At independence, Togo had a well-developed economy for the region. However, the dependence on a few export goods has made the country’s economy vulnerable to changes in world market prices. The country’s most important natural resource is phosphate, which together with cotton and the re-export of imported goods account for most of the export income.
After some worrying years around the turn of the millennium, as the country’s economy shrunk, Togo has had relatively good economic growth.
After stopping aid to the country in 2005 due to a lack of democracy, the EU from 2007 has resumed its support for Togo. The country has also initiated cooperation with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has called for political and economic reforms. In 2010-11, large parts of the country’s foreign debt were written off as a result of the economic reform work carried out.
Agriculture, primarily small-scale, small-scale farming, accounts for about half of export revenue and employs just over 65 percent of the labor force. Poor access to irrigation and fertilizers are limiting factors for agricultural production. Drought strikes hard for years in agriculture, but otherwise Togo is self-sufficient with food. However, rice and wheat must be imported. The most important food crops are cassava, jams, corn, rice, beans and millet. The most important sales crop is cotton, but cocoa and coffee are also grown for export.
According to countryaah, Togo is one of the world’s 20 largest phosphate producers, and although production has declined since it was most extensive, phosphate is still an important export commodity. However, with the current recovery rate, the most high-quality mineral deposits are expected to be exhausted within 30 years. Togo also has large but smaller phosphate-rich deposits that may have a significant impact on the country’s economy. However, these are more difficult and expensive to extract and the government’s plans for large plants for the production of phosphoric acid and fertilizers have been delayed.
Limestone for cement production is also being mined in the country. Some extraction of iron, gold and diamonds also occurs. In addition, there are deposits of manganese, bauxite, marble and zinc.
The energy situation in Togo is problematic and the country is dependent on imports of oil and petroleum products as well as electricity. The latter is mainly imported from Ghana and Ivory Coast in the form of hydropower generated electricity, but due to dry periods the supply is uncertain. An electricity plant that tripled the country’s production capacity was inaugurated in Lomé in 2010 and financed with the help of money from the United States. However, the majority of the population is still dependent on firewood and charcoal for their energy supply, with deforestation and land degradation as a result.
The industrial sector is small and relatively undeveloped. Cement manufacturing is a large and growing industry and the import of raw materials is necessary to meet the needs. In addition, processing of agricultural products such as coffee and cotton are the most important activities. The authorities have tried to stimulate the industrial sector by leasing and selling out state-owned companies and by establishing an economic free zone at Lomé.
Since the 1970s, the trade balance has been negative and the import value is usually twice the export value. The most important export goods are cotton, phosphate, coffee and cocoa. In addition, export of imported capital products (re-export) is important for the country. Imports mainly comprise industrial goods, machinery, transport equipment, petroleum products and foodstuffs. The most important exporting countries are India, Lebanon, China and Niger as well as neighboring countries Burkina Faso and Benin. About 40 percent of imports come from China. Other important trading partners are the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom.
In 2014, the railway network covered 600 km and the road network 11 600 km, of which 1,800 were located. The capital of Lomé has a port that is important to the region, which serves as a transit port for Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali, among others. International Airport is located in Tokoin just outside Lomé.
Tourism and gastronomy
Early tourism was an important part of the country’s economy, but many years of political turmoil have meant that the tourism industry has fallen sharply. However, during the late 00s, there has been a certain increase in the number of visitors; In 2012, the country was visited by 270,000 tourists.
Lomé is one of the French-speaking African metropolises, where the metropolis and some of West Africa’s best beaches compete for tourists’ interest. There are beach and congress hotels and restaurants with both French and Togolese cuisine. In the central business district is a colorful street mill; the block around the party headquarters at Place de l’Independence testifies to the architectural ideals of North Korean builders. There is also a well-organized museum, which gives a picture of traditional tools and household utensils and their use. Another side of popular culture meets at the Marché des Féticheurs, the marketplace where you sell ingredients for voodoo: monkey shells and dried snakes, night-cut skins and fetish dolls.
The beach continues east with lagoons and palm groves to Aného, the old capital that has preserved buildings from the beginning of the last century and where you can see fishing in traditional forms. About 30 km from Lome lies Lake Togo, a popular destination for the Togolese, with the country’s historic center Togoville. To the north of the long-narrow country, a rolling landscape of green hills meets, and in central Togo there is the national park Fazao-Malfakassa with several stately waterfalls (during the summer months). The markets in inland cities, e.g. Kara in the north, has beautiful woven textiles and wood carvings.
Manioc, corn, jams and millet are the basic food and constitute the ingredients in the porridge or stew that accompanies most other dishes. Peanuts and other nuts are often included in the recipes, for example in peanut soup or stew on dried fish, beans and ground nuts in tomato sauce. Dried fish is also eaten as a heavily seasoned stir, such as avocado. Ginger for fresh fish such as sea bass or stuffed mullus is common. Meats that are not fully roasted usually turn into pots with dried beans or haricots. In the country, a popular mill beer is brewed.