Remarks by Her Excellency Candith Mashego Dlamini, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa at the opening of the Political Consultations between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Togo, 16 March 2023, Lomé
Your Excellency, Mr Afo O Salifou, Permanent Secretary, Affairs, Regional Integration and Togolese Abroad of the Republic of Togo,
Your Excellency, Ms Marks, Ambassador Designate of the Republic of South Africa to the Republic of Togo,
Mr John Fintakpa Lamega, Chargé d’Affaires of the Republic of Togo to the Republic of South Africa,
Distinguished Senior Officials,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure, Your Excellency, to greet you and your delegation today as we meet in this beautiful city, Lomé. Let me begin by expressing my sincere gratitude to you, Your Excellency, for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to me and my delegation since our arrival in your beautiful country, Togo. It is indeed a great pleasure for me personally to be leading the South African delegation to this very important meeting.
The purpose our visit to the Republic of Togo is indeed the holding of the Political Consultations between South Africa and Togo. Let me say from the onset that from our side the objectives of our visit are three-fold. Firstly, we have come here for these Political Consultations with the view to strengthen diplomatic relations between South Africa and Togo from which deepened trade and investment relations as well as stronger people-to-people relations will be rooted.
South Africa and the Republic of Togo have enjoyed excellent diplomatic relations since the signing of the Declaration on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations 26 years ago on 5 January 1997.
Your Excellency, our bilateral relations are based on the Framework for Cooperation Agreement between South Africa and Togo that was signed in December 2019. The Agreement provides a framework for cooperation in several fields including agro-processing, port management, mining, and energy amongst others.
As part of the effort to strengthen bilateral relations, I am pleased our two countries are finalising processes to sign the Visa Waiver Agreement for Holders of Diplomatic and Official Passports. Negotiations have been finalised and the draft Agreement is going through legal scrutiny in South Africa. Once all legal processes are finalised, the Agreement will be ready for signature.
We recall that on 05 to 06 December 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa paid a Working Visit to Togo. During this visit he expressed his satisfaction with the bilateral relationship between the two countries. President Ramaphosa was accompanied by the Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation, Defence and State Security Agency.
We are therefore, looking forward during these Political Consultations to explore other areas of cooperation with a view of strengthening bilateral cooperation in line with the Framework for Cooperation Agreement.
Your Excellency, we are determined to eradicate poverty in one generation and build shared prosperity through social and economic transformation of the continent in line with the Africa We Want as outlined in Agenda 2063. As such, South Africa seeks to deepened trade and investment relations with Togo with a view to transform our economies and create jobs for our people; transform our economies through the beneficiation of our natural resources, manufacturing, industrialisation, value addition including increasing productivity and competitiveness of our economies.
We seek to deepen trade and investment relations between our two countries to radically transform our agricultural sector so that we my relay on ourselves to feed our people and be a major player as a net food exporter to the world. It is time for Africa to feed itself. There is no reason for Africa to be a net food importer. What we do with agriculture today will determine the future of food security in the world. The COVID-19 pandemic and Russia/Ukraine conflict has thought us that it is irresponsible to depend on others for our basic necessities and the need to be self-reliant.
We want to deepen trade and investment with a view to exploiting the vast potential and resources that lies beneath our oceans. Let us cooperate to build modern port infrastructure to realise the full potential of Africa’s blue/ocean economy.
Your Excellency, we have been observing with keen interest Togo’s positive investment attractiveness in terms of foreign direct investment flows (FDI).
Accordingly, the second objective of our visit is to deepened trade and investment on the basis of a mutually beneficial and win-win outcome between South Africa and Togo. In this regard, we wish to position South Africa as a capable partner that can meaningfully contribute to the implementation of the Togolese NDP.
In this regard, it will be recalled that President Faure Gnassingbe, visited South Africa in 2019 to present the National Development Plan (NDP) of Togo to South African investors. President Gnassingbé and delegation his met with some business entities, including the Chief Executive Officers of Eskom, Transnet, DENEL, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, Gijima Holdings, Dreamz Tech SA, and the Pembani-Remgro Fund.
South African enterprises, both state-owned and private, including financial institutions such as banks and development finance institutions are ready to invest in Togo. The portfolio of South African investment in Togo include:
- Nedbank and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) are the second and third largest shareholders in the Lomé head-quartered Pan African Bank and EcoBank
Given the geographical position of Togo, especially the port facilities in Lomé, we view Togo as a hub for the movement of goods to some of the countries in West Africa.
Accordingly, projects that could be of interest to South African investors include: the Port of Lomé, infrastructure and road development, road transport and air hub, railway infrastructure, infrastructures for a digital economy, Business Tourism Centre and a Financial and Business Centre, agropoles, industrial parks, developing the mining industry, energy sector, safety of people and investment, water and sanitation.
Your Excellency, our third objective, is to develop closer diplomatic relations between South Africa and Togo with a view to work together and have common position on key regional, continental and global issues such as the reform of the UN Security Council; peace and security in West Africa; Palestine and Israel conflict; and Western Sahara Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR’s) principled and noble struggle to attain self-determination so as to finally achieve a colonial free Africa amongst others.
We appreciate the support and the confidence shown by Togo and Africa by electing South Africa to the AUPSC for a two-year term (2022-2024). In this regard, during our tenure, we wat to ensure that the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) is fully functional and operational.
We strongly condemn all and any form of unconstitutional change of government in line with the Lomé Declaration on Constitutional Changes of Government in Africa (2000), The African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance. We do so because we are committed the consolidating democratic gains and improving the quality of governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law on our Continent.
We reaffirm South Africa’s commitment to support processes and efforts aimed at bringing about peace and security in the West Africa region and the silencing of guns on our Continent. In this regard, we congratulate President Gnassingbe on the role his Government is playing in assisting the West African Region; including Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea Conakry to conclude the transitional processes emanating from the unconstitutional change of governments.
When we conclude this engagement, it is very important that we are able to declare that the Political Consultations were a success, and that they have laid appropriate and necessary groundwork for the achievement of our objectives.
I look forward to very fruitful deliberations containing all of the above actions.
I wish that you and your delegation may soon come to visit South Africa and enjoy some of what South Africa has to offer.
Once again, we are very pleased to be here and wish we could continue with such engagements in future to give impetus to our relations!
I thank you.
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