H.E. Mohamed Saad OURO-SAMA, Ambassador of Togo
By Reaven D’Souza
Ambassador H.E. Mohamed Saad OURO-SAMA arrived in Kuwait almost eight years ago as the first Togolese ambassador to not only Kuwait but the entire Middle East. The calm and affable diplomat has since then made his mark in diplomatic circles and is a well-respected member of the diplomatic corps in Kuwait.
In a recent exclusive interview with The Times Kuwait, Ambassador Ouro-Sama highlighted the growing bilateral relations with Kuwait and opportunities for investments in various sectors of Togo. He also expressed his appreciation for the support extended by Kuwait to the development of his country over the years.
The ambassador began by explaining what led to his shift from a political to a diplomatic career. “My diplomatic career started with the decision by the Togolese Head of State, His Excellency Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, to establish solid diplomatic and especially economic relations with the Middle East and particularly with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
“I was chosen for this post of representing my country in Kuwait and the region, on account of my long experience in the political field, having served for ten years as Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Promotion of the Private Sector in my country. I would like to add that I am the first Togolese ambassador to the Middle East and to the GCC states, and Kuwait has been chosen as the base for expansion of our relations in the Middle East.”
Elaborating on his posting as the first Togolese diplomatic representative to the region, Ambassador Ouro-Sama said, “I was appointed in February 2014, and following my arrival in the country, I presented my credentials to the Amir of Kuwait on 14 May, 2014. Initially, I had to confront several diverse challenges, including the language barrier and the long delay to establish relationships of trust with our interlocutors for rapid actions.
“Since then, we have had very good relations with the government and people of Kuwait so far. We have undertaken many projects, some have developed and come to completion, others are in progress, and we also have other projects in the future. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Amir of Kuwait, the Crown Prince, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the entire government for all the facilities made available to us for the accomplishment of our mission.
I would also like to express my gratitude to the people of Kuwait for their friendship.” Turning to trade and his efforts to develop economic ties and enhance Kuwaiti investments in Togo, the ambassador elaborated: “In the economic field, we have benefited from the Kuwaiti government’s several investments in infrastructure of Togo. In this regard, I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate the Kuwait Fund for the tireless work not only in my country Togo but also throughout Africa.
“Currently, foreign trade between Kuwait and Togo is almost nil. We call on all our best wishers to help develop commercial ties between our two countries, as we have a strong export-oriented sector based on agricultural products such as coffee, cocoa bean, and peanuts.
“Togo also abounds in many opportunities for private investments, particularly in the infrastructure field, including roads, schools, hospitals, real estate infrastructure, as well as in the field of agriculture and livestock, and especially in the tourism sector. We wish and expect the strong involvement of private investors for this purpose.
“The business climate in Togo is very attractive and is conducive to encouraging private investment. All arrangements have been made to support and secure Kuwaiti and Gulf investors who will always be welcome in Togo. It is also well known that Togo is a country of peace and security.
“In this regard, it is important to mention that Togo has set up the Adetikope Industrial Platform (PIA), which is a multi-sector industrial park spread over 400 ha.
It includes a commercial area, a container park that can contain 12,500 containers, parking for 700 trucks, warehouses, and storage units for all commodities. It is an economic space for foreign investors with a very advantageous tax regime, modern infrastructure, and integrated logistics services. This platform attracts a lot of investors around the world, and we invite Kuwaiti investors to join.
“Another area where my country excels is in tourism. Togo has always been a country of tourism with various tourist infrastructures that attract thousands of tourists. Some examples are the Koutamakou site, the Kpimé waterfall, Château Vial, Alejo Fault, the Fasao Park, the Nock caves, the house of slaves. Sarakawa wildlife. For its part, our Embassy here is keen to seize every opportunity to promote the potential of tourism in Togo and to boost its growth.”
Stressing on the need to enhance people-to-people ties through cultural exchanges between the two countries, the envoy stated: “Unfortunately, till date, there have been no cultural exchanges between Togo and Kuwait. We intend to rectify this situation and plan to invite artists from Togo to Kuwait to show the diversity of our country and its culture. Kuwaiti artists are also invited to perform in Togo.”
Ending the interview with a few words on his thoughts about Kuwait and its future, Ambassador Ouro-Sama noted: “Kuwait is a wonderful country, very welcoming and excellent in developing diplomatic relations. Kuwait has a lot of economic potential that Togo can reproduce. It is a great source of investments for development. We once again invite Kuwaiti investors to Togo to seize the multiple investment opportunities that Togo offers.”