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Gabon Joins the Club of Military Putchers

By Peter Koenig


September 02, 2023 - Information Clearing House - "Global Research " --- Ali Bongo is the son of Omar Bongo, who was president of Gabon from 1967 until his death in 2009. Ali took over at the time of his father’s death. During his father’s presidency, Ali was Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Today, 31 August, General Brice Oligui Nguema, was named Gabon’s new leader. He served the Central African country’s long-time former president Omar Bongo before finally turning on his son, ousting leader Ali Bongo.

The announcement of the voting results on 30 August 2023, they say, prompted the military coup of Gabon, a resources-rich Central African country at the African West Coast. The military claimed electoral fraud – what else is new, just look at elections in the west and around the world.

Gabon is a former French colony – and new economic and monetary colony – for the last 50-plus years. See this and this.

The new Gabonese military junta rejected the election results, dissolved all state institutions, and placed Ali Bongo under house arrest. It looks like this may be the end of a 55-year Bongo-family dynasty. See this from BBC:

Unlike other West- and Central African countries, Gabon has no US military base, but easy access to military advice and training from the US largest African military base in Djibouti.

These are the recent Francophone African military uprisings:

Niger (July 2023);

Burkina Faso (January 2022),

Guinea (September 2021);

Chad (April 2021);

Mali (August 2020);

and now Gabon (30 August 2023).

At the outset, it looks like the former French colonies and present French neo-colonies have had enough of French enslavement and shameless monetary exploitation.

That may be true, though, at the same time, there is a growing US influence visible in West- and Central Africa. Maybe Madame Victoria Nuland’s – Deputy US Secretary of State – recent three visits to the region are indicative. The latest visit to Niger took place on 7 August 2023, under the pretext of the US interest to restore stability in the Region.

See this for further analysis.

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It looks quite convincingly like Washington would like to get rid of France in Africa and replace the French with their own style of neo-colonialism.

The 14 West (8) and Central (6) African former French colonial territories may finally get rid of the cursed, French Central Bank controlled CFA Franc which was their French-imposed currency since “independence”, analogous to a highly coercive price for independence.

But, will it be replaced by the US-dollar?

God forgive! May they – all 14 West-and Central African countries – apply for BRICS membership at the next round in 2024. One of the BRICS top-priorities is de-dollarization.

Interests in Gabon?

Other than enhancing the strategic stronghold in Africa – against the potential interests of Russia and China – Gabon has sizable natural resources. It is one of the resources-richest Sub-Sahelian countries.

According to World Bank data, Gabon’s surface is 267,670 sq. km (2020), about half the size of France (547,557 sq. km). Of Gabon’s total surface, some 88% is covered by forest, mostly rain forest. This level of forestation can be maintained thanks to Gabon’s relatively low population of only 2.4 million (World Bank 2023 estimate).

Gabon is situated in a region known for its mineral wealth. Gabon’s minerals include, timber, manganese, diamonds, gold, and uranium. Minerals are so important to the country’s economy that the entire economy revolves around the country’s mining industry, to the detriment of agricultural development.

Mining Industry
Gabon has the second largest deposit of manganese in the world and is currently the world’s third largest producer.  From high-grade manganese to minerals, there are over 250 million tons of manganese reserves, and their metal content is between 48% to 52%.

Manganese is Gabon’s second largest export product, accounting for roughly 11% of Gabon’s total exports.  La Compagnie Minière de l’Ogooue (COMILOG), a subsidiary of the French company ERAMET, is the largest company currently producing manganese in Gabon.

Mining prospects also exist for iron, copper, diamonds, and other minerals.

See this.

Oil and Gas

Gabon has the sixth largest proven oil deposits in Africa, with an estimated 3.68 billion barrels of oil reserves. The daily production is estimated at 0.244 million barrels, with a minimal local consumption of 0.013 million barrels. The balance is exported. More than 90% of it to the United States.

Gabon, the fourth largest oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa, posted strong economic growth over the past decade, driven mainly by oil and manganese production. In 2020, the oil sector accounted for 38.5% of GDP and 70.5% of exports despite efforts to diversify the economy.

Gabon also has large deposits of natural gas which are estimated to be over 28.3 billion cubic meters. The production of the natural gas in the country is estimated to be about 0.1 billion cubic meters per year. Unlike the country’s crude oil which is primarily destined for foreign markets, Gabon consumes all the natural gas it produces. See this.

Gabon’s almost exclusive reliance on oil exports is a real danger for her economy and social development, especially given the volatility of hydrocarbon prices. Due to this reliance on petrol income, the agricultural sector has been neglected to the point where, according to government estimates, more than 80% of food is imported – and this given the high degree of fertility of Gabon’s soil. See this.

Food imports make for food price volatility an instability.

Given her resources, Gabon may be one of the most obvious Sahel countries attracting foreign interests. In this case, the US wants to strengthen their foothold in Gabon. Washington controls now almost 100% of the country’s crude oil exports, not to be challenged by other contenders.

The hydrocarbon energy market which is hypocritically being suppressed by the west for the climate change hoax while every western country knows that without hydrocarbon the world economy as it presents itself today would collapse. Today, still about 85% of all energy used in the world stems from hydrocarbons.

Gabon’s hydrocarbon resources might be sought after also by other blocs, like China and Russia. The US will make sure they will not lose out on what they already control. Not to forget all the other natural resources riches Gabon possesses.

Therefore, it is not to be excluded that Washington may have played a role in timing the military coup just coinciding with the Gabonese elections – fake elections, naturally.

Let’s see, if and when Washington’s Madame Nuland will show up and look for order and calming unrest in Gabon – with US assistance, of course.

Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he worked for over 30 years around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020).

Peter is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is also a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University, Beijing. 

Featured image: Satellite image of Gabon (Licensed under the Public Domain)


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