Togo has been living under a state of health emergency since April 2, 2020. Sitting on a bench at the entrance of a small clinic in Lomé, Kossigan, a former taxi driver on the Lomé-Cotonou axis, laments.
Since the border closures imposed more than a year ago to limit the spread of the coronavirus, he has had to convert to a parking lot attendant.
The “Covid-19 killed our business. Some of our colleagues are sick for lack of activities, others have returned to the village ”, says this forty-something, with tears in his eyes.
And although official figures indicate a low incidence of the spread of the virus with some 13,000 recorded infections and 126 deaths in more than a year of crisis, populations remain under restrictive measures and the economy is struggling. In this small West African country of 7.8 million inhabitants, many depend on trade within the ECOWAS free trade area (Economic Community of West African States), especially since the coast of Togo only extends over 50 kilometers.
The economic growth rate fell to 1.8% in 2020 from an initial forecast of 5.5%, according to official figures, a direct result of the global health crisis.