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 multi-party elections instituted in the early 1990s, the government was largely dominated by President EYADEMA, whose Rally of the Togolese People (RPT) party has been in power almost continually since 1967 and its successor, the Union for the Republic, 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. Since 2007, President GNASSINGBE has started the country along a gradual path to political reconciliation and democratic reform, and Togo has held multiple presidential and legislative elections that were deemed generally free and fair by international observers. Despite those positive moves, political reconciliation has moved slowly and many Togolese complain that important political measures such as presidential term limits and electoral reforms remain undone, leaving the country’s politics in a lethargic state. Internationally, Togo is still known as a country where the same family has been in power for five decades.
Togo is enjoying a period of steady economic growth fueled by political stability and a concerted effort by the government to modernize the country’s commercial infrastructure. The country has recently completed an ambitious large-scale infrastructure improvement program, including new principal roads, a new airport terminal, and a new sea-port. The economy depends heavily on both commercial and subsistence agriculture, which provides employment for around 60% of the labor force. Some basic foodstuffs must still be imported. Cocoa, coffee, and cotton and other agricultural products generate about 20% of export earnings with cotton being the most important cash crop. Togo is among the world's largest producers of phosphate and seeks to develop its carbonate phosphate reserves, which provide more than 20% of export earnings.The government's decade-long effort, supported by the World Bank and the IMF, to implement economic reform measures, encourage foreign investment, and bring revenues in line with expenditures has moved slowly. Togo completed its IMF Extended Credit Facility in 2011 and reached a Heavily Indebted Poor Country debt relief completion point in 2010 at which 95% of the country's debt was forgiven. Togo continues to work with the IMF on structural reforms, and is currently finalizing IMF approval for an agreement on an Extended Credit Facility arrangement consisting of a three-year $238 million loan package. Progress depends on follow through on privatization, increased openness in government financial operations, progress toward legislative elections, and continued support from foreign donors.Togo’s 2016 economic growth remained steady at 5.3%, largely driven by infusions of foreign aid, infrastructure investment in the port and mineral sectors, and improvements in the business climate. Foreign direct investment inflows have slowed in recent years.