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Measuring the pulse of Economic Transformation in West Africa
Carpophore joined the AfDB’s West Africa Department in 2011 as Principal Country Economist. From 2003 to 2010, he was the Chief Executive Officer of a consulting firm in Rwanda, Development & Management Solutions (DMS). Prior to that, he was successively Commissioner of Rwanda Customs & Excise Department, Director General of Union of Peoples Banks of Rwanda, University of Rwanda Chief of Staff and Lecturer of International Trade; National Accounting and Economics of Development. In the past, Carpophore worked also during 5 years as Program Officer for UNDP/UNV in Niger, Central African Republic and Geneva. He holds a B.A in Economics from the University of Burundi, a Master in Development studies and a PhD in Political sciences (Concentration in Finances - Interest Rate & Usury) from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland.
The African continent has 54 states, 38 of which have sea access and profit from maritime fishing. Several African lakes (with the two largest ones in the world being lakes Tanganyika and Victoria) and its big rivers (Nile, Niger, Congo, Zambezi) are also rich in fish. In 2015, fish production in Africa amounted to 11 million tons, with 85% coming from catch fishing and 15% from fish farming, accounted for 7% of the world production.
The populations of Togo (7 million) and Switzerland (8 million) are quite similar. Likewise, the area covered by the two countries is not too different – 56,785 km2 for Togo and 41,285 km2 for Switzerland. On the other hand, Togo has 12 times more agricultural labour force than Switzerland and, despite this, Switzerland is well ahead of Togo in terms of consumption of fertilizers per hectare (15 times), number of agricultural machines used on arable area (4,000 times), productivity of cereals per hectare (6 times) and consequently of value added per agricultural worker (32 times) . This means that a kilo of cereal produced in Togo is valued five times (32/6) more when produced in Switzerland due to product quality, compliance with norms and standards and market vicissitudes.
Operational since 2014, The Togo Revenue Authority (OTR) is a single tax administration body with greater autonomy than a ministerial department. It is the first attempt to unify customs and tax services within the fourteen countries belonging to the CFA franc zone (West African Economic and Monetary Union) and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community.
Despite the 11% fall in the price of gasoline at the pump between June 2014 and March 2015, Togolese consumers unions continue to lament that the decline in the barrel price is not adequately reflected in the pump price. Meanwhile, Togolese Government subsidies to support oil products policy have already cost the government US $28 million in 2014, or 3% of revenues.
Laré Ousmane is from Dapaong in northern Togo. In 2002, at the age of 26, he decides to immigrate to Florida, USA, with only an accounting technician diploma and a driver’s license. After two years, he lands his first real job: as delivery driver at a restaurant, for a net monthly salary of $1,950.
In 1991, Togo launched one of the first export processing zones (EPZ) in Africa to boost its economy in the Global value Chains (GVCs). The Togo EPZ is located on an area of 107 hectares along the country’s Atlantic seaport . The same year, the bestseller "The Work of Nations" was released , explaining how a Honda is more of an American car than those produced by General Motors or a Chrysler. The author, former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, wanted to raise awareness of the fact that “It's not where a product is made, but the place where the value is added that counts”. He complained about the case of the “Pontiac Le Mans”, a symbol of American pride, but produced with less than 40% value added in US. What can we say about products from Togo EPZ? Are they Togolese products?