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Biography of Ali Ben BONGO

Gabon > Politics : Ali Ben BONGO

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Born on 09/02/1959 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba born Alain Bernard Bongo (b. February 9, 1959), is the eldest of the seven official sons of the now dead President of Gabon, Omar Bongo and the dancer Patience Dabany. He was proclaimed President in succession to his Father as of 3 September 2009.

He was Minister of Finance from 1999 and is a member of the Gagon Democratic party, he is also President of Superior Council of Islamic Affairs of Gabon and is known to be a close associate of the petrol giants in the States and Middle East. He became the new President of Gabon September 3, 2009.

Born in Brazzaville in the French Congo where his father was a soldier, educated in France Alain Bernard Bongo  went to a protestant college in Cévennes, secondary studies in Neuilly and then to the Sorbonne to study law, before returning to join his father's cabinet; where his father had come to power in 1967.

On his return to Gabon, he was personal representative of the head of State, President and Founder of the Gabon Democratic party, the PDG and became first representative of the head of state, which he continued to do until 1989. This job made him travel a lot and he formed close relations at a high level in the States and Middle East, where he perfected his English and Arab, which he speaks both perfectly.

His father converted himself to Islam in 1973 and Alain Bernard became Ali Ben Bongo.

He became Minister of Foreign affairs for a short time in 1989, however due to a constitutional change in 1991 requiring ministers to be aged 35 or more, as he was only 32 at the time, he was obliged to resign.

At age 40, he rejoined the government and became Minister of Defence. His father had gently pushed aside Idriss Ngari whom he had retrograded to Minister of Public Works and then Health. Idriss Ngari has become a rival for the Presidency of the country to Ali Ben Bongo.

Ali Ben does not have the reputation for being close to his people, contrary to his father he does not speak local dialects. Out of contact with a depressed people who feel that he has created an elite power base with no contact with the people, an elite which is corrupt and out of touch. 

He has been accused of being an adopted son who is a Biafran refugee and is of Nigerian origin. He finally replied to these accusations after a number of years explaining that he was eight when the Biafran conflict had started.


In 2008 he was accused in France in the affair of African leaders who had ill earned gains. Ali Ben Bongo's apartment in the Avenue Foch in Paris, his two Ferraris did not trouble his ambitions and the information did not bring him closer to his people. An article in the press in 2007 described how his ex wife Inge bought a villa in Hollywood for 25 million dollars. 

He is today married to Sylvia Valentin, daughter of an important insurance agent in Libreville. They have three children Malika Bongo Ondimba and two sons Noureddin Bongo Ondimba Valentin and. Jalil Bongo Ondimba Valentin.

Last update : 09/04/2009

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