The Togolese Republic has relaunched its electronic visa issuance system (e-Visa), Togo VOYAGE. The fully-digitized website marks an important milestone in the government's Digital 2025 Strategy. The homegrown solution aims to simplify and streamline the entire visa process for travellers.
"The platform is streamlining travel processes and formalities to and from our country. This is great news for foreigners wanting to come to Togo," Prof. Robert Dussey, Togolese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Regional Integration said.
Currently, the platform and its supporting mechanism are only deployed at the air borders. However, the government plans to extend it to land and sea borders throughout the year 2022. The project is carried out by the Togo Digital Agency (Agence Togo Digital, ATD), which has been designated as a ‘catalyst for digital transformation in public administration’ in the country.
While many countries provide e-visa services, Togo will be the first country in the world to fully integrate under a single platform, their online visa and immigration application processes with their Covid-19-related policies, significantly easing the application process for future visitors.
"Once again, Togo has proven to be an innovator in the field of digitization on the continent and globally. As we ambition to become a digital service hub and an international centre for innovation and expertise we are modernising all sectors of our economy and launching Voyage Togo is one more bold step toward that," Madam Cina Lawson, Minister of Digital Economy and Transformation for Togo said in a statement shared with Benjamindada.com.
How does Togo VOYAGE work?
Togo VOYAGE allows applicants to complete their application process—including submission of the application, payment, and withdrawal of the e-Visa—electronically without an in-person visit to an immigration office or embassy.
Also, the platform will allow incoming and outgoing travellers to complete all the necessary health formalities to ensure safe travel, including paying for PCR tests for unvaccinated travellers, which are mandatory on departure and arrival in Togo.
The intuitive new platform, available in French and English, offers many features such as a "Visa Wizard" which enables incoming travellers to quickly determine whether they need a visa to travel to Togo. It allows travellers to update their information by creating a personal account, consequently saving their personal information such as names, contact details, passport numbers, etc., to avoid refilling all their information for each trip they organise.
Togo VOYAGE will enhance border security
According to Damehame Yark, Minister of Security and Civil Protection, the platform will enhance security at the borders as it enables the creation of a unique database for entry and exit of the territory. "Today, we have access to a unique and virtual database of travellers coming in and moving out of the country, making it a hundred times faster to process and allowing our national security services to deliver more efficiently," Yark added.
The Togolese government has committed itself to the digitization of all public services by 2025, in a drive to improve the ease of doing business for local and international investors, as well as deliver efficient government services for its citizens.
In March, the Togolese government partnered with Google to link the country to the new Equiano subsea internet cable, to establish the country as vital services and logistics hub in West Africa. Togo also hosted an important international conference on cybersecurity in Africa in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
Togo is a West African country, although one of the world’s youngest populations (median age of 19.4 years in 2020) lives without internet access that is affordable, reliable and of good quality. Internet access in Togo is among the least affordable on the continent, hindering uptake and limiting the country’s digital potential.
The West African nation has proven itself an innovator in the field of digitization on the continent, with the recent announcement of a host of measures placing digitization at the forefront of Togolese business and administration.