Togo

Togo is trying to increase its agricultural production. The country is creating more jobs in other economic sectors in an effort to fight poverty.

 

Capital

Lomé

Official languages

French, Ewe and Kabiyé

Area

56,785 km2

Population

About 7.3 million

Population growth

About 2.6 %

Rural population

About 60% of the overall population

Gross domestic product

USD 4.003 billion

Per capita annual income

USD 548

Share of agriculture in BIP

41 %

Severity of hunger according to the Global Hunger Index

Serious (Value: 22.4 / Trend: -5.8)

Share of the population suffering from malnutrition

11.4 %

Human Development Index

Index: 0.484 / Rank: 162 von 188

Share of the population living on less than USD 1.25 per day

36.8 %

Small country, big challenges

Togo is a small country in terms of areas, but is one of the most densely populated countries in West Africa. Between 1991 and 2005, the country experienced a severe crisis, the consequences of which are weighing upon its development to this day. Human rights violations and persecution at the hands of the military dictatorship of President Gnassingbé Eyadéma forced many Togolese into exile and many countries and organizations suspended their cooperation with Togo. After Eyadéma's death in 2005, the successor government restored constitutional conditions and adopted a policy of cautious democratization and openness. Today, many partners are once again operating in Togo. The economy has improved in recent years, with growth rates of around 5 percent. Nevertheless, Togo's gross domestic product is relatively small, at USD 4 billion. About 70 percent of people in Togo live on less than USD 2 per day. Children under the age of 5 and those living in rural areas in the north are particularly hard hit by undernourishment and malnutrition.

 

Rain-dependent farmland

The agricultural sector is the leading pillar of Togo's economy. It accounts for 41 percent of the gross domestic product and employs almost two thirds of the working population. Agricultural production is dominated by small family farms. They are usually able to feed themselves, but their ability to do so is precarious, as droughts and floods can quickly result in severe food shortages. Growth rates in agricultural production fluctuate sharply from one year to the next, and the impact of climate change, deforestation and the degradation of the soil is jeopardizing the ability of farmers to survive. 

 

Small farmers in Togo grow yams, cassava, corn, millet, rice, peanuts, beans, sugar cane and various other crops and fruit for their own consumption. Women are often engaged in gardening work. Cotton, coffee, cocoa and oil seeds are grown for export. Cattle farming plays an important role, particularly in the north. 

 

Creating new prospects

The demographic trend is exacerbating the strain on Togo's limited resources. Rural unemployment is high, especially among the young. The lack of prospects and income opportunities, as well as poor health care in the rural areas, are inducing people to flee the countryside and migrate into the cities, as well as to neighboring countries and to Europe.

 

The impact of climate change is jeopardizing the ability of farmers to survive

 

The potential also exists to create jobs in other sectors of the economy, such as the service, mining and industrial sectors, and to reduce poverty in this way. Thanks to the deep-water harbor of Lomé, the only one in West Africa, Togo has the opportunity to expand its role in regional trade and shipping. The banking sector is also gaining in importance. Phosphate mining continues to be a key source of revenue. Also of importance is the agricultural processing industry, as well as the production of cement, handicrafts and textiles. Togo faces the challenge of creating better conditions for investments and private-sector initiatives in all sectors of its economy.

 

TYPICAL WEST AFRICAN CUISINE Among the most popular dishes is fufu, a mashed yam pulp enriched with spicy peanut sauce, red palm nut oil and some goat meat. Another popular dish is pâté, a cornmeal porridge served in a sauce made of okra and dried fish. Beans with gari (roasted cassava flakes), pimento plantains, rice and spaghetti are also popular.

Togo's goal: agriculture as an engine of development

A productive agricultural sector in Togo could be a job machine. Since 2011, Togo has therefore been implementing an ambitious national program to promote agricultural investments and achieve a secure food supply. The goal is an annual growth rate of 6 percent in the agricultural sector. The program aims to increase production of crops and animals, promote research and the dissemination of agricultural expertise and modernize the agricultural sector. Togo's small farmers have already been able to improve their yields, and the percentage of the population which is undernourished fell at an unusually fast pace between 2005 and 2015, from 25 percent to 11 percent. Togo plans to do a better job protecting its natural resources in the future, and has integrated the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into its plans.

 

 

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