Next month, Gabon will, for the second year running, host the New York Forum AFRICA, an initiative spearheaded by Richard Attics and Associates which brings together business and political leaders from across the world for three days of intense deliberations on a wide range of issues affecting Africa's political and economic landscape. In this interview RICHARD ATTIAS asks President Ali Bongo Ondimba what the second edition of the NYF Africa will entail and for his views on Africa's future.
In 2012, Africa and the world came to Gabon. Your country played host to the Africa Cup of Nations and to the New York Forum AFRICA global business summit. What was the impact of the regional and global spotlight on Gabon? What role can global sport play in bringing stability and security to the region going forward?
Gabon is a small country with great resources and enormously talented people. Part of our challenge is putting our best foot forward for potential investors and partners, in a world where many different countries offer opportunities. The Africa Cup of Nations was First and foremost a great sporting occasion, where we were delighted to host great athletes, fans and media. But it was also a chance for many people to see Gabon for the first time. The success we had in building the facilities and then running a smooth, thoroughly enjoyable world-class sporting event made an impression on millions of people around the world.
The New York Forum Africa reinforces this message, and at the same time plays an important role in the broader concern we have to promote and improve the business and investment climate for all of Africa. I'm convinced that we're in a time of extraordinary opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors in Gabon as well as in many of the other economies in Africa. We're happy to play a role in spreading the word about this exciting time for Africa.
The New York Forum AFRICA was by all measures a success and this June you will be hosting the 2nd edition. What will the impact of such a large global gathering be on Gabon's image, infrastructure, and the economy?
I've already spoken about how its vitally important for us to get investors and entrepreneurs on the ground here, so they can see the opportunities directly, meet with me and my ministers, and talk to local business leaders here. There's really no substitute for that kind of direct contact.
What we're looking for in the second...