That dollar amount reflects a 22.7% increase since 2017 and a 9% uptick from 2020 to 2021.
Based on average exchange rates for Togo’s official currency in 2021, the West African CFA franc appreciated by 4.5% against the US dollar since 2017 and increased by 3.7% from 2020 to 2021. The stronger West African CFA franc makes Togo’s exports paid for in weaker US dollars relatively more expensive.
Togo’s 10 most valuable exported products are natural calcium or aluminum calcium phosphates, motorcycles, plastic packing goods including lids or caps, beauty and skincare preparations, hydraulic cements, uncombed cotton, processed petroleum oils, palm oil, wigs or false bears or eyelashes, then concentrated or sweetened milk and cream. Collectively, these products represent almost two-thirds (65.8%) of the total value of shipments from Togo.
Given Togo’s population of 8.5 million people, its total $1.07 billion in 2021 exports translates to roughly $130 for every resident in the West African country. That per-capita dollar amount is less than the average $170 for 2020.
Togo’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Togolese global shipments during 2021, 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.
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: US$205.1 million (19.2% of total exports)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $123.8 million (11.6%)
- Vehicles: $94.2 million (8.8%)
- Cotton: $90.8 million (8.5%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $72.2 million (6.8%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: $70.5 million (6.6%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $64.6 million (6%)
- Feathers, artificial flowers, hair: $55.6 million (5.2%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $54.7 million (5.1%)
- Oil seeds: $29.9 million (2.8%)
Togo’s top 10 exports accounted for 80.6% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Feathers, artificial flowers and hair was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 70.4% from 2020 to 2021.
In second place for improving export sales was beverages, spirits and vinegar via a 25.1% gain.
Togo’s shipments of vehicles posted the third-fastest increase up 23.9%.
The leading decliner among Togo’s top 10 export categories was the perfumes and cosmetics category thanks to a -14.2% drop year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, natural calcium or aluminum phosphates represent Togo’s most valuable exported product at 12.1% of the country’s total. In second place were motorcycles (7.8%) trailed by plastic packing goods including lids or caps (7.7%), beauty, makeup or skincare preparations (6.5%), hydraulic cements (also 6.5%), uncarded cotton (6.1%), refined petroleum oils (also 6.1%), palm oil (5.3%), wigs, false bears and eyelashes (5.2%), then concentrated or sweetened milk and cream (2.6%).
Products Creating Greatest Trade Surpluses for Togo
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.
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: US$126.4 million (Down by -3.1% since 2020)
- Feathers, artificial flowers, hair: $54.8 million (Up by 71%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: $54.4 million (Down by -18%)
- Cotton: $42.9 million (Up by 17.7%)
- Oil seeds: $24.2 million (Down by -14.1%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $19.9 million (Up by 5.9%)
- Plaiting products, basketware.wickerwork: $17.1 million (Up by 8.4%)
- Cocoa: $6 million (Down by -58.1%)
- Fruits, nuts: $2.5 million (Down by -52.2%)
- Felt, yarn, twine, ropes, cables: $2 million (Reversing a -$30,000 deficit)
Togo has highly positive net exports in the international trade of natural calcium or aluminum phosphates. In turn, these cashflows indicate Togo’s strong competitive advantages under the salt, sulphur, stone and cement product category.
Products Causing Biggest Trade Deficits for Togo
Togo racked up an overall estimated -$1.4 billion trade deficit for 2021, up by 20.4% from -$1.2 billion in red ink one year earlier in 2020.
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.
- Vehicles: -US$260 million (Up by 30.3% since 2020)
- Machinery including computers: -$174.7 million (Up by 5.5%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$139.9 million (Up by 18.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$129.3 million (Up by 5.6%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$125.8 million (Down by -28.1%)
- Iron, steel: -$78.6 million (Up by 75.7%)
- Cereals: -$70.1 million (Down by -10%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$59.1 million (Up by 179.3%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$57.4 million (Up by 21%)
- Manmade filaments: -$49.9 million (Up by 43.6%)
Togo has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the vehicles category, particularly for cars, trucks, motorcycles, tractors and automotive parts or accessories.
Togo’s 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)
Togo’s Major Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data from 2021 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, 70.8% of Togo’s exports by value were delivered to fellow African countries while 15.7% were sold to importers in Asia. Togo shipped another 8.6% worth of goods to Europe.
Smaller percentages went to Oceania (3.8%) led by Australia and New Zealand, North America (1%) then Latin America (0.01%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
In macroeconomic terms, Togo’s total exported goods represent 7.5% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($18.2 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 7.5% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2021 compares to 11.1% for 2020. 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% for 2021, down from an average 4.1% in 2020 according to Trading Economics.
Togo’s capital city is Lomé.
See also South Sudan’s Top 10 Exports, Somalia’s Top 10 Exports, Nigeria’s Top 10 Exports and Top African Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Africa: Togo. Accessed on April 7, 2022
Forbes 2017 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 7, 2022
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (Domestic Currency per U.S. dollar, period average)
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 7, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 7, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 7, 2022
Wikipedia, Flag of Togo. Accessed on April 7, 2022
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on April 7, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Togo. Accessed on April 7, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on April 7, 2022
Wikipedia, Togo. Accessed on April 7, 2022
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Lomé, Togo. Accessed on April 7, 2022