Togo – Tourism May Be the Way

There is very little information on the internet about Togo or its economy, and what there is pertains mainly to its poverty and history of political unrest. But that very lack of information suggests one possible way to improve Togo’s economy: revitalizing the country’s tourist industry.

In considering the current state of Togo’s economy, I was reminded of a conversation with two French tourists whom I met on a business trip last year. Those tourists, who had had a lot of opportunities to travel to many places in the world, were interested in sharing their travelling experiences.

In their stories, they mentioned some villages which were very poor when they first visited, but then developed with time. Moreover, they surprised me with the revelation of some small business plans they intended to carry out in those places. Impressed, I said that they were wonderful people; they had come to those villages to spend money, then had decided to invest their money to help those communities. But they replied, laughing, that they were not that wonderful, they were just tourists and investors.

What if those villages had been in Togo? In theory, the “vicious cycle of poverty” describes the link between a lack of capital and underdevelopment. One way to break the cycle is to bring in capital from outside. Tourism presents a good solution which could not only help Togo to bring in a substantial amount of foreign currency, but also provide investors with the chance to learn about business opportunities in the country.

Tourism could pave the way for foreign capital to flow into the country, in turn facilitating economic development. There are a number of initiatives that could help foster the growth of tourism in Togo. First, steps could be taken to address the current paucity of readily available information on Togo or images of the country. Togo’s attractive features should be highlighted in eye-catching format on magazines and the internet. For example, more images and information about the country’s cultural diversity and wildlife could play a key role in attracting tourists.

Secondly, political calm would create a feeling of safety and security – very important for attracting visitors and encouraging them to make repeat visits.  Finally, an element of education is important in order to instill the knowledge that tourism must be accompanied by preservation so that sustainability of development can be achieved. While these measures would neither be easy nor a comprehensive “fix” for the economy of Togo, they would certainly merit consideration within the country’s development strategy.

By Ngo Thuy Linh


AAE is a volunteer-run organisation coordinated by a network of national teams.

View all posts by AAE →