News / Africa

Gabon President Aims to Lift Living Standards

Gabon President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba has launched an ambitious development agenda to transform the country.Gabon President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba has launched an ambitious development agenda to transform the country.
Gabon President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba has launched an ambitious development agenda to transform the country.
Gabon President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba has launched an ambitious development agenda to transform the country.
Peter Clottey
This is Part One of a six-part series on African Investment
Continue to Parts:   2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba says he is determined to fulfill the aspirations of citizens to better their lives.

In an exclusive interview with VOA at the recent gathering by the group New York Forum Africa held in the Gabonese capital Libreville, President Bongo Ondimba said his recently launched "Emerging Gabon" initiative will help citizens realize their potential and lift living standards.

Emerging Gabon initiative  

Bongo Ondimba underscored the rationale behind his decision to become president of Gabon and his vision for the country.

"I want to make sure that I fulfill the aspirations of the Gabonese people: to have access to a better life, job opportunities and importantly for the Gabonese people themselves to take into their own hands the development of their own country," said Bongo Ondimba.

Officials say the Emerging Gabon Initiative is built on three main pillars: Green Gabon, Industrial Gabon; and Service-oriented Gabon.

Green Gabon aims to use forestry, agriculture and ecotourism to help the sustainable development of the country’s ecosystem:  22 million hectares of forest, one million hectares of arable land, 13 national parks and 800 kilometers of coastline.

Industrial Gabon will promote the local processing of raw materials, exports of high value-added products and the diversification of the national economy.

Service-orientated Gabon will develop the country’s human resources in order to become a regional leader in financial services, new information technologies and the green economy, higher education and health care.

President Bongo Ondimba expressed confidence in the plan.

"So far, so good… In the last three years we have been able to secure billions of dollars for investment. So that’s a sign that Gabon is back in the business of trust, that people feel they can come in and invest. We need that, and that’s really important for us," he said.

He called for public support for his administration’s development agenda. He said individual success is based on "ambition, belief and then work. There is nothing that you can do without working. We have to work twice as hard in order to fulfill our ambitions."

Forum opportunities

President Bongo Ondimba said his country’s decision to help organize and co-host the conference of New York Forum Africa is part of his plan to attract investment to his country.

The objectives of the Emerging Gabon Initiative, said Bongo Ondimba, would be accomplished within the next 13 years.

"That’s why we fixed the target of 2025 for us to reach the status of an emerging country, necessary not just for us to have sustainable development, but a sturdy one. So, this [New York] forum is part of that --for us to connect with the rest of the world, and tell [it] to come to Gabon," he said.

He said his government is preparing the public for increased investment by improving education – though he says both go hand in hand.

"For you to be able to do what you need to do, we need to have strong economic growth, therefore you have revenue [to] really [invest] in education and health of the people," he said.


The Gabonese government signed several agreements at the end of the meeting of New York Forum Africa.  One with the Moroccan property developer, the ADDOHA Company, focuses on housing and construction. 

The asset management group YCAP will work with the Gabonese investment fund in the agriculture, infrastructure, and financial engineering sectors.

The three-day meeting was co-organized by Richard Attias and Associates. It aimed to find models for bolstering business growth and resolve challenges to development. The meeting attracted hundreds of industry figures, entrepreneurs, and political decision-makers from across Africa. 

The World Bank says Gabon’s economy has grown over the past few years, thanks to higher oil prices and government efforts to promote privatization and budgetary reforms and cut corruption.  In recent years, it had a growth rate of up to 5 percent.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: florent mbesse from: los angeles Ca
July 16, 2012 11:41 AM
those are all good ideas. the president had traveled the world and he knows how the world looks like and I can see him having the same vision as myself. that dream of making gabon what it is supposed to be and what it should have been long ago. Gabon is one of the richest country in africa with so much natural resources. there should not be any reason why gabon should not be like doubai, saoudia arabia and all those rich oil countries. no explanation to it what so ever but the use of words such as corruption, misuse of funds that the president eliminated or a least reduced upon his arrival to power being part of the innecircle. a gabonese by birth my dream always been to see the gabonese people florish. unfortunately the climate never given me that opportinity base on certain conditions. but when you read all my writting from face book and others the aspiration is there and the motivation is there the only missing link is the connection. the president's anty is my best friend and I made proposition to the president thru my friend to give me that trust. it is always been up to the president to react. I can florish on my own.never needed help from anybody but again my dream always been the gabonese people and I am sure the president knows who I am and the president knows where to reach if he so choose. let me put it this way. the president and the gabonese people will not be disapointed my dream is enormous with the president or without the president it will be fulfilled.

by: almoros idriss
July 10, 2012 7:49 AM
Thank you so much president Ali Bongo and God bless you and Gabon! Africa is the richest continent; enough is enough for our African nations to survive anymore and our young ones ought not to be drawn or chased in the midetrenian sea!

by: pro: labiad from:
July 03, 2012 2:42 PM

promotion of Special Forces
Mon, 07/02/2012 - 8:14pm Tags:Western Sahara Smara, July02, 2012(SPS) President of the Republic Mohamed Abdelaziz, Secretary General of the Polisario Front, Chief of armed forces, chaired on Monday in Wilaya of Smara , graduation ceremony of promotion of special forces called “Mahfud Alibaiba” ,in presence of some member of the Polisario’s leadership , Saharawi government and staff officers of Saharawi liberation army.
The promotion performed a military parade and models of arts andcombat sports that has learned and earned over one year of military training in the military school of Martyr Elwali Mostapha.
The ceremony which also attended by population of wilaya of Samara continued with distribution of certifications to the outstanding graduates by the President of the Republic and the Minister of defense, Mohamed Lamin Albuhali.
After the ceremony President Mohamed Abdelaziz, accompanied by political and military leadership headed to the cemetery of Smara to honor the memory of the deceased Mahfoud Ali Beiba on the second anniversary of his death.western sahara press sedrvice (SPS)

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syriai
November 26, 2015 5:21 AM
Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs