LIBREVILLE, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Gabon regards China highly for its efforts to strengthen cooperation with Africa, and wishes to accelerate and strengthen cooperation with China, Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba has said.
The president will take part in the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) on Sept. 3-4.
Speaking of the FOCAC Johannesburg summit in 2015, Bongo said in a recent interview with Xinhua that the South African summit was held at a time of sluggish global economy.
"Despite the crisis, Chinese leaders have shown interest in investing in Africa," he said, adding that it was very important for Africa's economic development.
"China has set a good example that we want others to follow," he said.
In response to Gabon's tightening macroeconomic situation caused by the drop in the price of oil, the country made an economic recovery plan in 2016, and put foreign direct investment at the heart of the revitalization of the Gabonese economy, Bongo said.
"The development of Sino-Gabonese relations and the level of investment of Chinese companies in Gabon, which has steadily increased over the years, testify to our desire to strengthen Chinese investment in our country," he said.
The president said the economic crisis has not become an obstacle to strengthening cooperation between the two countries.
"China has not stopped supporting Gabon in its development, even during its most difficult times," he said, expressing gratitude to the Chinese leaders and investors for their confidence in his country.
"We are seeing significant growth of trade between our two countries," Bongo said, adding that China remains Gabon's number one trading partner.
Initially, Chinese investors were involved primarily in the core sectors of lumbering and mining, and bilateral cooperation was focused on trade, the president said.
"Since then, our cooperation with China has been extended to the sectors of defense and culture," he said. China has offered many scholarships to Gabonese students and also advanced training courses for public officials, he said.
At the upcoming Beijing summit, Gabon will work to attract more Chinese investment in the core fields of agriculture, mining, lumbering, tourism as well as the high and new technology industries, he said.