On Thursday, March 31, the Africa Center hosted a breakfast in honor of His Excellency Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of the Gabonese Republic.
Atlantic Council Chairman Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., welcomed President Bongo Ondimba and other participants and set the scene for the roundtable. Africa Center Director Dr. J. Peter Pham introduced the President and moderated the ensuing discussion.
In his remarks, President Bongo Ondimba provided an update on the country’s economic situation, focusing specifically on the positive impact that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has had on the diversification of the Gabonese economy and that of other African countries. He also outlined his government’s push to balance industrialization with environmental preservation. Additionally, President Bongo Ondimba noted that importance of US-Gabonese cooperation on security issues as they pertain to conservation efforts, drug trafficking, and maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. Finally, he touched on the upcoming presidential election in Gabon, noting that he will be seeking a second term based on his record of accomplishments in his first mandate.
During the discussion, the President also called for increased international—especially American—investment in his country, singling out the energy, agribusiness, and service sectors.
A full transcript of the President’s remarks can be found below.
Other participants in the event included His Excellency Michael Moussa-Adamo, Ambassador to the United States of the Gabonese Republic; His Excellency Baudelaire Ndong Ella, Permanent Representative of the Gabonese Republic to the United Nations; Ambassador Jean Yves Teale, Counselor to the President of the Gabonese Republic; Liban Soleman, Chief of Staff to the President of the Gabonese Republic; the Honorable Cynthia Akuetteh, Ambassador of the United States to the Gabonese Republic; the Honorable Herman J. Cohen, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; the Honorable Constance Berry Newman, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and Senior Fellow in the Atlantic Council Africa Center; the Honorable W. Stuart Symington IV, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; the Honorable Donald Teitelbaum, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; Florizelle Liser, Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa; LTG William Ward, former Commander of US Africa Command; Mehmet Nazif Günal, Chairman of MNG Holding and Atlantic Council International Advisory Board Member; and Kerry McNamara, Special Advisor to the Chairman of the OCP Group SA.
President Ali Bongo Ondimba and Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham
Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr.; President Ali Bongo Ondimba; Dr. J. Peter Pham, and H.E. Michael Moussa-Adamo, Ambassador to the United States of the Gabonese Republic
Florizelle Liser, Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa; Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr.; and President Ali Bongo Ondimba