Gabon-Italy Economic Forum

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of UNIDO, I would like to thank you for participating in the Gabon-Italy Economic Forum. This event has been organized by UNIDO in cooperation with the Embassy of Gabon in Italy and with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in occasion of His Excellency’s the President Ali Bongo Ondimba last day in Italy.

During his visit, the President met with top Italian institutional authorities and signed important bilateral cooperation agreements. Today’s event aims to promote economic opportunities of Gabon to the main Italian stakeholders. Gabon is a country rich in natural resources and with a strong potential for growth.

UNIDO has been supporting Developing Countries in strengthening their economic capacities in regard to competitiveness and adjustment to international standards. ITPO aims to foster industrial and economic development in emerging economies, especially in the agro-industry, energy and environment sectors. This is achieved through the promotion of industrial partnerships, technology transfers and capacity building.

Our main objective is to foster economic growth and sustainable industrial development in the private sectors of DCs, through the transfer of sustainable production, technology and management models.

In line with our mandate, we believe that events like today’s are fundamental to raise awareness, in the Italian business community, of the opportunities offered by some African countries, and by Gabon in particular. Gabon has begun to diversify its economy and its investment opportunities are growing within sectors other than the traditional petrol industry, such as the agricultural, manufacturing, wood processing, food and fishery, ICT and tourism sectors.

Africa is a key continent for future economic growth. Some African countries represent new potential partners for cooperation and are destinations for important investment opportunities. Africa has one of the most interesting markets for future economic development, especially because of its dynamic economic and human potential.

It is predicted that investments in the continent will increase and that the one-way approach to cooperation, based on mere financial aid, will be discarded. For this reason, UNIDO cooperates with Italian institutions that internationalize enterprises with the aim of involving Italian entrepreneurs in supporting the economic growth of Gabon and the development of local SMEs. This is achieved through direct investments and trade relations based on a win-win cooperation model.