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Omar Bongo’s name was on an impressive collection of public buildings — the senate, a university and a stadium, to name just a few — by the time he died in June after over 40 years as Gabon’s president.
His son Ali Bongo Ondimba is now keen to make his own mark after winning a disputed election in August.
Bongo has started with a flurry of ambitious promises to deliver both continuity and change after his father’s rule left Gabon peaceful but mired in corruption, inefficiency and still very much dependent on oil as reserves are coming to an end.
Creating an “Emerging Gabon” has become the catch phrase and officials faithfully reiterate government priorities of diversifying the oil-driven economy into one where funds will also be generated by green business, service industries and increasing local manufacturing to create jobs and boost the economy.