Marc Ona Essangui

Marc Ona Essangui

Gabonese environmentalist and human rights activist

Marc Ona Essangui is a prominent Gabonese environmentalist, human rights activist, and 2009 recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize. In 2007, his investigations uncovered secret plans between the regime of Gabon’s dictator Omar Bongo and a Chinese company for a $3.5 billion hydroelectric dam and mining concessions for one of Africa’s largest iron deposits in Gabon’s largest protected national reserve. With his NGO, Brainforest, he mounted a campaign that successfully forced the project to be indefinitely put on hold. For his activism, he suffered threats, smear attacks, harassment against his family, and a police raid on his office. In 2019, he helped draw global attention to the biggest scandal of environmental crime in Gabon when nearly 400 containers of precious redwood timber worth $250 million were seized from the warehouses of Chinese companies in Gabon’s largest port. Outside of Gabon, he served as the president of Tournons La Page (TLP), an international coalition of 250 civil society organizations across Africa and Europe that advocates for presidential term limits across the continent.

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