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As-salamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Ashab al jalala wa somow, (Your Majesties and Excellencies)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Gabonese people and Government, allow me to express my utmost appreciation to His Majesty, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,

King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud and His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, for welcoming us at the 5th edition of the Future Investment Initiative Summit.

Your Highnesses, the hospitality of your great nation remains unparalleled, and it gives me great pleasure to be among you all today.

The excellent relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Gabonese Republic is the result of mutual, unfailing, support that has lasted over four decades.

My wish is to see this bond furthered through new avenues of cooperation that can serve as a model for the partnership between the Middle East and Africa.

While our countries face common challenges today, I believe it is time for us to work together and share our solutions with the world.

One of these challenges is that of economic transformation: Our nations have long benefited from the oil in our soil.

Yet, we recognize today that this resource cannot be the only revenue stream we rely on for future generations.

Your Majesty and Excellencies, with its Vision 2030 the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has presented a clear blueprint to draw on its strengths.

My country, Gabon, is doing the same at its own scale.

The challenge of diversification for our economies is contained within a wider challenge of the urgency of adapting to climate change and alleviating the risks it presents.

For more than a decade, Gabon has been committed to becoming an exemplary green economy.

The vast Congo Basin rain forests are not only critical to the fight against climate change, but they also supply rain to the Sahel and Ethiopia, filling the Blue Nile and supporting agriculture far to the North in Egypt.

The Congo Basin forests are the heart and lungs of the African Continent and we must all work together to preserve them.

We are developing an economic model that will allow us to create a sustainable economy, jobs for our young people and keep the rain forests that cover 88% of Gabon standing.

Thanks to strong policies and significant investment in forest governance, Gabon is a net absorber of CO2.

Each year, we absorb over a hundred million tons more than we emit.

We expect to be able to transform this ecosystem service we provide to the world into Paris compliant carbon credits that will make our forests even more valuable.

We have also undertaken structural reforms of our business environment to consolidate the role of the private sector in the transformation of the economy.

We have to nurture the riches that Allah, Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, has bestowed on our land. Over time our “green gold” can replace our “black gold”, but it will take common efforts and constant dedication.

It is in this spirit that I congratulate your majesties on the commitment made, during the Saudi Green Forum, by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to become carbon neutral by 2060.

As I said a few years ago on a similar podium, we are past the time of debating. Today, I say that we are past the time of half-hearted measures.

It is time for concrete action and results, as you have just demonstrated with your commitment to become carbon-neutral.

Gabon is ready. I invite you to come and invest alongside us, in this transformation, which will change the course of history.

Let Allah, Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, guide us in this path.

As-salamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

 

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