In a significant turn of events, Gabon announces the lifting of financial sanctions imposed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) following the ousting of President Ali Bongo in a coup this August. The decision comes after officials from the government and AfDB convened in Morocco to mutually agree on resuming collaborative efforts.
President Bongo, who served two terms, saw Gabon through a transformative period following his father’s 41-year rule. The AfDB, dedicated to fostering sustainable economic development in Africa and poverty reduction, deems the resumption of work with Gabon as a positive stride.
However, challenges persist on the international front, as U.S. President Joe Biden recently excluded Gabon from the African Growth and Opportunity Act trade program. This initiative granted duty-free access to the U.S. market for Gabon’s exports. President Biden cited concerns over the country’s struggles in establishing and consistently progressing in political pluralism and the rule of law.
Gabon, an OPEC member, grapples with oil wealth concentrated among an elite, contributing to economic disparities. The nation faces high youth unemployment, with nearly 40 percent of those aged 15 to 24 unemployed in 2020, according to the World Bank. The AfDB’s decision marks a positive step toward economic recovery for Gabon, but global challenges persist.