Gabonese President Creates Emergency COVID-19 Fund
Image: Fidar News
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The President of Gabon, H.E. Ali Bongo, announced the creation of a fund to support the vulnerable during the economic and health crisis triggered by COVID-19.
The central African country officially registered 397 confirmed cases on May 7 and six deaths. In preparation for a wider spread crisis, the government rolled out stringent rules including a lockdown in the capital, Libreville, and a reduction of economic activities.
In an attempt to curb the further spread of the virus, the government rolled out stringent rules, including a lockdown in its capital city of Libreville and a reduction of economic activities.
President Bongo will pay CFA 2.1 billion, equivalent to $3,4 million, to cover health care that is not covered by the National Health Insurance Fund for a period of six months. Such a personal investment towards national health and safety is a first of its kind from an African head of state.
The head of state’s personal money is added to public funds already set up by the government. CFA 250 billion, or $410 million, has been released to finance exceptional economic and social measures: businesses financial support, partial payment of wages, freezing of rents for the lowest incomes and free transport.
Boasting 2.5 billion barrels in proven oil reserves, Gabon is one of the more established hydrocarbon producers in the Gulf of Guinea and is currently on a mission to increase its oil production 50% by 2020/2021. It currently has an ongoing licensing round and promulgated a new oil and gas code in 2019, aiming to attract foreign investment with more favorable tax measures.
With a revitalized economy and restored interest from global investors in the oil and gas sector, Gabon is set on a buoyant path for growth, despite uncertainty around the outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic.