Amidst growing terrorist threats, Togo ramps up spending in defense, but still below initial expectations of Military Programming Law

Friday, 28 January 2022 12:10
Amidst growing terrorist threats, Togo ramps up spending in defense, but still below initial expectations of Military Programming Law

(Togo First) - Forecast at 58 billion CFA francs at the beginning of 2021, and scaled up to 110 billion CFA francs in October of the same year, the Togolese army budget should reach 105 billion CFA francs in 2022, according to official forecasts. 

The forecasts are released in a context where terrorists’ presence keeps growing in the sub-region, nearing the coast. Last year, Togo lost seven peacekeepers during a mission in Minusma, Mali. The country also recently reported the first terrorist attack on its soil, near the border with Burkina Faso.

In detail, Lomé plans to allocate CFA43.4 billion for the strategic endowment of the army, CFA21.9 billion for the preparation and use of military forces, and CFA38.5 billion for logistics equipment and joint support. Veterans are also supposed to receive CFA140.2 million.

A higher budget

The budget that the army recently announced – compared to that announced in early 2021 – is closer to that suggested under the 2021-2025 military programming law (LPM). This plan, adopted in December 2020, had set army spending at 129 billion for the year that ended (up 10% compared to the 110 billion expected by the government), and over 700 billion throughout the period it covers.

"Preserving peace and security is more crucial than ever given the threats that are emerging here and there, especially in our sub-region," President Faure Gnassingbé had said in his end-of-year address (in 2020). "The recent military programming law gives the defense and security forces the appropriate tools to carry out their protection and defense mission, in cohesion with all the living forces of the nation," the Head of State added at the time and this was shortly after the adoption of the military programming law.

Still below initial projections…

For this year, the LPM’s projection for military expenses is put at 152 billion, 30% above the government’s expectation (CFA105 billion).

Concretely, Lomé plans to invest in new military equipment, fatten the army’s ranks by about 30%, from 5,000 soldiers in 2021 to 22,000 soldiers in 2025. Part of the projected expenditures will also go into ramping up numbers in the gendarmerie corps, from 3,000 to 8,000 in 2025.

Military spending not neglected despite Covid crisis

Though the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected the Togolese economy, especially in terms of budget allocation, funds allocated to the army in the past few years were quite significant, at least compared to the last decade.

Two years ago, at the pandemic’s pinnacle, Togo managed to keep its defense spending above 2% of GDP, according to Country Economy.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Togo ranks 31st in Africa in terms of military spending, ahead of neighbors such as Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Niger, in a subregion plagued by the jihadist threat.

Ayi Renaud Dossavi

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