Interview : Review of diplomatic actions in 2019 with Minister Robert Dussey

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Integration and Togolese Abroad Prof Robert DUSSEY speaks on the highlights of Togo’s diplomatic action in 2019

Question 1:

Greetings dear Minister! In a few days, we will cross the threshold of a new year. At the time of the balance sheet, are you satisfied with the contribution of diplomacy to the work of development of Togo and to the progress of the world?

ANSWER:

Hello. Thank you for this opportunity that you offer me to come back to the highlights of Togo’s diplomatic activity during 2019.

I would say that Togolese diplomacy, under the leadership of the Head of State, His Excellency Faure GNASSINGBE, whose vision and clairvoyance I welcome, has been at all meetings, both national and international, in sight to support the efforts of the Government in its quest for well-being for all the sons and daughters of our country.

However, to say that I am satisfied with it would be to be self-sufficient and minimal. The hope of a better and prosperous Togo is an everyday fight, an endless fight, in which self-satisfaction cannot be put. I can, however, say that the personnel of my department, both at the headquarters and in our diplomatic and consular missions, did their utmost to achieve the objectives we set ourselves at the beginning of the year. As for the results, I leave it to the Togolese and Togolese, including you media people, to appreciate.

QUESTION 2:

I would like, if you allow me, to get to the heart of the matter by mentioning a subject on which you have been very active. At the start of the year, your department was given new attributions, those of Togolese living abroad. What has been done in favor of the diaspora during these 12 months?

Answer:

This is a very interesting question insofar as a whole section of the activities of the Ministry has been devoted this year to the Togolese diaspora.

The Togolese diaspora, like that of elsewhere, whether we accept it or not, has become an essential player in the development process of the continent. It’s a fact. And needless to say, the amount of transfers it sends to Africa far exceeds official development assistance. In addition, the potential of what this diaspora can bring in terms of skills and relational networks is enormous. States have therefore become aware of the place of the diaspora, rich in its diversity and intelligence, in the development effort and have therefore implemented, in recent years, policies oriented towards the intensification of participation of their nationals from outside to national development efforts.

Togo is not the rest. The Government’s desire to take the diaspora into account in the development process of our country does not start today, as you seem to say. Indeed, since 2005, the Government has continued to multiply both institutional and administrative initiatives in favor of Togolese abroad. Without being exhaustive, we can note, to illustrate:

  • The creation by decree in 2005 of the Directorate of Togolese Abroad at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responsible for implementing government policy aimed at protecting and defending the interests of Togolese outside;
  • the establishment of the diaspora program in 2010, focusing in particular on the use of diaspora skills (2010-2014);
  • the creation in 2014 of the inter-ministerial committee responsible for coordinating and monitoring migration and development activities;
  • the establishment of a diaspora cell responsible for supporting Togolese from the outside with projects in their implementation;
  • the designation since 2015 of focal points responsible for the diaspora in the diplomatic and consular missions of Togo;
  • diaspora meetings between 2013 and 2014;
  • the organization of the great diaspora conference in 2014 in Lomé;
  • visa exemption for Togolese living abroad who hold dual nationality;
  • the organization of the first edition of the Diaspora Success Week in 2016.

It is in this spirit that the Government has consolidated its commitment vis-à-vis our compatriots living abroad through new powers for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, guardianship of this diaspora, taking into account in its name “Togolese from the outside”.

In accordance with this mission, which in truth is not new, since it is a continuation of the efforts already started by the government in favor of its diaspora, I launched on April 1, 2019, on behalf of the Government, the Roadmap for Togolese abroad which covers several activities, including the better organization of the Togolese diaspora with a view to its more adequate involvement in national development efforts. It is a question of making the diaspora an interlocutor of the public authorities. And, as everyone knows, our diaspora is extremely divided and heterogeneous, hence the need to better organize it to give it a face. The challenge was great in that it was a question of creating and instituting a logic of unity from the plurality characteristic of this diaspora.

We therefore launched at the beginning of July the online voting process which led to the election of seventy-seven (77) Country Delegates, members of the High Council of Togolese Abroad (HCTE) which is a consultative and non-partisan platform. The HCTE is a framework for exchanges and work between the government and Togolese and Togolese from outside on development issues, defending the rights and interests of the latter.

After their election, the 77 Country Delegates, members of the HCTE met for the first time in Lomé on 28 and 29 November 2019 on the occasion of the “HCTE-Diaspora Success” Forum.

 

QUESTION 3:

Precisely, Minister, what were you pursuing through the organization of the “HCTE Forum – Diaspora Success” which, according to many observers, was a resounding success?

Answer:

The “HCTE Forum – Diaspora Success” had two main objectives:

First, it was an opportunity for the Government to talk to the Country Delegates about their roles, their missions, their responsibilities and the legal framework for their actions, to present the development vision that underlies government action, on the one hand, and to define with them, the conditions for a more optimal contribution of the diaspora to Togo’s development efforts, on the other hand. At the end of the forum, the 77 Country Delegates of the HCTE were officially installed in their functions during an official ceremony chaired by the Prime Minister, Mr. Selom KLASSOU, on behalf of the President of the Republic, His Excellency Faure Essozimna GNASSINGBE. It should also be said that the members of the HCTE were able to set up their office, composed of a Presidents and four Vice-Presidents for each of the geographic areas (Africa, America, Europe and Asia-Oceania).

Secondly, in view of the satisfactory results of the first edition of “Diaspora Success, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Integration and Togolese Abroad organized the second edition, to celebrate Togolese excellence in the world. The Night of Diaspora Success took place on November 29, 2019 during a beautiful gala evening at the Palace of the Presidency of the Republic. It revealed to the world five talented Togolese from the diaspora whose achievements and inventions have helped advance humanity. Their merits being recognized in their country of residence, their homeland is duty bound to honor them.

By celebrating the success of these people, we are promoting a culture of excellence.

 

QUESTION 4:

Another topical subject, and not least, is the negotiations between the ACP and the EU for a post-Cotonou agreement by 2020. As your chief negotiator for the ACP group, tell us what about it? Is an agreement possible before the February 2020 deadline?

Answer:

Signed in 2000 for a period of 20 years, the Cotonou agreement which currently governs relations between the ACP and the EU expires on February 29, 2020. Negotiations with a view to concluding a new partnership have been launched September 20, 2018 in New York, on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly.

The current negotiations aim to lay the groundwork for a new dynamic and a new cooperation transcending classic development cooperation.

The ACP-EU partnership is mainly focused on the eradication of poverty and the sustainable and inclusive development of the ACP and EU countries. It covers three essential areas of action: development cooperation, political dialogue and trade.

Building on the lessons learned from 44 years of cooperation and making the most of the new context, the future agreement will open up unprecedented perspectives. By forming a strong political alliance, the ACP and its partners will be able to develop solutions adapted to the challenges specific to each region, including growth and job creation, human development and peace, migration and security issues. Many of the challenges currently facing the world call for a concerted, multilateral approach to achieve concrete results.

One year after the start of the post-2020 ACP-EU negotiations, discussions are progressing in peace.

The first challenge encountered was to find a consensus on the format of the future partnership agreement. It will be made up of a common base applicable to all member states and three regional pillars which will reflect the specific characteristics and needs of each of the regions that make up the ACP. This means that Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific are called upon to directly negotiate their respective regional protocols with the EU, in the light of their development ambitions. By empowering the regions, the ACP group is convinced that they will do effective substantive work.

However, it is unlikely that these negotiations can be completed before February 29, 2020, the expiry date of the current Agreement. Already, on May 23, 2019, the ACP-EU Joint Council of Ministers, realizing the complexity of the task, had delegated its powers to the Joint Committee of Ambassadors with a view to adopting any required transitional measures which would avoid an interruption of the partnership or a vacuum legal, in case negotiations do not come to an end in due time.

Discussions on these transitional measures are also continuing between the two parties. The least we can say for the moment is that the two parties agree on a single extension of the Cotonou Agreement with the deadline of December 31, 2020. What I can tell you is that we are making every effort to progress as quickly as possible so that the initialling of the new Agreement can take place no later than the end of March 2020.

In this way, we will have enough time to prepare the new Agreement for signature.

QUESTION 5:

Minister, you have also been very offensive in bilateral relations. What are the countries to which you have directed your actions?

Answer:

As said above, our country needs partners for the realization of the PND. It is with this in mind that I paid official visits to Brazil, France and Algeria. Beyond the subjects of common, regional and international interest relating to better coordination of the fight against terrorism and violent extremism as well as that against maritime piracy, these trips were an opportunity for me to present to the of these friendly countries the opportunities offered by the PND and to encourage them to invest in Togo.

In the same vein, I received my counterparts in Lomé including those from India and Serbia for the intensification of our cooperation.

Question 6:

Minister, we’re coming to the end of this interview, your last word.

Answer:

I would like, at the dawn of this new year, to express to the Head of State, President Faure Essozimna GNASSINGBE, leader of the tremendous transformation of our country, my wishes for good health, prosperity and of peace.

I associate these wishes with Prime Minister Selom KLASSOU and the whole government.

I also extend my best wishes to the diplomatic and consular corps accredited in Togo and to all the technical and financial partners of Togo who have not ceased to accompany the government in the implementation of actions in favor of the development of our country and the well-being of our people.

And for each and every one of the sons and daughters of this wonderful country, I would like to successively quote Victor Hugo and Madame de Sévigné in these terms; “Let us salute together this new year which ages our friendship without aging our heart”. And “May this year be happy for you; may peace, rest and health take your place of fortune ”.

As for the future, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry teaches us “that it is not a question of foreseeing it but of making it possible”. So let’s make it possible, Togo thrives as we want.

Installation of the 77 HCTE Country Delegates: Speech by Minister Robert Dussey

Mr. President of the Independent Electoral Commission of the HCTE,
Ambassador, President of the organizing committee of the Forum,
Ladies and Gentlemen the Delegates country,
Distinguished guests,
Dear friends of the media,

The worthy sons of the nation are present when the country calls them and the presence among us on this day of the elected Delegates of the High Council of Togolese Abroad reflects their attachment to our country. By returning to the fold this week, you have, ladies and gentlemen, answered a call from the motherland and I would like to express to you the pride of the nation to welcome you to your homeland.

I would also like to wish you, in the name of the President of the Republic, His Excellency Faure Essozimna GNASSINGBE and the Government, the warm and fraternal welcome to the land of our forefathers. Your presence at the HCTE-Diaspora Success Stories Forum demonstrates your sense of community. The destiny of a country is built and the Government wants to build Togo’s with you. In its march towards better-being, our country is entitled to expect more involvement of the diaspora on all issues, including development issues.

Ladies and gentlemen,

“There are two ways to be creative. We can sing and dance or we can create an environment where singers and dancers can grow, “says Warren BENNIS. The Government has opted for the second path and is working to provide the diaspora with the essential basic functional capabilities. When the diaspora succeeds, and it is the conviction of the Government, Togo wins. By working to succeed, each of our compatriots, wherever they are, helps our country succeed.

Ladies and Gentlemen the Delegates,

The Government sees the diaspora as a development partner and appreciates your commitment to this forum where you will be installed and built on the scope of the mission and your responsibilities.

You have chosen to fulfill a noble mission, that of being the ambassadors of your diaspora peers to the Government and in your countries of residence. This two-day event will enable you to better understand your roles, the powers and status of the Country Delegates, the relations between the Country Delegates and the diplomatic and consular missions of our country as well as to have useful information on the facilities and possibilities. that the nation offers to the diaspora by way of accompaniment and assistance to the initiative.

The nation and the Government rely on your sense of responsibility and commitment to serve Togo. You must take sides for the development of our country and work individually in its area of ​​representation following the principles of decentralization and subsidiarity, but also in synergy. You must dare to act and pool your experiences for more efficiency in your actions. “The true generosity towards the future is to give everything to the present,” said Albert CAMUS. In the future, you will work to give everything to the republican fatherland.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Given the importance of the mission of the HCTE country delegates, I would like to invite you to understand your mandate as a mandate of service to Togolese Abroad and the entire national community. Because there is no choice without commitment, sometimes without sacrifice, the choice to be a delegate commits you to work for the cause of national development.

Finally, I would like to invite you to make the most of the forum and your stay in the homeland. I declare open the activities of the Forum “HCTE – Diaspora success stories”.

Long live the Togolese Nation

Long live the Diaspora.

Thank you.

Launch of the High Council of Togolese Abroad: Speech by Minister Robert Dussey

Ladies and Gentlemen Ambassadors,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Representatives of International Organizations and Organizations of Civil Society,

Mr. Secretary General,

Ladies and Gentlemen Directors,

Ladies and Gentlemen Division Chiefs,

Dear friends of the press,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Distinguished guests,

 

The Greek philosopher Epicurus said about friendship: “It is not so much the intervention of our friends that helps us but the fact that we can always count on them. The dimension of his thought that interests me is the fact that Epicure has the confidence and the guarantee of being able to always count friends as the base of friendship. Your presence on this day here is reiterative and convinces us that Togo can always count on you dear partners.

The ceremony that brings us together today is indeed a culmination since it announces the realization of a project whose beginnings date back to 2014. The establishment of the High Council of Togolese Abroad (HCTE) translates ambition clearly displayed the President of the Republic and the Government to raise the level of involvement of the Togolese diaspora in our national development effort and march towards collective prosperity.

It will be remembered that on April 1, we were here on the occasion of the launch of the Togolese Roadmap from the outside. The creation of the High Council of Togolese Abroad will materialize one of the essential axes of this Roadmap. By taking the decision to create the Togolese High Council, the Government intends to federate our diaspora to make its contribution to the development of our country even more significant.

The Togolese diaspora is a diaspora crumbled into several associations with difficulties to regroup and organize themselves in a way that ensures its representativeness. It is therefore essential to unite these different associations in order to increase their capacity for action in the direction and service of the country. The initiative for the creation of the Togolese High Council for Foreign Affairs (HCTE) is partly a response of the Government to a request from the diaspora itself.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The High Council of Togolese Abroad will include all Togolese and Togolese residing outside the national territory. It will be the framework par excellence for exchange and mutual trust between the Togolese diaspora and the Government on all issues of common interest. The HCTE will also be responsible for monitoring and coordinating the development activities of the Togolese diaspora, promoting everywhere the defense of the rights and interests of Togolese abroad and supporting them whenever the circumstances so require and making periodic consultations. with the Togolese and Togolese host countries of the diaspora.

The High Council of Togolese Abroad will be a consultative body of non-partisan, non-partisan and non-profit, and will not be affiliated with any confessional, ideological or political obedience. The challenge is to bring everyone together, make the plural diaspora of Togo a unique platform in the service of the prosperity of the nation, reconcile the logic of plurality and that of unity. Blaise Pascal said well in his book Thoughts that “the multitude that is not reduced to unity is confusion; the unity that does not depend on the multitude is tyranny “. Our differences are an asset for the country.

Finally, once again, I would like to take this opportunity to renew to you, dear friends, the gratitude of the Government for your presence at this ceremony, which shows your unwavering support when it comes to initiatives for the cause. of our country’s development. You are, to paraphrase a thought of Pythagoras, companions who help Togo to move on the path of prosperity.

I thank you for your kind attention !