DOING BUSINESS IN GABON
Since 2003, Healy Consultants has assisted our Clients with starting companies in Gabon. Our services include i) Gabon business registration ii) government license registration iii) Gabon corporate bank account opening iv) employee recruitment v) visa strategies and vi) office rental solutions.
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Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages of Gabon company registration
- A limited liability company (locally known as an SARL) can be registered in Gabon by appointing only i) one shareholder and ii) one director, who both can be foreigners and do not need to be residing in Gabon. The minimum paid-up capital required to register the Gabonese company is only US$1,700 (CFA1 million);
- Gabon is a good place to start a company in the agribusiness or forestry industry because:
- Gabon benefits from more than 2 million hectares of land not yet exploited but available for foreign investors. The country is notably a significant producer of coffee, cocoa, rubber and palm oil;
- Gabon also offers more than 12 million hectares of forest available for the forestry industry. 85% of the country’s territory is covered by forest;
- Companies running agro-forestry operations in Gabon will benefit from low labor costs in Gabon, as average salaries only reach US$839 per month and tend to be much lower in rural areas of the country. The minimum monthly salary is also set at only US$250 (CFA150,000);
- Companies exporting their products from Gabon to the European Union, the United States, Japan and other developed markets will benefit from preferential treatment and reduced/no custom duties, as Gabon is included amongst the countries benefiting from these countries’ generalized system of preferences;
- For all the reasons listed above, global experts such as the Oxford Business Group expect the agro-forestry industry to grow at an annual rate averaging 6% over the coming years, offering business opportunities to foreign investors.
- Gabon’s Special Economic Zones offer companies 100% exemption from i) withholding tax ii) value added tax iii) property tax and iv) import duties for up to 25 years. Furthermore, companies can be granted a 100% exemption from corporate tax for up to 10 years;
- There are neither exchange nor capital controls in Gabon. It is also possible to open a corporate bank account in Gabon in a foreign currency, such as the US dollar or the Euro.
Disadvantages of Gabon company registration
- It is mandatory to sign a lease agreement in Gabon before incorporation of a Gabonese company. Our Firm can assist you to comply with the same;
- The managing director of the company will have to travel to complete corporate bank account opening in Gabon, which is mandatory before company formation. We can however find legal turnaround solutions for this requirement;
- Gabon is a small market, with a population of only 1.7 million. Running a company in Gabon is difficult, due to corruption, lack of transportation infrastructure and widespread corruption. The country is indeed ranked at the 27th most difficult place to start and run a business by the World Bank;
- It is costly and time consuming to export merchandise from Gabon: exporting a container costs on average over US$2,000;
- French is the official language in Gabon. Hence, it is important that non-French speaking entrepreneurs hire a translator to deal with Clients, suppliers and customers;
- Electricity costs in Gabon are high, with the average tariff rate being US$0.45 per Kwh.
Best uses for a Gabon company
- Most companies formed in Gabon by foreigners are mining or agro-forestry businesses, thanks to the country’s endowment in natural resources.
- Time to incorporate: Nine weeks
- Cost to set up: US$17,415
- Minimum capital: US$2,090
- Physical office required: Yes
- Shareholders: 1
- Directors: 1
- Company secretary: No
- Resident director: No
- Corporate tax rate: 30%
- Corporate tax base: Worldwide
- Shelf companies: Unavailable
- Main company type: LLC
Useful links for Gabon
Government and public authority websites:
- KPMG Country profile – Gabon
- Doing Business 2014; Gabon Economy Profile
- African Economic Outlook – Gabon
- Gabon – Investing in the Future
- Ernst & Young – Doing Business in Gabon
- PWC – Paying Taxes 2014