Ambassador Gilmour Remarks
Festival of Ayiza
Prefecture of Zio
August 18, 2018
Monsieur le prefet
Honorable traditional Chiefs
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am extremely honored to be with you for the festival of Ayiza. First of all, I would like to thank the Prefect for inviting me, and for his great collaboration over many years with the U.S. Embassy.
One of the greatest pleasures for in my capacity as the U.S. Ambassador is that I get to travel throughout the country and participate in events and festivals in many different regions. And everywhere I go I am always touched by the warmth and friendliness of the Togolese people.
However, I must admit, of all the places I visited, I enjoy coming to Tsevie the most, because the people are so kind and welcoming. Truly, when I am here I feel like I am home. So thank you very much.
I think one of the reasons why I feel so at ease in Tsevie is because there are many values that I see here are similar to those that we cherish in the U.S. In the U.S., we are very committed to civic engagement and volunteering. And I have noted that this characteristic is very strong in the prefecture of Zio. Last month, I had the pleasure to join with the Prefect and hundreds of volunteers from the community to pick up trash and waste around the Poly-clinic.
It was very inspiring to see so many people joining together to contribute to the well-being of the community. I think this attitude that every citizen has a duty and an obligation to work to make the community better, is one of the key qualities that every great city shares. And Tsevie clearly has this quality in excess.
Another value that we have in the U.S. and which I see in Tsevie is the belief that government is best when it connects with people at the local level. And here in the prefecture of Zio, I think you will agree, we have a local government led by the Prefect that is working hard and delivering results for the community.
It is for these very reasons – the strong spirit of civic engagement, the strong, effective local government – that the U.S. Embassy decided to launch a major new initiative here in the prefecture of zio in the coming months that will aim to strengthen the delivery of essential services at the local level through technology. Our hope is that through this initiative, titled “Nyenyo City” or the city that works, we will bring the community and the local government even closer together through a platform that allows citizens to report problems and track the response in real time. And I want to thank once again the Prefect and the Mayor for their willingness to work with the Embassy on this project.
To conclude, I would just like to reiterate once again how honored I am to take part in this festival. On behalf of the personnel of the U.S. Embassy and on behalf of all the people of the United States, I say long live the friendship between the U.S. and Togo, and long live the cooperation between the American people and the people of the prefecture of Zio