Economic growth, inflation and debt

Over the past decade, Togo’s economic growth stood at an average of 5%, mainly due to various projects carried out to modernize the country. These include, for example, constructing new terminals at the port of Lomé, the lungs of the economy; the commissioning of a new airport, which boosted economic activity. And while the nation experienced some turbulence in the second half of 2017, amid socio-political protests, the economy rapidly recovered, with a growth of 4.8% in 2018 rising to 5.1% the following year. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), this rate should further increase to 5.3% this year while Lomé itself expects a 7% increase by 2022.

Similarly, growth per capita improved as well, in a context where demographic growth is reducing - it is estimated at 3%.

In 2017, GDP per capita in Togo was $617. In 2018, it rose by 11%, reaching $682. The Gini index which assesses inequalities in wealth distribution has also improved, spurred by many initiatives taken relative to grassroots development and youth support. Among others, the PUDC, the FAIEJ, and PAEIJ-SP helped boost the purchasing power of young entrepreneurs and vulnerable populations.

This purchasing power, it was noted, has mildly impacted overall price levels. Togo records a very low inflation. In 2017, it was at an average of -0.2% for the year. However, in 2018, it rose to an average of 0.4%.  

On another side, the social ambitions of President Faure Gnassingbé were relatively impaired by the rise of public debt amid the development of major infrastructure projects in 2016. At the end of that year, Togo’s public debt was above 82%, thus exceeding WAEMU’s standard. And as the servicing of this debt became more pressuring, going beyond 40% of the State budget some years, the country had to turn to the IMF for help. It signed with the Bretton Woods institution a 3-year agreement leaned to an extended credit facility of more than $200 million.

Following that, the government made great efforts to streamline public finances, modernize the administration, and achieve budgetary standards.  As a result, the country was able to cut its public debt by 10%, in two years only - a feat the IMF qualified as “exceptional!”

All arrears piled up over the years have almost been fully cleared and the State has decided to no more owe any arrear in the future. It, in this framework, even paid some debt due for 2023 at the end of 2019. All these achievements, including a significant reduction in budget deficit, were attained under the leadership of the minister of finance, Sani Yaya.

Indeed the budget deficit which stood at 9.6% of the GDP in 2016 and reduced to 2.1% in 2017, grew back to 6.7% in 2018 and fell again below the 3% WAEMU standard, at the end of 2019. According to the BCEAO, in 2019, Togo was actually the only country in the union to meet its convergence criteria.


Trade balance

After improving in 2017, Togo’s trade balance degraded in 2018. Indeed, data from the BCEAO shows that that year, it widened by nearly 70% reaching XOF492 billion. This was due to greater imports of goods while exports failed to follow the same pace.

Imports of goods in 2018 were valued at XOF1,213 billion (free on board), thus up 25% compared to the year before. Meanwhile, exports, which rose by 7%, stood at XOF637.4 billion. This resulted in a deficit of XOF576.5 billion offset however by a surplus of 84.4 billion for the balance on services. The latter has been in surplus since 2014, with its peak recorded in 2016 - XOF84.7 billion.

Last year, due to the fluctuating prices of phosphate, and the closure of the Nigeria-Benin border, trade deficit widened more.

Togo’s main export destinations are Burkina Faso (18% of exports), Benin (14%), and Ghana (7%) while its largest suppliers are China (19% of imports), France (10%), and Japan (5%).


Foreign direct investments (FDIs)

Between January and November 2019, Togo was the African economy that captured the most foreign direct investments (FDI), FDI Intelligence reports.  The country attracted 6.7 times more FDIs than expected for a nation the same size. It owes this achievement to the many reforms implemented by the government across the various sectors of the economy, to improve business climate. Another reason explaining the investments is the launch of the national development plan. In 2018 already, FDIs directed towards Togo had increased by 15% compared to the year before - this is a trend that should be sustained in the years to come according to the IMF, provided that Lomé keeps up its reforms strategy. In the past two years, these reforms have pushed the West African nation up 59 places in the Doing Business report.



Two years ago, the World Bank valued remittances to Togo at $500 million, representing 8.5% of the country’s GDP at the time. Remittances had therefore exceeded official development assistance (ODA) and FDIs. At the moment, public authorities are working to direct remittances (sent mostly to friends and families) more into development projects.

To this end, the High Council for the Togolese Diaspora (Haut Conseil des Togolais de l’Extérieur - HTCE) was created in 2019. This entity regroups 77 delegates representing all Togolese living outside the territory, across all five continents. It aims at fostering economic development by involving the diaspora.



In 2018, Togo’s electrification rate was 45%, according to official figures. The performance was driven by a major operation to increase connections to the grid, and the CIZO project. By 2030, the country hopes to achieve universal access to electricity. Already, the government is making efforts and launching ambitious projects to raise the rate of access to electricity in rural zones, from 8% now to 50%, by 2022. In this framework, it has put the national electrification strategy, which was officially launched in 2018, at the heart of its national development plan. This strategy (electrification) will require a total investment of about XOF1000 billion and will extend over a 10-year period. For Lomé, private-public partnerships will play a significant role towards the realization of this goal.

Concerning the CIZO project, a key component of the electrification strategy, it was launched in 2017. The first operator on this project was the British BBOXX. It has provided electricity equipment to more than 23,000 homes between the project’s start and the end of July 2019. CIZO’s target is to help two million people have access to electricity in Togo, by 2022.

SOLEVA was the second operator to join CIZO, under a public-private partnership. Other investors such as AMEA Power from United Arab Emirates, EDF (which acquired 50% of BBOXX’s shares), Mitsubishi, and Globeleq (UK) are also engaged in the project. The latter plans to build a 30 MW renewable power plant in the northern part of the country.

In partnership with Eranove, Siemens, TSK and Togo Invest (via Kifema), Togo started building a second thermal power plant in Lomé’s port area. The infrastructure, which will have a capacity of 65MW, will profit more than 250,000 Togolese people.


Bloomberg energy index

For the first time ever, Togo was listed on the Bloomberg energy index in 2018. It was ranked the 33rd country in the world to give priority to the development of clean energies. In Africa, it was the 10th. The country owes this prowess to various projects it carried out in recent years, aimed at increasing renewables’ share in its energy mix. Among such projects  is the construction of the Kekeli efficient power thermal plant and the upcoming construction of a solar plant in Blitta. By 2030, Togo hopes to have clean energies contribute to 50% of the electricity it will produce.


Telecom, digital economy, ICT development index

In 2011-2015, the number of mobile and landline users was more than five million people. By 2017, mobile users were numbered at 6,069,905 which equals nearly 82.98% of the Togolese population. Penetration rate was high as well; In 2017, it was estimated at 70% for mobile users (+60% compared to 2011) and 7.14% for mobile and fixed internet, thus corresponding to an average increase of 90% per annum (2011-2017). Togocom and Moov are the only mobile operators active in the country. Their mobile money services are respectively Tmoney and Flooz. Last year, 21% of mobile phone users had a mobile money wallet.

Regarding the internet, besides the two mobile operators, three other operators provide internet services in Togo. These are Téolis, Vivendi Afrique, and Café Informatique. Togocom, Téolis and Vivendi Afrique share the fiber optics market.

In 2017, penetration rate for mobile internet was estimated at 35.6%. It is expected to reach 97.14% in a few years.

Estimated at 0.2% in 2017, penetration rate for broadband should rise to 31.2% in some years.

Togo’s post industry is very robust as well. After almost getting privatized in the 90s, it was restructured, with a particular focus on financial services. Now, the reliability index of posts in the country is around 59.8%, while the global average is 56%.

At the end of 2015, the telecommunications sector was contributing 8% of the GDP.


Port of Lomé

Over the past seven years, massive investments were made in the port of Lomé and they boosted both its activity and traffic. For example, the container traffic at the infrastructure which was estimated at 311,500 TEU in 2013, grew to 1.4 million TEU in 2018, and 1.5 million TEU in 2019.

Lomé’s port hence became the port with the highest container traffic in the Gulf of Guinea, thus dethroning Lagos’. This extraordinary achievement was mainly driven by an expansion of transhipping activities. The latter, which represented 5% of the infrastructure’s global traffic in 2012, have been estimated at 64% of this traffic in Q4 2019. This also makes the port the first, relative to transhipping also, in the Gulf, ahead of Abidjan.

In the years to come, more important investments will be made in the port, notably by the world’s second-largest shipowner, MSC. Indeed, the giant plans to inject more than $500 million in the platform to ensure that it remains one of the biggest ports in Africa.

Togo is the 5th best connected African country by sea. This is also attributable to the recent investments made in the port of Lomé. On this ranking, Togo’s score soared from 14.2 in 2010, to 33.9 and 35.9 in 2017 and 2018, respectively.  


Road network

Between 2010 and 2018, the State spent XOF680 billion in road infrastructures. To date, Togo’s roads span a total length of 11,777 km. About 2,101 km of national roads and 1,473 km of urban roads are asphalted; 1,294  km of national roads are non-asphalted and rural tracks extend over 6,802 km. Togo is working to have 60% of its roads asphalted by 2022.


Visa openness index in Africa

For almost four years now, Togo is one of the top 10 African states that are most open to African citizens. For example, ECOWAS citizens do not need a visa to come to the country while non-ECOWAS citizens can get one on arrival.


Mo Ibrahim governance index

As a result of the many reforms implemented subsequent to the rise to power of Faure Gnassingbé in 2005, Togo recently became one of the world’s top 10 reformers. In 2017, it was Africa’s second-best reformer over a 10-year period, right behind Côte d’Ivoire.

However, in the past two years, the country was Africa’s best reformer, according to the Mo Ibrahim Index - an astounding achievement considering that it was, until 2015, one of the world’s worst reformers. In a context where most African countries stagnate, Togo was able to achieve this performance by making major improvements, both relative to the economic activity and human rights issues.

The Mo Ibrahim Index is a tool that measures and monitors governance performance in African countries. It assesses 102 indicators regrouped under the four following categories: Safety and rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic opportunity, and human development. 


Human development

In Togo, the human development index score is 0.513 and while it ranks 167th over 189 countries on this index, data shows that between 1990 and 2018 its score has risen by 26.6%, from 0.405 to 0.513. Also, life expectancy increased by 4.9 years since 1990 and the school year period did by 2 years.


Poverty indicators

According to the national institute for statistics, economic and demographic studies, the poverty rate of Togo has been decreasing steadily for some years now. While it stood at 61.7% in 2006, it slumped to 58.7% in 2011, then 55.1 and 53.5% in 2015 and 2017. These improvements are more noticeable in rural areas, where poverty is predominant. Indeed, in 2006, 73% of Togo’s rural population was living in poverty. However, this figure reduced to about 63% in 2017. In contrast, the rate of poverty in urban areas is scaling due to rural flight - from 28.5% in 2011, it grew to 34.8% in 2015. To overturn the situation, the government has launched many initiatives, in agriculture especially, to help the youth in rural areas thrive.


Corruption perception index

In its latest corruption index released by Transparency International, Togo ranked 129th, out of 180 countries, with a score of 29 (over 100), thus lower than in 2017 and 2018 where it scored 30 and 32 respectively. Given the multiple campaigns launched by the HAPLUCIA (the local body that sanctions corruption and related offenses) to raise awareness on corruption, the regression of this score is paradoxical.


Unemployment and underemployment

Togo has the lowest rate of unemployment in West Africa. According to the international labour organization (ILO), the rate was 3.4% in 2015, against 6.5% in 2011.

In opposition, the rate of underemployment keeps rising. From 22% in 2011, it rose to 24.9% in 2015. Meanwhile, the rate of employment is estimated at 77.7% for the 2000-2018 period.

The main cause hampering employment in Togo lies in a mismatch between the skills of the youths and the market’s needs, as well as the lack of economic opportunities.



The average life expectancy in Togo is 64.5 years. Child mortality has reduced, same as global mortality rate. The fertility rate is around 4.48 children per woman. The natural growth rate (difference between birth and mortality rates) of the country is 2.69%. In 2018, the schooling rate was 84%.


Human rights and freedom of speech

In its 2017 annual report on freedom in the world, U.S NGO Freedom House consecrated Togo’s efforts to improve human rights and freedom of speech. That year, the country ranked 23rd in Africa, as its score rose by 13 points compared to 2012.

Another ranking released in 2019 by Reporter Sans Frontières (RSF) put Togo as the 76th country to respect press freedom the most, in the world. While this may seem bad, it is 10 ranks better than in 2018.

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