At the end of 2001, parliamentary elections were held,
confirming the dominance of the PDG, when it got 84 out of
the 120 seats of the National Assembly. At the urging of
Bongo to form a government coalition, Abessole persuaded his
party members to join the government.
In March 2002, it was estimated that 60% of deaths in the
northern part of the country were due to the Ebola epidemic.
The Mekambo region and the border area with the Congo are
the most affected zones.
On May 6, 2003, Health Minister Faustin Boukoubi
announced that the Ebola epidemic was over.
security forces destroyed July 4 fishing villages near
Libreville, leaving hundreds of families without a roof over
their heads. According to the government, the villages were
used by drug dealers as an operating base and the
destruction was part of the fight against drugs.
In July 2003, the government amended the constitution,
enabling Bongo to run for presidential elections as many
times as he liked. Bongo whose term expired in 2005 after 36
years in power was sharply criticized by opposition leader
Pierre Mamboundou, who declared that the constitutional
amendment could allow the president to retain power for
life. Mamboundou called on the international community to
intervene because "the constitutional amendment is being
implemented only to allow Bongo to remain in power and the
world must respond to the problems that countries are
experiencing". Since bongo was first elected president, the
constitution has been changed 16 times.
In February 2004, French oil company Total Gabón signed
an agreement with Unipec to export crude oil to China.
Chinese President Hu Jintao personally traveled to Gabon to
conclude the one-year agreement, which can be renewed
annually. Total Gabon's director, Jaques Marraud des Grottes,
stated that exports will be quite extensive, but did not
provide further details. Unipec is a subsidiary of Sinopec,
China's second largest oil company. The cooperation between
Libreville and Beijing began in 1974 when bongo visited
Chinese leader Mao Zedong.
Since Gabon's ports are in poor condition and fishing is
overseas, FAO launched a program in July to support Gabon's
fishermen. With a loan of US $ 270,000, modernize its
fisheries monitoring program and devise a national strategy
to promote investment in commercial fisheries. Although
private fishing according to. FAO provides work and food to
many, so most of the commercial fishing in Gabon's fishing
waters is in the hands of international ships. At the same
time, the FAO pointed out that the country's annual fishing
of 40-50,000 tonnes does not meet the demand in the country.
Gabon imports 7,000 tonnes of fish products annually.
In September, the country's oil industry was greatly
strengthened due to the discovery of new oil deposits and
rising production. Shell Gabón discovered new sources and
Vaalco Energy announced an increase in production. This was
a radical change from the previous year's negative figures.
The backdrop came after a number - especially North American
- companies increased their exploration in Gabon as part of
Washington's strategy to secure at least 25% of US oil
imports from Africa in the next decade. The increased
investigation was strongly supported by the government of
In early 2005, exploration was conducted in Koula,
southeast of Gabon's second most important port city, Port
Gentil. The exploration was carried out by PanOcean and
Shell over 6 days and produced 6,000 barrels daily, which is
enough to make drilling financially viable. Otherwise,
production had dropped from 371,000 barrels daily in 1997 to
240,000 in 2003.