Since 97.7% of workers in the informal economy do not yet benefit from effective social security coverage, these workers have been hardest hit by the socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This situation has led the Togolese authorities to initiate alternative measures such as the NOVISSI cash transfer scheme. At the same time, the International Labour Office (ILO) has committed, in accordance with the Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP, 2019-2022), to support the government and social partners in speeding up the process of extending social security to informal economy workers.

The project, implemented with the financial support of the European Union, aimed to develop strategies and tools facilitating the extension of social security schemes to secure effective access to a minimum income and essential quality health care to workers in the informal economy, thus strengthening their resilience to social risks and economic shocks.

The actions developed within the framework of this project from January 2021 to March 2022 have enabled substantial progress in extending not only the social security scheme but also universal health insurance to informal economy actors. The law on universal health insurance was adopted in October 2021 and the parameters and mechanisms to extend an old-age pension to all workers, including those in the informal economy, were adapted and validated.

Results achieved in 2021-22

Strengthening the capacities of stakeholders in the process of extending social security to the informal sector:

  • 117 mayors representing all communes in Togo have strengthened their knowledge on social protection concepts.
  • 122 officials of all the regional chambers of trade and 145 officials of professional organisations of road transporters, dressmakers and hairdressers, and cotton, coffee and cocoa producers’ unions and groups were trained on the principles of social protection, procedures and modalities for affiliation to the National Social Security Fund.
  • 44 technical officers of the Social Security Fund were trained on approaches and mechanisms for extending coverage to workers in the informal economy, in particular on the identification and analysis of the social security needs and expectations of workers in the informal economy, and the translation into policy responses.

Providing technical assistance to the National Social Security Fund and the social partners, which accelerated the process of extending social security schemes to workers in the informal economy:

  • Knowledge was generated for the development of technical parameters (mapping of the contributory capacities of workers in the informal economy, data on the experience of the programme) for the National Social Security Fund.
  • Social dialogue and consultation have been established between the social security funds and the organisations representing workers in the informal economy.
  • An old-age insurance benefit for all was developed by the National Social Security Fund, with technical support from the project, to cover self-employed workers, including those in the informal and agricultural economy.
  • Technical inputs were provided by the project for the finalisation and adoption in October 2021 of the universal health insurance law.
  • Resources have been mobilised to support the process of setting up the universal health insurance scheme (carrying out actuarial analyses, setting up the institutional architecture, capacity building, etc.).
  • Partnership has been established with other actors to improve the financing of social protection (IMF, WB, AFD) in Togo.



Project partners

The implementation of this project will be done in partnership with the Ministry in charge of labour, the Ministry in charge of universal health coverage, the National Social Security Fund, the General Directorate of Social Protection, the Union of Trade Chambers of Togo, the Federation of Unions of Informal Economy Workers, the Federation of Cotton Producers’ Groups and the Federation of Coffee and Cocoa Producers’ Unions.


Abalo, M. Essodina, ILO, National Project Coordinator,

Dramane Batchabi, ILO,

Togolese TV report on the benefits of social security for the informal economy workers, February 2021 (In French)

Training for mayors on social security coverage, 23 July 2021 (video in French)

Togolese Television report on the project launch event in Lomé, February 2021 (video in French)

Launch event with the participation of the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Dialogue, Gilbert Bawara, February 2021

Project launch event, Lomé, February 2021