Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Togo’s economic freedom

Togo’s economic freedom 
Score is 47.1, making its economy the 161st freest in the 2010 Index. Its score is 1.5 points lower than last year, reflecting notable losses in trade freedom, monetary freedom, and investment freedom. Togo is ranked 39th out of 46 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and its overall score is well below the world and regional averages.

The Togolese government has undertaken a series of economic reforms in recent years, restructuring key sectors including banking, electricity, and transportation. The corporate tax rate, which had been one of the region’s highest, was reduced to 33 percent in 2008.

Togo’s competitiveness has nonetheless continued to suffer from a poor business environment and an undeveloped financial sector, both of which significantly handicap private-sector development. The country still depends to a large extent on foreign aid. Government spending is moderate, but improved public administration and privatization would stimulate broad-based economic growth. Foreign direct investment is allowed only in certain sectors, and regulatory and judicial systems lack transparency and are vulnerable to corruption and political interference.
Background Back to the top

In 2005, the military appointed Faure Gnassingbé to serve as president following the death of his father. Condemnation and sanctions by the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union, along with pressure from the international community, led Gnassingbé to step down. He won the subsequent 2005 election, which was widely viewed as flawed. The resulting political turmoil ended with legislative elections in 2007 that most observers viewed as free and fair. The next presidential election is scheduled for early 2010. Agriculture accounted for over 40 percent of GDP in 2006, and much of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture. Principal exports include cement, cocoa, cotton, and phosphates. Services are also important, especially re-exports from the Lomé port facility to landlocked states in the region.
Business Freedom36.8 Back to the top

The overall freedom to conduct a business is seriously limited under Togo’s regulatory environment. Starting a business takes an average of 75 days, compared to the world average of 35 days. Obtaining a business license takes longer than the world average of 218 days, and costs are high.
Trade Freedom62.8 Back to the top

Togo’s weighted average tariff rate was 13.6 percent in 2008. Some import restrictions, import taxes and fees, import permit requirements, export-promotion programs, inadequate infrastructure, and weak enforcement of intellectual property rights add to the cost of trade. Ten points were deducted from Togo’s trade freedom score to account for non-tariff barriers.
Fiscal Freedom56.2 Back to the top

Togo has a high income tax rate and a relatively high corporate tax rate. The top income tax rate is 55 percent, and the top corporate tax rate is 33 percent, down from 37 percent as of January 1, 2009. Other taxes include a value-added tax (VAT), a property tax, and a vehicle tax. In the most recent year, overall tax revenue as a percentage of GDP was 16.4 percent. The government has scaled back tax exemptions to broaden the tax base.
Government Spending86.0 Back to the top

Total government expenditures, including consumption and transfer payments, are relatively low. In the most recent year, government spending equaled 21.6 percent of GDP. Togo relies heavily on donor aid, much of which is contingent on improvements in public management and privatization.
Monetary Freedom74.5 Back to the top

Inflation has been relatively high, averaging 6.0 percent between 2006 and 2008, peaking at 15.8 percent in August 2008, and dropping sharply in 2009. The government controls the prices of petroleum products and influences prices through regulation and state-owned enterprises and utilities. Ten points were deducted from Togo’s monetary freedom score to account for policies that distort domestic prices.
Investment Freedom25.0 Back to the top

Investment is permitted only in certain sectors and is screened on a case-by-case basis. Among other conditions for approval, at least 60 percent of the payroll must go to Togolese citizens. The lack of transparency and predictability in the regulatory and judicial systems inhibits investment. Residents and non-residents may hold foreign exchange accounts. Payments and transfers to certain countries are subject to authorization and quantitative limits in some cases. Capital transactions are subject to some controls or government approval. Purchases of real estate by non-residents for non-business purposes are subject to controls.
Financial Freedom30.0 Back to the top

The banking system is small and subject to strong government influence, with little foreign participation and weak product diversification. The system suffers from a lack of solvency and liquidity, and management is inadequate in major public financial companies and many banks. A substantial number of loans issued to state-controlled companies (more than 30 percent of total bank credits) are considered to be non-performing. The Central Bank of West African States governs Togo’s financial institutions. Four of the eight commercial banks are state-controlled. Privatization of financial institutions has begun, but only one of the four state-owned banks has attracted private-sector interest.
Property Rights30.0 Back to the top

The judicial system is subject to strong influence from the executive and does not provide independent protection of private property. Contracts are difficult to enforce. Ownership of physical property is frequently disputed because of poorly defined inheritance laws. Real and chattel property cases are further complicated by judicial non-transparency, which often favors domestic entities over foreign investors. Togo has a large informal market in pirated optical media, computer software, video and cassette recordings, and counterfeit beauty products.
Freedom From Corruption27.0 Back to the top

Corruption is perceived as widespread. Togo ranks 121st out of 179 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2008, a significant improvement over 2007. The executive and legislative branches are subject to corruption. Government procurement contracts and dispute settlements are subject to bribery. Bribery of private or government officials, while technically a crime, is generally expected.
Labor Freedom43.3 Back to the top

Togo’s labor regulations are restrictive. The non-salary cost of employing a worker is high, and dismissing an employee is difficult. Regulations on the number of work hours are rigid.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Togo (officially the Togolese Republic) is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately 57,000 square kilometres (22,000 sq mi) with a population of approximately 6.7 million.

Togo is a tropical, sub-Saharan nation, highly dependent on agriculture, with a climate that provides good growing seasons. The official language is French; however, there are many other languages spoken in Togo. Approximately one half of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.

Togo gained its independence from France in 1960. In 1967, Gnassingbé Eyadéma led a successful military coup, after which he became president. At the time of his death in 2005, Eyadéma was the longest-serving leader in African history, after having been president for 38 years. In 2005, his son Faure Gnassingbé was elected president.

Introduction Togo

French Togoland became Togo in 1960. Gen. Gnassingbe EYADEMA, installed as military ruler in 1967, ruled Togo with a heavy hand for almost four decades. Despite the facade of multiparty elections instituted in the early 1990s, the government was largely dominated by President EYADEMA, whose Rally of the Togolese People (RPT) party has maintained power almost continually since 1967 and maintains a majority of seats in today's legislature. Upon EYADEMA's death in February 2005, the military installed the president's son, Faure GNASSINGBE, and then engineered his formal election two months later. Democratic gains since then allowed Togo to hold its first relatively free and fair legislative elections in October 2007. After years of political unrest and fire from international organizations for human rights abuses, Togo is finally being re-welcomed into the international community.

Togo ecnomy

This small, sub-Saharan economy is heavily dependent on both commercial and subsistence agriculture, which provides employment for 65% of the labor force. Some basic foodstuffs must still be imported. Cocoa, coffee, and cotton generate about 40% of export earnings with cotton being the most important cash crop. Togo is the world's fourth-largest producer of phosphate. The government's decade-long effort, supported by the World Bank and the IMF, to implement economic reform measures, encourage foreign investment, and bring revenues in line with expenditures has moved slowly. Progress depends on follow through on privatization, increased openness in government financial operations, progress toward legislative elections, and continued support from foreign donors. Togo is working with donors to write a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) that could eventually lead to a debt reduction plan. Economic growth remains marginal due to declining cotton production, underinvestment in phosphate mining, and strained relations with donors.

National football team of Togo

The national football team of Togo, nicknamed Les Eperviers (The Sparrow Hawks), is controlled by the "Fédération Togolaise de Football".

They played at the 2006 FIFA World Cup but gained no points. Their team bus underwent a fatal attack in Angola prior to the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations. They withdrew and were subsequently banned from the following two tournaments by the Confederation of African Football

They made their first FIFA World Cup appearance in their history in 2006, having been coached throughout the qualifying campaign by Stephen Keshi; German coach Otto Pfister managed the team at the finals, despite having resigned three days before their first match over a players' bonuses dispute, only to be persuaded by the players to return. Although Togo have qualified for the World Cup, they have never advanced past the first stage of the African Nations Cup. Prior to gaining independence in 1960, the team were known as French Togoland.

2006 World Cup
Togo lost their opening game of the World Cup, despite having taken the lead against South Korea through a goal by Mohamed Kader. In the second half, Jean-Paul Abalo was sent off after 55 minutes, and goals from Lee Chun-Soo and Ahn Jung-Hwan sealed a 2–1 defeat for Togo.

Togo's next opponents in Group G were Switzerland, with the match scheduled for the afternoon of 19 June. However, the Togo squad and manager Pfitser threatened to refuse to fulfil the fixture and take strike action. The squad and manager had been quoted as requesting payments from the Fédération Togolaise de Football for participating in the tournament of around €155,000 (US$192,000) with added bonuses for victories or draws. FIFA negotiated with the squad and manager on 17 June, persuading them to travel to Dortmund in time to fulfil the fixture; goals from Alexander Frei and Tranquillo Barnetta resulted in a 2–0 defeat. FIFA subsequently imposed a CHF100,000 fine on the Togolese federation for "behaviour unworthy of a participant in the World Cup."

Togo's final group game against France ended in 2–0 defeat. Togo left the tournament with no points gained.

Sierra Leone air disaster
Main article: 2007 Paramount Airlines helicopter crash
After a 2008 African Nations Cup qualifier away to Sierra Leone on 3 June 2007, 20 members of a delegation of sports officials from Togo, including Togolese Sports Minister Richard Attipoe, were killed when their helicopter exploded and crashed at Lungi International Airport. No players of the Togo national team were among the victims. The Togo players and officials of the team had been waiting to take the next helicopter flight to the island on which the airport is located.

[edit] January 2010 bus ambush and ban
Main article: 2010 Togo national football team bus attack
On 8 January 2010, the Togo team bus was attacked by gunmen as it travelled to the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations tournament, killing three and injuring several others. The separatist group Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) claimed responsibility for the attack. Goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale was reported dead a day after the attack. Such reports were later dismissed by his club GSI Pontivy in a press announcement, stating the player was undergoing surgery in South Africa instead.

Following the bus ambush attack, the Fédération Togolaise de Football stated that they would withdraw from the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations; despite claims that the team have since reversed the decision and would compete "to show our national colours, our values and that we are men" (as announced by Thomas Dossevi), the government later ordered that the team return home.

Following the team's withdrawal, The Confederation of African Football (CAF) banned Togo from participating in the next two editions of the Cup of Nations and fined them $50,000 because of the "decision taken by the political authorities".The CAF executive Committee considered that the Togolese team was in "forfeit notified less than twenty days before the start or during the final competition" (Art. 78 of the Regulations for the Africa Cup of Nations), rather than having withdrawn (Art. 80), and refused to consider the circumstances as force majeure (Art. 87). Togo's government immediately said they would sue as CAF "have no consideration for the lives of other human beings" and this is further "insulting to the family of those who lost their lives and those traumatized because of the attack". FIFA has yet to comment on the issue. Togo footballer Thomas Dossevi said "We are a group of footballers who came under fire and now we can't play football any more. They are crushing us". Togolese captain Emmanuel Adebayor described the decision as "outrageous" and said that CAF President Issa Hayatou had "completely betrayed" the Togo squad.