Gabon hosts Independence Day reception
Ambassador Carlos Victor Boungou of the Gabonese Republic and Mrs. Blandine Boungou hosted a reception at the Grand Ballroom of Millennium Seoul Hilton on Aug. 19, 2014 to celebrate the Independence Day of Gabon.Many distinguished guests came from all walks of life as well as the international community and the Diplomatic Corps of Korea.
From the Korean side came many dignitaries from the government and various other segments of society. They included Ambassador Choi Sung-joo of Ministry of Foreign Affairs for International Security Affairs and Publisher-Chairman of The Korea Post (with four media units).
From the international community came many prominent guests who included Ambassadors MVAlbino Malungo of Angola, Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan, Md. Enamul Kabir of Bangladesh, Natallia Jhylevich of Belarus, Dato Haji Harun Ismail of Brunei Darussalam, Suth Dina of Cambodia, Manuel Lopez Trigo of Costa Rica, Sylvestre Kouassi Bile of Cote d'Ivoire, Grecia Fiodalicia Pichardo of Dominican Republic, Dulat Bakisher of Kazakhstan, Ngovi Kitau of Kenya, Otman S. Saad Ahbara of Libya, Kaman Singh Lama of Nepal, Mohamed Salim Alharthy of Oman, Zahid Nasrulah Khan of Pakistan, Konstantin V. Vnukov of Russia, Hilton A. Dennis of South Africa, Tissa Wijeratne of Sri Lanka and Bakhtier N. Ibragimov of Uzbekistan (CDA).
Speaking to the guests, Ambassador Boungou said: “Three years ago, Gabon and Korea initiated a knowledge sharing program covering four major sectors, namely agriculture, tourism, small and medium enterprises, and information and communication technologies. Major projects of mutual interest include, among other things, negotiations for the construction of a new oil refinery by Samsung C&T Corporation, and the digital interconnection of Gabon’s administration offices by Korea Telecom Networks.” See excerpts from the ambassador’s speech at the end of this Article.
The ambassador’s welcome speech was followed by a congratulatory address by Ambassador Choi on behalf of the Korean government, who cited fast-growing close ties of cooperation and friendship between Korea and Gabon.
It is an honor and a privilege to welcome all of you today on the occasion of the celebration of the fifty fourth anniversary of the Independence of Gabon.
Allow me first of all to seize this opportunity to reiterate the solidarity and support of the government and people of Gabon to the government and people of the Republic of Korea following the disaster of the Sewol Ferry which earlier this year claimed so many innocent young lives.
Gabon is located in the center of equatorial Africa, and is covered at 85% by tropical rain forest. It is a country of long lasting peace and political stability with an economy relying to a large extent on oil production. However, Gabon is sparing no effort in order to achieve its diversification while working on sustainable development. Mineral resources and the timber industry do constitute the main components of the country’s economic diversification.
Gabon is part of the Congo basin which is the second largest reserve of pristine forest in the world. In this outlook, dedicating 11% of its land area to the creation of 13 national parks is Gabon’s contribution to global efforts for the protection of the environment and the fight against climate warming.
Since 2009, President Ali BONGO ONDIMBA has engaged Gabon in an ambitious strategic plan that takes into account the diversification of , aiming at turning Gabon into an emerging country by the year 2025, is supported by three main pillars which are green Gabon, industrial Gabon and Service-oriented Gabon.
The green strategy focuses on the protection of the environment, the promotion of ecotourism and the emphasis on our forests and landscapes, including the 13 national parks.
The second pillar focuses on the necessity to develop an industrial base through the local transformation of raw materials.
The pillar dealing with services focuses on the role of human resources. The idea here is for Gabon to build a strong sub regional position in such areas as financial services, information technologies, higher education and health.
Following major transformations over the last few years, Gabon reached 6.1% economic growth in 2013. This year, this figure is expected to reach 7%. Gabon is open for business and offers attractive opportunities, especially in oil and hydraulic resources, the mineral sector, the timber industry, green growth and tourism. The government is investing heavily in road infrastructure with the hope to become a hub for the Central African sub region, a vibrant market of around 140 million consumers.
This year also marks the fifty second anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Gabonese Republic and the Republic of Korea.
Following Gabon President’s last two visits to Korea in October 2010 and March 2012, the two countries have endeavored to step up political dialogue, economic and cultural cooperation as well as interaction in sectors as diverse as scientific and technical cooperation, ICT, education and training.
Three years ago, Gabon and Korea initiated a knowledge sharing program covering four major sectors, namely agriculture, tourism, small and medium enterprises, and information and communication technologies.
Major projects of mutual interest include, among other things, negotiations for the construction of a new oil refinery by Samsung C&T Corporation, and the digital interconnection of Gabon’s administration offices by Korea Telecom Networks.
The forthcoming joint commission to be held next October in Seoul will enable Gabon and Korea to review the dynamics of bilateral cooperation, and allow participants to study ways and means of raising this partnership to a much higher level.
Once again, thank you all for your presence here today.