The Togolese Republic is once again one of Germany’s partner countries following the resumption of development cooperation in 2012. GIZ began work and opened an office in the capital Lomé in early 2013 and has set up local programme offices in the cities of Kpalimé, Tsévié and Sokodé. It currently has 26 international and 100 local staff working in Togo.
Official cooperation was suspended in the 1990s due to political developments in Togo. The country is now in a phase of democratisation. Parliamentary elections were held in 2013. Annual per capita income in Togo is less than USD 1,000, ranking Togo 166th out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index published by the United Nations (2014). The population is estimated at seven million, with around 60 per cent of the Togolese people living in absolute poverty. Income inequality is increasing, as is youth unemployment; around one third of the country’s young people are jobless.
Agriculture and the service sector are the backbone of the economy. More than 60 per cent of Togo’s people are employed in small-scale farming. Many people are subsistence farmers, who sell their surpluses, but coffee, cocoa and cotton are also grown for export, offering major growth potential. Togo is expected to achieve economic growth of around 6 per cent in the coming years. This positive forecast is based on the existence of the expanded deep sea port – the only one in the region – and the expansion of Togo’s airport. Togo is now one of West Africa’s major hubs.
Togo is engaged in negotiations on cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The heavily subsidised fuel prices have been increased and a centralised revenue authority (Office togolais des recettes – OTR) has been established. Other IMF criteria, such as a strengthened private sector and improved debt management, have yet to be achieved.
The following priority areas have been agreed between Germany and Togo:
- agriculture and rural development
- vocational training and youth employment
- good governance and decentralisation
On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and in conjunction with KfW Development Bank, GIZ is implementing one programme in each priority area in Togo, with a particular focus on three medium-sized cities with development potential: Kpalimé, Tsévié and Sokodé.
In addition, on behalf of the BMZ, GIZ is providing advisory services to the Government of Togo on the country’s Strategy for Accelerated Growth and Employment Promotion, and on population dynamics and adaptation to climate change. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) – an international climate policy mechanism which offers compensations payments to developing countries to cut their emissions from these sources – is a further focus of GIZ’s work in Togo.
And lastly, GIZ is working on the conservation of biodiversity along the Mono River, which forms one of the country’s international boundaries. This project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).