Friday, December 17, 2010

Kodjo Sagbo Togo´s Ambassador before the EU

Mr. Kodjo Sagbo was named Togo’s ambassador before the European Union and the Benelux in 2004. The renewal of the cooperation between the EU and Togo was the most important dossier awaiting for the Togolese ambassador upon his arrival from his previous post in Abuja (Nigeria). The EU had suspended all cooperation with Togo after the upheavals that took place before the first plural presidential elections in 1993. After that, numerous Togolese delegations went to Brussels to ask for the reestablishment of the cooperation with their country. The European Union demanded free, democratic and transparent elections in order to resume full cooperation with Togo. Progressively, with the celebration of these elections, these conditions have been met and cooperation has been reestablished. Right before the February 2010, presidential elections, Mr. Sagbo briefly described his country’s situation and the present relations between the EU and Togo.

Togo, my country, formerly known as the “Switzerland of Africa”, is recovering its role on the regional and international scene. This recovery is the result of the collective action of its sons and is also due to the help of the international community which it missed until recently. This is due in large parts to the leadership of President Mr. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé who, since gaining power, has never stopped working towards reconciliation, and is firmly committed to building a stable, peaceful and developed Togo. In the President, we have worked in Brussels to reestablish ties with the EU, our main and most valued development partner. Since 2007, a more productive political situation has allowed Togo to reestablish fruitful relationships with its bilateral and multilateral partners. Thanks to the National Indicative Programme of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF), and to budgetary assistance, EU financial support is worth millions of euros in important fields for the development of Togo such as infrastructures, health, education, agriculture etc. To this we have to add all the support given for elections, security and justice. This year, the EU will be in Togo together with other partners to make sure that the presidential elections go smoothly on March 4. For the first time in a decade, in October 2009, a EU ambassador has been accredited to Togo, establishing his residence in Lomé. The donor round table held in Brussels in September 2008, gave a clearer picture of the aid outlook, going forward, and with a strict management of its resources, Togo could be well on its way to reaching its Millennium Development Goals (MDG). The “Switzerland of Africa” boasts modern port facilities, a tax-free zone, and is one of West Africa’s premiere business hubs with a programme adapted to globalization. Furthermore, in addition to the the traditional welcoming spirit of its people, its tourist attractions, are amongst the most famous in Africa, and it has a great artistic and cultural patrimony, I would like to invite you to visit, make business, invest, or just to spend your holidays in Togo.

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