The UAE has donated a dozen speedboats and a surveillance plane to Gabon to help with its recently expanded wildlife preservation efforts on the heels of the World Park Congress, a global forum on protected areas that meets once every ten years.

“We are very grateful toward the government and the people of the Emirates,” said President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, who during the recent forum announced plans for a ten protected marine parks, covering over 46,000km2 or 23%of Gabon’s territorial waters.

“This donation of patrol ships will help our marine, coastguard and national park authorities to better patrol and protect our national coastal parks and new network of marine parks.”

The recent presence of UAE representatives at the World Park Congress, as well as at the New York Forum Africa in Gabon’s capital, Libreville, in May this year, helped strengthen cooperation between the two countries and laid the ground work for the contribution.

President Ondimba added: “It is an essential contribution not only to our efforts to stop fishing boats from pillaging our marine resources, but will also help to reduce illegal immigration and strengthen our fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.”

Ernest Mpouho Epigat, Gabon’s Minister of Defence, meanwhile highlighted of the radar and long-distance infrared capacities of the UAE-equipped vehicles as important enhancements to the s existing capacity of the Gabonese marines in protecting the country’s sovereignty.