The Gabonese head of state was the guest of honor at a side event organized by the International Conservation Caucus Foundation on the sidelines of the U.S.-Africa Summit being held December 13-15 in Washington, D.C.
President Ali Bongo Ondimba explained to his audience, which included many US senators but also the President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, how Gabon has created 13 national parks with a National Agency in charge of managing these parks, as well as all protected areas in the country. These include wildlife reserves and marine parks among others.
The objective, he recalled, is to fight against all transnational crimes against wildlife, illegal trade in gold and fisheries resources, organized by terrorist groups or organized gangs.
Gabon’s efforts, with the support of partners, especially American ones such as the ICCF and many others, have allowed the repopulation of the elephant population living in the Ogooué Basin, whose numbers were constantly decreasing.
Therefore, the message of the Gabonese leader was very clear. « There is a link between environmental governance, peace, security and economic prosperity in Africa. Any investment in conservation is therefore an investment in peace and security for all, » he said.
President Ali Bongo Ondimba also spoke about Gabon’s forest management strategy, which includes the development of a timber industry based on sustainable exploitation of resources and local processing of logs before export. This strategy has allowed the emergence of a forestry economy that creates more qualified jobs and generates greater added value.
« The ICCF, whose role is to promote the issue of conservation throughout the world, is a voice that counts and supports our country in this area, » said the Gabonese head of state.