Ambassador of Togo H.E. Mohamed Saad OURO-SAMA
THE TIMES KUWAIT REPORT
Ambassador H.E. Mohamed Saad OURO-SAMA who next week completes nine years of representing his country in Kuwait is currently the Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps in Kuwait. When appointed as ambassador to this country in 2014, Ambassador Ouro-Sama was not only the first Togolese ambassador to Kuwait, but also the first such representative of his country in the entire Middle East.
A former Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Promotion of the Private Sector in his country, the affable Togolese ambassador has since his arrival been keen on promoting trade and investment between Togo and Kuwait. In a recent exclusive interview with The Times Kuwait Managing Editor Reaven D’souza, Ambassador Ouro-Sama stressed the growth in bilateral relations and investments between the countries over the year, especially with the opening of the Togolese embassy in Kuwait.
“Through the efforts of the embassy, and in coordination and cooperation with relevant ministries in Kuwait, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) has contributed significantly towards the realization of several investments in Togo, particularly in infrastructure.
“Some of the infrastructure projects that have been completed through funding from KFAED include the construction of the Nangbeto dam; the asphalting of the Atakpame Adagali road; The asphalting of the Sokode Bassar road; the supply of drinking water to the populations of the Kara region and its surroundings; as well as the financing of micro-projects for vulnerable populations through the Togolese FNFI (National Fund for Inclusive Finance),“ said the ambassador.
Inviting more private investments in his country, the ambassador informed investors that over the last 10 years the Togolese government has made several improvements in infrastructure and policies aimed at making Togo a very attractive and suitable country for investors. “A few of these improvements are the new airport, roads, new free zone, improved harbor, the opening of a new industrial parc called the Parc Industrial of Adetikope (PIA), and the possibility for investors to open business in less than 24 hours,” said the envoy.
Pointing to the signing of several memorandums of understanding between the two countries, the Togolese ambassador assured investors that Togo was a safe haven for their investments. “We have a convention on economic and technical cooperation between the two governments signed in 2014; and a memorandum of understanding signed in 2017 between the Al Babtain Cultural Foundation of Kuwait and the University of Kara in Togo. We are currently working on other memorandums such as memorandums on sport, cultural exchange, trade agreements and air services agreements.”
Underscoring the country’s relative strength in logistics and port facilities, the ambassador noted that Togo has one of the largest ports in Africa. he added, “Despite Togo being the fourth biggest port in Africa and the first in West Africa, trade with the Gulf countries in general, and with Kuwait in particular, has been marginal and constitutes an attractive opportunity for further exploration and development.”
Turning to tourism in Togo and the country’s potential to lure visitors from Kuwait and the region, Ambassador Ouro-Sama said: “There are several nature reserves in the northern part of Togo that receive thousands of visitors each year. Some of them are the Fazao-Malfakassa Parc, the Keran National Parc and the reserve of Aledjo, the reserve of Sarakawa, the reserve of Oti, the reserve of Mandouri and the classified forest of Abdoulaye.
“However,aside from other important tourism elements such as the exotic tropical weather, the beaches, the fauna, and ﬂora, the most important element in Togo’s tourism is the welcoming nature of the Togolese people.
“You can see a reflection of this warmth among the relatively small Togolese community in Kuwait, who though they number only around 500 help spread the friendliness of our people. Since 2015, when the Togolese government decided to stop the exit of domestic workers to Kuwait, the number of workers in this field has diminished considerably. Today, most of the Togolese in Kuwait are employed in companies,” explained the ambassador.
Elaborating on his country’s recent celebration of Independence Day, Ambassador Ouro-Sama stated: It has been 63 years since my country Togo became an independent and sovereign country.
This has given the Togolese more freedom to expand economically and expand its international and diplomatic relations. It is always a joy and patriotic duty to remember and celebrate this event that brought sovereignty to Togo and its population. More than six decades of independence also provides us the maturity to make our beautiful country the gold of humanity as it is called.
In answer to the question of the challenges he faced as Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps in Kuwait, the ambassador replied: “I am honored to have become the Dean of the African diplomatic group. Like I always say, it is a task that picks you whether you are prepared for it or not. In addition to working tirelessly in representing my country and my work on enhancing diplomatic relations between Togo and Kuwait, now I must make myself available to represent the African community, and work together with my fellow African ambassadors to give a better image of the African continent in Kuwait.”
On his thoughts over his nine years in Kuwait, the ambassador was full of praise for this country, “Kuwait is a very welcoming, secure, and peaceful country. I would like to seize the occasion to thank the Amir of Kuwait, the Crown Prince, the Minister of Foreign Aﬀairs, and all members of the government for all the dispositions they have implemented to make us feel at home and to facilitate our work here in Kuwait. Equally, I would like to thank the Kuwait people for their kindness and friendship.”