Gabon is a resource-rich country on Africa's west coast, and scores of Indian companies have found it appealing to set up a company there.
Gabon is a country on Africa's western (Atlantic) coast known for its pristine beaches along the Gulf of Guinea. But, unlike many other nations, the purpose of the advertisement is not only to attract visitors. Its purpose is to entice investors.
Gabon is slightly larger in area than Uttar Pradesh, but its population is the same size as Nagaland's. However, it is quickly becoming an appealing investment location, particularly for sectors like as wood, cement, steel, waste recycling, and gas.
The advertisements are one of the reasons Everest Ply, an Indian-owned plywood producer, established a production plant in Gabon.
“We noticed advertising calling investors to Gabon,” said Amit Garg, director of Everest Ply. “We also learned more about it from other investors who planned to build their own factories.”
Indians are not alone; 17 nations have also invested in the Gabon Special Economic Zone (GSEZ), which serves as the foundation for the country's economic investments and manufacturing operations.
The zone, also known as the Nkok SEZ, was established as a public-private partnership between the Gabonese government and Olam International Ltd, Gabon's largest private-sector employment and the world's third largest agri-business. The GSEZ, which covers 600 hectares, is home to 146 investors from various industries, with more than 40 of them being Indian companies.
According to a circular issued recently by India's Ministry of External Affairs, Gabon and India have had "warm and friendly" connections since even before the latter's independence in 1960.
So far, India has extended two lines of credit to Gabon: the first, costing USD 14.5 million, was extended in 2007 for housing projects, and the second, worth USD 67.19 million, was extended for the development of broadcasting infrastructure.
In an interview with The Wire, Gabon's previous foreign minister Pacome Moubelet-Boubeya stated that he flew down to India because "we want Indian business people to look at Gabon as a place to invest, as a place to make money, as well as to create jobs for the benefit of Indian companies and the people of Gabon."
“Gabon has attracted more Indian investment in recent years as a result of political readiness to welcome Indians for talent, technology, and leading industrial development,” Singh added.
“Being the hub of timber processing industries, the GSEZ was able to attract a good number of entrepreneurs to develop their businesses due to the sustainable supply of timber, ready infrastructure, and ease of doing business.”
While India manufactures plywood, it "relies largely on wood imports," according to Singh.