Florence Yawa Ahofa Kouigan: A New Era for Togo's Governmental Communication

Monday, 18 September 2023 19:03
Florence Yawa Ahofa Kouigan: A New Era for Togo's Governmental Communication

(Togo First) - Following her recent appointment as Togo’s new minister of communication, Yawa Kouigan said she “will work tirelessly to promote information for our citizens, to enhance the pedagogy of governmental action, to structure the media landscape for dynamic, innovative, and transparent communication in the service of the nation.” 

From the Private Sector to Politics

Born in November 1979, Florence Yawa Ahofa Kouigan boasts a diverse career, stretching from university education to the private sector, the judiciary, and finally, politics. After getting a degree in private law, with a specialization in business law from the University of Benin (now the University of Lomé), Kouigan began her career at Ecobank as a Legal Advisor, gathering experiences in Business and Corporate Communications.

However, in 2007, her career took a significant turn and she slowly moved into politics. In 2010, she became assistant coordinator of the European Union's electoral observation mission; a position which allowed her to emerge as a key player in Togo's electoral circles. 

In 2017, she was appointed as a member of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), a decision that caused a stir, due to her allegiance to the ruling party, the UNIR, which she joined in 2012. Ignoring the critics, she became the CENI’s communication lead in 2018, during the legislative elections. 

Kouigan’s online presence, on Twitter especially, combined with her position in the presidential cabinet since 2011, has made her a prominent figure in Togo's communication board. In 2019, she became the Deputy Director of Information and Communication for the Presidency, alongside Toba Tanama. 

The same year, she became the mayor of Atakpamé and the first female president of the Communes of Togo Association (FCT) in 2020. Last August, she was elected as the Vice-President of the Council of Local Authorities of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (CCT-UEMOA).

In October 2021, Yawa Kouigan took the helm of the Ifodje Football Club d'Atakpamé from UNIR deputy Michel Amétodji, with Akodah Ayewouadan, her predecessor in the communication and media portfolio, also a native of Ogou 1, at her side.

Challenges Ahead

As the new minister of communication, Yawa Kouigan will have to overcome multifaceted challenges. Some of the issues she will have to tackle include disinformation, a task that requires striking a balance between regulation and freedom of speech. Also, the official will have to uphold or enhance press freedom standards, an area where Togo has made some progress in recent years, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF). 

Regulating social media and online platforms is another problem Kouigan will have to address with extreme care, as political decisions here can have significant repercussions, both locally and internationally.

It should be noted, however, that Yawa Kouigan is not the government’s spokesperson for communication. That position has been assigned to Secretary-General Christian Trimua. This means the two officials will closely collaborate for cohesive messaging and strategic alignment.

Furthermore, awaiting her immediate attention are crucial matters like the upcoming elections within the High Authority for Broadcasting and Communication (Haac), reforms to professionalize the press sector, the creation of press companies, modernizing the Togolese Television (TVT) and regional radios, and transitioning to digital terrestrial television (TNT).

Kouigan's tenure promises to be eventful and potentially transformative for Togo's media and communication landscape. Only time will tell how these challenges are navigated and what imprint she will leave on Togo's governmental communication.

Fiacre E. Kakpo

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