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Central bank holds key to Gabon’s oil future

If oil companies are forced to hold revenues in the local currency—combined with mandated Opec cuts—the Central African country will struggle to attract the new investment it desires

A revised hydrocarbons code has cut taxes on Gabon’s oil industry, but foreign firms warn these reforms will count for little unless the regional central bank waters down plans to impose harsh new currency rules. Six countries including Opec members Gabon and Equatorial Guinea are part of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (Cemac) and use the Central African franc, which is governed by the Bank of Central African States (BEAC). The central bank’s new regulations would require companies to retain their revenues, which must be denominated in francs, at banks within the Cemac region. This would force firms to exchange dollar-denominated revenues into francs, incurring exchang



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