From June 20 to 22, the first edition of Gabon Wood Show took place at the Jardin Botanique in Libreville. Gabon's President Ali Bongo Ondimba opened the fair and visited some of the approximately 80 exhibitors. By 2010, Gabon has mainly exported roundwood, but in 2010 a ban was introducted by President Ondimba. The law has encouraged the development of local companies that produce sawn timber, veneer or plywood.
Many of the exhibitors were producers of Gabon wood products, but investors from India and China were even more present. Among the manufacturers of wood products, peeling veneer manufacturers were more active. In addition, machine manufacturers from China and India exhibited, as well as local furniture manufacturers, who are currently not exporting.
Some companies invest in the production of sawn timber and plywood in order to diversify, otherwise there is a great deal of focus on the production of peeled veneer. Well-known European companies such as Precious Woods and Rougier were also among the exhibitors. The presence of Rougier was apparently a last-minute decision. The exhibitor was Rougier Gabon, due to the fact that the French mother company is currently in bankruptcy proceedings. According to unconfirmed reports, hundreds of people have been fired in Gabon and Cameroon and a branch office in France has been closed.
Singapore-based Olam Group, which invests in agricultural projects around the world, created an industry hub named Nkok Gabon Special Economic Zone (Nkok GSEZ) 27 km from Libreville four years ago. There are now 70 woodworking companies in the Nkok Zone, most of them exporting peeled veneer to India or other Asian countries, and some to Europe.
90% of the area of Gabon is forested. 80% of the forests are made of Okoumé, the most widely used wood species in Gabon, followed by Ilomba.