Togo’s political development, the unstable security situation in Mali and the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea were some of the topics discussed during Robert Dussey’s first official visit to Berlin.
Bilateral relations are informed by the era of Germany’s colonial presence in Togo (1884-1914), which established a strong historical link between the two countries. In their talks in Berlin on Wednesday (12 February), however, the two Foreign Ministers focused on present opportunities and challenges. According to Foreign Minister Steinmeier, relations between Germany and Togo were “highly topical” thanks to intergovernmental and personal ties. From the German point of view, institutional and constitutional reforms in Togo are particularly important.
A willingness to pursue reform and democracy
There was a “strong willingness” in Togo to continue along the path towards democracy, Foreign Minister Steinmeier emphasised following his meeting with Dussey. The two Foreign Ministers know each other from Steinmeier’s first term of office, when he visited Togo’s capital Lomé in 2008.
“We have to take the road towards a democratic regime”, Dussey confirmed at their joint press conference at the Federal Foreign Office. He continued to say that this included the necessary constitutional reforms the two Ministers had intensively discussed. Dussey stated that Germany could count on Togo as a partner and a “country wishing to pursue reform”.
Dealing with trouble spots in the region a key issue
Germany has a strong interest in a stable and democratic Togo. Foreign Minister Steinmeier commented on the country’s neighbourhood, which “lacked security sometimes”, and praised Togo’s engagement in Mali. Togo helped to make the country safer “in collaboration with other African armed forces”, Steinmeier said. Togo plays an active part in the UN mission MINUSMA.
Foreign Minister Steinmeier also welcomed Togo’s involvement in the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and the country’s maritime cooperation in this context with other neighbouring states.
Development aid to help people help themselves
During their joint press conference, Foreign Minister Steinmeier stressed once more that Africa must not only be seen as a “continent of crises”. He said that the two Ministers had agreed to identify specific areas in which Germany could help Togo achieve its reform goals.
Dussey said he was convinced that Africa’s development depended ultimately on the African people. At the same time he welcomed support from the international community. Dussey expressed his hope that more business investment would be forthcoming from Germany.