Ambassador Opening Remarks 2nd Diaspora Video Conference

Ambassador Opening Remarks
2nd Diaspora Video Conference

July 18, 2017

Hello and thank you for joining us. I want to begin by reiterating my gratitude and appreciation to the Togolese diaspora in the U.S. for the tremendous contributions you have made to the development of Togo up to now.

This is our second video conference with the Togolese diaspora, and, as those of you who participated in our first session know, we at the Embassy see Togo as a country of incredible potential. But to realize that potential and capitalize on the talent and the opportunity that exists in this country, we need more investment from Togolese diaspora.

More and more, Togo is becoming an attractive location for big corporations to invest. But the fact remains that the vast majority of new businesses that are started here are small and medium enterprises. This is where the diaspora can play a transformative role. No one is better positioned than you to start a small business here. With all of your knowledge, know-how, and connections, you are perfectly positioned to take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity.

Yet, I understand your hesitation. Even in the U.S., starting a new business is an incredible risk. Therefore, starting a business in a country you have been away from for many years, where the policies and regulations may be unclear, and where there remains a high level of mistrust towards the political system – this is understandably very intimidating. But you should base your decision on real facts, not on rumors or second-hand stories.

The purpose of this video conference series is to provide you with enough information so that you can make an informed decision. In our first session last month, we introduced you to several members of the diaspora who came back to Togo and successfully launched businesses. Today, we are going to introduce you to representatives of the Togolese government who are charged with facilitating investment and making sure that anyone who wants to start a business in Togo can do so.

Mike already introduced them, so I will just say thank you to our representatives for joining us. I hope you will hear what they have to say and consider carefully the information they provide.

So with that, I will stop and let them take over. Thanks again for joining us and I hope you find this session productive and useful.