Togo is a Sub-Saharan West African country that shares borders with Ghana to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, and Benin to the east. It has an estimated population of 6.2 million inhabitants, with a demographic growth rate of about 2.8%.
Togo’s political landscape is dominated by the five following main parties or coalitions, all of which have seats in the parliament: the presidential party Union Pour la Republique or UNIR (62 seats), the Collectif Sauvons le Togo (19 seats), the Coalition Arc-en-Ciel (6 seats), the Union des Forces du Changement or UFC (3 seats), and Sursaut National (1 seat). The government, largely dominated by UNIR with the exception of 3 ministers from the UFC, has a policy agenda that covers four key areas: (i) intensification of actions already started in priority social sectors such as health, education, youth employment, water and sanitation; (ii) strengthening the foundations for an inclusive economic growth to advance economic governance, fiscal consolidation, and the fight against corruption; (iii) completion of institutional and constitutional reforms; and (iv) promotion of a foreign policy based on peace and solidarity. Local elections have been reported many times, and the next presidential elections are scheduled for the first quarter of 2015.
Togo’s economy continues to perform well however real gross domestic product (GDP) growth declined slightly from 5.9% in 2012 to 5.1% in 2013, largely due to reduced agricultural output following poor rainfall. Growth is expected to remain favorable in the next three years, fueled by agriculture, construction and mining. Inflation is low with 1.8% in 2013 and an estimated 1.5% in 2014. The pace of structural reforms slowed significantly since the attainment of the completion point of the Heavily-Indebted Poor Countries initiative (HIPC), and public debt management has also weakened. Two banks out of four were successfully privatized, and reforms in the mining and energy sectors have advanced slowly. The reform of the telecommunications sector had a favorable impact on growth in 2012. In June 2012, Togo connected to the WACS submarine cable, thereby gaining direct access to the world fiber optics network. The cost of telephone calls was reduced from $0.23 per minute in 2011 to $0.18 per minute in 2012, and the cost of Internet access also fell by 36%. However, the costs of telecommunications still remain high compared to the regional standard. The Togolese revenue office is now operational and hopes are that with time it will help improve and increase revenue mobilization to finance infrastructure and social needs.
Poverty has declined, but it remains high at 58.7%, according to the 2011 Core Welfare Indicators Questionnaire Survey (CWIQ). Concerning the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Togo has achieved progress in universal primary education and the control of HIV/AIDS. However, the country won’t be able to achieve six of the eight goals by 2015. As pointed out in the 2014 edition of the World Bank report Doing Business (which ranks Togo 157th out of 189 countries), the business climate remains challenging despite progress made on some key indicators, such as starting a business, registering properties, enforcing contracts, and construction permits.
To address the country’s key development challenges, the government has adopted a poverty reduction strategy entitled the Strategy for accelerated growth and job promotion – SCAPE 2013-2017, which includes five main pillars: (i) development of sectors with strong growth potential, (ii) strengthening of economic infrastructure, (iii) development of human capital, social safety nets, and employment, (iv) strengthening of governance, and (v) promotion of balanced, participatory, and sustainable development.
Last Updated: Oct 14, 2014