Gabon is a country bestowed with 22 million hectares of forest, out of which 12.5 million has logging potential. The most important species, representing more than 25 per cent of the resources is Okume – undoubtedly the best quality timber used to manufacture plywood and railway sleepers.
No wonder, timber, of late, has emerged the most significant sector from Gabon’s economic point of view. It provides employment for as many as 28 per cent of Gabon’s population, a fact that reflects the availability of ample manpower for the future projects.
The government has embarked on a ‘Multi-Product Special Economic Zone’, which speaks volumes about its commitment to encourage foreign investors to exploit vast natural resources of the Central African country.
The Nkok Special Economic Zone project extends for 1,100 hectares and is located about 27 Km from the capital, Libreville.
The first phase of the area which covers 500 hectares is operational with a range of water and electricity. Several plants are already operating there including a sawmill and steel industry.
This zone was launched in 2010 to diversify the Gabonese economy that was too dependent on oil.
So far more than $22 million worth of investments have been committed allowing for the creation of nearly 200 jobs.
The government’s goal is to attract 200 million dollars of investment in this area to take advantage of wood and mining among others which will help create ten thousand jobs.