The use of the masculine gender has been adopted for ease of reading and has no discriminatory intent.
Exploration in solidarity lands
Gabon is a lesser populated country with a hot and humid Equatorial climate. The exploitation of the thick forest is an important ressource. It is one of the least populated State of Central Africa and at least three-quarters of the population lives in the cities, mainly in Liberville and Port-Gentil.
The economic activity is totally dominated by the exploitation of natural ressources destined to exportation. Starting with wood, it has now grown to manganese, uranium and petroleum. With a production exceeding 11 million tonnes, GDP per capita is very high, but the living standard depends greaty from the raw materials market and the external dept has grown excessively.
On the African continent scale, sustainable tourism experiences arise and consolidate with great succes. In Gabon, some embyronic or isolated initiatives are born without any form of organisation or planification. Issues related to structuring and coordinating tourism actors jeopardise the development of a true lasting offer despite the country’s great potential.
In this context, many sustainable tourism actors have expressed a need for support in the development of their projects by specialised organisations, a wish that totally aligns with the policies implimented by the government as part of the National Tourism Strategy. This strategy aims to make sustainable tourism a key elelment for the development of rural areas and the fight against poverty. It would diversify the economy while putting forward efforts of preservation and protection of the rich biodiversity as well as ensuring the transmission of local culture. The 13 National Parks represent approximately 11% of the territory, followed by the establishment of a network of 20 protected marine areas from which 9 are marine parks and 11 are aquatic reserves, representing 26% of the aquatic area.
Although critically hit by the COVID-19 crisis, the tourism industry in Gabon wants to believe in a progressive comeback of its activity, today at a standstill, putting forward the importance of support mesures and a recovery strategy. Québec Volontaire, a LOJIQ program, has organised a a project which fits in the larger idea of solidary and sustainable tourism development support in Gabon.