The European Union (EU) will grant Togo a total of 123 million euros (190 million dollars) between 2008 and 2013 to help finance urban development, better roads and social infrastructure, it said yesterday.
The loan package, announced in Lome by the European Commission, is a major step in the resumption of full co-operation between the EU and the small west African country of about six million people after a 15-year hiatus.Part of the money, to be released in a European Development Fund package, is intended for support to Togo's political and administrative institutions and the holding of elections in secure conditions, the Commission said.
The EU renewed co-operation in November last year, after breaking it off in 1993 when Togo was ruled by Gnassingbe Eyadema, who took power in 1967 and died while still in office in 2005.
European nations accused the Eyadema regime of a "democratic deficit", marked by autocratic rule and prolonged opposition election boycotts, once he allowed a multi-party system after a quarter of a century of uncontested power.
The entire opposition took part in elections held in October 2007 under the rule of President Faure Gnassingbe, who initially succeeded his father by army fiat before being confirmed in office in a much criticised election. The parliamentary poll was internationally hailed as fair.
Togo is today run by a national unity government and the EU and other international bodies have noted improvements in its human rights record.