Gabon. After being re-elected in November 2005, President
Omar Bongo formed a new government in January. The country
got a new prime minister, Jean Eyeghe Ndong, and a few more
female ministers, but analysts did not expect a political
course change. The Gabonese Democratic Party (PDG) retained
as expected government power after a clear victory in
parliamentary elections in December. During the year, the
government and the opposition held a roundtable conference
on democratic reforms. The concrete results were limited,
but the increased openness was believed to have contributed
to the PDG majority being somewhat smaller than before.
CountryAAH, the biggest business deal in a long time was the decision
to give China a monopoly on iron extraction. At an estimated
total cost of more than SEK 4 billion, Chinese companies
will open an iron mine in Belinga in eastern Gabon, build a
hydroelectric plant there and build a railway to the coast.
There are estimated to be more than a billion tonnes of
iron; one of the largest unexploded deposits in the world.
The huge initial costs have previously slowed recovery.
The state airline Air Gabon went bankrupt in February
after incurring debts in excess of SEK 350 million. A newly
formed company, Air Gabon International, is 51% owned by
Royal Air Maroc and 49% by the Gabonese state.
Gabon and neighboring Equatorial Guinea, with the
mediation of the UN, launched an attempt to resolve, through
negotiations, a border dispute over a potentially oil-rich
part of the Gulf of Guinea.