Gabon. According to
CountryAAH, the military struck down a coup attempt on January
7 in which a group of soldiers tried to exploit the power
vacuum after President Ali Ben Bongo suffered a stroke in
October 2018 during a visit to Saudi Arabia. Bongo, who
stayed in Morocco for aftercare, returned in March.
Barely a week after the failed coup, Julien Nkoghe Bekale
was appointed prime minister. Bekale has held ministerial
posts under Bongo and his late father, Omar Ali Bongo.
The President rarely appeared in public and his
appearances were heavily regulated. A recorded TV talk was
broadcast on June 8 on the 10th anniversary of Omar Ali
Bongo's death. In August, Bongo was seen walking in a
ceremony in connection with Independence Day.
During the year, some members of the opposition and
individual organizations tried to obtain court orders that
Bongo should be examined to determine if he was healthy
enough to rule, but two courts rejected the claim.
Bongo said in a newspaper interview in October in
connection with his 10th anniversary as president that he
wanted to continue in office and promised economic reforms
and to fight corruption.
In October, the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
projected GDP to grow by 3.4% compared to 0.8% in 2018. This
was attributed to good development in the oil, mining and
timber industries. Oil still accounts for almost half of GDP
and 80% of export earnings.
The government was reformed in June in the wake of a
smuggling scandal with hardwood. The vice president and the
forest minister were dismissed.
In September, Norway signed an agreement in which Gabon
would receive $ 150 million over a ten-year period in
exchange for protecting the rainforest, which covers almost
90% of the country. Similar agreements have been signed with
Indonesia and Guyana, among others.