The United States established diplomatic relations with Togo in 1960 following its independence from a French-administered trusteeship. Several coups and assassinations took place between 1960 and 1967, culminating with a coup in 1967 by General Gnassingbe Eyadema who then ruled until 2005. The current president, Faure Gnassingbe, is Eyadema’s son. While he came to power in flawed elections in 2005, under his rule Togo has demonstrated gradual democratic improvement, holding legislative elections in 2013 and a presidential vote in 2015 that were deemed credible by the international community. Today Togo is benefitting from economic growth, gradual democratic reform leading to greater transparency, and a steady professionalization of its security sector, due in part to U.S. assistance. The United States and Togo have had generally good relations, and the United States seeks to work with Togo to consolidate democratic gains and economic growth.
U.S. Assistance to Togo
In fiscal year 2014, the United States provided $3 million in health funding to Togo and $0.2 million in international military education and training aid. The U.S. Agency for International Development runs local development programs from its office in Ghana through nongovernmental organizations in Togo. The Peace Corps established its presence in Togo in 1962 and has 84 volunteers in the field, working primarily in on projects in agriculture, education, and health. In December 2015, Togo was selected for a Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Threshold program.
Bilateral Economic Relations
Togo has a market-oriented economy, and the country is eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The United States has a significant trade surplus with Togo. U.S. exports to Togo include fuel oil, vehicles, petroleum products machinery and food products, while U.S. imports from Togo include cocoa and coffee. Togo’s export processing zone, established with U.S. Government support, has attracted private investors interested in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and food processing, primarily for the export market. A 100-megawatt power plant is among the largest electricity investments in Togo and one of the largest single private U.S. investments in West Africa. The two countries have signed a treaty on investment and economic relations. The United States also has a trade and investment framework agreement with the West African Economic and Monetary Union, of which Togo is a member. Togo is working with the United States and other development partners to improve the investment climate and commercial infrastructure. Togo has the deepest port on the west coast of Africa. The government is working to expand the port and road network to make Togo a better option for regional transshipment.
Togo’s Membership in International Organizations
Togo and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.
Togo maintains an embassy in the United States at 2208 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; tel: (202) 234-4212.