The Nature Conservancy announces mainland Africa’s first debt swap for ocean conservation in Gabon
The central African nation of Gabon is refinancing US$500 million of its debt, generating savings of US$163 million that will be used for marine conservation.
The funds raised will be used to help finance the protection and management of 30% of Gabon’s marine and coastal areas, supporting the government in its commitment to protect 30% of its ocean, land and freshwater by 2030.
The debt-for-nature swap is part of The Nature Conservancy (TNC)’s Blue Bonds for Ocean Conservation programme, which supports island and coastal nations to restructure their debt and restore oceans at the same time. It is the first deal of its kind on mainland Africa, and the largest amount of new debt raised for a TNC-led project.
Wedged between the Congo Basin and the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast of Central Africa, Gabon is a biodiversity hotspot, offering a safe haven to many endangered species. Its beaches are home to the world’s largest population of leatherback turtles and thousands of olive ridley turtles also nest on its sandy shores. West African manatees, sharks and the critically endangered Atlantic humpback dolphin are found in its coastal waters.
The Blue Bonds project will help to protect these precious species by financing a long-term conservation plan to increase the area of Gabon’s ocean under protection, improve management of all protected areas and help combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
This is the fourth Blue Bonds project arranged by TNC, and we are pleased to support this programme alongside other Blue Bonds for Conservation projects in Seychelles, Belize and Barbados.