Chapter

GABON

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
Published Date:
September 2000
Share
  • ShareShare
Show Summary Details
Status Under IMF Articles of Agreement
Article VIIIDate of acceptance: June 1, 1996.
Exchange Arrangement
CurrencyThe currency of Gabon is the CFA franc.
Exchange rate structureUnitary.
Classification
Exchange arrangement with no separate legal tenderThe CFA franc is pegged to the euro, the intervention currency, at the fixed rate of CFAF 100 per €0.1524. Exchange transactions in euros between the BEAC and commercial banks take place at the same rate. Buying and selling rates for certain foreign currencies are also officially posted, with quotations based on the fixed rate for the euro and the rate for the currency concerned in the Paris exchange market, and include a commission. Commissions are levied at the rate of 0.25% on transfers made by the banks for their own accounts and on all private capital transfers to countries that are not members of the BEAC, except those made for the account of the Treasury, national accounting offices, national and international public agencies, and private entities granted exemption by the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and Participations (MOFBP) because of the nature of their activities.
Exchange taxNo.
Exchange subsidyNo.
Forward exchange marketThere are no forward exchange markets for the CFA franc. However, exporters and importers can always cover their position on the Paris foreign exchange market.
Arrangements for Payments and Receipts
Prescription of currency requirementsBecause Gabon is an Operations Account country, settlements with France, Monaco, and the other Operations Account countries (WAEMU and CAEMC members and the Comoros) are made in CFA francs, euros, or the currency of any other Operations Account country. Settlements with all other countries are usually made through correspondent banks in France in the currencies of those countries or in euros through foreign accounts in francs.
Payment arrangements
Regional arrangementsAn Operations Account is maintained with the French Treasury that links Operations Account countries. All purchases or sales of foreign currencies or euros against CFA francs are ultimately settled through a debit or credit to the Operations Account.
Clearing agreementsYes.
Administration of controlThe Directorate of Financial Institutions (DFI) of the MOFBP supervises borrowing and lending abroad. Exchange control is administered by the MOFBP, which has partly delegated approval authority to the authorized banks for current payments and to the BEAC for issues related to the external position of the banks. All exchange transactions relating to foreign countries must be effected through authorized intermediaries, that is, the Postal Administration and authorized banks. Import and export authorizations, where necessary, are issued by the Directorate of External Trade of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
International security restrictionsn.a.
Payment arrearsNo.
Controls on trade in gold (coins and/or bullion)
Controls on domestic ownership and/or tradeResidents are free to hold, acquire, and dispose of gold in any form in Gabon.
Controls on external tradeImports and exports of gold require the authorization of the MOFBP. Exempt from this requirement are (1) imports and exports by or on behalf of the monetary authorities, and (2) imports and exports of manufactured articles containing a small quantity of gold (such as gold-filled or gold-plated articles). The exportation of gold is the monopoly of the Société gabonaise de recherches et d’exploitation minières. Imports of gold exempted from licensing and authorization requirements are subject to customs declaration.
Controls on exports and imports of banknotes
On exports
Domestic currencyThere is no limit on the amount of banknotes that residents and nonresidents may export from one CAEMC country to another, but exports of banknotes outside the CAEMC area are prohibited.
Foreign currencyResidents traveling outside the CAEMC area are subject to the various limits imposed on foreign exchange allowances allocated per trip, depending on the nature of the travel. Nonresident travelers may take with them foreign currency or other foreign means of payment equivalent to the maximum amount declared upon entry into the CAEMC area. Above this ceiling or in the absence of declaration, nonresidents must provide supporting documents explaining the origin of such amounts.
On imports
Domestic currencyThere is no limit on the amount of banknotes that residents and nonresidents can import into one CAEMC country from another, but imports of banknotes from outside the CAEMC area, by both residents and nonresidents, are prohibited.
Foreign currencyResident and nonresident travelers may bring in any amount of banknotes and coins issued by the Bank of France or any other bank of issue maintaining an Operations Account with the French Treasury, as well as any amount of foreign banknotes and coins (except gold coins) of countries outside the Operations Account area.
Resident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedYes.
Held domesticallyNo.
Held abroadThese accounts are permitted, but prior approval is required.
Accounts in domestic currency convertible into foreign currencyn.a.
Nonresident Accounts
Foreign exchange accounts permittedThese accounts are permitted, but prior approval is required.
Domestic currency accountsThe regulations pertaining to nonresident accounts are based on regulations that were applied in France before the abolition of all capital controls in 1989. Because the BEAC has suspended the repurchase of BEAC banknotes circulating outside the territories of its member countries, BEAC banknotes received by foreign correspondents’ authorized banks and mailed to the BEAC agency in Libreville may not be credited to foreign accounts in francs.
Convertible into foreign currencyYes.
Blocked accountsn.a.
Imports and Import Payments
Foreign exchange budgetNo.
Financing requirements for importsNo.
Documentation requirements for release of foreign exchange for imports
Domiciliation requirementsAll import transactions relating to foreign countries must be domiciled with an authorized bank.
Import licenses used as exchange licensesImport declarations to or licenses approved by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and the DFI of the MOFBP entitle importers to purchase the necessary foreign exchange, provided that the shipping documents are submitted to the authorized bank.
Import licenses and other nontariff measures
Negative listSome imports are prohibited for security and health reasons.
Open general licensesExcept for sugar, imports from all countries are permitted freely and do not require licenses. All imports, however, are subject to declaration.
Licenses with quotasImportation of sugar is subject to a surcharge.
Other nontariff measuresAll imports of commercial goods must be insured through authorized insurance companies in Gabon.
Import taxes and/or tariffsThe common duty rates of the CAEMC member countries are 5% for basic necessities, 10% for raw materials and capital goods, 20% for intermediate goods, and 30% for consumer goods.
State import monopolyNo.
Exports and Export Proceeds
Repatriation requirementsProceeds from exports to countries outside the CAEMC area must be collected and repatriated within 30 days of the payment date stipulated in the contract, unless a special waiver is granted by the MOFBP.
Surrender requirementsExport proceeds received in currencies other than those of France or an Operations Account country must be surrendered within one month of collection.
Financing requirementsn.a.
Documentation requirements
DomiciliationExport transactions relating to foreign countries must be domiciled with an authorized bank.
Export licensesExports are subject to declaration to the Ministry of Foreign Trade.
Export taxesExport taxes are levied on mining products (0.5%) and forest products (5% to 11%).
Payments for Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Controls on these transfersPayments for invisibles to France and the Operations Account countries are permitted freely; payments to other countries are subject to bona fide tests in the form of declaration and presentation of appropriate documents to the MOFBP. For many types of payments, the monitoring function of the MOFBP has been delegated to authorized banks and the Postal Administration. Payments for invisibles related to trade are permitted freely when the basic trade transaction has been approved or does not require authorization.
Payments for travel
Quantitative limitsResidents traveling to other countries of the franc zone may obtain an unlimited allocation of French francs. Within the CAEMC area, BEAC banknotes may be exported without limits. Residents traveling outside the CAEMC area are allowed to take out foreign banknotes and other means of payment up to a limit of CFAF 2 million and CFAF 5 million for tourism and business purposes, respectively.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Personal paymentsInformation is not available on the payment of pensions and family maintenance.
Quantitative limitsPersons traveling to countries outside the franc zone for medical reasons may obtain an exchange allocation of up to CFAF 2.5 million. Students or trainees leaving Gabon for the first time or returning to their normal place of study to countries outside the CAEMC area may obtain an exchange allowance equivalent to CFAF 1 million.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Foreign workers’ wages
Quantitative limitsForeign workers are allowed to transfer 50% of their net salary upon presentation of their pay vouchers, provided that the transfers take place within three months of the pay period concerned.
Credit card use abroad
Prior approvalYes.
Quantitative limitsThe use of credit cards, which must be issued by resident financial intermediaries and approved by the MOFBP, is limited to the ceilings indicated above for tourism and business travel.
Indicative limits/bona fide testYes.
Proceeds from Invisible Transactions and Current Transfers
Repatriation requirementsProceeds from transactions in invisibles with France, Monaco, and the Operations Account countries may be retained.
Surrender requirementsAll amounts due from residents of other countries in respect of services and all income earned in those countries from foreign assets must be collected and, if received in foreign currency, surrendered within a month of the due date. Returning resident travelers are required to declare all means of payment in their possession upon arrival at customs and surrender within eight days all means of payment exceeding the equivalent of CFAF 25,000.
Restrictions on use of fundsNo.
Capital Transactions
Controls on capital and money market instrumentsCapital movements between Gabon and France, and the Operations Account countries are permitted freely, except for the sale or introduction of foreign securities. Capital transfers to all other countries are restricted and require the approval of the DFI, but capital receipts from these countries are permitted freely. All foreign securities, foreign currency, and titles embodying claims on foreign countries or nonresidents that are held in Gabon by residents or nonresidents must be deposited with authorized banks in Gabon.
On capital market securities
Shares or other securities of a participating nature
Sale or issue locally by nonresidentsThe issuing, advertising, or offering for sale of foreign securities in Gabon requires prior authorization from the MOFBP. Exempt from authorization, however, are operations in connection with (1) loans backed by a guarantee from the Gabonese government, and (2) shares similar to securities whose issuing, advertising, or offering for sale in Gabon has previously been authorized.
Purchase abroad by residentsYes.
On money market instrumentsYes.
On collective investment securitiesYes.
Controls on derivatives and other instrumentsYes.
Controls on credit operations
Commercial credits
By residents to nonresidentsLending by residents or by branches or subsidiaries in Gabon of juridical persons whose registered office is abroad requires prior authorization from the MOFBP. The following are, however, exempt from this authorization: (1) loans granted by registered banks; and (2) other loans, of which the total amount outstanding does not exceed CFAF 50 million for any one lender. However, for loans that are free of authorization, each repayment must be declared to the Directorate of Financial Institutions within 20 days of the operation except when the total outstanding amount of all loans granted abroad by the lender does not exceed CFAF 5 million.
To residents from nonresidentsBorrowing by residents or by branches or subsidiaries in Gabon of juridical persons whose registered office is abroad requires prior authorization from the MOFBP. The following transactions are exempt from this requirement: (1) loans constituting a direct investment abroad for which prior approval has been obtained; (2) loans directly connected with the rendering of services abroad by the persons or firms mentioned above, or with the financing of commercial transactions either between Gabon and countries abroad or between foreign countries in which these persons or firms take part; (3) loans contracted by registered banks; and (4) loans other than those mentioned above, of which the total amount outstanding does not exceed CFAF 50 million for any one borrower. However, for the contracting of loans referred to under (4) that are free of authorization, each repayment must be declared to the DFI within 20 days of the operation unless the total outstanding amount of all loans contracted abroad by the borrower is CFAF 5 million or less.
Financial credits
By residents to nonresidentsYes.
To residents from nonresidentsYes.
Guarantees, sureties, and financial backup facilitiesYes.
Controls on direct investment
Outward direct investmentInvestments, including those made by companies in Gabon that are directly or indirectly under foreign control and those made by branches or subsidiaries of foreign companies in Gabon, must be declared to the MOFBP unless they take the form of a capital increase resulting from reinvestment of undistributed profits.
Inward direct investmentInvestments must be declared to the MOFBP within 20 days of the operation unless they take the form of a capital increase resulting from the reinvestment of undistributed profits; within two months of receipt of the declaration, the MOFBP may request the postponement of the project. Foreign companies investing in Gabon must offer shares for purchase by Gabonese nationals for an amount equivalent to at least 10% of the company’s capital.
Controls on liquidation of direct investmentThe full or partial liquidation of direct investments in Gabon must be declared to the MOFBP within 20 days of the operation unless the operation involves the relinquishing of a shareholding that had previously been approved as constituting a direct investment in Gabon.
Controls on real estate transactions
Purchase locally by nonresidentsPurchases by nonresidents are not permitted.
Controls on personal capital movementsn.a.
Provisions specific to commercial banks and other credit institutionsn.a.
Provisions specific to institutional investorsn.a.
Other controls imposed by securities lawsn.a.
Changes During 1999
Exchange arrangementJanuary 1. The CFA franc peg to the French franc was replaced with a peg to the euro.

    Other Resources Citing This Publication