|Population||7,552,318 (est.Jul 2015)|
|Languages||French (official), Ewe, Mina, Kabye, Dagomba|
|Form of government||Republic|
|GDP (2014)||$4.604 billion; per capita: $1,400|
Togo is a West African country bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, where its capital Lomé is located. For much of its history since independence in 1960, the west African nation of Togo was ruled by Gnassingbe Eyadema, who seized power in a coup in 1967. Upon his sudden death in 2005, tensions over succession led to unrest and violence. Elections held later that year enabled the former president’s son, Faure Gnassingbe, to gain the presidency, but were denounced as flawed.
In 2006, President Gnassingbe signed an agreement with leading opposition parties to end the political crisis and establish a transitional unity government. Legislative elections held in 2007 were deemed largely free and fair by the international community. President Gnassingbe was re-elected for a second term in 2010, and a third term in 2015.
In 2009, Togo established a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission to investigate political violence and human rights violations that occurred between 1958 and 2005; the commission released a report in 2012 detailing violence linked to elections and successive coups, terrorist attacks, detentions, disappearances, assassinations, and tensions between ethnic communities, led by militias supported by political actors.
Togo’s 2013-2017 Strategy for Boosting Growth and Promoting Employment looks to the future of Togo, focusing on five strategic pillars: (1) Developing sectors with strong growth potential; (2) Strengthening economic infrastructure; (3) Developing human capital, social protection, and employment; (4) Strengthening governance; and (5) Promoting participative, balanced, and sustainable development
|President||H.E. Faure GNASSINGBE|
|Prime Minister||H.E. Komi KLASSOU|
|Minister of Economy and Finance||H.E. Kossi ASSIMAIDOU|
|g7+ Focal Point||Mr. Madidoma Essobozou AWADE|
New Deal Implementation
The chief of state is the President, who is elected in five-year terms. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is appointed by the President. The cabinet is the Council of Ministers, whose members are appointed by the President in consultation with the Prime Minister.
The legislature is the unicameral National Assembly, whose 91 members are elected through closed list proportional representation. In this system, parties select a roster of candidates in advance of the election. Votes are cast in favor of a party’s roster, not an individual candidate, and seats are awarded based on the proportion of the vote each party receives. The leading party won 62 seats in the 2013 elections; the primary opposition party won 19 seats, and three smaller opposition parties split 10 seats. Women hold 16 of the 91 seats.
The decentralization process in Togo is ongoing. Local municipalities are granted oversight over certain governance responsibilities, including local development planning and revenue collection and management.
Togo has made recent strides in socioeconomic development. Poverty has declined and access to education and child health outcomes have improved, though are still below average for the region. Life expectancy and adult literacy rates are low. Limited infrastructure and a government still in its startup phase are barriers to provision of social services. Unemployment and underemployment are high. Forced child labor is a challenge in Togo; nearly 60 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 17 work for pay. About half of these children work in the agriculture and fishing industries, and one-quarter (primarily girl children) work as domestic servants. Others are engaged in the informal economy. Many children migrate from rural regions to urban centers for work, placing them at high risk of trafficking and exploitation.
The Government of Togo has taken steps to prosecute and convict human trafficking, and has established shelters and safehouses for women and child trafficking victims. The government has also sought to improve access to education and health by reducing healthcare costs for certain common services and eliminating school tuition fees. The Government of Togo’s strategic development plan calls for priority investments in the social sector, with a focus on (1) Knowledge and job promotion; (2) Healthcare coverage and the fight against HIV/AIDS; (3) Access to drinking water and sanitation services; (4) Social protection and gender equality; and (5) Youth sectors, sports, culture, and leisure activities.
Togo has engaged in a number of regulatory reforms and infrastructure improvements in recent years in order to improve the business environment and attract foreign investment. Agriculture currently composes about 40% of the country’s GDP, with the remaining split between industry and services. Coffee, cocoa, cotton, and produce are primary agriculture exports; livestock production and fishing are also common livelihoods. In the industrial sector, phosphate and clinker, used in the making of cement, are primary outputs. Togo is the world’s fourth-largest phosphate producer, and 40% of the country’s export revenue is driven by phosphate.
Limited property rights, a weak banking sector, and opaque and insufficient judicial processes are constraints to private sector development, but the government has taken steps to improve transparency and strengthen regulatory and financial systems. A number of sectors offer opportunities for foreign investment, including agribusiness, energy and mining, transportation, and logistics. Government is working to privatize state-owned operations in the finance, energy and mining, and ICT sectors. In 2013, government established a “one-stop shop” for starting new businesses, and has created an investment promotion agency that supports development of small- and medium-sized enterprises.