H. E. Ali Bongo Ondimba
President Of Gabonese Republic
Ali Bongo Ondimba was born on the 9th of February 1959 in Brazzaville, Congo, the eldest son of Albert-Bernard Bongo and Josephine Kama Dabany, from Haut-Ogooue, in the South East of Gabon.
In 1965, Ali Bongo Ondimba attended the local boys' school in Libreville, Ã‰cole Urbaine des GarÃ§ons, before moving to Ales primary school in France. In third grade, he moved to the Boulevard Saussay boys' school in Neuilly-sur-Seine, finishing primary school in 1969. He completed secondary school at College Saint Croix up to grade 12 and following his baccalaureate, he completed a degree and then a doctorate at the PanthÃ©on-Sorbonne University law school.
As a student, Ali Ben Bongo joined the UJPDG (Union des Jeunes du Parti DÃ©mocratique Gabonais) and was elected a prominent member of the political bureau in 1986. He led the reformist wing of the ruling PDG party and joined the presidential cabinet, holding the position of Special Representative to the Head of State.
Having completed his doctorate, Ali Bongo Ondimba returned to Gabon in 1989 and entered government as Minister of Foreign Affairs. He later moved to the Parliament as MP for Bongoville, serving for eight years, before being named Defence Minister in 1999. Here, he created the Prytanee Militaire to train future military personnel ; oversaw the construction of a well-equipped military hospital; the construction of barracks across Gabon and the improvement of living and working conditions for all armed forces ; the renewal of military equipment (vehicles, ships, helicopters, planes) ; and the promulgation of a military Bill and military training to build capacity. Together with regional and international allies, he also organised regular military manoeuvres focused on rural health.
Ali Bongo Ondimba met and married Annick Aubierge Lafitte and in 1981 they had a daughter, Malika. After the couple divorced, he met Sylvia Valentin. They fell in love and married, and the family grew with the births of Nourredine, Edouard, Jalil Louis, and Bilal. Family is sacred to Ali Bongo Ondimba and he has strong and vibrant relationships throughout his extended family, playing a unifying role and seeking quality time together whenever possible.
People who know Ali Bongo Ondimba often remark on his acute sense of observation, his subtle humour and his sincerity. His strong work ethic and passion for working together as a team to overcome challenges motivates the people around him. A sports-lover, he is a staunch supporter of Real Madrid and his dream is to see the Gabonese national football team win the African Nations Cup.
Ali Bongo Ondimba is a talented and celebrated musician. Piano and drums are his favourite instruments and he is a talented composer, specialising in jazz, classical and bossa nova styles. The soundtrack of the film Orega by Marcel Sanja is one of his finest works.
As the ruling party's candidate in the national elections, Ali Bongo Ondimba was elected President of the Republic of Gabon on August 30, 2009, and sworn in on October 16 2009.