Banking & Financial Services

Gabon Banking and Financial Services

As a bastion of liquidity within the financially turbulent Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (Communauté Économique des États de l’Afrique Cen-trale, CEMAC), Gabon competes head-on with the more populous Cameroon for the title of regional banking centre. The regional stock exchange based in Gabon is also beginning to see an uptick in activity and insurance penetration is consistently higher than elsewhere in CEMAC.

In recent months, banks have sustained the double-digit growth of the past three years, albeit at a slightly slower pace, driven by both deposits and lending. The bulk of growth has been due to lending to the public sector for projects laid out under the Emerging Gabon national development plan. Gabon also has a surfeit of liquidity in the banking sector, reducing the need for companies to turn to the capital markets. Since the first listing in 2008, the markets have been dominated by bonds. However, 2013 saw the region’s first initial public offering and subsequent equity listing on the exchange, and, according to local press reports, other companies are likely to follow suit in the medium term. Home to 1.63m people, Gabon has one of the most dynamic insurance markets in Central and West Africa. The local insurance industry is strong compared to other countries in the region due to its high level of industrial contracts. Efforts to increase insurers’ exposure to clients through investment in multiple sales channels, the introduction of new obligatory insurance lines and the implementation of microinsurance products could all help to expand the Gabonese market in 2014.

This chapter contains an interview with Patricia Danielle Manon, Director-General, BGFI Bank Gabon.