Togo’s strong economic growth in 2019 was driven by major reforms that improved the business climate and increased investment. In the last two years, Togo rose by more than 50 places in the World Bank’s Doing Business report and now ranks 97th – the highest ranking in West Africa. Agriculture remains one of the engines of economic growth in Togo. In 2019, Togo became the top exporter of organic products to Europe in the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and the second in Africa after Egypt. The export volume of these organic products (mainly soybeans and pineapples) more than doubled, from 22,000 tons in 2018 to 45,000 tons in 2019.
The government of Togo implemented various business reforms and completed several large infrastructure projects over the last five years to attract investment. In 2018, the government launched its five-year National Development Plan (PND) with three major axes. The plan’s first goal is to leverage the country’s geographic position by transforming Lome into a regional trading center and transport hub. Togo has already completed hundreds of kilometers of refurbished roadways, expanded and modernized the Port of Lome, and inaugurated in 2016 the new Lome international airport that conforms to international standards. The second goal is to increase agricultural production through agricultural centers (Agropoles) and increase manufacturing. The third goal is improving social development, including electrification of the country. The government is searching for private sector investment to fulfill these PND goals.
In September 2017, the government established the Business Climate Unit (CCA). Since its establishment, the CCA has coordinated economic reforms and played a key role in improving the business climate for the private sector. The CCA is composed of a national coordination body and three committees dedicated to the public and private sectors and civil society. The CCA has improved the ease of doing business in Togo and starting a company in Togo is straightforward.
Nevertheless, Togo must face a number of challenges to maintain this momentum. Challenges include a weak and opaque legal system, lack of clear land titles, and government interference in various sectors. Corruption remains a common problem in Togo, especially for businesses. Often “donations” or “gratuities” result in shorter delays for obtaining registrations, permits, and licenses, thus resulting in an unfair advantage for companies that engage in such practices. Although Togo has government bodies charged with combatting corruption, corruption-related charges are rarely brought or prosecuted.
The 2019 Investment Code provided a legal framework to attract more investment and promote the economic and social development policy of Togo. With an improving investment climate and modern transportation infrastructure, Togo’s steadily improving economic outlook offers opportunities for U.S. firms interested in doing business locally and in the sub-region.
|TI Corruption Perceptions Index||2019||130 of 180||http://www.transparency.org/
|World Bank’s Doing Business Report||2019||97 of 190||http://www.doingbusiness.org/
|Global Innovation Index||2019||126 of 129||https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/
|U.S. FDI in partner country ($M USD, historical stock positions)||2018||N/A||http://apps.bea.gov/international/
|World Bank GNI per capita||2018||USD 660||http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/