Gabon company registration

DOING BUSINESS IN GABON IN 2022

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Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group PLC 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.

Compare different Gabon entities LLC Fast solution LLC Free zone LLC Public limited company LLP Representative office Branch office
Also known as SARL Fast solution LLC SEZ LLC SA SCS Bureau de Liaison Succursale
Best use of company? All products and services All products and services Manufacturing and export trading To secure public funding Professional services Marketing & research Specific projects
How soon can you invoice Clients/sign sales contracts? 3 months 1 week 4 months 3 months 3 months No 2 months
How soon can you hire staff? 3 months 1 week 4 months 3 months 3 months 2 months 2 months
How soon can you sign a lease agreement? 1 month 1 week 1 month 1 month 1 month 1 month 1 month
How long to supply corporate bank account numbers? 4 months 1 week 5 months 4 months 4 months 3 months 3 months
How long to supply company registration/tax numbers? 3 months 1 week 4 months 3 months 3 months 2 months 2 months
Corporate tax rate on annual net profits? 30% 30% 0% (for 10 years) 30% 0% 0% 30%
Limited liability entity? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Government grants available? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Government approval required for foreign owners? No No Yes No No No No
Resident director/partner/manager/ legal representative required? No No No No No Yes Yes
Minimum paid up share capital? US$1,700 US$1,700 US$1,700 US$17,000 none None none
Can bid for government contracts? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Corporate bank account location? BGFI Bank Citibank Ecobank UBA BGFI Bank Citibank Ecobank
Can secure trade finance? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
VAT payable on sales to local customers? 18% 18% 18% 18% 18% None 18%
Average total business set up engagement costs? US$17,415 US$33,265 US$23,125 US$17,415 US$18,815 US$18,165 US$19,815
Average total engagement period? 5 months 6 months 6 months 5 months 5 months 4 months 4 months

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Accounting and tax considerations LLC Fast solution LLC Free zone LLC Public limited company LLP Representative office Branch office
Statutory corporate tax payable? 30% 30% 0% (for 10 years) 30% 0% 0% 30%
Legally tax exempt if properly structured? No No Yes No No Yes No
Group HQ tax incentives? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Must file an annual tax return? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Must file annual financial statements? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Must appoint an auditor? No No Yes Yes No No No
Access to double taxation treaties? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Withholding tax on payments to foreign shareholders/parent? 20% 20% 0% 20% 20% None 15%
Company Registration LLC Fast solution LLC Free zone LLC Public limited company LLP Representative office Branch office
Resident director/partner/manager/ legal representative required? No No No No No Yes Yes
Minimum number of shareholders/partners? 1 1 1 1 2 Parent company Parent company
Maximum shareholding for foreigners? 100% 100% 100% 100% 99% 100% 100%
Minimum statutory paid up share capital? US$1,700 US$1,700 US$1,700 US$17,000 none none none
Security deposit to be kept with government? No No No No No No No
Shelf companies available? Yes No No Yes No No No
Time to incorporate a new entity? 3 months None 4 months 3 months 3 months 2 months 2 months
Can easily convert to a PLC? Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Can have preference shareholders? Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
The entity will likely be regulated by? CDE CDE AAN CDE CDE CDE CDE
Business Considerations LLC Fast solution LLC Free zone LLC Public limited company LLP Representative office Branch office
Good entity for trademark registration? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Can secure an import and export license? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Sponsorship by a local citizen required? No
Our Client needs to travel to Gabon for business set up? No
Temporary physical office solutions available? Yes
You need a local resident as bank signatory? No
Can be wholly foreign owned? Yes
Minimum number of directors/managers? 1
Monthly VAT reporting to the government? No
Must sign an office lease agreement during incorporation? No
Shareholders & directors documents to be attested/translated? No
Each foreign director needs a personal income tax number? No
Foreign director needs a residence visa? Yes
Maximum number of staff allowed? No maximum number for any entity
Expatriate to local staff ratio? None
Can secure residence visa for business owner? Yes
Public register of shareholders and directors? Yes
Other useful information
What will be included in my customer sales invoice? Click link
This country has signed free trade agreements? Yes
This country is a member of WIPO/TRIPS? Yes - only WIPO
This country is a member of the ICSID? Yes
Average custom duties suffered? 18%
Government foreign investment approval required? No
Average monthly office rental? (US$ per sq m) US$30
Minimum statutory monthly salary? US$255
Average monthly US$ salary for local skilled employees? US$710
US$ deposit interest rate? (1 year average) 2.45%
Overseas remittance currency controls? Yes
Banking considerations
Multi-currency bank accounts available? Yes
Corporate visa debit cards available? No
Quality of e-banking platform? Poor
Crowd funding available in this country? No

Gabon business setup summary

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  • Advantages and Disadvantages

    Advantages of Gabon company registration

    starting a company in Gabon

    1. 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);
    2. 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.
    3. 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;
    4. 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;
    5. Gabon is the 5th largest producer of oil in Africa. Its economy is largely dependent on oil and manganese production as well as their export. The economy exported a total of US$3.6 million worth of petroleum products and US$4.1 million worth of manganese in 2017.

    Disadvantages of Gabon company registration

    1. 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;
    2. 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;
    3. 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;
    4. It is costly and time consuming to export merchandise from Gabon: exporting a container costs on average over US$2,000;
    5. 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;
    6. Electricity costs in Gabon are high, with the average tariff rate being US$0.45 per Kwh;
    7. Gabon’s economy is overdependent on oil for its economic growth which is further leading to a poor fiscal condition of its economy due to an ever-increasing tax burden.
  • Best uses for a Gabon company

    1. Most companies formed in Gabon by foreigners are mining or agro-forestry businesses, thanks to the country’s endowment in natural resources.

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Contact us

For additional information on our company registration services in Gabon, please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Simon Guidecoq, directly:
client relationship officer - Simon