Gabonese president to give away inheritance to build university

Ali Bongo Ondimba donates property in Libreville to state, free of charge

August 18, 2015
Ali Bongo Ondimba, president of Gabon.
Ali Bongo Ondimba, president of Gabon. Credit: Getty

The president of Gabon has pledged to use his inheritance from his father to build a university for the country’s youth.

In a national address, Ali Bongo Ondimba said that he would give away all the money that he receives from his late father, former president Omar Bongo Ondimba, to set up a foundation for young people and education.

In particular, a property in the capital, Libreville, will be given to the state free of charge to create a university.

“In my eyes we are all heirs of Omar Bongo,” the president said.

The estate of Omar Bongo, who ruled Gabon for 41 years until his death in 2009, is reported to be worth many millions of dollars but is yet to be distributed among his 53 declared heirs.

The source of the wealth is questioned by French judges who are investigating allegations of embezzlement, but these claims have been denied by the Bongo family.

In his address to mark the 55th anniversary of the country’s independence, Mr Bongo said that “no Gabonese must be left by the side of the road”, according to South Africa’s Mail & Guardian.

“Those who were fortunate enough to have the support of their parents or the state must in turn be generous, in solidarity, especially in hard times,” the president said. “I know my father, from where he is now, watches us and hears us. I also know that he approves this decision and gives us his blessing.”

Gabon has rich oil reserves, but many of its citizens live in poverty.

chris.havergal@tesglobal.com

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