Togo ISP CAFE shut down for non-payment of taxes


According to an unconfirmed report from Agence Ecofin, Togolese internet services provider (ISP) CAFE Informatique & Telecommunications was forcibly closed on 1 September 2015 by the country’s revenue authority OTR for alleged non-payment of taxes. The ISP, led by Jean-Marie Noagbodji and seen by many as one of the principal actors in the domestic telecoms market, was a pioneer in bringing internet services to Togo, and its closure leaves a sizeable hole in the local market where consumers have found themselves unhappy with the quality of services provided by state-owned PTO Togo Telecom.

According to TeleGeography’s GobalComms Database, privately-owned CAFE was founded in 1987 by Jean-Marie and Ayele Noagbodji, and first connected Togo to the internet in 1997. It received an operating licence in September that year allowing it to provide internet access services, and in November 2001 secured a concession from the regulator to provide voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) services (this licence expired in 2010, however, and was not renewed). Since 2004 CAFE has been working to increase awareness of ICT and the internet across the country, whilst simultaneously creating a position for itself as the first privately-owned ISP, provider of international call services and manufacturer of IP PBX systems.

This is not the first time that CAFE has faced closure for its failure to keep pace with the government’s tax demands. In 2011 the telecoms regulator Autorite de Reglementation des Secteurs de Postes et Telecommunications (ART&P) threatened to shut it down and withdraw its licences for the same reason.
Source: Telegeography 7 September 2015