African Finance Corp says Gabon political situation a ‘good coup’

(This Sept. 7 story has been corrected to fix AFC’s ownership structure based on updated guidance from the AFC in paragraph 3)

London – The recent coup in Gabon was executed peacefully and appeared to be a “good coup”, with society and business operating as usual, a senior executive from the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) said on Thursday.

“We have significant investments in Gabon and so far the coup has been very peaceful, the thinking has been very mature, normal life is going on … the assets are safe and everything is operating, which probably means it is a good coup,” Sanjeev Gupta, executive director of financial services at the AFC, said at the Reuters IMPACT climate conference in London. 

The Lagos-based AFC is a pan-African multilateral development institution, with 40 member states. It is 43.1%-owned by Nigeria’s central bank and 42% by other African financial institutions, according to its website.

In West and Central Africa’s eighth coup in three years, army officers led by General Brice Oligui Nguema seized power on Aug. 30, minutes after an announcement that President Ali Bongo had won an election they annulled and said was not credible.

Nguema was sworn in as interim president and cheered by jubilant supporters on Monday in a televised ceremony designed to cast the military as liberators of an oppressed society.

Unlike Niger, Gabon has not seen an outpouring of anti-French, pro-Russian sentiment, and the generals in charge in Libreville have appeared open to dialogue with international organisations.

Gupta said the AFC’s staff remained on the ground in Gabon and had reported that financial systems and other public services were operating smoothly.

(Reporting by Jane Wardell; Editing by Sharon Singleton)