Togolese President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe, formally launched a state-owned holding company called TOGO INVEST Corporation in Lome on 28 May 2013.
The corporation has a capital of 20 billion CFA Francs, of which a quarter has been paid up.
Its core mission is to implement a major transport corridor project of about 760 kilometers, which will connect the Port of Lome to Cinkasse.
Established by a cabinet decree adopted on 14 December 2012, following the recommendations of the Togo Investment Presidential Advisory Council, TOGO INVEST has a sole shareholder, the Togolese State, and is responsible for securing public-private partnerships to build a railway line, a viable road network, and a mineral quay as well as other infrastructure with a view to speedily promoting economic and social development along the corridor.
A power station and an inbuilt large band telecommunications network will also form part of the setup.
“It is about time Togo leveraged its strategic geographical location. The potential is there. The corridor will make it happen,” the President indicated during the opening ceremony which was also attended by the Nigerian businessman Dangote and the French senior executive Claude Peyrot, both of whom seat on the Board of Directors of TOGO INVEST Corporation.
The establishment of TOGO INVEST forms part of an ambitious economic program that aims to rank Togo among two-digit growth rate countries by 2015.
According to the Togolese Head of State, “this is an original project, as it will not only serve the purpose of transporting ore, it will also go a long way to develop our economy.
And this railway line will be funded by the mineral resources that we have long neglected or failed to mine, because this was not deemed profitable then.”
Moreover, the implementation of the development corridor project fits into the wider sub regional context. Amongst other things, it will allow the hinterland countries, in TOGO INVEST corporations and their quest for an outlay to the sea to ship, various types of frets to and from the Port of Lome.
In terms of organization and functioning, TOGO INVEST draws from the business model of OECD Holding Companies and keenly upholds the principles of transparency and sound management.
Just before the opening of the first Board meeting, the Togolese Head of State urged the stakeholders to make sure that TOGO INVEST becomes a role model in the area of corporate governance.
“If this Holding Company fails to comply with international standards, obviously we cannot attract investors. We cannot count on budgetary resources to fund such investments. We shall need the assistance of private investors. But they will not come if we keep on facing instability and social unrest. They will not come if there is no skilled labor force,” President Faure Gnassingbe indicated.
This seemingly economic project will bring about change in our country, he concluded.
Chaired by Barry Moussa Barque, a Special Adviser to Gnassingbe, the Togo Invest Board comprises of following seven members: