Less than a year after GDP rebasing, Togo’s debt rose 8%

Public finance
Tuesday, 20 April 2021 17:46
Less than a year after GDP rebasing, Togo’s debt rose 8%

(Togo First) - At the end of Q4 2020, Togo’s debt to GDP ratio was 59%, according to its minister of economy and finance, Sani Yaya. 

This is 8% more than the figure recorded at the end of Q3 2020. This was subsequent to the GDP rebasing after which the national GDP was re-evaluated at CFA4,230.6 billion in 2019, from CFA3,216.8 billion (before the rebasing). In debt-to-GDP ratio terms, before the rebasing, the figure in 2019 was 68.3% but it decreased to 51.9% subsequently. 

In effect, GDP rebasing involved a change of calculation systems and better coverage of the informal sector. It also forecasted national GDP in 2020 at nearly CFA4,400 billion. 


Over the period reviewed (2020), the debt contracted by Lomé from its external lenders increased, mainly due to the pandemic which called for substantial spending. Regardless, the country’s debt level is still far from the 70% standard imposed in the region. 

In detail, Togo raised great amounts on the WAMU market, issuing for example the BCEAO recovery bonds. 

Regarding budget deficit, it widened, reaching 6.12% in 2020, as expenditures grew by 31% - from about CFA856 billion in 2019 to CFA1,132 billion last year. 

No surprise

The situation is not surprising given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on economies. 

Last year, sometime after the rebasing, various international experts and multilateral institutions expected the country’s debt to increase, because of the health crisis and the government’s response. The World Bank, for example, had said that overall public debt would reach 71% of the GDP in 2020 (Surely the projection did not take into account the GDP rebasing).

A much-awaited recovery

This year, while optimistic, Togolese authorities remain prudent about the economic outlook. According to them, the economy should grow by 4.8%, as a result of efforts made last year and measures that were introduced more recently to mitigate the pandemic’s effects and restart the economy. Already, available data shows that economic activity and growth are more resilient in 2021 than they were in 2020. 

It should be noted that at the end of the first half of 2020, Togo had a public debt of about CFA2,407 billion (a little over $4.2 billion) - a debt labeled in CFA Francs mostly.

Ayi Renaud Dossavi

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