- July 5, 2020
TOGO- COUNTRY ANALYSIS 7
Historically,the African continent has been viewed by foreigners as an attractivedestination, especially for tourism as well as business. Withparticular reference to the West African state of Togo, foreigninvestors have conventionally flocked into the country to dobusiness. As the International Business Publications (2012) reports,one of the key reasons for Togo’s attractiveness to foreigninvestors is the existence of a distinctive government that isWestern-oriented. Unfortunately, poor governance has ruined thereputation of Togo, especially in the recent past (BBC News, 2016).In addition to this, Togo has made news headlines for facilitatingthe illegal ivory trade. It is also surprising to learn that eventhough the country is one among the leading five phosphate producersin the world, dependence on foreign assistance is very high, whichindicates that poverty is a major problem in the country (BBC News,2016). In order to obtain an understanding of the causes of thealarmingly high poverty rate in Togo, it might be important todescribe key features about Togo.
TheBBC News (2016) estimates the current population of Togo to be 6.3million people. These people are spread across a 21,925 square milearea. The 6.3 million people inhabiting Togo are predominantly ofAfrican descent, with a total of 37 ethnic groups accommodated withinthe country. This implies that a variety of local dialects are spokenin the country, although French remains the official language(Janssen, 2013). Due to the various ethnic groups living in Togo,there is no dominant religion within the country. Nonetheless, someof the people practice Christianity, while others adhere to Islamicdoctrines. At the same time, a significant number of Togolesecitizens strictly adhere to indigenous beliefs (BBC News, 2016).
Accordingto the Central Intelligence Agency (2016), the population of Togo hasgrown significantly in the last 55 years. Still, attributed to thehigh fertility of the young population. In addition, the report thatmore than half of the country`s population is below 25 years of ageindicates that further growth in population will be recorded in thecoming years. In the same vein, the Central Intelligence Agency(2016) discloses that the dependency rate is high among the Togolese,with close to 77% of the youth depending on other persons. This is amajor problem, particularly considering that the potential supportthat can be given to dependants only covers 19.9% of the 81.8% of thepopulation that requires support.
Asmentioned earlier, the Togolese Republic covers 21,925 square milesand is located on the southern coast of West Africa. To the West,Togo is bordered by Ghana, while Burkina Faso lies on the northernside of Togo. Similarly, its neighbor to the East is Benin (Janssen,2013). Its capital city is Lome, with a population of 799,000 people(National Geographic, 2015). The country occupies a narrow, longstretch in the West African region, and in its north, severalmountains stand. In terms of size, Togo is ranked number 126 in thewhole world. The Central Intelligence Agency (2016) adds that Togoenjoys a tropical climate, with the south experiencing hot, humidpatterns while the north is largely semiarid.
Aninteresting feature about Togo is its diverse terrain, with the northexhibiting a gently rolling savannah. The central region of thecountry is characterized by hills, while the southern region islargely a plateau region. On the lower side of the coast, extensivelagoons together with marshes fill the plains. Still on the topic ofgeography, Togo has been observed to be endowed with a variety ofnatural resources, the main ones being marble, phosphates andlimestone. There is plenty of lands that is suitable for arable usein fact, 67.4% of the land is used for agricultural purposes (CentralIntelligence Agency, 2016).
Ascan be deduced from the geographic report provided above, theTogolese economy largely depends on agriculture. According to theCentral Intelligence Agency (2016), Togo is a key exporter of cotton,cocoa, and coffee, although it still imports certain fundamentalfoodstuffs. Despite taking part in commercial agriculture, andbesides being endowed with phosphate reserves, the Togolesegovernment has heavily relied on foreign assistance from theInternational Monetary Fund. Due to this, the IMF decided to forgive95% of the debt owed by Togo. An important outcome of this is asteady growth in Togo’s economy, with results for 2015 indicatingthat the economic growth rate was 5.4%.
TheCentral Intelligence Agency (2016) reports that Togo has a revenuebudget of $1.061 billion, yet its expenditures exceed its revenue. Asof last year, the country’s expenditure budget was $1.3 billion. Toadd on this budgeted spending is the country`s external debt, whichamounted to $1.034 billion as at the close of the year 2015. Clearly,Togo is very far from achieving economic stability.
Togois governed through a presidential republic system, and the currentpresident is Faure Gnassingbe Eyadema (BBC News, 2016). PresidentEyadema came into office in 2005, following the death of his father.Although Eyadema was installed as president by the military (meaningthat his assumption of office generated civil unrests), he hasestablished a democracy system in which elections are held every fiveyears. Accordingly, Togo held its last presidential elections inApril last year, and the next elections are slated for 2020. On thesame note, it is also worth mentioning that in Togo, there are twokinds of elections: presidential elections and legislative elections.The two elections are held on different dates. For example, unlikethe presidential elections that were conducted in 2015, legislativeelections in Togo were done on 2013, meaning that the next electionswill be in 2018 (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2015).
Inthe current government, the president doubles as the defenseminister. Other than this, the second most influential person in thegovernment of Togo is the Prime Minister (The Economist IntelligenceUnit, 2015). The prime minister is in charge of government affairs,and he advises the president regarding the people who should beappointed to form the cabinet. In other words, the president works inconsultation with the prime minister to appoint a group of competentpersons who will comprise the council of ministers (CentralIntelligence Agency, 2016).
Likemost other countries, the Togolese government is made up of threearms: the executive, the judicial branch, and the legislature. Asdescribed above, the executive comprises the president, the primeminister, and a council of ministers. Conversely, the legislativebranch is made up of members of the National Assembly who are electedwithin their various constitutions. With reference to the judicialbranch of the government, the Central Intelligence Agency (2016)reports that the highest court in Togo is the Supreme Court, which isorganized into administrative as well as criminal chambers. Eachchamber is headed by a president who is supported by a team ofadvisers. The President`s decree appoints the president of theSupreme Court. Besides the Supreme Court, there is a constitutionalcourt that comprises nine judges, one of them acting as the presidentof the constitutional court. Unlike the Supreme Court’s presidentwho is appointed by a decree issued by the President of the Republicof Togo, the constitutional court president is appointed by thelegislative branch (Central Intelligence Agency, 2016). The judicialbranch of the Togolese government is also made up of subordinatecourts, which include the appeal court, the Court of Assizes,military tribunal, the court of state security, and tribunals of thefirst instance (Central Intelligence Agency, 2016).
Althoughthe Togolese government is described as a republican structure,authors agree that Togo is gradually transitioning into a multipartydemocracy (Sandbox Networks, 2016). This is reflected in the manypolitical parties that have been formed in the country, including theruling party Union for the Republic (UNIR). Other political partiesin Togo are the Save Togo Collective (CST), Socialist Pact forRenewal, Democratic Convention of African Peoples, Pan-AfricanPatriotic Convergence, and the Union of Forces for Change (CentralIntelligence Agency, 2016).
Fora country that has a relatively stable political structure, besidesbeing endowed with diverse natural resources, Togo should be makingnotable steps towards economic stability. Unfortunately, poverty hasbeen identified as a major drawback to economic stability in Togo. Ashas been revealed through this research, the high level of poverty inTogo is caused by a very fertile population, as well as excessivedependence on one another and on external aid. In view of this, it isstrongly recommended that President Eyadema and his cabinet shouldurgently devise strategies of reducing the fertility rate whilst atthe same time minimizing dependence on assistance from foreigninstitutions.
BBCNews. (2016). Togocountry profile.Retrieved from <<http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14106781>>on 29thNovember, 2016.
CentralIntelligence Agency. (2016). TheWorld Factbook.Accessed via<<https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/to.html>>on 29 November 2016.
InternationalBusiness Publications, USA. (2012). TogoBusiness Law Handbook: Strategic Information and Laws.Intl Business Pubns USA.
Janssen,S. (2013). WorldAlmanac and Book of Facts 2014.Simon and Schuster.
NationalGeographic. (2015). Togofacts.Available at<<http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/togo-facts/>>
SandboxNetworks. (2016). Togo.Available at <<http://www.infoplease.com/country/togo.html>>
TheEconomist Intelligence Unit. (2015). Togo:Political Structure.Retrieved from<<http://country.eiu.com/article.aspx?articleid=1333307117&Country=Togo&topic=Summary&subtopic=Political+structure>>on 29thNovember, 2016.