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.
According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Gabon include Independence Day (August 16) and New Year (January 1). 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.