Based on “The World Factbook” published by Central Intelligence Agency, Gabon has abundant natural resources, such as iron ore, crude oil and forestry. It seems to be viable that the nation should focus on industrialization with available labor rather than exporting natural resources themselves.
From economist’s point of view, labor intensive business with available natural resources will be the target industry in developing nations. Any industrialization will require capital influx but if the chosen industry is export-oriented, financing would be more accessible based on international trade financing.
According to my research, forestry resources can create a large loop of manufacturing business. It will start from saw logs, timber, construction panel, woodchips, woodpulp and final consumer products like paper, furniture as well as housing construction materials.
Gabon can integrate their forestry resources to final products, which are traded worldwide.
For recommendation, I would like to focus on Gabonese hardwood resources, namely Okoume, which is mostly used for the purpose of building boats. With the specie’s durable physical properties, it could be used for many other purposes such as construction materials. Gabon is exporting veneer and plywood products from their sawmills and with addition of molding machine to existing sawmills, they can manufacture more value-added lumber products such as decorative moldings and floorings, which are commonly used in EU, US and Japanese housing industry.
With proper marketing, Gabonese value-added lumber products can be exported. Depending on size of contract, manufacturers will be able to access trade financing through banks and other overseas financial institution.
Steps of implementation will be the following. In addition, details of each step should be explained on spreadsheet with numbers with allowing possible variances.
< Planning/Financing >
– Estimate input/output materials, cost of operation and projected revenue.
– Based on the figures, make business plan for financing.
< Manufacturing/Production >
– Secure reliable raw material purchase sources, equipment manufacturers. Plan human resources.
< Logistics/Supply Chain Management >
– Site identification for raw material procurement, manufacturing and shipping. Operation will be efficient if all of sites are close together with easy access to infrastructure.
< Marketing/Sales >
– Prepare marketing material, build ad site with links to social media (Facebook/Twitter)
– Prepare product sample packets
– Contact major distributor of products in EU, America and Asia
< Sustainability/Environmental Issue >
– Forestry resource business can be sustainable. Environmental issues should be considered in all of above stages.
Volunteering for Association of African Entrepreneurs,