Bringing Prosperity to Life


Ranked 120th of 149

At a glance


120 th on the Legatum
Prosperity Index™



In the Prosperity Sub-Index rankings, Gabon performs best on Personal Freedom and Safety & Security and scores lowest on the Health sub-index.

Visit our Rankings table to see how Gabon compares to other countries.

Prosperity Gap

The ‘Prosperity Gap’ takes a country's GDP and uses it as the yardstick to measure a nation's expected Prosperity Index ranking.

Gabon is an upper-middle income country that is massively under-delivering prosperity given its wealth, and has the 6th biggest prosperity deficit in the world. In no sub-index does the country has a surplus; instead, it has the biggest prosperity deficit in the Health sub-index, and other considerable gaps specifically in the Economic Quality and Business Environment sub-indices.

In the chart above, each dot represents a country. The curve shows the general tendency with which prosperity increases as GDP per capita increases. If a country falls below the curve, then we can say that compared to all other countries, it is under-delivering prosperity for its citizens. Likewise, if a country rises above the curve, then we can say that it is over-delivering prosperity for its citizens. Learn more about the Prosperity Gap here.

Alternatively, have a look at the Prosperity Gap view on our Rankings table for a full list of countries and to see how each of them are performing on the various sub-indices.


The 2016 Prosperity Index captures Gabon as a country that has not been able to fully achieve its potential in terms of prosperity delivery. The country presents a substantial deficit when it comes to how much prosperity it delivers with its wealth. This is reflected by significant prosperity deficits in all nine sub-indices.

In particular, one of the weakest performance for Gabon comes in the Governance sub-index. There is low confidence in both the honesty of election and in the national government. Political institutions still struggle to ensure an efficient governance structure and corruption is widespread. The latest Presidential election, held in August 2016, was marred with violence and fraud: both contenders declared victory, and now the risk is that without a national recount of the vote, the opposition will respond to the government’s hard line with further violence.

Another area for concern is the Economic Quality sub-index. As the 5th largest oil producer in Africa, it is not surprising that Gabon has been relying on its oil production without really working on diversifying the economy. Thus the recent drop in oil prices has inevitably affected the country’s economy, which, also because of its poor business environment, is now struggling towards a sustainable revitalisation. When compared to its OPEC peers, however, Gabon’s GDP growth in the last five years is substantially higher. However, this has not translated into more prosperity for the population of the country, as shown by relatively high rates of unemployment and poverty. It is also worth noticing that Gabon has the highest level of tertiary education per worker in all Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as high levels of secondary education, but because of the lack of jobs, people still struggle to make ends meet. This mismatch between the skilled workforce and economic needs represents one of the major obstacles slowing Gabon’s delivery of prosperity

A substantial advantage in growth in Gabon has not benefitted its population in terms of creating new jobs and lifting people out of poverty.
A substantial advantage in growth in Gabon has not benefitted its population in terms of creating new jobs and lifting people out of poverty.

The Index shows a more positive picture when it comes to the Personal Freedom sub-index, Gabon’s best performance. The abolition of the death penalty in 2010, and the fact that freedom of religion is protected by the constitution and largely respected both in government and in society, are the main drivers of this performance. Yet, the media environment remains unfree. Nevertheless, Gabon has great prosperity potential if the country’s resources can be better managed and better governed.

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How to read this graph:
When comparing multiple countries on a spider chart, data points that appear
further away from the center represent a better performance to the points that are closer to the center.