Father Silvano Galli, SMA, says Togolese are praying and hoping for political dialogue and a better year 2021.
Vatican News Service English Africa
Cautious optimism reigns in Togo as economists see the country slowly emerging from recession: a difficult 2020.
A difficult year
The year 2020 has just ended, it has been difficult and complicated for many people in Togo. For most of the past three years, the military presence has been pervasive in most towns.
“From the disputed elections (2020) which saw the confirmation of President Faure Gnassingbé as head of the country, until the start of COVID-19, the people did everything they could to survive the year”, Fr Silvano Galli, a priest of the Society of African Missions, recently told Agenzia Fides.
Ironically, the COVID-19 pandemic has also had the effect of slowing and silencing the country’s political crisis.
In 2017, large protests rocked Togo in support of opposition demands for the reinstatement of presidential term limits. In 2019, the two-term limit was reinstated in Togo, but it does not apply retroactively. President Faure Gnassingbé, who won a contested fourth term in 2020, can still run for a fifth term in 2025.
The Togolese hope that the paralyzed political situation will lead to a dialogue between the protagonists and usher in a period of serenity. Without dialogue, the risk of unrest remains high.
Encouraging economic prospects
Togo is one of the smallest countries in West Africa and has 7.5 million inhabitants. Despite the difficulties, economists remain optimistic about the outlook. Economic growth in 2021 should reach 5.5%, mainly thanks to the good results of agriculture. Similarly, the creation of a free zone at the port of Lomé makes Togo a very active regional centre.