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Saturday, September 22, 2012

U.S.-TOGO RELATIONS

Map Credit:  CLA World Factbook
FROM: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
U.S.-TOGO RELATIONS
The United States established diplomatic relations with Togo in 1960 following its independence from a French-administered trusteeship. After a troubled birth which saw coups and the assassinations, from 1967 to 2005, Togo was ruled by Dictator General Gnassingbe Eyadema, though with periods of quasi-constitutional government and occasional desultory efforts at political reconciliation. The current president, Faure Gnassingbe is Eyadema’s son; he came to power in seriously flawed elections in 2005, but the country's 2007 legislative elections and 2010 presidential election were deemed credible by the international community. Togo faces the challenge of balancing entrenched political groups with the need to implement democratic reforms and continue its nascent economic recovery. 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.

Map Credit: CLA World Factbook
U.S. Assistance to Togo

U.S. foreign assistance to Togo aims to encourage a professional military that respects civilian leadership, while continuing to closely monitor the government's willingness to work toward democratic goals. The U.S. Agency for International Development runs local development programs from its office in Ghana through nongovernmental organizations in Togo. Peace Corps celebrates the 50th anniversary of its program in Togo this year, and has nearly 100 volunteers in the field.

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. U.S. exports to Togo include fuel oil, vehicles, petroleum products machinery and food products. The U.S. has a trade surplus with Togo. The United States imports cocoa and coffee from Togo. 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 U.S. 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’s focus is to expand the port and road network to make Togo the best 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.

ADDITIONAL FROM: CIA WORLD FACTBOOK

French Togoland became Togo in 1960. Gen. Gnassingbe EYADEMA, installed as military ruler in 1967, ruled Togo with a heavy hand for almost four decades. Despite the facade of multiparty elections instituted in the early 1990s, the government was largely dominated by President EYADEMA, whose Rally of the Togolese People (RPT) party has maintained power almost continually since 1967 and maintains a majority of seats in today's legislature. Upon EYADEMA's death in February 2005, the military installed the president's son, Faure GNASSINGBE, and then engineered his formal election two months later. Democratic gains since then allowed Togo to hold its first relatively free and fair legislative elections in October 2007. After years of political unrest and condemnation from international organizations for human rights abuses, Togo is finally being re-welcomed into the international community. In January 2012, Togo assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2012-13 term.