Speech by the Director of External Relations, Shell Gabon
Speech by the Director of External Relations, Shell Gabon

Guy KASSA KOUMBA (Director of External Relations) led the Shell Gabon delegation, which also included Sylvie AVIKA (Head of Social Investment) and Charles IGOHO (Government Relations Officer). By making this gift, the company renewed its pledge of support to the education and research sector at university level.

The USTM Secretary-General presided over the ceremony, and the presence of the university management, lecturers and researchers, students, local authority representatives, the press and audio-visual media raised the profile of the occasion. 

The representative of the lecturers welcomed those present. Then it was the turn of Science Faculty dean, Professor Michel MBINA MOUNGUENGUI, to give his keynote address.

He began by thanking Shell Gabon, on behalf of the USTM Decanal Council, for its praiseworthy gesture at a time of economic recession.

A view of the donated apparatus
A view of the donated apparatus

The Dean then gave a retrospective on the origins of USTM, from its foundation in 1985 to the present day.

He went on to emphasise, “this is an historic gift, an all-time first for the Science Faculty, and especially for the Chemistry Department. By making it, Shell Gabon takes the lead in forging the partnership between the University and business.”

The Dean concluded his remarks by praising Shell for treating the conservation of biodiversity with due importance, through various initiatives, in partnership with international institutions such as the Smithsonian. He welcomed the co-operation between Shell Gabon and USTM, and hoped that it would be permanent.

Then it was the turn of Guy KASSA KOUMBA, who explained that USTM represented “a preferred source for the recruitment of the talent necessary for the efficient running of Shell Gabon’s business… For example, a number of former students of this prestigious university have gone on to hold positions at Shell Gabon, up to the senior echelons of our organisation.” Shell Gabon’s Director of External Relations noted that the partnership between USTM and Shell Gabon was of long standing, and offered postgraduate work placements and vocational traineeships to students. This gift, he added, “aims to help improve the quality of teaching and research. It will enable studies to proceed to a greater depth, and train students better to rise to the challenge of developing this country. Their research must be published and thereby give USTM a higher national and international profile, and enhance the international status of Gabon.”

Group photograph
Group photograph

He stressed, “this precious gift of equipment, worth XAF 62 million, consists of the latest generation of laboratory apparatus (a UV spectrophotometer, a centrifuge, a Rotavapor rotary evaporator, a tank and other items). There’s also computer equipment (multifunctional printers, computers and a microwave) and reagents. Our gift is for use by students and lecturers in the biochemistry section of the Chemistry Department. Equally, it is available to other departments and schools within USTM (the Polytechnical School and the School of Agronomy). It will also be useful to USTM outsiders for various analyses. These tools will enable Gabonese university research to take a qualitative leap towards excellence.”

Guy KASSA KOUMBA urged the teaching body and all students to make good use of this gift. He thanked everyone present for their warm welcome.

After the official handover of the donated equipment, the Shell Gabon delegation and other guests were invited for cocktails in the auditorium hall. This gave students an opportunity to chat to delegation members at greater length.

The ceremony ended with a visit to the Chemistry Department’s biochemistry laboratory.