Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) has announced that it will invest up to $140m in the Gabon Special Economic Zone (GSEZ), a joint venture vehicle between Olam International, a leading agricultural business, and the Republic of Gabon.
The GSEZ was created in 2010 to accelerate Gabon’s economic diversification and development. The venture, which has a portfolio of infrastructure projects spanning a variety of sectors, combines the expertise, networks and capital of both the public and private sectors.
AFC’s investment will make a significant contribution to the development of these projects, which include: a new Mineral Terminal, a General Logistics terminal, as well as other special infrastructure projects.
GSEZ also owns and operates the Nkok Special Economic Zone and the Port Gentil Special Economic zone, which is in early development.
His Excellency, Mr. Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Republic of Gabon, said: “I am pleased to be entering into this agreement with Africa Finance Corporation. It will allow us to develop GSEZ’s existing infrastructure and implement a number of new projects.”
“Our relationships with influential private sector institutions are crucial to the successful implementation of large scale infrastructure projects. Ultimately these projects will drive Gabon’s economic development and improve the lives of Gabonese citizens,” he said.
Gabon has the benefit of an abundance of land as well as enviable natural resources, with long-established oil, timber and mining industries, and some of the world’s largest deposits of manganese and iron ore.
Olam International has been at the forefront in the development of the GSEZ projects in line with the Gabonese republic’s “Emergent Gabon Strategy”, which seeks to reduce the country’s reliance on crude oil and diversify into other sectors.
Olam began operations in Gabon in 1999 and is now developing multiple agro-industrial and infrastructure projects in the country, with the Gabonese Republic as a joint venture partner.
Gagan Gupta, President and Country Head for Olam in Gabon and CEO of GSEZ, said: “it is indeed a great pleasure to have AFC join us as a partner to invest in and grow the GSEZ franchise. This investment brings to bear our vision of a diversified and vibrant Gabonese economy, which can hopefully further contribute to and favorably impact the wider CEMAC region.”
“AFC’s investment in the company gives additional impetus to GSEZ, through the access to AFC’s considerable financial and technical resources, which will be invaluable in identifying and executing on the vast opportunities in Gabon, and in the larger CEMAC region,” he said.
Gabon became the 10th member of AFC in August 2015. The corporation’s other members are: Cape Verde, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Uganda.
As with all members, Gabon’s membership enables AFC to receive preferred creditor status within the country, the benefits of which reduce AFC’s investment risk, enabling the Corporation to provide more competitive financing solutions. Andrew Alli, President & CEO of Africa Finance Corporation, said: “We are delighted to be able to build on our well-established partnerships with the Republic of Gabon and with Olam by making this investment, which will help to accelerate the development of these infrastructure assets and diversify the economy of Gabon.”