Ambassador Opening Remarks
ETI Conference Center
February 9, 2019
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a real pleasure for me to be with you for the opening ceremony of this conference. I was fortunate enough to have participated in the first TEDxTokoin conference in 2017, and I am very pleased to have been invited back for the second edition.
For those who don’t know, the TED concept was born in the U.S. The very first TED event was held in California in 1984. The organizers wanted to focus on the convergence among three fields: technology, entertainment and design. T.E.D. = TED.
But even if TED has its roots in America, nowadays the TED brand is truly a global phenomenon. To date, there have been almost 30,000 TED events taking place in over 130 countries. Videos of TED Talks have been viewed over a billion times!
The TED slogan is “Ideas Worth Sharing,” and I think it this focus on the power of ideas that accounts for TED’s incredible popularity. TED Talks are not afraid to grapple with the biggest ideas, to ask the deepest questions, and to propose answers that surprise and inspire us
The theme of today’s conference is no exception to this pattern. The challenges of tomorrow is a subject that should be on all of our minds. It is fitting that we examine this theme here in Togo, in West Africa, because this part of the world will be the arena where we confront many of the greatest challenges of tomorrow.
Scientists predict that by 2050, a quarter of the earth’s population will be living on the African continent, and Africans will be disproportionately impacted by threats like climate change, disease epidemics, and conflicts related to resource scarcity. And there is perhaps the most pressing challenge of all: how to provide jobs and economic opportunity for 2.5 billion people?
So, certainly, the challenges of tomorrow will be African. But so too will be the solutions. African inventors will create the technologies that drive the next wave of innovation. African entrepreneurs will create the businesses that produce the jobs African workers need. African scientists will develop the vaccines that prevent the next epidemic from breaking out. African politicians and civil society activists will develop political structures that respond to the aspirations of the people.
The best part is that the people who will bring these solutions may already be among us. During today’s conference, you will hear presentations from a group of dynamic young leaders who are already making a positive impact. I thank the organizers of TEDx Tokoin for giving them an outlet to express themselves.
I will close, as I did last year, with a final thought: The solution to every problem facing Togo can be found in the creativity and ingenuity of the Togolese people. I challenge all of you here today to nourish and encourage the spirit of creativity in the young generation, all the artists, entrepreneurs, scientists, and scholars who are working every day to create a better future for Togo , from Lome to Dapaong. Believe in them, believe in yourselves, and believe that a single idea can change the world.
Thank you very much.