Delegation of the European Union to Gabon, for Sao Tomé-and-Principe and ECCAS

Gabon and the EU

11/05/2016 - 16:58
EU relations with Country

The partnership between the European Union (EU) and Gabon is based on political dialogue, trade and development assistance.

The Cotonou Agreement, signed in 2000 in Benin's economic capital and revised in 2005, which links the European Union to the African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP), is the foundation of the partnership between the EU and Gabon. It is based on five interdependent pillars:

  • The strengthening of the political partnership;
  • The promotion of peace, security, democratic governance and human rights;
  • Development strategies and the objective of reducing poverty;
  • The establishment of a new framework for economic and trade cooperation;
  • The reform of financial cooperation.

The EU Delegation maintains regular political dialogue with the authorities of Gabon on themes such as development, the environment, gender equality, migration, arms trade and the respect for human rights and democratic principles.

This dialogue includes members of the government and the country’s various institutions, as well as economic and social actors, including civil society organisations.

Gabon plays an important role in the process of maintaining peace in the Central African region. The country sits on the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and is a signatory to a cooperation agreement on security in the Gulf of Guinea.

Trade relations between Gabon and the European Union are governed by the trade chapter of the Cotonou Agreement.

The objective of this sizeable agreement on assistance and trade exchanges is to promote and accelerate the economic, cultural and social development of the ACP States on the one hand and to deepen and diversify their relations with the European Union and its Member States in a spirit of solidarity and mutual interest on the other.

Since 1 January 2008, Gabon benefited from the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) of the European Union. However, since 1 January 2014, Gabon can no longer benefit from this system of preferences, following the adoption by the European Union of its new GSP (Regulation No 978/2012 of 25 October 2012) which now reserves preferences to the "low-income" and the "lower-middle income" countries according to the World Bank classification. With Gabon being classified as an "upper-middle income country", it can no longer benefit from this system.

However, it is classified as 111 out of 189 on the Human Development Index (HDI 2014 of the United Nations).

Currently, Gabon is therefore no longer benefiting from any preferential system for its exports to the European Union. Only Okoume veneer plywood sheets are the subject of a derogation until 2018.

The Economic Partnership Agreement with Central Africa

Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome and Principe form part of the regional configuration ‘Central Africa’ which is currently negotiating an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union. This configuration also includes the other member states of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Chad) and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This agreement, currently in the process of negotiation, constitutes one of the alternatives that would enable Gabon to be guaranteed free access to the European market for all its products and for an unlimited period.

Fisheries Partnership Agreement

The Fisheries Partnership Agreement was concluded between the EU and Gabon on 24 July 2013 for six years, and is tacitly renewable.

You will find further information on the European Commission website Maritime Affairs – Fisheries

Under negotiation:

Partnership agreement on the protection of forests

As a middle-income country, the budget for the 11th EDF for Gabon is subject to the differentiation criterion (EUR 13 million versus EUR 39 million for the 10th EDF).

The EU will concentrate its support on a single sector, namely ‘technical and vocational education’, with the objective of supporting Gabon in its economic diversification and job creation. This sector is insufficiently developed and structured to respond to the current and future demands of a skilled workforce. The proposal of choice for the sector falls within the scope of the ‘Strategic Plan for an Emerging Gabon 2025’ which is based on three pillars: the Green Gabon, the Industrial Gabon and the Service-focused Gabon.

In terms of cooperation, the overall objective of the EU is to promote growth and sustainable development to reduce poverty.

One of the innovative points of the Cotonou Agreement is to support non-state actors (NSAs)In Gabon, the European Commission supported non-state actors in funding through the EDF, a project to support the strengthening of Non State actors (PROGREANE).

Progreane objectives were :

  • strengthening their organizational capacity and mobilization of NSAs at national level on public debates related to the improvement of living conditions of populations and social issues (9 constituted networks),
  • strengthening the capacity of NSAs in their internal structure and training of their members to increase their capacity as service providers.

You will find more information on the projects and programs financed in the Gabon project section.

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