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Sylvia Bongo Ondimba (née Valentin on 11 March 1963) is the wife of Ali Bongo Ondimba since 1989. She became the First Lady of Gabon following the inauguration of her husband as President of Gabon on 16 October 2009.[1][2] She created the Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Foundation entitled "For the family" in January 2011 "to improve the plight of vulnerable and disadvantaged people around the world".[3]

Sylvia Bongo Ondimba
Sylvia Bongo Ondimba en visite à l'Elysée.jpg
First Lady of Gabon
Assumed role
16 October 2009
PresidentAli Bongo Ondimba
Preceded byEdith Lucie Bongo
Personal details
Born
Sylvia Valentin

(1963-03-11) 11 March 1963 (age 56)
Paris, France
NationalityGabonese
Spouse(s)
ChildrenMalika
Noureddin
Jalil
Bilal
MotherEvelyne Valentin
FatherEdouard-Pierre Valentin
ProfessionPresident of the "Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Foundation"
Websitewww.fondationsylviabongoondimba.org

Contents

Family backgroundEdit

Born in Paris, Sylvia Valentin was barely two months old when her parents were transferred to Douala for work. She is the daughter of Edouard Valentin, a French businessman who heads the group called Omnium Gabonais d'Assurances et de Réassurances (OGAR, Gabonese Insurance and Reinsurance).[4] Edouard Valentin's wife, Evelyne Valentin, then became President Bongo Ondimba's secretary.[5]

Sylvia spent most of her childhood in Cameroon along with her siblings, before the family took up residence in Tunisia[when?].

In 1974, after a long stay by the Valentin Family in Tunisia, Sylvia and her parents decided to move to Gabon, where she received an academic and christian education at the Libreville Immaculate Conception Institution.

In 1988, Sylvia met Ali Bongo Ondimba and married him a year later, in 1989. They have four children: Malika, Noureddin Edouard, Jalil, and Bilal, adopted by the couple in 2002.

On 16 October 2009, as Ali Bongo Ondimba was elected president, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba became Gabon's First Lady.

EducationEdit

Sylvia Bongo Ondimba graduated with an advanced-level degree (DESS) in corporate management in France, and then decided to return to Gabon.[4]

CareerEdit

Sylvia Bongo Ondimba was hired and quickly promoted to the post of Deputy Managing Director of the country's largest real estate firm, Gabon Immobilier, where she was named responsible for the company's marketing and economic development.

In 1990, she created her own wealth management firm, Alliance S.A., at the age of 25.[1]

The Sylvia Bongo Ondimba FoundationEdit

 
Sylvia Bongo Ondimba during the World AIDS Day

Actions:

  • The Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Foundation gave rise to the project known as the caravan through Gabon's hinterland,[6] whose mission was to record the grievances raised by residents of the country's more isolated areas.
  • The Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Foundation adopted a resolution to mark 23 June of each year as International Widows' Day, from a project initiated by Sylvia Bongo Ondimba herself.[7]
  • In April 2011, the Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Foundation donated to the Gabonese population a total of 18,000 mosquito screens.[8]
  • In October 2010, the Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Foundation donated 250 electric scooters, crutches and wheelchairs to benefit several associations working to improve the lives of the disabled.[9]
  • The Akassi microfinance project sponsored by the Sylvia Bongo Ondimba Foundation and intended to facilitate entrepreneurship among Gabonese women and their families.[10][11]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b (in French) Sylvia Bongo Ondimba's biography, official website of president Ali Bongo Ondimba
  2. ^ (in French) Georges Dougueli, "Sylvia, une femme au cœur des réseaux sociaux", Jeune Afrique, 21 October 2010 (in French).
  3. ^ Press Release – First Lady of Gabon, 13 June 2011
  4. ^ a b Biographie officielle de Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, disponible sur le site de la fondation Sylvia Bongo Ondimba "Pour la Famille"
  5. ^ "Gabon, Edouard-Pierre valentin, de l’Assurance au Pétrole !" Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine (19 July 2011) Huffington Post (in French)
  6. ^ (in French) Yorick Kombila, Caravane "Gabon profond", Gabonews, 18 July 2010
  7. ^ Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, "The world must support its widows" (23 June 2011) Guardian
  8. ^ (in French) Murielle Mendoua, "Sylvia Bongo Ondimba fait un don de plus de 18000 moustiquaires" (27 April 2011) Allafrica
  9. ^ (in French) Yves Laurent Goma, "Sylvia Bongo fait un don de matériel roulant aux handicapés" (9 December 2010) Afriqueactu
  10. ^ "Visit by the First Lady of Gabon, Mrs Sylvia Bongo Ondimba", Singapore Council of Women's Organisations (SCWO)
  11. ^ "Empowering the African woman best way to nurture future leaders" (23 June 2011) Nation

External linksEdit