A return visit to Gabon, the rapidly growing oil-rich
former French colony bordering Cameroon and Congo, offered an excellent
opportunity to see the remarkable strides this country is making terms of
infrastructure development . Gabon is currently the sixth largest oil
producer in Africa with 30 fields in production. According to latest estimates
compiled by BP, Gabon has 3.7 bn barrels of proven
reserves, the largest in its continental region. The country also benefits from
very large natural gas deposits, estimated at over 39 bn
Long dependent on commodity exports such as oil and
manganese, the Government is now determined to diversity its economy and
attract inward investment to build up its manufacturing and service sector.
This strategy is already reaping rewards. Major investors such as Olam International have opted to invest in palm oil
cultivation and processing and it is also the leading investor in the Nkok Special Economic Zone, which has attracted 40
companies from nine different countries. Development of this 1,126 hectare site
has now moved into phase two of development, ahead of schedule. A $60 m loan
agreement for this second phase has now been completed between the Gabonese
government, Olam International and the Central
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