Located on Africa’s west coast, Togo is bordered by Ghana, Benin, and Burkina Faso and is home to approximately 7.8 million people. Although the poverty rate fell from 61.7% in 2006 to 53.5% in 2017, poverty and inequality remain extremely high, particularly in rural areas where 69% of households were living below the poverty line in 2015.
This is largely attributable to a high annual population growth rate of 2.5% that is outpacing development progress, concentrated economic growth in the modern sectors, and limited access to quality services. Poverty is also higher in female-headed households (57.5%), and vulnerability is higher among women because they have fewer economic opportunities.
Togo’s score on the human capital index (HCI) remains low at 0.41. This means that children born in Togo today will be only 41% as productive when they grow up as they could be if they had access to good health, education, and nutrition.
The ruling Union pour la République (UNIR) party has dominated the political scene for several years, and won 59 of the 91 seats in the National Assembly in the 2018 legislative elections. Presidential elections held on February 22, 2020 returned the incumbent, Faure Gnassingbé, to power. At the helm since 2005, Gnassingbé is now serving his fourth five-year term.
On September 28, 2020, Victoire Tomégah-Dogbé was appointed Prime Minister, becoming the first woman to hold this position in Togo's political history.
For the first time in 32 years, Togo held local elections in June 2019 to elect municipal councilors. The UNIR secured a majority, winning 878 of the 1,490 seats.
- The COVID-19 pandemic could slow the economic momentum of recent years. Despite the unfavorable international economic conditions, marked by heightened trade tensions and a persistent security threat, Togo’s economy continued to perform well in 2019, with an estimated 5.3% growth rate that was driven by an upturn in public investment, expansion in the construction sector, and improved agricultural productivity. The services sector nevertheless remains the main engine of growth thanks to expanding port and airport operations. However, the crisis triggered by the global coronavirus pandemic is expected to lead to a decline in growth to 1% in 2020.
- Inflation returned to negative territory in December 2019, driven by an ample food supply owing to increased agricultural productivity and lower communication costs. Average annual inflation dipped slightly from 0.9% in 2018 to 0.7% in 2019.
- A rebound in capital goods imports and a reduction in exports increased the current transactions deficit from 3.5% of GDP in 2018 to 4% in 2019. Foreign direct investments and concessional loans helped finance the current account deficit. Reforms to improve public financial management with IMF and World Bank support reduced debt, which fell from 76.2% of GDP in 2018 to 70.9% of GDP in 2019. The fiscal deficit stabilized at 1.2% of GDP in 2019, which is below the threshold set in the convergence criteria of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).
Growth prospects will be severely undermined by the duration and intensity of the COVID-19 crisis. The slowdown in global economic growth, coupled with the prevention measures for containing the virus contagion, could reduce production, domestic consumption, and exports. Revenues could plummet, whereas additional expenditures are essential to a robust health and economic response and the protection of businesses and households hardest hit by the crisis.
Last Updated: Nov 03, 2020