Togo: Sustainable and inclusive growth will depend on agricultural productivity and trade

WASHINGTON  – While Togo has made undeniable progress in certain areas, the West African nation is yet to take full advantage of its potential to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth, the World Bank said today in its latest Togo Country Economic Memorandum.

The Bank’s study entitled “Towards sustainable and inclusive growth” shows Togo could increase agricultural productivity and trade competitiveness as well as its participation in global value chains, and harness urban economic opportunities to achieve inclusive growth.

The report pointed at low agricultural productivity, untapped economic potential of cities, and low levels of trade competitiveness and participation in global value chains, as the main contributing factors.

“As efforts in the agricultural sector in recent years have produced results below the government and markets expectations, Togo will need to adopt new approaches to ensure stronger agricultural outputs and accelerate its structural transformation process,” said Urbain Thierry Yogo, World Bank Senior Economist and lead author of the report.

While agriculture directly or indirectly employs two-thirds of Togo’s labor force, labor productivity remains low on most farms. For long years increasing commodity and food crops has depended largely on systematic clearing of additional land and not on significant improvements in yields.

“This trend in the agricultural sector could be and must be reversed by improving and increasing investment in research, harnessing new technologies for water and key agricultural resource management and promoting agribusiness”, Thierry Yogo added.

The study also shows that growth potential of Togo’s cities remains under-exploited. Togo’s urban population has grown significantly in recent decades, but per capita incomes have changed little. Moreover, the manufacturing sector has not developed in parallel with urbanization.

In addition, the report points out that as a small economy with a limited industrial base and private sector, Togo needs to increase trade to reduce poverty. Although Togo’s products are relatively diversified, most exported items are unprocessed or raw materials.

“The development of local industries will scale up domestic processing of raw materials and the promotion of agricultural value chains. This will contribute to the creation of quality jobs for strong and inclusive economic growth,” said Hawa Wagué, World Bank Resident Representative for Togo.