History has been made in the Central African state of Gabon. On Thursday, President Ali Bongo appointed Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda as the country’s first female Prime Minister.
An economist by training, Ossouka Raponda has a history within the Gabonese government as she served as Budget Minister in 2012, and then went on to become Libraville’s first female mayor.
While congratulations are in order, Ossouka Raponda has great challenges ahead. With a global pandemic and struggling to recover from the collapse in the price of crude oil, Ossouka is inheriting a nation in trouble. The president said in a statement, ” [Ossouka Raponda will be] ensuring Gabon’s economic relaunch and necessary social support in light of the world crisis linked to COVID-19.”
Her election also comes at a time when opposition and political commentators are questioning the wellbeing of President Bongo after he suffered a stroke in October 2018. After having spent some time abroad for his treatment, an attempt at a coup shocked the nation in January 2019
Months later, Bongo’s right-hand man was arrested when authorities launched an anti-corruption initiative. Others arrested included four former ministers.
After spending some time away from the public eye, President Bongo reappeared in the news on Monday while pictured at a meeting of heads of the various branches of the armed forces and police.