HTLC Network | Gabon
HTLC Network is a valuable support that can help you to transform the challenges of an international relocation into a successful and satisfying life experience. We provide global corporate and private relocation and immigration services and we are present in many different parts of the world, being able to meet your requests, to ensure the utmost attention to every detail
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WELCOME TO GABON

map-gabon

Gabon lies on the Equator, on the Atlantic Ocean coast, between the Republic of the Congo to the south and east, Equatorial Guinea to the northwest and Cameroon to the north.

 

The land: Gabon is located in the western part of central Africa, it borders with Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, with Cameroon to the north, and with the Republic of the Congo to the east and south. On the west is the The Gulf of Guinea, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean. The country is approx 270,000 km² in size and has an estimated population of 1,500,000. The capital of Gabon is Libreville.

 

History: The earliest inhabitants of the area were Pygmies, these were largely replaced and absorbed by Bantu tribes as they migrated. The first Europeans arrived in the C15th, and in 1885 Gabon came under French occupation. The nation’s present name originates from “Gabão”, Portuguese for “cloak”, this is because of the shape of the Komo River estuary which is close to the capital of Libreville. In 1910, Gabon became one of the four territories of French Equatorial Africa, a federation that survived until 1959. These territories became independent on August 17, 1960.

 

Since independence, Gabon has been one of the more stable African countries. President Omar Bongo was in power from 1967 until his death in 2009. Gabon introduced a multiparty system and a new constitution in the early 1990s that allowed for a more transparent electoral process and for reforms of governmental institutions.

 

People: Gabon is a French equatorial country, home to over forty ethnic groups. The largest group is the Fang, forming 40 percent of the population. Other major groups are the Teke, the Eshira, and the Pounou. Although similar in culture, the different groups have many differing customs that adds a richness and variety to the country. Unlike many other African nations, Gabon has seen little inter-fighting between its different peoples.

 

Economy: Gabon’s economy is dominated by oil. Oil revenues comprise roughly 80% of exports although production had declined since its peak output in 1997. Some estimates suggest that Gabonese oil will be expended by 2025.

 

The mining industry (manganese) is big, as is logging, which prior to the discovery of oil was the country’s major industry. Recent explorations point to the presence of the world’s largest unexploited iron ore deposit, so the country holds much potential for future growth.

 

Climate: Gabon has a tropical climate. The hottest month is January, with an average high at Libreville of 31° C (88° F) and an average low of 23° C (73° F). Average July temperatures in the capital can range between 20° and 28° C (68° and 82° F). From June to September there is virtually no rain but high humidity; there is occasional rain in December and January. During the remaining months, rainfall is heavy.

libreville

Gabon is probably the only place in the world where you can see Gorillas, Whales and Elephants on the beach in one day! The country remains one of the true areas of untouched and unknown wilderness in Central Africa.

 

The capital: Libreville is the capital and largest city of Gabon. The population is estimated to be over half a million. The city is a port on the Komo River, near the Gulf of Guinea, and a trade center for the timber industry. Whilst not a major expatriate destination, Libraville has expatriate suitable housing in some of its residential areas, and offers a choice of International schools in both French and English languages.

 

Main expatriate destination cities: South of Libreville, further down the coast lies Port Gentil , the second-largest city of Gabon and a also a leading seaport. It is the center of Gabon’s petroleum and timber industries.

 

Main foreign investors: Gabon has benefited from considerable private investment centered on the development of petroleum resources. In the past, French investments have always predominated, with the United Kingdom following, since independence, however, Gabon has sought additional sources of investment and also US companies have invested in the lumber industry, oil exploration, and mining. France still remains the country’s main investor with China also having an interest.

 

Expatriate living: The city of Libreville offers expatriate level housing and international schools. Medical facilities are limited but are adequate for routine and basic needs. Infrastructure in the main cities is good, but travelling outside the cities can present challenges. Gabon is a francophone country; visitors who do not speak French will face difficulties in communication associated with the language barrier. Foreigners should always carry identification with them in the event they are stopped at a police checkpoint. Carrying photocopies of passport and visa are recommended.

 

Cultural Awareness: The Gabonese people are very communal. The concept of personal space is very different to that within Europe or US. When people are interested in something, they stare at it. It is not viewed as rude to call something what it is, to identify someone by his or her race, or to ask someone for something that is wanted. Foreigners are often offended by this. They may feel personally invaded by having someone stand in their space, insulted at being called white, and put off by people who ask them for their watch and shoes. None of these things are meant in a negative way, however, as they simply reflect the up-front nature of the Gabonese.

 

Leisure activities and opportunities: Within Libreville lies the ‘Arboretum de Sybang’ which is a huge tree sanctuary boasting thousands of local species. It is worth a visit. Libraville city offers various arts and cultural centers such as the ‘International Center for Bantu Civilizations’; ‘The Gabonese Museum’ featuring Gabon’s history and artistic relics and ‘The French Cultural Center’. There is an annual cultural celebration as well, with performances by musicians and dancers from many different groups in celebration of Gabon’s diversity.

 

‘Cap Esterias’ and ‘Cap Santa Clara’ are beautiful beaches about 30 minutes by car from Libreville. Another popular spot is ‘Ponte Denis’, a peninsula across the bay close to Libreville; it can be reached by a boat trip of approx 25 minutes. Not to be missed is the Wonga -Wangue National Park.

Prepare and Plan Visit
In this initial contact the Relocation Coordinator will brief the Transferee, introducing destination services commissioned, and provide access codes to HTLC Network on-line City-Specific Resource Guides. In addition, the Relocation Coordinator will help the Transferee assess personal and family’s housing needs, as well as their hopes and plans for the sojourn in your new destination. The Transferee will be asked to fill out a Personal Needs Analysis Form, which will enable customized service delivery. After gaining a sense of the Transferee’s needs, the Relocation Coordinator will arrange appointments with schools and real estate agents, an appointment will be set up with one of the Local Counsellors for a city briefing and a programme will be finalised for accompanied property and school viewings.

 

Airport Pickup and Greeting The Transferee and family will be met at the airport by a Local Counsellor and accompanied to designated hotel.

 

Destination Country and City Information
The Transferee will be given a briefing on the local city and life in your new destination in general, and will be encouraged to ask any questions. An Information Pack on the destination city will be provided. This Pack includes an information sheet with the HTLC Network office and Local Counsellor contact information and emergency telephone numbers. Further, it includes a city and transport map as well as a hard copy of HTLC Network own City-Specific Resource Guide, which contains a wealth of information such as telephone access codes, English-speaking doctors and expatriate clubs. When available, a copy of the English Yellow Pages, local English language periodicals and other relevant information will also be included in the Information Pack.

 

auto-europe-driving-informationCity by Zone Tour
The purpose of this tour is to familiarise the Transferee with selected areas of the city and type of housing and amenities available, in order to be better prepared to select the neighbourhood most suitable for personal and family needs. The City By Zone Tour is often delivered in conjunction with a house hunting programme.

 

International Schooling The Transferee will be briefed on educational opportunities in the area. The Relocation Coordinator will schedule appointments at the selected schools, and the Local Counsellor will accompany the Transferee to pre-arranged appointments although the appointments will be privately held between the Transferee and school administrators. Where possible, the Relocation Coordinator will organise enrolment procedure and arrange for company invoicing.

 

Full-Day Househunting Programme Following an in-depth briefing by the Relocation Coordinator a programme of property viewings will be arranged. The Local Counsellor will accompany the Transferee to pre-arranged viewings of up to eight properties.

 

Two-Day Househunting Programme Following an in-depth briefing by the Relocation Coordinator a programme of property viewings will be arranged. The Local Counsellor will accompany the Transferee to pre-arranged viewings of up to fifteen properties.

 

Lease Negotiation After the Transferee has selected a property, the Relocation Coordinator will negotiate lease conditions with the real estate agency or landlord according to The national destination law. HTLC Network coordinator will prepare a contract that ensures legal protection for the client. Particular attention is given to include a break clause, as international assignments often change in duration and the aim is to give maximum flexibility within the limits of the national destination law.

 

bigstock-Real-Estate-Home-Inspection-Re-20778977Property Inspection and Inventory Once the lease has been signed, a thorough property inspection is taken in the presence of the Transferee. This includes an inventory of any furnishings, general condition of the property, and meter readings for utility contracts.

 

Utility Connections, Phone Line and Bank Account The Relocation Coordinator will arrange all utility and telephone connections, and a Local Counsellor will accompany the Transferee to open a bank account in the selected area.

 

Settling-In Assistance The Local Counsellor will spend time with the Transferee and family, assisting with requested elements of the relocation process, such as arranging language training, obtaining a satellite decoder or internet service provider, shopping for furniture or securing house contents insurance. Duration of this service depends on various company authorizations.

 

Car Purchase or Lease The Relocation Coordinator will brief the Transferee on the logistics of making an automobile purchase and will research reputable dealers in the area. The Local Counsellor will accompany the Transferee to dealers and act as a translator. Once the Transferee has made the selection, HTLC Network will take care of necessary documentation including insurance cover. For long-term rental HTLC Network will advise local availability of this service.

 

Local Registration
If the Transferee requests, and is eligible, the Local Counsellor will assist with National Health Registration. City hall registration is a separate service and if authorizied, HTLC Network will assist with the whole bureaucratic procedure at the relative cityhall.

 

Closeup of a call center employee with headset at workplaceOngoing Phone Support The HTLC Network support Helpline is available to all Transferees for 90 days from date of property contract signing. Extensions to this Helpline can be added in periods of three months.

 

Car Importation Importation of car to your new destination, including full document assistance and re-registration with Vehicle registry.

 

Full Assignment Tracking Full tracking of all deadlines throughout duration of the Transferees international assignment, notification given of all scheduled renewal dates, such as housing contracts, Permit of Stay and Work Permits. Ad Hoc Services Service rendered both from back and front office is available on an hourly and daily basis.

Immigration procedures and requirements vary greatly from country to country. Documents requested from applicants depend on the citizenship of the individual applying and the status he wishes to obtain in the destination country, be it authorisation to work, authorisation for accompanying family members, tourist or study visas, temporary or permanent residency status.

 

Passport immigration stamp

• HTLC Network has been selected by many International Law and Immigration Firms as well as Global Relocation Companies to represent them exclusively for immigration

• We work closely with the relevant governmental and police authorities in each country

• Our Immigration Team are experts in immigration laws and keep abreast of changing requirements and procedures

• We prepare all documentation for HR, all you have to do is print out and sign

• We inform the Transferee which specific documents are required , which translations must be obtained and if these must be legalised

• We provide HR and Transferees with information on the process flow, timing and specific legal requirements of each destination

• We update all parties involved regularly as to the status of the application

• Whenever possible, we act with a Power of Attorney on behalf of the company and the Transferee; when the Transferee’s presence is required, he will be accompanied to the relevant office in the destination city

• Our Local Counsellors, residents and locals of the destination city, are able to present the all prepared documentation to the relevant offices in person; thus speeding up the process and ensuring an efficient service

 

For more info about our immigration services in Gabon please contact our marketing department at: info@htlcnetwork.com

Libreville_gabonResource guides:

Gabon’s capital city Libreville is a vibrant city with a population of around half a million people. Compared to other regional capitals, Libreville is a fairly modern looking town, with casinos and large hotels lining the best beaches in town.

 

Libreville was founded as a town by freed slaves in 1848. The French navy had stopped a Portuguese ship carrying the slaves to Brazil, and let the liberated men and women settle in Libreville.

 

“Libreville” means free town in French. The city grew slowly up until independence from France in 1960, and since has steadily increased its population, whereby almost half of all Gabonese now live in the capital.

FAQ Gabon - Housing
What can I expect to find in an unfurnished, a semi-furnished or a furnished property?

An unfurnished property would have a kitchen.
A semi furnished property would have some basic furniture.
A fully furnished property would have all furnishings but these may not be of expatriate standard.

What sort of flexibility will I have to negotiate rent or furnishings?

There is a certain amount of flexibility; it depends on the individual landlord – rental fee will vary accordingly.

How many properties will I be shown?

This depends on the Relocation Package you have; HTLC Network Basic Package includes 8 properties and the Extended Packages includes 15 properties. You will be told at the outset how many properties you will be shown or how much time you have available to do the house hunting. The properties provided would be as close to your ‘Needs Analysis’ description as possible according to what is available on the market at the time.

How can I secure a property that I choose?

It is not common practice to make a pre-contractual agreement, or to pay a holding deposit, therefore once a suitable property has been identified, negotiation takes place and contract is drawn up.

What costs are involved in renting a property?

Real Estate Fee: equal to one months’ rent
Security Deposit: usually 2-3 months’ rent
Initial rental payment: usually one month but landlords can ask for more upfront, especially for larger and more exclusive properties.

What other expenses should I expect to pay?

There is a fee for contract registration , which is the responsibility of the tenant.

 

A service fee or condominium fee is to be paid when renting a property in a building with other dwellings this charge is to cover use, lighting and maintenance of any common areas. This fee is paid monthly on top of the monthly rental payment.

What is the process flow to rent a property?

Once a suitable property is identified, the contract is negotiated and is signed by both parties. Payment is made.

What chance do I have of receiving my full deposit back when I leave the property?

Provided the property is left in the state in which it was when consigned, and the required notice is given, there should be no issue in obtaining full deposit paid back.

 

HTLC Network insists on preparing a detailed check-in sheet upon move in which is signed by both tenant and landlord, this is referred to at check out to establish property state at time of consignment.

What if I need to terminate the lease early?

It is usually possible to include a break clause in the contract; this is agreed between both parties at the time of contract negotiation. Advance notice is required and rent paid in advance will be forfeited, as well as the security deposit.

Can I make any alterations to the property?

Only with written permission of the landlord.

FAQ Gabon - Utilities
What utility expenses will I have to pay?

Electricity, Water, Gas is available bottled- sometimes garbage tax is included in rental charge, sometimes it is separate.

How are these accounts charged?

They are usually kept in name of landlord but can be transferred to tenant. Bills are emitted monthly. Electricity is either billed (according to meter reading) or by a prepaid meter. Water is billed according to consumption. Payment is made directly to the utility companies.

What documents do I need to install a Telephone Line?

ID (Passport or Foreigner’s Card), supporting documentation showing the property is being rented ( copy of lease contract ), supporting bank documentation, application form.

Will I be able to get Satellite TV?

Yes, this is available.

How long will I have to wait for my telephone?

2 weeks to one month

How will i be billed?

Bills are sent to the property address on a monthly basis.

FAQ Gabon - Driving
Is my licence valid in Gabon?

An international license is acceptable – if you have your own country’s license then a local license must be obtained from ‘’La Direction Générale des Transports Terrestres” (the process can take approx 3 months).

For how long can I drive my own car in Gabon?

A car must be imported and have local license plates issued.

Can i buy a car?

Yes, upon presentation of a Foreigner’s Card.

FAQ Gabon - Safety
How can I ensure the security of my family?

Although risk is not high, 24 hour security is advisable. General safety precautions should be taken.

Are there any precautions a foreigner must take?

Although risk is not high, 24 hour security is advisable. General safety precautions should be taken.

FAQ Gabon - Health concerns
Do I have to be vaccinated before arriving to Gabon?

We advise you check with your embassy before travelling to the area – malaria is rife and suitable precautions should be taken.

Mandatory vaccines:
– Yellow Fever
– Meningitis
– Hepatitis B
– Typhoid

Advisable vaccines:
– Hepatitis A
– Hepatitis C
– Rabies: advisable for a long stay
– Tetanus
– Poliomyeliti

Are there any particular health risks in Gabon?

As well as the above, transmitted diseases related to water: “leptospirose”, “bilharzioses”, and food infection.

FAQ Gabon - About HTLC Network
Why should I choose HTLC Network?

– Extensive rapidly growing client list.
– Exclusive partner/representative of many Global Relocation Service Providers.
– Exclusive representative of many International Law and Immigration Firms.
– Quality control guarantee: Head Office directs all relocations and immigrations in every destination.
– All staff required to attend on-going training sessions and workshops to keep updated as to global mobility needs.
– No language barriers – Assistance provided in all major European languages and many others.
– Corporate consultation with HTLC Netowork’s’ Representatives at location of choice.
– HTLC Network own ‘Resource Guides’ providing a wealth of everyday information for expatlife in destination city.
– Comprehensive FAQs for each country serviced.
– Red Alert List to prepare for the specific challenges of each destination.
– Extra ‘Safety’ section in Resource Guides for countries posing specific security threats.
– 24-hour Emergency Helpline for Transferees throughout the duration of the relocation.
– Complimentary 3-month Helpline.

FAQ Gabon - For Corporate
How can we determine a realistic Housing Budget for Transferees?

During HTLC Network’ initial teleconference with the client we go through an in-depth ‘Needs Analysis’ which can include Housing Budget variables for the Destination City. HTLC Network will work with the Company to ensure the workforce locate properties of a suitable standard within the parameters set by corporate policy.

Is it necessary for the Transferee to be present to apply for documents?

For the presentation of document application, it varies from city to city. Wherever possible HTLC Network will prepare power of attorney  in order for a Local Counsellor to act on behalf of the Transferee and family.

 

To release the obtained documents, the Transferee and other members of the family must be present as an original signature is required.

Can the contract be signed in the name of a foreign company?

Legally, yes, as long as it can be proved that the individual who signs the contract has the legal right to sign as a representative of the Company. Many landlords however, will not accept this as it is harder to take a foreign Company to court should there be any missing rent payments or problems. As landlord’s rarely accept a foreign Company signing the lease, it is usually signed by the local company that is VAT registered locally.

 

HTLC Network will prepare the contract in the name of a legal representative of the Company. We require full data of the individual, a photocopy of his/her passport ID pages and a photocopy of a document demonstrating position within the Company.

 

The prepared contract will be emailed to the appropriate Company contact and instructions will be given on how it is to be printed out and signed. Once signed, one of HTLC Network’ Local Counsellors will collect the contract and deliver it to the real estate agent for the signature of the landlord. A signed copy will be returned to the Company whilst the three copies of the contract are being registered, thereafter a registered copy will be delivered.

 

Arrangements will be made to take a thorough inventory in the presence of the tenant and landlord.

How can we guarantee all Transferees will receive the same standard of service? (staff relocating to main cities versus more rural areas)

All Local Counsellors are really ‘local’ to the area where they assist Transferees. They are selected for their good knowledge of their city area.

 

All Local Counsellors are trained by HTLC Network to follow our set pattern of delivering services using an in-house ‘Training and Operations Manual’.

 

All Local Counsellors are closely directed by Office Coordinators, ensuring a consistent standard of service is delivered.

How does HTLC Network handle Group Moves?

HTLC Network aims to equip your workforce to settle into their new environment as soon as possible. Upon arrival they are presented with a local Information Pack. They are given access to our on-line City Specific Resource Guides that provide general local information as well as specific local information once a suitable property has been located.

 

We have a 24hour emergency helpline throughout the duration of the relocation. We provide a 90 day complimentary phone line that can be extended throughout the duration of the assignment.

 

Our aim is to teach the Transferee how to live in his new city and to equip him to be as independent as possible.

What ongoing support is provided for Transferees and families?

All relocations are handled by the same system of centralisation. When required, we arrange for a member of our office team to go to the location of a group move to be an in-house Coordinator, working from the Client Company’s premises as a point of reference for HR, Transferees and their families.

 

In main centres we have several Local Counsellors.

Geography

Area: 267,745 km2 sq km
Time Zone: UTC+1
Capital city: Libreville
Bordering countries: Western Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean at the Equator, between Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea
Climate: tropical; always hot, humid

Government

Stateform: Gabonese Republic
Legislative Branch: Bicameral legislature
National Holiday: Independence Day, 17 August (1960)
Currency: Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale francs (XAF)

Population

Ethnic groups: Bantu tribes, including four major tribal groupings (Fang, Bapounou, Nzebi, Obamba); other Africans and Europeans, 154,000, including 10,700 French and 11,000 persons of dual nationality
Religion: Christian 55%-75%, animist, Muslim less than 1%
Languages: French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi Libreville.