Another $25 million for Bongo says Wolfy
- Gabon: World Bank Supports Local Infrastructure Development in Gabon
Press Release - World Bank
The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today approved an
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loan of
US$25 million to assist the Government of Gabon in the development of
The Local Infrastructure Development project aims to increase access
of the population living in low-income settlements to basic services
and to sustain access of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to civil
works and construction contracts within the public sector. The
project will help improve the management of public resources for
better living conditions in the targeted neighborhoods and strengthen
the private sector in Gabon.
The project is part of a National Public Investment Program for the
Promotion of Entrepreneurship and Employment, promoting within the
public sector, small labor-intensive infrastructure projects that
have a strong impact on the living conditions of the poor and that
help generate employment in the construction industry.
"This program is likely to optimize the quality of public investment
in infrastructure and its potential effects on the development of
local small and medium enterprises. It is also likely to bear an
effect on poverty reduction," said Chantal Reliquet, the World Bank
Task Team Leader for the project.
Thanks to infrastructure to be constructed as a result of the
project, a greater group of the Gabonese population is expected to
benefit from all-year access to transport and vehicle services, gain
access to improved sanitary conditions, lower the impact of
environmental degradation linked to uncollected solid waste and
suffer fewer cases of floods resulting from poor drainage in the
"The amount of public works contracted through TIPPEE methods will
increase as well as the number of small and medium enterprises
completing works on time, and the number of technical firms created
and strengthened," Reliquet added.
This project supports Gabon's economic diversification and poverty
reduction agenda, of which improved quality and quantity of public
investment in urban infrastructure and its maximum impact on both the
local private sector and the living conditions of the poor are key to
the country. It is line with the two pillars of the Country
Assistance Strategy for Gabon discussed by the Bank's Board of
Executive Directors in May 2005: (i) strengthening the management of
public resources, both natural and financial, for improved social
outcomes; and (ii) improving the investment climate to foster
sustainable, private sector-led growth.
The Local Infrastructure Development project will include five
components: (i) community-based infrastructure upgrading low-income
settlements will bring noticeable improvement to the living
conditions of population of the targeted settlements; (ii) capacity
building will provide training and technical assistance for officials
from the municipalities, the line ministries and the beneficiary
communities; (iii) development of local SMEs in the construction
industry aims to support the development of local SMEs through better
management of public procurement and improved financial conditions
for their development; (iv) support to the reform of public
infrastructure management will strengthen Gabon's administrative and
technical capacities in carrying out transparent and efficient
procurement of public works; and (v) support to HIV/AIDS prevention
programs will seek to coordinate with existing and upcoming programs
to support the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS in the cities
targeted by the project.
- LIBREVILLE, 03/14 - The non-governmental organization (NGO) in Gabon
on Monday voiced opposition to the government`s plan to build a new
airport near a national park north of Libreville.
In a statement, the NGO warned that the planned Malibe 2 airport
would cause an environmental disaster as it is situated in an
ecosystem where forests, bird colonies and sea turtles laying eggs in
the mangroves are concentrated.
"We are not opposed to the economic development of our country.
But we can afford no risks Gabon takes to destroy the Akanda park the
country itself has created," Marc Ona, president of the Brainforest
group, told a press conference in Libreville.
The NGO proposed that the government build the new airport between
Ntoum and Libreville some distance away south of the capital.
The project was initiated by Gabonese President Omar Bongo Ondimba
during his recent visit to France in a bid to relieve the west
African country`s traffic pressure at the Libreville airport.
France has agreed in principle to build the new airport, but no date
has been set for the official launch of the project.
....OUTREACH EFFORTS IN GABON
Another proponent of the hands-on grassroots approach to development
is U.S. Ambassador to Gabon R. Barrie Walkley, a former Peace Corps
Volunteer in Somalia from 1967 to 1969, who later joined the Foreign
In Gabon, Walkley oversees an innovative self-help program for
pygmies living in the remote rain forest cluster of villages called
Imbong. According to an embassy document, in 2005 the Ambassadors
Special Self-help Fund "provided the Pygmies of Imbong the
opportunity to improve their lives by increasing their agricultural
Recently, Walkley and his staff members traveled to the provincial
capital of Makokou and then an additional 180 kilometers for four
hours on a dirt road to Imbong to check on the project. There, the
team finalized the delivery of machetes, axes and cooking pots to
facilitate large-scale manioc cultivation and production.
According to the embassy, "the Pygmies have already put donated
material to use and are now selling or exchanging excess production
in neighboring villages."
Why didn't we think of that earlier? No need for Peace Corps
Volunteers when we can just send then machetes, axes and pots made in
- By Jason Chudy, Stars and Stripes, European edition, Sunday, March
Sailors from the submarine tender USS Emory S. Land have been working
to build better relationships in Gabon one wrench turn at a time.
Dozens of sailors from the ship's 1,400-member crew worked with the
Gabonese navy and made repairs on two of its ships during a visit to
the West African country's Port Gentil.
The visit, which ended Friday, was the second stop on the Land's
current Gulf of Guinea deployment. The deployment is the ship's
second to the region in two years. "These are not liberty port
calls," said Capt. Michael D. Budney, commander of the ship based in
La Maddalena, Italy. "These are working ports."
The ship is in the region as part of the U.S. European Command's bid
to strengthen everything from security in the area to relationships
between the U.S. and nations around the Gulf of Guinea, which has
large oil reserves.
But Land's sailors have been more focused on the basics,
strengthening those relationships at the lowest level, between
sailors and their host-nation counterparts. "They think we're the
greatest thing since sliced bread," Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael
Dayton of the ship's repair department said of the Gabonese.
Dayton and others from the ship's 400-sailor-strong department worked
on engineering equipment in two Gabonese Navy corvettes, which are
smaller than a U.S. frigate. As a submarine tender with a large
repair department, Land's crew is able to work on equipment, provide
necessary supplies and make repairs that would take the Gabonese
sailors a long time, Dayton said. "Simple repairs to valves would
take months for them to get supplies," he said. Even when the
Gabonese do have supplies, they frequently don't have the technical
manuals to allow them to make the repairs.
"This is where all of the training we go through comes into play,"
Dayton said, explaining that the U.S. sailors' hands-on repair
knowledge overcame some problems that had the Gabonese stymied.
Dayton added that the Gabonese paid close attention to the work the
sailors have done. One Land sailor even created a Powerpoint
presentation for the Gabonese on trouble-shooting pumps, Dayton
said. "If we give them the supplies to fix it, they'll do it," he
said. "They're more than eager to jump in and help out. They want to
know how we do it."
Lt. Paul Stolzman, the Land's training officer, said the Gabonese
sailors want training on how to better themselves and their small
Navy. "They want to learn, they want to know," he said.
Land crew members taught classes on about a dozen topics, from
tropical medicine to fiberglass repair, Stolzman said. He added that
the Gabonese were so eager for training that they asked for extra
courses. "The only thing that's limiting us is the amount of
translators we have," he said. Much of the training was conducted on
site, he said. "The more hands-on it is, the more things they learn,"
he said. "We don't want `death by Powerpoint.' "
Land left for this year's Gulf of Guinea deployment in late February.
Earlier this month, it stopped in the nation of Sao Tome and Principe.
Nice to know we are training Gabonese on "how to better themselves"
and that US Navy personnel are the "greatest thing since sliced