Dimanche 18 Août 2019  

N°98 - Deuxième trimestre 2012

La lettre diplometque
République Démocratique du Congo
  Le Togo à la présidence du Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies
  Washington encourage le Togo à persévérer sur la voie des réformes
  Assemblée parlementaire paritaire ACP-UE à Lomé : les relations entre Bruxelles et Lomé sont au beau fixe
  Des perspectives encourageantes pour l’économie togolaise
  Au cœur des liens d’amitié entre le Togo et la France
Organisations Internationales
Enjeux Économiques
Prospectives et Stratégies
Économies et Développement
Question de Protocole
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  S.E.M. / H.E. Calixte Batossie MADJOULBA

“Pride in serving other nations”

Togo’s election as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for 2012-2013 has capped its shift back to the forefront of the international scene, and is another step in its renewal drive. Its term at the rotating helm of the UN’s supreme council in February 2012 confirmed its ability to contribute to efforts to resolve crises, especially in Africa. The Ambassador of the Togolese Republic, H.E. Calixte Batossie Madjoulba, spoke to us about the stakes behind its new responsibilities and the progress that his country has made on the path to an open democracy and economic development.

The Diplomatic Letter: Togo will be on the UN Security Council for two years as a non-permanent member. Mr Ambassador, how do you feel about this responsibility and what benefits are you expecting to derive from it?

H.E. Calixte Batossie Madjoulba : The UN Security Council is a prestigious organisation. A seat on it is a great honour – and a vote of confidence – for all its Member States. It is all the more important for Togo after years in isolation on the international scene.
But being a Security Council member also means shouldering responsibility. You need to be ready to deal with situations that do not seem to concern your country directly, but nevertheless concern international collective security. This responsibility is even greater when you chair the Council, as Togo did in February 2012.
I fundamentally believe that the immediate advantage that Togo will derive from its UN Security Council membership is its pride in serving other nations and contributing to amplifying Africa’s voice on issues touching on peace and security.

T.D.L.: Precisely, in February 2012, your country convened the Security Council to discuss transnational organised crime and how it is affecting stability in West Africa and Sahel countries. What approach would you use to intensify the UN’s efforts to uproot this scourge? How do you explain the difficulties reaching consensus on this issue, in particular as regards Libyan weapon proliferation?

H.E.C.B.M. : Strictly speaking, I do not believe there is a problem regarding consensus on the issue you mentioned. Everybody agrees that the war in Libya has sent out ripples that have significantly undermined security across the Sahel. That is a fact! Recent events in Mali clearly show how much more fragile the situation has become.
Today, the goal is to find a way to spur Member States to take a step beyond acknowledging the fact and take action. Our concern is how to rally the international community around these challenges to take concerted, effective action. That was what led Togo to include a general debate on the impact of organised crime in West Africa and the Sahel on the Security Council’s agenda for its 21 February 2012 meeting. It was a sensible choice and recent events have confirmed that.
The international community will clearly not make a move unless we start tackling the problem head on at sub-regional level. ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) indeed recently took the initiative within a few weeks when it called five extraordinary summits on the situation in Mali and in Guinea Bissau. We need structural responses, at all costs.
As the President of the Republic has proposed it to the members of the Security Council in February 2012, we would have a lot to gain from setting up an international contact group on transnational organised crime for West Africa and the Sahel. That would provide a more effective response to the worsening security situation in Mali, budding terrorism thriving on religious undertones, and escalating drug and narcotic trafficking in the sub-region. The contact group in Somalia opened up a path to funnel human and financial resources into efforts to support the political process and cement peace and security. That is a lead that we need to explore very seriously.

T.D.L.: At Togo’s initiative, the Security Council adopted a resolution calling on States skirting the Gulf of Guinea to team up against piracy, on 29 February 2012. What else are you expecting as regards cooperation with the UN and Security Council Member States?

H.E.C.B.M. : Sea piracy is a new type of security challenge for Gulf of Guinea States. They do not have the experience, the tools or much less the logistics to deal with it. And fighting piracy required substantial resources.
Our countries have no other choice but to try to share the costs.
Cooperation with the UN is fundamental. The UN’s extensive experience puts it in the best position to facilitate efforts to harness resources in order to strengthen national and regional capacity.
But we cannot sit back and do nothing at community level. Each country needs to set up a suitable legal framework to fight piracy as well as contribute to adopting a regional strategy. Sharing information among police services is also a very important aspect of fighting piracy. The fresh upsurge of piracy will no doubt require bolder measures such as escorting civilian ships through the Gulf of Guinea with joint patrols – which is already being done elsewhere.
T.D.L.: Your country worked hard to shift the focus to Africa at the Security Council, despite the heavy attention on the Syrian crisis. What factors have motivated this decision?

H.E.C.B.M. : During the visit of the Togolese Head of State in New York, the Security Council members discussed about the situation in Syria. Togo, who was acting as President of the Security Council, insisted on the need to do everything possible to start doing something to stop civilian killings. It is important to encourage former UN Secretary General Mr Kofi Annan’s efforts, since he took over the case. But Syria is not the only case.
The UN Security Council’s membership is designed to cover the full spectrum of challenges around the world. It does everything to make sure that the various problems in the various parts of the world end up at the centre of the debate at some point, when the countries that are directly concerned get involved. So it was normal to see the security issues in Africa in general, and in West Africa and the Sahel in particular, in the spotlight in February, during Togo’s presidency. But, as you have no doubt also noticed, February 2012 was a productive month at the Security Council. It took a large number of decisions then. We recorded about ten decisions, including five resolutions on a wide variety of issues.

T.D.L.: On 6 June 2012, the Togolese Head of State was re-elected has acting President of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA for its French name, Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine). How would you describe the increasing cooperation between the members of the Union? In what specific areas would you like to see more economic coordination?

H.E.C.B.M. : All member States were focused on the Ivorian crisis. Today the situation in Mali rises the same mobilisation. But this cyclical situations did not fundamentally change the integration agenda within UEMOA. The priority is still to promote the free circulation of people, goods and capitals, harmonise economic and social policy, and effectively roll out sector-specific policy (in particular in sectors hovering around agriculture, water resource management, education and the environment).
The reforms are moving forward in this view, and the plans to lighten the Union’s administrative machinery are still there. One of the lessons we learnt from the Ivorian crisis, however, is that we need to intensify our cooperation as regards peace and security. This aspect is not dealt with in enough depth in the UEMOA Charter. There will no doubt be a need to think about prevention mechanisms and setting up strategies to deal with the urgent situations such as massive influx of refugees.

T.D.L.: Togo is aiming to cement its position as a hub for economic exchanges in West Africa. What are the main projects you are working for to do so, beyond building the third quay in the Port of Lomé? What initiatives are you planning to focus on to promote the Togolese market’s potential among foreign investors?

H.E.C.B.M. : Togo has indeed decided to invest heavily in developing transport and communication infrastructure, and in particular in enlarging the Autonomous Port of Lomé. But the economic stimulus package is vast. Currently, the priority is to provide Togo with the basic infrastructure it needs to harness its economic potential.
Work to extend Lomé Airport, for instance, has already started.
Togo has also invested substantially to develop urban transport.
A full series of structural reforms to improve the business climate are also rolling out. A new investment code entered into force at the beginning of this year. The weight of public capital in key economic sectors has shrunk considerably. Four public banks have been privatised. A business facilitation centre has substantially shortened incorporation timeframes in Togo.
Tourism is a sector that is brimming with potential and we have invested a lot to promote it, based on the quality of biodiversity and the wealth of cultural expressions we have in. There is fresh momentum in Togo and I am certain that foreign investors will not take long to notice it.

T.D.L.: What are the main issues ahead of the next general elections in 2012? What is left to do to consolidate sound government and the rule of law in Togo?

H.E.C.B.M. : If everything goes to plan, these general elections should be paired with local elections. Togo embarked on a cycle of peaceful elections in 2007. The presidential election in 2010 confirmed that. So the goal now is to consolidate this new dynamic and make sure political violence is banished for good in Togo, particular during election campaigns. We need that foundation to push ahead with the economic recovery in an appeased political climate.
Despite the achievements we can look back on, there is still a long way to go to cement the rule of law. We have to deepen the justice system reform, push ahead with efforts to root Human Rights in our culture, and work to help a more professional, more responsible press emerge. The challenges are huge but we are making progress year after year.

T.D.L.: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Lomé on 17 January 2012. Did her visit strengthen ties between your two countries?

H.E.C.B.M. : Mrs Clinton’s trip to Lomé was no doubt powerfully symbolic. The President of the Republic indeed took the opportunity to discuss ways of stepping up our cooperation bilaterally and via the UN.
The fact that we are Security Council members requires us to talk to all our partners – in particular the ones that have considerable sway on the international scene, such as the United States. That is the best way to get real results on the big international issues such as drugs and sea piracy.

T.D.L.: Togo has also stretched its cooperation ties beyond its traditional partners, including France and Germany, and is also looking at emerging countries such as China and Brazil. What are the advantages of these new partnerships?

H.E.C.B.M. : Nowadays, it is very important to open up to new partnerships. Yesteryear’s ties should not become shackles. To the contrary: you have to shed them and keep what deserves to be kept. Historical ties only warrant being kept inasmuch as they help us to take a stand vis-à-vis today’s challenges. For this reason it is important to highlight South-South cooperation. The interesting thing about emerging countries is that they have managed to transcend the burdens of their past to blaze their own trail to economic and social progress. There is a form of closeness between them and us, as developing countries, that makes it easier to connect to the models they have created.    

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