Gabon’s Head of State, Ali Bongo Ondimba, during his annual address to the New Year’s Nation, expressed his ambition to create 50,000 jobs within five years through wood processing.
During his address to the Nation on 31 December 2020, the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo, expressed concern about unemployment in his country exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. To solve the problem, he announced that he would create 50,000 jobs over the next five years. He believes, in fact, that 2021 must be the year of catching up. The opportunity to lay the foundations of a new Gabon. A Gabon that offers its young people real prospects for the future”. “In 2021, we must do more for our youth. As far as employment is concerned, our top priority is to create as many new jobs as the number of young people entering the labour market each year. We will do this by stepping up our economic diversification policy. Diversification, which must give priority to sectors with a high level of job creation. This is the case for wood, industry, agriculture, tourism and services,” he said, adding, “Our goals are specific and ambitious. Within 5 years, we aim to create 50,000 new jobs in the wood sector alone.” It thus relies on the local transformation of resources.
To achieve this ambition, the Gabonese head of state is counting on the local transformation of forest resources. Indeed, the country has been implementing for just under 10 years a policy of industrialization of the sector begun after the ban on raw log exports by President Ali Bongo. According to statistics provided by the Ministry of Forestry, the number of wood processing plants increased from 80 to 155 between 2009 and 2019.
Since 2009, the timber industry has been booming and occupies a prominent place in the country’s industrial landscape. To date, this sector is the second largest provider of employment and Gabon provides 8% of the wood used in the world. 80 species are currently exploited and another 400 are known and considered exploitable.