United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Libreville, Gabon, late on Wednesday, 30 June, from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
On the morning of 1 July, the Secretary-General met with President Ali Bongo Ondimba. They discussed the Millennium Development Goals; Gabon’s recent measures to fight corruption, help industry and protect the environment; the situation in the Central African Republic; Gabon’s border dispute with Equatorial Guinea; and the country’s peacekeeping contribution. The Secretary-General also welcomed the calm that had prevailed during the recent elections and encouraged the Government to maintain the dialogue with the opposition in the run-up to the 2011 elections.
After meeting with the President of the National Assembly, Guy Nzouba Ndama, the Secretary-General addressed its members. He said he had made three visits to Africa in a short period of time for one simple and powerful reason: to see for himself the enormous strides that the continent was making. “Africa does not need charity, Africa needs investment and partnership,” he said. Gabon was showing the world that the Millennium Development Goals were within reach, but more progress was needed, especially on maternal and child health, he said. (See Press Release SG/SM/12983)
Later, the Secretary-General met with Marie Madeleine Mborantsuo, President of Gabon’s Constitutional Court, and then attended a lunch hosted in his honour by President Bongo.
In the afternoon, the Secretary-General visited the Centre for Children in Social Difficulty in Angondjé, a suburb of Libreville, where he met with child victims of trafficking or abuse. He said the Centre gave them a “true second chance” and showed what could be done through partnership with the State, civil society, private businesses, religious institutions and the United Nations — in this case, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The Secretary-General also called for an end to impunity for crimes against children. (See Press Release SG/SM/12984)
Later, the Secretary-General held discussions with representatives of the majority political leaders and the main opposition groups. He also had an exchange with members of civil society and told them they could help create and maintain an environment conducive to good governance, development and respect for human rights. (See Press Release SG/SM/12985)
Before leaving Libreville, the Secretary-General held a press conference and said his visit had been “extremely rewarding”, adding: “As a beacon of stability in the subregion and a long-standing African peacemaker, Gabon leads by example and is now serving a crucial global role at the United Nations as a member of the Security Council.”
The Secretary-General left Libreville on the night of 1 July to return to New York.