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The fifth-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, Gabon is highly dependent on the petroleum industry, which contributed 64 percent of state revenues in 2010. Despite attempts to diversify its economy, the extractive sector accounted for 82 percent of exports in 2009 and 47 percent of gross domestic product in 2010.

Gabon's Performance on the Resource Governance Index

Gabon received a "weak" score of 46, ranking 32nd out of 58 countries. A relatively high Institutional & Legal Setting score contrasted with poor performance on the Enabling Environment component.

(out of 58)
(out of 100)
32 Composite Score 46
29 Institutional & Legal Setting 60
Freedom of information law 0
Comprehensive sector legislation 67
EITI participation 67
Independent licensing process 100
Environmental and social impact assessments required 50
Clarity in revenue collection 100
Comprehensive public sector balance 50
SOC financial reports required N/A
Fund rules defined in law 50
Subnational transfer rules defined in law N/A
26 Reporting Practices 51
Licensing process 50
Contracts 0
Environmental and social impact assessments 0
Exploration data 33
Production volumes 83
Production value 67
Primary sources of revenue 100
Secondary sources of revenue 80
Subsidies 0
Operating company names 100
Comprehensive SOC reports N/A
SOC production data N/A
SOC revenue data N/A
SOC quasi fiscal activities N/A
SOC board of directors N/A
Fund rules 100
Comprehensive fund reports 0
Subnational transfer rules N/A
Comprehensive subnational transfer reports N/A
Subnational reporting of transfers N/A
43 Safeguards & Quality Controls 39
Checks on licensing process 17
Checks on budgetary process 44
Quality of government reports 58
Government disclosure of conflicts of interest 100
Quality of SOC reports N/A
SOC reports audited N/A
SOC use of international accounting standards N/A
SOC disclosure of conflicts of interest N/A
Quality of fund reports 0
Fund reports audited 0
Government follows fund rules 33
Checks on fund spending 0
Fund disclosure of conflicts of interest 100
Quality of subnational transfer reports N/A
Government follows subnational transfer rules N/A
37 Enabling Environment 28
Corruption (TI Corruption Perceptions Index & WGI control of corruption) 35
Open Budget (IBP Index) N/A
Accountability & democracy (EIU Democracy Index & WGI voice and accountability) 21
Government effectiveness (WGI) 20
Rule of law (WGI) 36
Satisfactory Weak
Partial Failing
To explore all data and compare
scores, use the RGI Data Tool.

Institutional & Legal Setting (Rank: 29th/58, Score: 60/100) learn more

Gabon earned a "partial" score of 60. While it has clear mechanisms for revenue collection, legislative reforms begun in 2009 have not yet been implemented.

The Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Hydrocarbons grants licenses to companies, while its General Directorate for Hydrocarbons acts as a regulatory agency. The Economy Ministry's Large Companies Directorate collects oil revenues, which are deposited in the treasury.

In the past, Gabon has granted licenses through open bidding, but the most recent licensing round was suspended pending enactment of the new hydrocarbon code. While current law establishes a general fiscal framework for oil contracts, in practice contract terms are often the product of direct negotiations between companies and the government.

Environmental impact assessments are required and often include a social impact component, but they do not have to be published, and there is no freedom of information law. Gabon joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in 2004, but lost its candidacy status in February 2013, having failed to provide the detailed documentation required for validation.

Reporting Practices (Rank: 26th/58, Score: 51/100) learn more

Gabon's "partial" score of 51 reflects adequate reporting on key revenue indicators, but a lack of transparency regarding contracts, environmental impact assessments, and resource-funded subsidies.

Access to information on the licensing process is limited. Legislation does not require full disclosure of information, and authorities do not publish contracts or agreed fiscal terms.

The Economy Ministry regularly provides substantial information about oil revenues, including production volumes, prices, the value of oil exports, the names of operating companies, production data by company, production stream values, the government's share in production sharing contracts, royalties, dividends, bonuses, acreage fees, and income taxes. The Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Hydrocarbons also publishes some relevant information, including production volumes, prices, company names, and production stream values. The Bank of Central African States publishes similar information.

Safeguards & Quality Controls (Rank: 43rd/58, Score: 39/100) learn more

Gabon received a "failing" score of 39, the product of inadequate government oversight of the oil industry and the natural resource fund.

Parliament has no legislative mandate to approve licenses or contracts, and its budgetary reviews are hampered by capacity constraints and a lack of information. Records of parliamentary debates concerning the oil sector are not disclosed. The reports of the Audit Court, an independent institution, are also unavailable. Considerable discretion is allowed in contract negotiations and there does not seem to be a process for appealing licensing decisions. Government officials are not allowed to have a financial stake in the industries they oversee.

Enabling Environment (Rank: 37th/58, Score: 28/100) learn more

Gabon performed particularly poorly on rankings of government effectiveness, democracy, and accountability, earning a "failing" grade of 28.

State-Owned Companies

Authorities announced the creation of the Gabon Oil Company in 2010, but it is not yet operational. The company will manage the government's stake in production sharing contracts, promote investment in small- and medium-sized local businesses, and take part in oil exploration and production. Few details about the company's management have been made public.

Natural Resource Funds (Rank: 15/23, Score: 35/100) learn more

In 1998, Gabon created a natural resource fund, the Fond Pour les Générations Futures. Because of mismanagement, it was replaced in February 2012 by the Fonds Souverain de la République Gabonaise. The president oversees the new fund, which is intended to finance infrastructure and development projects. Legislation defines the rules governing deposits to the fund, but there is no published formula for withdrawals. The fund will be audited, but it is not clear whether the results will be published.

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