit Facility (MEDC), the IMF – which supports this PAT – approved a new financing agreement, allocating to the Gabonese State 553 million dollars over three years, depending on the objectives achieved. In view of the improvement in budgetary balances and growth forecasts, the Fund ordered the payment of the second tranche, i.e. approximately $155 million, at the end of June 2022.
Du baril de Brent au fer de Belinga
If, since the start of the war in Ukraine in February 2022, Gabon has been affected by the rise in food prices, its resources have nevertheless recorded strong growth linked to the global shortage of hydrocarbons and the rise in the prices of products. tankers. According to the Ministry of the Economy, the country’s crude exports increased by 145% in March 2022 compared to March 2021, at the same time as the world prices of hydrocarbons started to rise again, the barrel of Brent going from 65 dollars in March 2021 to 117 dollars in mars 2022.