NEW ECONOMIC MOMENTUM FOR TOGO
The unveiling of Togo’s 2018-2022 National Development Plan (NDP) in March last year affirmed the government ’s objec tive of struc turally transforming the economy to propel Ttogo into a new phase of sustainablee and inclusive economic growth. Togo has a reputation to uphold: that of beingg the most reformist countr y inn West Africa, according to the World Bank.
Togo has a plan to secure its economic development. President Faure E ssozimna Gnassingbé presented the main points of the plan on 4 March in Lomé, in the presence of many prominent figures gathered at the Hôtel du 2 Février, from Ecobank ’s CEO, Ade Ayeyemi, to the economist Carlos Lopes and former Prime Minister of Benin Lionel Zinsou. The audience also included numerous international investors and other stakeholders interested in the prospects that this medium-term strategic vision has to offer. The objective of th eND Pis to structural ly transform Togo’s economy to create jobs and fight poverty by building on the country’ s comparative advantages, starting with its position as a natural gateway to the West African market.
An economy that supports the social sector
The NDP is in line with the Strategy for Accelerated Growth and Employment Promotion (Scape), led by the Togolese gover nment from 2013 to 2017. During this per iod, the countr y recorded an average growth rate of 5.6%. The new strategy implemented plans to pick up the pace from 2019, to reach 7.6% by 2022, in order to boost the economy, and to consolidate social welfare, which has been identified as one of the strategic pillars of the NDP. Togo aims to create a minimum of 500,000 direc t jobs in five years, with the objec tive of increasing the Human Development I ndex by 15%. To finance this ambitious and structured plan, the countr y is counting on the suppor t of the private sector in all its diversity. Of the 4,622 billion CFA francs (7 billion euros) earmarked for investment, 65% is expected to be raised from private investment, mainly through the establishment of Public-private Par tnerships (PPPS) for the implementation of developmental projects.
Climbing the Doing Business ranks
Togo is now considered to be of one the sub-region’ s highly desirable investment destinations. It has to be said that the country has already done a lot in recent years to significantly improve the business climate. Between 2012 and 2019, Togo moved up 38 places in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking, and currently sits at 137th position. This leap for ward can be largely attributed to the country’ s strong progress on six key indicators, most notably in the areas of corporate energy supply, tax policy, and ease of star ting a business, etc.
This spirit of renewal has made Togo one of the most reformist countries on the continent today, according to both the World Bank and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. And this is just the beginning because, featured prominently among the ND P’ S stated objectives, is the determination to move up ten places ever y year in the Doing Business report.
+ 9.7% increase in per capita income for the duration of the NDP
A logistics and financial hub
To attract as many investors as possible from all sectors, Togo has numerous advantages on offer. Firstly, its geostrategic location means that it can serve all the hinterland countries. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Togo is one of the five best-connected African countries in terms of maritime routes. The autonomous port of Lomé is the only deep-water port on the West African coast that can accommodate 3rd generation ships, and is highly efficient and competitive, handling nearly 1.4 million containers each year.
In addition to being a logistics hub, the country also serves as a financial centre, with major banking institutions based in Lomé and taking advantage of the climate of political stability that Togo enjoys.
Last ly, the country has a strong international presence and privileged access to major trade markets, such as the United States, with the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) agreements, and Europe, which grants the country preferential treatment under the ACP-EU agreements. Togo is also a signatory to the free trade agreements negotiated within ECOWAS.
7.6% economic growth targeted for 2022
Togo takes its show on the road
On the strength of all these arguments, a large delegation of Togolese political and economic leaders has been travelling the world over the past few weeks to promote NDP projects in major financial centres. On 5 and 6 June 2019, Togo presented its plan to the British business community at the 5 th Annual Debate Forum, organised by Invest Africa in London. Led by President Fa ureE.Gn ass ingbé, the Togolese delegation made the most of this opportunity to meet more than 300 international investors interested in Africa and its development. The NDP is also the focus of discussions at the first Togo-european Union Economic Forum being held on 13 and 14 June 2019, in Lomé, and attended by the business communities of both partners( see box ).
The NDP, which was devised according to an inclusive and iterative process, heralds a real economic paradigm shift for Togo, based on the role of the private sector as a driver of development. It seeks to focus efforts on developmental projects that will have a positive impact on the lives of the Togolese people.
The plan lists a range of major projects designed to accelerate growth, attract investors and modern is et he country. The private sector is invited to be fully involved in the implementation phase through the numerous PPPS that will be negotiated. The NDP is highly focused and structured around three main components, the first two being economic: setting up a logistics and financial hub of excellence and developing agricultural, manufacturing and extractive industries processing clusters, while the third is social: consolidating development and strengthening the mechanisms for inclusion.
The main thrust of the NDP is therefore to strengthen the country’s comparative advantages. To enable Togo to become the logistics hub it aspires to be, the first component includes the splitting of the RN1 between Lomé and the Burkina Faso border, the construction of a logistics platform in Adakpamé, and the development of airpor t infrastructure, as well as the construction of a top- class conference centre in the capital.
To diversify the national economy into sectors with high labour demand, par ticular ly in agr ibusiness, the second component provides for the establishment of several agricultural growth poles (agropoles), industrial parks, and a special economic zone around the por t of Lomé. Lastly, to ensure the social well-being of the population, so crucial to its creators, the NDP recommends building housing in urban areas, a vast rural elec trification project, the deve - lopment of ten secondar y cities across the countr y, and the introduction of a national biometric identification system, to name but a few.
Togo trailblazing a new Africa
Having already made good progress from a macroeconomic point of view in recent years, Togo is set to strengthen this trend by means of its NDP. To this end, the government is counting on the suppor t of local and international companies, which which require some reassurance before investing in the country. The stakes are high for Togo, which is banking on the boldness of its development programme and the determination of the Togolese people to claim its place, in a wider context of economic globalization, beyond Africa.
55/100 Togo’s overall score in the Doing Business 2019 ranking, up 17 points compared to 2012
LOMÉ, 4 MARCH. PRESIDENT FAURE ESSOZIMNA GNASSINGBÉ AT T HE NAT I ONAL DE VELOPMENT PLAN L AUNCH C E R E MONY.
LOMÉ, 4 MARCH. A L ARGE NUMBER OF I NTE R NAT I ONAL I NVESTORS AND OT HER S TA K E HOLDERS AT T E NDED T HE 2018-2022 NDP L AUNCH.
UPGR ADED FAC I L I T I E S AT T HE NE W F I S HI NG P ORT I N LO MÉ.
PAN- AF R I C AN E COBANK GROUP HEADQUARTERS I N LOMÉ.
AT T HE OF F I C I AL OPENI NG OF T HE J US DE L I C E P I NEAPPLE J UI C E P R ODUCTI ON P L ANT
S OCI AL WELFARE I S T HE T HI R D COMPONENT OF THE NDP.