That dollar amount reflects a 61.8% increase since 2016 and a 34.1% acceleration from 2019 to 2020.
Togo’s 5 most valuable exported products are processed petroleum oils, oil seeds, hydraulic cements, soya beans, and natural calcium or aluminum calcium phosphates. Combined, that quintet of leading Togolese exports represent over half (56.6%) of Togo’s international shipments by value during 2020.
Togo’s Major Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data from 2019 shows that 88.7% of products exported from Togo were bought by importers in: Benin (21.3% of the global total), Burkina Faso (12.9%), India (10.4%), Niger (8%), Ghana (7.8%), Mali (7.3%), Ivory Coast (7.2%), France (5.3%), Nigeria (3.4%), Malaysia (2.6%), Senegal (1.3%) and Australia (1.2%).
From a continental perspective, 72.2% of Togo’s exports by value were delivered to fellow African countries while 17.8% were sold to importers in Asia. Togo shipped another 7.9% worth of goods to Europe.
Smaller percentages went to Oceania (1.2%) led by Australia, North America (1%) then Latin America (0.01%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Given Togo’s population of 8.2 million people, its total $1.37 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $170 for every resident in the West African country.
Togo’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Togolese global shipments during 2020, at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Togo.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$424.4 million (30.9% of total exports)
- Oil seeds: $287.5 million (20.9%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $221.3 million (16.1%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $77.9 million (5.7%)
- Fruits, nuts: $63 million (4.6%)
- Cotton: $42.6 million (3.1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $29.3 million (2.1%)
- Copper: $26.6 million (1.9%)
- Cocoa: $23.6 million (1.7%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $13.8 million (1%)
Togo’s top 10 exports accounted for 88% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Copper was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 20,841% from 2019 to 2020.
In second place for improving export sales was electrical machinery and equipment via a 1,367% gain.
Togo’s shipments of oil seeds posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 1,237%.
The leading decliner among Togo’s top 10 export categories was cotton thanks to its -65.9% drop year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, refined petroleum oils represent Togo’s most valuable exported product at 20% of the country’s total. In second place were oil seeds (12.4%) trailed by hydraulic cements (8.6%), soya beans (8.3%), natural calcium or aluminum phosphates (7.3%) then electrical energy (7%).
The following types of Togolese product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Oil seeds: US$272 million (Up by 1612.1% since 2019)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $192.1 million (Up by 32.6%)
- Fruits, nuts: $53.1 million (Up by 445.6%)
- Cocoa: $20.3 million (Up by 107.3%)
- Copper: $19.9 million (Reversing a -$637,000 deficit)
- Wood: $7.6 million (Reversing a -$1.6 million deficit)
- Plaiting products, basketware.wickerwork: $2.5 million (Down by -84.2%)
- Live animals: $1.4 million (Reversing a -$260,000 deficit)
- Ores, slag, ash: $807,000 (Reversing a -$28,000 deficit)
- Gems, precious metals: $707,000 (Reversing a -$21,000 deficit)
Togo has highly positive net exports in the international trade of oil seeds. In turn, these cashflows indicate Togo’s strong competitive advantages under that product category.
Overall Togo racked up an estimated -$8.5 billion trade deficit for 2020, up by 803.1% from -$939.1 million in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Togo that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Togo’s goods trail Togolese importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$3.8 billion (Up by 5236.8% since 2019)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$857.6 million (Up by 610.8%)
- Vehicles: -$772.8 million (Up by 555.5%)
- Cereals: -$381.6 million (Up by 638.6%)
- Cotton: -$294.2 million (Reversing a $60.4 million surplus)
- Machinery including computers: -$246.8 million (Up by 92.3%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$214.9 million (Up by 7652.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$180 million (Up by 277.9%)
- Manmade filaments: -$153.3 million (Up by 297%)
- Footwear: -$144.9 million (Up by 691%)
Togo has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels-related category, particularly for refined petroleum oils, crude oil, petroleum gas, petroleum coke and coal.
Togolese Export Companies
One Togolese corporation ranks among the largest businesses on the Forbes Global 2000, namely the regional bank Ecobank Transnational Incorporated.
Wikipedia lists companies from Togo that participate in international trade transactions. Selected examples are shown below.
- ASKY Airlines (airliner)
- Atlantic Bank Group (financial services holding group)
- La Poste du Togo (postal service)
In macroeconomic terms, Togo’s total exported goods represent 7.5% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($18.2 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 7.5% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 11.1% for 2019. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Togo’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Togo’s average unemployment rate was 4.1% for 2020, up from an average 3.6% in 2019 according to Trading Economics.
Togo’s capital city is Lomé.
See also South Sudan’s Top 10 Exports, Somalia’s Top 10 Exports and Top African Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Africa: Togo. Accessed on October 7, 2021
Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 7, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on October 7, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 7, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on October 7, 2021
Wikipedia, Flag of Togo. Accessed on October 7, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on October 7, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Togo. Accessed on October 7, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on October 7, 2021
Wikipedia, Togo. Accessed on October 7, 2021
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Lomé, Togo. Accessed on October 7, 2021