Following an appeal by the Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba for compatriots and non-governmental organisations to come to the aid of populations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, foodstuff worth 174 billion FCFA (about 348 million dollars) was imported into the country during the period of the pandemic.
Forty-six billion FCFA (about 92 million dollars) worth of food products were imported into the country within the first three months of the year, at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. However, food imports increased during the second quarter following the outbreak of the coronavirus and hitting a figure of 128.4 billion FCFA (about 256.8 million dollars).
Overall, food imports from abroad into Gabon during the period under review amounted to 174.4 billion FCFA as against 166.7 billion FCFA (about 333.4 million dollars) for the same period last year. This represents an increase of 4.6 per cent over last year’s food imports.
The Gabonese Directorate General of the Economy and Fiscal Policy estimated that foodstuff importation constituted 73.9 per cent of total imports of consumable goods into the country.
The increase in foodstuff imports is seen as the consequence of an appeal launched in March by the president for solidarity from compatriots shortly after the decision to lockdown Libreville, the national capital.
The appeal encouraged the business community, non-governmental organisations as well as individuals to contribute towards the assistance for vulnerable groups highly impacted by the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The foodstuff imported consisted mostly of rice and canned fish most of which have gone a long way to replenish the national Food Bank through the auspices of the government partner Ceca-Gadis Group.