Togo has a growing housing finance sector. As the mortgage market does not yet meet the breadth of the population who might afford a mortgage, most households still finance their housing independently, with savings or non-mortgage credit.
The lowest recorded interest rate on a mortgage in Togo is 9.13 percent, as of September 2016, and requires at least a 40 percent down payment. There are currently 2 923 mortgages in the country, with the average mortgage size being US$ 4 868. The cheapest newly built house by a developer recorded by CAHF is US$ 11 751, which is for a 40 square metre unit. Cement prices are lower than the continental average, at US$ 6.72 for a 50-kilogram bag.
With an urbanisation rate of 3.87 percent, demand for affordable housing will remain strong, both for rental and purchase. Housing microfinance will play an important role in increasing the supply of housing, and efforts to increase access should be undertaken. The limited provision of serviced lands, combined with a high urbanisation rate, has contributed to urban sprawl on the northern side of Lomé, which is now mainly c0nsists of informal settlements. With a good macroeconomic environment, sound policy, better data and increased access to affordable credit, an enabled housing market can increasingly provide housing that the average household in Togo can afford.
Find out more information on the housing finance sector of Togo, including key stakeholders, important policies and housing affordability:
- Access to Finance
- Housing Affordability
- Housing Supply
- Property Markets
- Housing Policy and Regulations
- Housing Sector Opportunities
Each year, CAHF publishes its Housing Finance in Africa Yearbook. The profile above is from the 2017 edition, which has up-to-date profiles for 54 African countries.Download yearbook
Togo is a small country in the Gulf of Guinea which became independent from France in 1960. A strip of land between Ghana and Benin, Togo occupies an area of 56 800 km2, with 56km of coastline, making it a transit country to the hinterland (Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad). Togo has a population of 7 606 374[i] in 2016, growing at 2.5 percent per year.
Togo is part of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). The economy is dominated by the primary sector which contributes up to 38 percent to economic growth, while industrial activities contribute 22 percent. Togo’s economy slowed down in 2015 (5.3 percent growth) and 2016 (5.0 percent growth) due to a significant reduction in public investment and a slowdown in port activities. The fiscal position of the country has deteriorated significantly over the recent years, as the Government significantly increased its debt to finance public investment between 2012 and 2015. Debt ratio to GDP reached 76 percent, above the 70 percent WAEMU limit; which led to the negotiation of an economic program with the IMF. Such program should help reduce the debt ratio to 56.4 percent by 2021. In this context, GDP growth is projected to reach only 5.1 percent in 2017 and 5.3 percent in 2018. However, inflation is kept low at 1.5 percent in 2016.
Despite a significant decrease over the past decade due to government and donors’ efforts, poverty remains a major concern in Togo, with 55 percent of the Togolese living below the poverty line, according to the 2015 poverty profile. Human Development Index is low, ranking Togo 166th out of 188 countries in 2015. Life expectancy at birth is also low at around 60 years old.
In April 2015, Togo held peaceful presidential elections, amid political tensions over the need for deep constitutional reforms around the limitation of the number of term for the president, and a new government took office in June 2015. However, political and social tensions arose again recently as opposition leaders, have led several protests to request constitutional reforms long planned in the framework of the Global Political Agreement signed in Ouagadougou in 2005.
Togo saw two major events on the housing finance front: the preparation of major World Bank-funded US$ 150 million project to be signed with the West African Development Bank (BOAD – Banque Ouest-Africaine de Développement) and an equity investment of 3 million of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) into the Capital of the regional cash facility (the Caisse Regionale de Refinancement Hypothecaire- CRRH).
Access to Finance
Togo is part of the Central Bank of West African States of which there are seven other member states (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger and Senegal). Togo’s national financial system is highly concentrated, with one bank owning over one fifth of the total banks assets in the country. At the end of 2015, there were 13 banks (including two bank branches), and two financial intermediaries in Togo[i]: the Fonds Africain de Garantie des Investissements Privés en Afrique de l’Ouest (GARI) and the Regional Mortgage Refinancing Fund (Caisse Régionale de Garantie Hypothécaire – CRRH). The Banking system is dominated by commercial banks, a third of which are government-owned. Only Bank of Africa Togo, Orabank, BIA-Togo and Banque Atlantique Togo formally offer mortgages. Togo is also the headquarters of the pan-African bank Ecobank. With Cote d’Ivoire, Togo is the WAEMU country with the highest banking rate, with some 19.6 percent in 2015. At the end of 2016, there were a total of 445 bank branches in Togo[ii]. At the end of 2014 there were 218 ATM machines and 786 982 bank accounts[iii]. The Togolese banking system represents 7.3 percent of the WAEMU financial system.
As of March 2017, on a sample of 45 registered microfinance institutions (MFIs) representing 90 percent of the sector, there were 432 service points, totaling 2 043 851 clients or members with a total of CFA Francs 155 005 million in deposits and an outstanding loan of CFA Francs 127 537 million (US$ 231.47 million)[iv]. The Faîtière des Unités Coopératives d’Epargne et de Crédit (FUCEC – Togo) is the biggest microfinance network in Togo with over 500 000 members and consolidated assets worth about CFA Francs 50 billion (about US$90.75 million).
Over the past few years, the government increased initiatives directed to ease access to financial services for its population. Since 2014, the government of Togo launched several initiatives to further financial inclusion. This includes the creation of the National Inclusive Finance Fund (Fonds National de la Finance Inclusive – FNFI) with the aim of reaching those at the bottom of the revenue ladder. The FNFI developed a number of microfinance products specifically targeted to the needs of the poorest at close to zero interest rate. Microfinance clients represent about 43 percent of Togo’s population, one of the highest in the WAEMU region, after Senegal, compared to an average of 16 percent for the monetary union. Yet, Togo ranked 139th out of 190 countries on the “Getting credit” indicator of the Doing Business 2017 report[v]. None of the microfinance networks in Togo offer housing microfinance. The financial landscape in Togo also includes two social security institutions, and 12 insurance companies.
Access to credit as measured by credit to the economy was CFA Francs 1 080 billion (US$ 1.96 billion) in 2016, a 22 percent increase from its 2015 level. This represents about 38 percent of the GDP. Medium and long term loans represented more than half of all loans. A few banks offer housing finance and mortgage products and services, ranging from loans for land acquisition to loans for housing enhancement and loans for housing purchase of construction. Bank of Africa Togo, one of the newcomers of the banking market in Togo, recently launched a housing savings product to encourage its clients to save at least CFA Francs 20 000 (US$ 36.30) per month over at least 36 months (remunerated at 4.5 percent per year), and then apply for a housing loan as high as six times the savings. Conditions of access to these products vary from one bank to the next, but the loan period is usually between four and 10 years. The interest rate is between 11 and 12 percent on average, while guarantees requested by the lending bank range from a mortgage on the purchased land or house to life insurance. Some banks request a percentage of up to five percent of the loan as a guarantee. In general, these loans are available to people with regular jobs and revenues from the public and private sector.
According to a recent note prepared by the Central Bank, 2 923 housing loan applications were approved by Togolese banks in 2013, the second highest number of approved loans after Senegal (7 676), for a total of CFA Francs 10.7 billion (US$ 19.42 million), and represented 5.3 percent of total loans[vi]. However, on average the proceeds of these loans were very small, at around CFA Francs 2.9 million (about US$ 5 263.23) per loan. Interest rates dropped in Togo, as in other WAEMU countries by an average of one point compared to their 2006 level, according to a recent report on housing finance in the WAEMU region.
Lomé, the capital city, is also headquarters of the Regional Mortgage Refinancing Fund (the Caisse Régionale de Refinancement Hypothécaire, or CRRH), a regional cash facility created in 2010 to mobilise long-term resources needed by partner banks to provide long-term loans such as housing finance and mortgages. Several Togolese banks such as EcoBank and Banque Atlantique Togo are shareholders of the fund. In February 2017, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) entered the capital of the CRRH with the signing of a CFA Francs 1.25 billion (US$ 3 million) equity investment agreement. Moreover, the World Bank Group is in the process of signing a US$ 150 million project with the West African Development Bank to support the CRRH’s capacity to provide long term resources to improve housing finance in the region.
Since 2014, discussions on the creation of the national housing bank in Togo have stalled, after the validation of a feasibility study.
The average income per person (gross national income per capita) is estimated at US$ 1 220 (in purchasing power parity), according to the World Bank’s World Development Indicators in 2017. At the same time, the minimum salary in Togo has remained at CFA Francs 35 000 or US$ 63.52 since 2013. In Lomé, the price per square metre of land varies between CFA Francs 16 500 (US$29.95) and CFA Francs 33 500 (US$60.80) in the suburbs and between CFA Francs 33 500 (US$60.80) and CFA Francs 83 500 (US$151.54)[i] in downtown Lomé. The minimum size of a plot is 150m2 for a minimum housing size of 40m2. On average, the land price in the country was estimated to CFA Francs 8 500[ii] (US$15.43) per m2 in settlement areas in 2010, while the building cost of a medium standing house (villa) was estimated at CFA Francs 75 000[iii] or US$ 136.12 par m2 before taxes.
Despite the completion of a new cement plant in the northern Togo by the Heidelberg Cement Group, cement price has not dropped. A standard 50kg bag of cement costs around CFA Francs 4 000 (US$7.26), compared to CFA Francs 3 400 (US$ 6.17) in neighbouring Benin. The Nigerian Dangote offered to sell cement in Togo at as low as CFA Francs 3 000 (US$ 5.44), but faced the opposition of the Government. A standard galvanised sheet of iron for roofing costs between US$3.11 and US$5.37, depending on thickness.
It is estimated that it will take between 10 and 15 years for a senior manager in the Togolese public administration to pay off the price of land in downtown Lomé. The cheapest housing unit built by a developer is around CFA Francs seven million (or about US$ 12 704)[iv]. Under these conditions, housing affordability is a mere dream for most Togolese, even for many with a formal job and a regular income. This pushed most low income households outside of the more urbanized areas, where they develop informal settlements and slums. This is true for example on the northern outskirts of the city of Lome, in Tsevie, where those households can afford to buy a piece of land.
Over fifty years of government policy in Togo has not yielded many results in terms of meeting the demand for housing. Today housing supply, especially the affordable housing segment is a real challenge that households overcome through self-construction. But self-construction and poor provision of serviced lands, combined with a rural exodus, have contributed to urban sprawl on the northern side of Lomé, which is now mainly made up of slums. Only richer people can afford to purchase land in Lomé II, the new settlement area in the capital city, and other secondary cities and build formal houses. Conscious of challenges in the sector, the government of Togo has actively sought solutions to the problem of the housing shortage, engaging, for example, with Shelter Afrique and private developers in an attempt to supply the housing needed in the market.
Despite several announcements in the past about housing constructions, there has not been much progress. It is in this context that several private operators recently launched a few new housing projects. One is in Lomé, the “Cité des anges”, which plans the delivery of empty plots but also 156 housing units of different standings, and a 20-apartment complex, mostly targeted to the upper income quintiles, located on the west side of the city of Lomé. The project is being carried out by N Real Estates, a consortium of Togolese and foreign nationals. The second project is the Résidence Esperanza, promoted by CECO Immo, a Togolese developer who completed a 200 housing units project in Sotouboua for middle income households, in the center of the country. Each of those units were advertised at CFA Francs 50 000 000 (US$ 90 745). The choice of Sotouboua to build these housing units is probably justified by the creation of a teachers’ school in that city. The government launched in 2015 the Cité Mokpokpo project which is supposed to deliver 1 000 social housing units. The project will be completed in public-private partnership with the Ivorian real estate operator Societe ivoirienne de promotion immobilière (SIPIM) and three local banks, namely Orabank Togo, BIA Togo, and Banque Atlantique which will offer mortgage loans over 15 to 20 years term, at 7.75 percent interest rate with no down payment required. The housing units will cost between CFA Francs seven million and CFA Francs 17 million (between US$ 12 704 and US$ 30 853), and are exclusively targeted to civil servants. The project which is partly located in Adidogome in the north-western part of Lomé will comprise 420 villas and 120 apartments.
In October 2015, a new developer launched a new project in Lomé. Derou & Partners, an international holding, through its branch Confortis International launched the first phase of “WellCity”, a new development in Adeticopé, in the vicinity of the Greater Lomé. 500 housing units are planned for this first phase (of which 200 are villas and 300 apartments). The second phase will supply 1 000 housing units and a few community amenities in an ecological design. The development is clearly targeted at the middle class according to its owners, who claim to be financially supported by local banks such as Orabank Togo, Ecobank, Bank of Africa, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Shelter Afrique. The first phase of WellCity will be completed in 2020 and those interested in buying properties in the development can obtain a mortgage up to 15 years at one of the partner banks at an interest rate as low as 7.75 percent. Also, in May 2016 in the wake of the Togo-China Forum, the Government of Togo signed a public private partnership with the Poly Group China, a Chinese company for the funding of another housing development project which should produce 10 000 housing units. The details of location and the schedule are still to be worked out. Likewise, the Government of Togo signed a public private partnership agreement with the German company TKM towards the construction of affordable housing units.
There is a growing but informal rental market, mainly in urban areas, such as Lome, the Capital city, in Kara in the North, and a few other secondary cities such as Kpalime (in the west), Attakpame, Sotoubua and Sokode (in the center), and Aneho (in the south-east). This market is operated by individuals who build and rent out their houses. There are also a few self-called real estate agents who serve as intermediaries between those offering and those demanding rentals, but in the absence of any regulations on real estate, they operate according to their own rules. Renting an apartment or a house in become more and more expensive, because of the high demand for housing in urban areas, while salaries, especially in the public sector have not change much over the past 30 years. In Lome, one needs at least CFA francs 50 000 (US$ 90.75)[i] to rent a one-bedroom apartment.
Togo’s formal property market is still developing, but a lot of challenges are still hindering its functioning, including outdated land administration legislation, and lengthy and costly property registration procedures. Indeed, for example, registering a property still requires five procedures, takes 283 days on average and cost 9.2 percent of the property value. The ranking of Togo on the “Registering property” indicator of the 2017 Doing Business remained that 183rd out of 188 countries, same as in 2016. Likewise, Togo scores only 6.0 on the Quality of Land Administration Index, on a 0-30 scale in 2017. However, there has been important progress over the past years. Registering a property took as many as 49 procedures involving ten government agencies, and cost as much as 25 percent of the property value only five years ago. Togo made it easier to register properties in 2015, by lowering property registration tax rate.
The cadastre in Togo is mostly limited to Lomé, the capital, despite the existence of a Central Directorate of Cartography and Cadastre (DGCC) with a national mandate. It has been reported recently in a diagnostic study on land problems in Togo, commissioned by the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing that the land title had lost its unimpeachable character due to rampant corruption, which has resulted in many cases of double registration of the same piece of land. Indeed, there were several court cases pending in which different people claimed ownership of property title on the same piece of land because the registry was corrupted at some point. To rectify this situation, the DGCC with financial support from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), contracted ESRI France in 2015 to develop a new cartographic database covering the whole country, to establish a national cadastre. It is also expected that the new Land Code yet to be adopted by the Parliament, will help to address more effectively the issue of land security, streamline the titling procedure and institutions and give back value to the land title.
Obtaining a construction permit became mandatory in 2007. The rule is jointly enforced by the Togolese Order of Geometers, the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, and some municipalities such as that of Lomé or Kara. Yet, it is still very expensive to get such permit (which remains unaffordable to most Togolese), as it costs 14.6 percent of the value of the property, takes 163 days and 11 procedures to obtain it. People continue with direct sales of properties on the basis of a simple sales agreement in the informal market. Sometimes, for those who can afford it, the assistance of a notary is procured.
There are a few housing brokers operating on the Togolese housing market. Among those are Phillison and Co., Immowants, Le Logis, and Confortis international SA, which are all private real estate agents offering a platform for home buyers and home sellers to meet.
Housing Policy and Regulations
Most of the existing policies and regulations were enacted between the 1950s and 1970s and guided the Government’s willingness to provide adequate and affordable housing to every Togolese. Unfortunately, most of these policies have failed to achieve the intended goals. Because of the failure of past policies, the housing deficit grew over the years and reached around 250 000 in 2014, requiring a supply of 23 000 units a year on average to clear the backlog.
However, during the decade starting in 2000, urban development, housing and land policy questions returned to the public policy agenda. The government adopted a few policy documents, including the National Urban Sector Policy Statement, a Housing Policy Statement, and a new National Housing Strategy. The focus of the latter is to reorganise the housing sector through the adoption of adequate legislation, the improvement of the existing real estate stock and provide all social strata, particularly low and middle income households, with affordable housing that meets minimum safety, occupancy, structural stability and temporal standards. The strategy stipulates that the government will contribute every year to this demand by facilitating the supply (through public private partnerships and subsidy programmes) of 2 500 housing units against an annual demand estimated at 23 000 units. As of today, the only concrete result of the strategy is the Cite Mokpokpo housing development. However, there are several public private partnership agreements signed by the Government yet to be materialised.
Several other reforms were launched, including the revision of the Togo Land Code, the validation of a draft Law on Real Estate Development in December 2010 (which are still pending at the National Assembly – the Parliament) and the drafting of the Togo Urban Development and Construction Code. The Real Estate Development draft law covers areas such as conditions required to perform the profession of real estate developer, social real estate development operations (the law imposes a minimum of 100 housing units for this type of operation) and the production of serviced land.
More recently, in April 2016, the government adopted a decree that completely overhauled the construction permit process. The previous regulatory framework dated back to 1967. With the new decree, the construction permit process was improved on two aspects: the length of the process, which was reduced from eight months to 30 days, and a drastic reduction of the cost of the permit through the streamlining of the administrative process. In March 2016, the Togolese Parliament adopted two new laws to enhance the business environment in Togo, in compliance with WAEMU requirements: the Law on the regulation of Credit Information Bureaus, and the law on external financial relations between WAEMU member States.
Housing Sector Opportunities
One can say that Togo has fully recovered from more than a decade of international embargos. The government has engaged in several important economic and fiscal reforms which should continue improving the business environment, but also the road and energy infrastructure. Government’s ambitions for the housing sector have been clearly spelt out in Prime Minister Klassou’s General Policy Speech in June 2015, which is to support provision of housing to the Togolese, with an incremental approach starting with the 1 000 units Cite Mokpokpo development at Adidogome, followed by a 2 500 project between 2018 and 2020, and finally 5 000 units per year by 2020. The population in Togo should increase by at least 50 percent between 2010 and 2030, and double by 2050 depending on the fertility rate and rural to urban migration. As a consequence, social demand, including demand for housing, will experience a strong increase, presenting an opportunity for developing innovative housing policies, especially in a context characterised by low incomes. The scarcity of developers today leaves room for newcomers to take advantage of these opportunities. With a high demand for housing and such ambitions from the Government, several companies and organisations, including Shelter Afrique, have been positioning themselves to take advantage of a market that is still untapped. The Moroccan real estate investment group Addoha expressed interest in investing in cement plants but also in housing. A World Bank-funded housing finance support project will be launched in a few months, of US$ 150 million in partnership with the CRRH and the West African Development Bank (BOAD). Through this, affordable resources will be available to households, especially those with low revenues, including those from the informal sector through support to microfinance institutions. This will bring major changes in the housing finance sector in Togo.