Togo: Doing business and staying in touch
Doing Business in Togo
Lightweight suits are advised. Business is conducted in French - only a few executives speak English. Appointments should be made and business cards should be carried.
About two-thirds of the working population is employed in agriculture: a wide range of crops are produced, including cotton, cocoa and coffee (the main cash crops) and basic foodstuffs including cassava, maize, yams and sorghum.
Togo's other major principal exports are the ores from the country's phosphate mines, although revenues have been hit recently by slack demand and low world prices. Limestone and marble deposits have also been exploited. Togo's mines contain some of the world's richest calcium deposits.
Most of Togo's other industry is based on the processing of these agricultural and mineral products, apart from a handful of factories engaged in the production of textiles and consumer goods for domestic consumption. A successful export processing zone, now entering its second decade of operation, has attracted numerous manufacturers from across the world. The service sector is small and tourism negligible.
The country's main economic problems are a huge foreign debt and declining revenues due to low world commodity prices. A typical programme of structural adjustment has been undertaken under the supervision of the IMF and World Bank. In 2009, annual GDP growth was 1.8% while inflation was 3.3%.
Togo is a member of the CFA Franc Zone, the West African trading bloc ECOWAS and various international commodity organisations.
US$2.7 billion (2009).
Cocoa, phosphate, coffee and cotton.
Consumer goods including food, fabrics, clothes, vehicles and equipment.
Main trading partners
EU (mainly France and The Netherlands), China (PR), Ghana and other francophone West African countries (Benin and Burkina Faso).
Keeping in Touch in Togo
There are no area codes. IDD is available to main cities.
Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good around urban areas and patchy elsewhere.
Public access is available in Internet cafés all over the country.
Freedom of the press is provided for in the constitution, but is not respected in practice. The major television channel is government-owned, as is the only daily newspaper and some of the private radio stations. Journalists writing for the private weeklies are subject to harassment and legal action. Several private radio and TV stations which had criticised the military-backed succession of Faure Gnassingbe as president were closed in 2005. Press offences cannot be punished by imprisonment. The main newspaper is the government-owned Togo-Presse, published in French, Ewe and Kabiyé.
Postal facilities are limited to main towns. Airmail to Western Europe takes at least two weeks.