By the late 1970's, public investment expenditures had reached an unsustainable level (exceeding 40% of GDP), touched off by an earlier rise of commodity prices. As a result, large payment arrears on the external debt began to mount. In the mid-1980s, the fiscal deficit was reduced largely through IMF credits and debt reschedulings. The civil unrest of 1991 resulted in decreased revenues and increased expenditures, and led to an overall budget deficit of 7.5% of GDP. In 1992, further civil unrest widened the budget deficit to 8.5% of GDP. In 1994, Togo entered into new programs with the IMF and the World Bank.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates that in 1997 Togo's central government took in revenues of approximately $232 million and had expenditures of $252 million. Overall, the government registered a deficit of approximately $20 million. External debt totaled $1.5 billion.