Deputy Chief of Mission Michael DeTar Remarks
Launching of Nenyo City Good Governance Initiative
Prefecture of Zio
September 27, 2018
Mister Prefect of Zio
Mister Mayor of Tsevie
Representatives of the diplomatic corps
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good morning and thank you all for being here. Today marks an important step forward in the evolution of decentralized, local government in Togo.
In the U.S. there is an old maxim that states, “The government closest to the people serves the people best.” In other words, government is most effective when it connects with people at the local level. Here in Tsevie, thanks to the initiative called Nenyo City, we are witnessing the unfolding of a great experiment in local governance, to see just how effective and connected a government can be with its citizens. And, as you heard a few minutes ago, the results are so far very impressive.
The decentralization process that is currently underway in Togo is an unprecedented advance for democratic governance in Togo. The U.S. government has been a strong supporter from the beginning of this process. Within the framework of our efforts to support decentralization, the Embassy organized an workshop called a “hackathon” in May of this year, which was designed to stimulate the development of technological solutions to make delivery of government services more effective. The Nenyo City application was the fruit of this workshop.
Nenyo City responds to the need to put digital tools at the service of local governance. By allowing citizens of Zio to communicate directly with local service providers, this project will increase civic engagement, while at the same time improving delivery of services.
Nenyo City App provides usable statistics based on contributions from users who can help policymakers measure the impact of the delivery of services in vulnerable areas and to adapt their solutions to the problems encountered and to the aspirations of the people.
Let me pause here and shine the spotlight on the team of young software developers who created Nenyo City. They belong to a community of coders called Minodoo. They have taken this project from a simple concept, to the design of the application, to the implementation of the project on the ground, and their work has been nothing short of extraordinary. These young people are the future of Togo, and from what I can see, the future is bright! If you agree let’s give them a big round of applause.
Now, after the application was developed, we knew that we needed to find a local government that would partner with us to implement the project in a pilot phase. Our first choice was the Prefecture of Zio. This is because the Embassy has brought numerous initiatives to this city, and whenever we propose a project that will increase civic engagement, improve transparency, or promote democratic values, we find that these ideas are welcomed with enthusiasm by the Prefect, the Mayor, and all the authorities of the city.
Mister the Prefect, Mister the Mayor, I take this opportunity to applaud your leadership and your engagement in favor of transparent and efficient local governance.
To conclude, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to everyone involved in the implementation of this project. I hope that this pilot project will show positive results, and that it will serve as a reference and a model for the rest of the country as the decentralization process continues to unfold. Know that my team and I at the U.S. Embassy are there to support you every step of the way.