Gabon And Asoko Partner To Go Digital With Investment Promotion

The Gabon Virtual Deal Room allows local and international investors access to detailed and accurate information on the country’s business environment.

By Yvonne Tagoe on
25th February 2023

Like other African countries, Gabon has faced challenges such as a lack of transparency, inefficiencies, and low collaboration among stakeholders in its construction and other sectors. But an innovative tool, the Gabon Virtual Deal Room (GVDR), is tackling these issues thanks to a partnership with Asoko Insights, a business intelligence company.

The collaboration allows Asoko Insights to reach investors and gives them a better understanding of Gabon’s market.

Present at the GVDR launch in the UK in October 2022 were UK Minister for International Trade, James Duddridge; Asoko CEO, Rob Withagen; Gabon's Minister of Investment Promotion and Public-Private Partnerships, Hugues Mbadinga Madiya; Minister of Industry, Pacôme Moubelet Boubeya. The signing of the agreement followed Gabon joining the Commonwealth in June 2022 and seeking to expand investment opportunities and projects.

The online platform, Gabon Virtual Deal Room, allows local and international investors to access detailed and accurate information about the Gabonese business environment. Financial and other data about current investment opportunities can be made available to interested parties, thus allowing them to make informed investment decisions.

Madiya said: “The acquisition of this digital tool makes it possible to promote investments and gives greater visibility to investment projects. It also allows for fluidity of information in terms of programmes, reforms, and opportunities, as well as data on the profile of investors. All of this will result in a faster investment process, which will have the advantage of building Gabon’s reputation as a business destination and increasing the flow of FDI in Gabon.”

As Gabon positions itself as an entryway to the Central African region of 180 million consumers, the expectation is to get a broader range of deals on the platform to attract more investors. Information is available on public-private partnership deals and opportunities, largely construction projects and others, including education and telecoms. Businesses involved in construction in Africa would be interested in looking at options in a broader business environment.

There are several benefits to having a forward-looking digital platform to help facilitate investment and engage businesses.

Rob Withagen, co-founder and CEO of Asoko Insight, said, “Gabon’s business environment offers a wealth of opportunities to investors, and the government’s commitment to easing the operating environment, through innovative initiatives such as the Gabon Virtual Deal Room is indicative of its seriousness in working with the private sector to meet its development goals. We are pleased to put our technology and experience in digitising deal-making to use in support of this endeavour.”

Withagen said that through email, digital advertising, and other campaigns targeting a network of investors, he expects “more than 60 development finance institutions and more than 600 commercial investors operating in Africa will discover Gabon Virtual Deal Room’s projects.” He touted the country’s economic potential and said that given its economic potential, Gabon could take advantage of this innovative tool.

The platform is easier to engage with, and its deals represent the priorities of the Gabonese government. Regarding infrastructure development plans, businesses can assess projects' importance and quality standards.

This is a new way of looking at investment promotion on the continent, a digital shift from a primarily analog age while reaching out to a more prominent global audience using this digital on-ramp.

The GVDR hosts several construction projects in Gabon, including large-scale infrastructure projects, commercial developments, and residential building projects.

Current deals include an estimated US$131 million project to rehabilitate the Moanda-Lekoko road to boost the economic and social development of the area and improve traffic conditions.

Also on the list is a plan to build an interconnected grid powered by hydroelectric projects at an estimated cost of US$2 billion. This project aims to link hydropower projects to an interconnected grid that will supply electricity across several regions of Gabon.

Excess electricity may be sold to neighbouring Cameroon, Congo, and Equatorial Guinea. The project will improve the living conditions of communities that currently live without access to electricity.

Other deals are pending and yet to be costed, such as the University of Port-Gentil construction project to promote quality education. The construction of this university will significantly increase the capacity of reception and allow the baccalaureate winners to pursue university courses in an excellent academic environment.

By providing information and analysis of Gabon’s business ecosystem, construction project stakeholders, for example, can share documents and collaborate, as the platform has improved project management and delivery. Registered investors will be notified when new deals are added to the VDR, keeping them updated with opportunities from government-sponsored projects and investments from vetted private sector actors.

Another benefit is improved communications with parties collaborating in real-time. A key focus is reducing errors and maintaining the integrity of information, especially sensitive data that should only be available to specific stakeholders.

The GVDR improves transparency and accountability as stakeholders get access to all relevant documents, including design specifications, plans, and budgets. This gives all parties the project goals, timeline, and budget. They can also access project data and improve efficiency while eliminating paper documentation.

As with anything to do with technology, it is essential to address potential data breaches or security risks and integrate the platform with existing project management tools.

GVDR has already made a significant impact on the construction industry in Gabon. The platform's potential to improve project delivery, increase efficiency, and reduce costs makes it a vital tool for construction projects in the country. Gabon’s construction industry is expected to grow, with the GVDR expected to play a crucial role in the delivery of construction projects.

The Gabon Virtual Deal Room is changing the construction industry in Gabon, the government's commitment to innovation and progress in construction, and other industries.

When Gabon publishes its projects on the GVDR platform, Asoko Insights ensures investors can access current, relevant, and accurate information. Transparency is a significant aspect of the process.

Asoko Insights serves as a bridge between potential investors and opportunities on the continent. Virtual Deal Rooms are used by African and international DFIs, African governments, financial sector NGOs and private investors to build more efficient investment ecosystems.

As Gabon’s construction industry grows, the revolutionary GVDR is expected to play a significant role in project procurement and delivery in that country and beyond.

Top Photo: Roadworks in Gabon. (Source - Gabon Ministry of Investment Promotion and Public-Private-Partnerships)

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