Togo: Political and Socio-Economic Development (2015 – 2017)
The presidential elections of 25 April 2015 resulted in a victory for the incumbent, Faure Gnassingbé. Thus, he secured his third five-year term, consolidating the autocratic grip of the Gnassingbé-clan and his followers, who had been in power since 1967. In view of the absolute majority of the ruling party, its inclination for meaningful constitutional and electoral reforms that would have been required for free and fair elections was further reduced. The reforms were postponed open-endedly. Overriding concerns for stability in West Africa in view of growing Islamist threats in neighbouring countries as well as Togo’s role as troop contributor made that the delayed democratic reforms including the time and again reported local elections were condoned by the donor community. However, simmering discontent of the hardliners among the security forces and the barons of the ruling party was still visible. The opposition tried in vain to overcome its divide between its moderate and radical wing. An alliance of opposition parties and civic groups opposed the regime peacefully by frequent, often violently suppressed demonstrations with little effect. Human rights records of the government improved but remained tarnished. The tense political climate persisted in view of the presidential elections in April 2015 and the apparent determination of the President to stay in power a third and eventually even a fourth term whatever the cost. Despite undeniable improvements of the framework and outside appearance of major institutions of the regime during the survey period it remained a façade democracy. However, the international community, notably African peers, the AU and ECOWAS, but also the Bretton-Woods Institutions, China and the EU, followed a ‘laissez faire’ approach in the interest of stability and their proper national interest in dealings with the country. Economic growth remained stable at about 5% p.a. Public investment in infrastructure (roads, harbour) and increases in agricultural productivity, notably of export crop production, had been the key drivers of growth. But growth remained sensitive to external shocks and the vagaries of the climate and was not inclusive. It was overshadowed by increasing inter-personal and regional inequality as well as an upturn in extreme poverty. Moreover, money laundering and illegal money transfers grow to alarming proportions. The latter amounted to 1.9 bio. US $ p.a. from 2002 to 2011 whereby it greatly surpassed the national budget. Concerning the relation of illegal financial transfers to GDP Togo was leading worldwide with 76.3% (2008 to 2013). The business climate improved considerably nevertheless. Although Togo still counted among low income fragile states according to the World Bank it aimed at advancing into the group of developing economies. Yet, in view of its vulnerability concerning political crisis and social unrest this was a quite ambitious aim.
Volume (Year): (2017)
Issue (Month): ()
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