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Republic of Togo

République Togolaise


FLAG: The national flag consists of five alternating horizontal stripes of green and yellow. A five-pointed white star is at the center of a red square that spans the height of the top three stripes.

ANTHEM: Terre de nos aïeux (Land of Our Fathers).

MONETARY UNIT: The Communauté Financière Africaine franc (CFA Fr) is a paper currency of 100 centimes. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 500 CFA francs and notes of 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 CFA francs. CFA Fr1 = $0.00192 (or $1 = CFA Fr521.74) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; National Liberation Day, 13 January; Economic Liberation Day, 24 January; Victory Day, 24 April; Independence Day, 27 April; Labor Day, 1 May; Martyrs' Day, 21 June; Assumption, 15 August; All Saints' Day, 1 November; Anniversary of the failed attack on Lomé, 24 September; Christmas, 25 December. Movable religious holidays include Easter Monday, Ascension, Whitmonday, 'Id al-Fitr, and 'Id al-'Adha'.



Situated on the west coast of Africa, Togo has an area of 56,785 sq km (21,925 sq mi), extending 510 km (317 mi) ns and 140 km (87 mi) ew. Comparatively, the area occupied by Togo is slightly smaller than the state of West Virginia. Togo is bounded on the n by Burkina Faso, on the e by Benin, on the s by the Gulf of Guinea, and on the w by Ghana, with a total boundary length of 1,703 km (1,058 mi), of which 56 km (35 mi) is coastline.

Togo's capital city, Lomé, is located on the Gulf of Guinea coast.


Togo is traversed in the center by a chain of hills, the Togo Mountains, extending roughly southwest into Ghana and northeastward into Benin and averaging about 700 m (2,300 ft) in height. The highest elevation is Mt. Agou (986 m/3,235 ft). To the north and west of these hills, the Oti River drains in a southwesterly direction into the Volta River, which constitutes a part of the upper boundary with Ghana. To the north of the Oti River Valley lies gently undulating savanna country. From the southern spurs of the central hills, a plateau stretches gradually southward to a coastal plain. The coastline consists of a flat sandy beach thickly planted with coconut trees and partially separated from the mainland by lagoons and lakes that are the former estuaries of several rivers.


Togo has a humid, tropical climate, but receives less rainfall than most of the other countries along the Gulf of Guinea. In the south there are two rainy seasons, from March to early July and in September and October. The heaviest rainfall occurs in the hills of the west, southwest, and center, where the precipitation averages about 150 cm (60 in) a year. North of the Togo Mountains there is one rainy season, lasting from April to August. Rainfall in this region averages 100 cm (40 in) a year. The coast gets the least rainfall, about 78 cm (31 in) annually. The average maximum and minimum temperatures are 30°c (86°f) and 23°c (73°f) at Lomé, on the southern coast, and 35°c (95°f) and 15°c (59°f) at Mango, in the north.


Natural vegetation is chiefly of the savanna type, luxuriant in the rainy season, brittle grass and shrub during the dry season. Dense belts of reeds are found along the coastal lagoons. Much of the largest wildlife has been exterminated in the southern area, but in the north, elephants and lions still can be found. Hippopotamuses and crocodiles live in and along the rivers, and monkeys are fairly common. The coastal swamps abound in snakes. As of 2002, there were at least 196 species of mammals, 117 species of birds, and over 3,000 species of plants throughout the country.


The dense tropical rain forests that once covered much of the country are now found only along the river valleys and in isolated pockets of the Atakora Mountains. Slash-and-burn agriculture and the cutting of wood for fuel are the major causes of forest depletion. Between 1990 and 2000, Togo lost an average of 3.4% of its forest and woodland each year. Soils are generally of poor quality, requiring intensive fertilization and cultivation to be productive. The soil and water supply are threatened by pesticides and fertilizers. The nation's land is also threatened by desertification.

Water pollution is a significant problem in Togo, where only 80% of urban dwellers and 36% of the people living in rural areas have access to improved water sources. Contamination of the water supply contributes to the spread of disease.

Responsibility in environmental matters is vested in the Ministry of Rural Development and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. The government of Togo has tried to protect the nation's environment through a comprehensive legislative package, the Environmental Code of 1988. As of 2003, 7.9% of Togo's total land area was protected.

The nation's wildlife population is at risk due to poaching and the clearing of land for agricultural purposes. According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the number of threatened species included 7 types of mammals, 2 species of birds, 2 types of reptiles, 3 species of amphibians, 8 species of fish, and 10 species of plants. Threatened species included the African elephant, Diana monkey, and West African manatee.


The population of Togo in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 6,145,000, which placed it at number 101 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 3% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 43% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 98 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 20052010 was expected to be 2.7%, a rate the government viewed as satisfactory. The projected population for the year 2025 was 9,613,000. The population density was 108 per sq km (280 per sq mi), with density greatest in the south, exceeding 500 per sq km (200 per sq mi) in some areas.

The UN estimated that 33% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 3.96%. The capital city, Lomé, had a population of 799,000 in that year. Other important centers with estimated populations are Sokodé, 86,500; Kpalimé, 75,000; Atakpamé, 64,000; and Aného, 24,000.

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS has had a significant impact on the population of Togo. The number of AIDS orphans increased by 17,000 from 200304. The UN estimated that 6% of adults between the ages of 1549 were living with HIV/AIDS in 2001. The AIDS epidemic causes higher death and infant mortality rates, and lowers life expectancy.


There is a steady migration of laborers from rural to urban areas. Members of the Ewe group migrate to and from Ghana. Formerly, an estimated 100,000 workers went to Ghana from Togo each year, but because of Ghana's declining economy, this number has probably decreased. There is also much movement of Ouatchi, Adja, Kabré, and Losso peoples to and from Benin. Some of the aliens expelled from Nigeria in 1983 were Togolese; moreover, Togo suffered the disruptive effect of the hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians who returned home from Nigeria via the Togolese coastal roads. Foreign refugees in Togo, including Ewe dissidents in exile from Ghana, are entitled to employment and free medical treatment, although they retain the status of aliens. About 7% of the population consists of noncitizens. The total number of migrants in Togo in 2000 was 179,000 including refugees. As of 2004, there were 11,285 refugees, including 11,208 Ghanaian refugees in northern Togo, and 390 asylum seekers, and 120 returned refugees. In 2005, the net migration rate was estimated as zero migrants per 1,000 population. This was a significant change from -6.7 per 1,000 in 1990. The government views the migration levels as satisfactory.


Native Africans constitute 99% of Togo's total population. About 40 tribal groups comprise a mosaic of peoples of distinct languages and histories. The main ethnic group consists of the Ewe and such related peoples as the Ouatchi, Fon, and Adja; they live in the south and constitute about 2025% of the population. Next in size are the Kabye, accounting for about 1015% of the population. As elsewhere in Africa, political and ethnic boundaries do not coincide. Thus, the Ewe are divided by the TogoGhana boundary, and large numbers of Ouatchi, Adja, Kabye, and Losso live in adjacent Benin. Other significant groups are the Mina (5% of the population), Cotocoli (1015%), Moba (1015%), Gourma, Akposso, Ana, Lamba, Ehoué, and Bassari. Despite Togo's complex ethnic, linguistic, and racial makeup, a major distinction can be made between the tribes of Sudanic origin that inhabit the northern regions and those of the true Negroid Bantu type found in the south. The remaining 1% of Togo's populace is non-African, mostly European and Syrian-Lebanese.


French is the official language. Most newspapers are printed in French, and trade and commerce passing through Anécho and Lomé usually are conducted in that language; however, the public schools combine French with Ewe and Mina in the south, Kabiye and Dagomba in the north. In northern Togo, Hausa is also widely spoken. Pidgin English and French are used widely in the principal trading towns. In all, more than 44 different languages and dialects are spoken in Togo.


The most recent statistics indicate that about 47% of the population are Christian. Of these nearly 28% are Catholic. About 14% of the population are Sunni Muslim. Nearly 33% practice a variety of traditional indigenous religions or other faiths, including Vodoun (Voodoo), which is believed to have originated in the region that is now Togo. Most of the Muslims live in the central and northern parts of the country, while Christians are found primarily in the south.

The government requires registration of religious groups, but this involves a fairly easy process and no applications have been rejected outright. The constitution provides for freedom of religion and this right is generally respected in practice. Certain Muslim and Christian holidays are celebrated as national holidays.


Togo has a relatively well-developed road system of about 7,520 km (4,673 mi), of which 2,376 km (1,476 mi) were paved in 2002. One main road, completely paved since 1980, runs north from Lomé to the border with Burkina Faso; another runs east along the coast from Lomé to Aného and onward to the Benin border; and a third runs west along the coast to the Ghana border. Because of extreme variations in weather, the roads that are not paved require constant attention. During the dry season, they are very dusty and crack easily, but during the rainy season they become extremely muddy and are frequently washed out. In 2003, there were 97,800 passenger cars and 43,200 commercial vehicles.

As of 2004, Togo had 568 km (326 mi) of meter gauge (narrow gauge) railroad, including three major lines from Lomé: to Kpalimé (116 km/72 mi), to Aného (44 km/27 mi), and to Atakpamé and Blitta (276 km/171 mi). An 80-km (50-mi) spur goes to Tabligbo. The rail system is operated by Chemin de Fer Togolais.

Togo lacks a natural harbor, but in 1968 a major deepwater port east of central Lomé was completed with a loan from the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). An autonomous free port at Lomé serves landlocked Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali. There is also a phosphate-handling port at Kpémé. A small merchant-shipping fleet was created in 1974 as a joint venture with the FRG. In 2005 there were two ships of 1,000 GRT or over, totaling 3,918 GRT. As of 2003, Togo's navigable inland waterways consisted of a 50 km (31 mi) stretch of the Mono River, in which navigation is seasonal and dependent upon rainfall.

There were an estimated nine airports in 2001, only two of which had paved runways as of 2005. The international airport at Lomé links Togo with other countries of West and Central Africa and with Europe; a second international airport, at Niamtougou, was completed in the early 1980s. Among the international airlines serving Togo is Air Afrique, of which Togo owns a 7% share. Air Togo operates domestic service, flying to airstrips at Atakpamé, Sokodé, Sansanné-Mango, Lama-Kara, Niamtougou, and Dapaong. In 2003, about 46,000 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international airline flights.


Between the 12th and the 18th century, the Ewe, Adja, and related peoples, who now constitute a majority of the population of southern Togo and adjoining Ghana, came to this area from the Niger River Valley as a result of pressure from the east. Portuguese sailors visited the coast in the 15th and 16th centuries. Slave shipments began from Grand Popo (now in Benin), Petit Popo (now Anécho), and other coastal villages; traders introduced the growing of cassava, coconuts, corn, and other crops in order to provision their slave ships. The French established trading posts at Petit Popo in 1626 and again in 1767, but abandoned them each time. The French were again active there and at Porto-Séguro, east of Lomé, from 1865 to 1883.

German traders came to Grand Popo as early as 1856, but did not arrive in significant numbers until 1880. Germany finally established control over the area, its first African acquisition, on 5 July 1884, when Dr. Gustav Nachtigal made a treaty with the chief of Togo, a village on the north side of a lagoon behind Porto-Séguro. The treaty established a German protectorate over a small coastal enclave, and the village name eventually was given to the entire territory. The Germans established a capital first at Baguida, then at Zebe, and in 1897 at Lomé. Boundary delimitations with the British and French were made in 1897 and 1899. Although the Volta River formed a natural boundary between Togo and the Gold Coast (now Ghana), as a result of the negotiations, the frontier diverged from the river about 320 km (200 mi) north of Lomé and descended diagonally, so that the so-called Volta Triangle on the left bank became part of the Gold Coast. The boundary arrangements resulted in splitting the Ewe, Adja, Ouatchi, Fon, and other peoples between the Gold Coast, Togo, and Dahomey (now Benin). As the Germans extended their control to the north, they built roads and railroads and established administrative, legal, economic, educational, and other institutions.

Soon after the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, neighboring French and British units gained control of Togo. In a provisional arrangement, the British took the coastal area and the railways, and the French assumed control of the interior. League of Nations mandates were established in 1922.

Following World War II, both the United Kingdom and France placed their spheres of Togoland under UN trusteeship. Beginning in 1947, leaders of the Ewe people repeatedly petitioned the UN first for Ewe unification and subsequently for Togoland unification. At the time, the Ewe were under three different administrations: the Gold Coast, British Togoland, and French Togoland. For nine years thereafter, the Togoland question was before the UN. Its resolution was difficult not only because of the resistance of the British and French governments to the Ewe demands, but also because both the Ewe and non-Ewe of the two Togolands were deeply divided on the form self-determination should take. The problem was partially resolved by a plebiscite held in British Togoland on 9 May 1956 under UN supervision. A majority of the registered voters decided in favor of integration of British Togoland with an independent Gold Coast. Consequently, when the Gold Coast became the independent state of Ghana, British Togoland ceased to exist.

On 28 October 1956, in a referendum held in French Togoland, 72% of the registered voters chose to terminate French trusteeship and to accept the status of internal autonomy and continued association with France that had been proffered them by the French government. This unilateral effort to terminate French trusteeship was not accepted by the UN.

In April 1958, new elections were held under UN supervision. The Committee for Togolese Union, pledged to secure complete independence, won control of the Togo Assembly, and its leader, Sylvanus Olympio, subsequently became prime minister. On 13 October 1958, the French government announced that full independence would be granted, and on 27 April 1960, the Republic of Togo became a sovereign nation, with Olympio as president.

President Olympio was assassinated on 13 January 1963 by military insurgents. At the insurgents' behest, Nicolas Grunitzky, the exiled leader of the Togolese Party for Progress, returned to Togo and formed a provisional government. He abrogated the constitution, dissolved the National Assembly, and called new elections. In the May 1963 balloting, Grunitzky was elected president, a new 56-member National Assembly was chosen, and a new constitution was approved by national referendum.

Grunitzky held office through 1966. The final months of his presidency were marked by antigovernment demonstrations involving many of Olympio's former supporters and sympathizers. On 13 January 1967, the Grunitzky government was overthrown by a military coup led by Col. Kléber Dadjo, who was succeeded in April 1967 by Lt. Col. Étienne Éyadéma. The constitution was again suspended and the Assembly dissolved, and Éyadéma declared himself president.

In 1969, Éyadéma proposed the establishment of a national party of unification, the Togolese People's Rally (Rassemblement du Peuple TogolaisRPT). At its first party congress in November 1971, the RPT representatives opposed the idea of constitutional government and asked for a national referendum in support of the Éyadéma regime. This took place in January 1972, with 99% of the population voting for Éyadéma. Survivors of a 1970 plot to overthrow the regime were pardoned after the referendum, and several former members of Olympio's government joined the RPT. Others of Olympio's supporters went into exile or into business, and there was no coherent opposition to the government.

In 1974, Éyadéma began to advocate a "cultural authenticity" policy, stimulated at least in part by the crash of his private plane in January 1974, from which he escaped uninjured. The crash (the cause of which he believed suspicious) followed his nationalization of the phosphate industry and appeared to spur his drive for further Africanization in Togo. At this time, Éyadéma dropped his first name, Étienne, using instead his African second name, Gnassingbé.

Éyadéma was reelected as president without opposition on 30 December 1979, when the voters also approved a draft constitution for what was called the Third Republic (succeeding the republics headed by Olympio and Grunitzky). A 67-member National Assembly was elected at the same time. Éyadéma remained firmly in control in the early 1980s, despite the disruptions caused by Nigeria's expulsion of illegal aliens and the economic decline attributable to falling phosphate prices. An alleged plot to assassinate Éyadéma on 13 January 1983, while French president, François Mitterrand, was visiting Togo, apparently misfired. Éyadéma reportedly blamed Gilchrist Olympio, the son of the former president, for the coup attempt.

On 2324 September 1986, about 60 insurgents, mostly Togolese in exile, attempted to seize control of Lomé but were repulsed. About 150 French and 350 Zairian troops were flown in to help restore order. The official death toll was 26. The coup attempt was reportedly financed by Gilchrist Olympio, who was sentenced to death in absentia. Another 12 men were given death sentences, and 14 were sentenced to life imprisonment. Éyadéma accused Ghana and Burkina Faso of aiding the insurgents. In National Assembly elections on 24 March 1985, 216 candidates, all approved by the RPT, contested 77 seats; only 20 deputies were reelected. Éyadéma was elected unopposed to a new seven-year term as president on 21 December 1986.

Opposition to Éyadéma's rule came to a head in March 1991 when, after police clashes with thousands of antigovernment demonstrators, the government agreed to institute a multiparty system and to grant amnesty to dissidents. On 28 August 1991, Éyadéma ended 24 years of military rule by surrendering authority to Joseph Kokou Koffigoh, an interim prime minister selected by a National Conference. The RPT was to be disbanded and Éyadéma barred from running for the presidency.

In October and November 1991, armed forces loyal to Éyadéma failed several times to overthrow Koffigoh. On 3 December 1991, however, they attacked the government palace and seized him. The French refused to help Koffigoh; instead, he was forced to compromise; he then formed a coalition government with Éyadéma and legalized the RPT.

On 5 May 1992, opposition leader Gilchrist Olympio was severely wounded in an ambush, and in July another opposition figure was assassinated. The transitional government several times rescheduled the referendum on a new constitution. Finally, on 27 September 1992, it was approved. The legislative and presidential elections were postponed again and again until August 1993.

The Army, composed largely of Kabyé (Éyadéma's group) has never accepted Éyadéma's ouster, the National Conference, or Koffigoh. Eventually, Koffigoh's interim government was dissolved in 1992, and Éyadéma consolidated his powers. However, in January 1993 he reappointed Koffigoh prime minister of a government which cooperated closely with Éyadéma, now president. On 25 August 1993, Éyadéma easily won reelection as president (97% of the vote). The electoral process, however, was marred by a low turnout (all major opposition candidates refused to participate) and serious irregularities.

Following delays, legislative elections were held in two rounds in February 1994. With the exception of Olympio's Union of the Forces of Change (UFC), the main opposition parties participated. The RPT reportedly took 33 of the 81 seats in the first round. The Action Committee for Renewal (CAR), won 19. Koffigoh's New Force Coordination failed to take a single seat. Nonetheless, the armed forces continued to attack opposition politicians. The second round voting was marred by violence, with armed gangs attacking voting stations and opposition supporters. Still, international observers declared the election satisfactory.

On 24 February 1994 the National Electoral Commission released results for 76 seats as follows: opposition, 38 seats; RPT, 37 seats; Koffigoh, 1 seat. The Supreme Court ordered new elections for 3 seats of the Action Committee for Renewal and the Togolese Union for Democracy, lowering their totals to 34 and 6 seats, respectively. Defections from the CAR to the RPT and the merging of the Union of Justice and Democracy (UJD) with the RPT gave the RPT a narrow majority with 42 seats.

In June 1998 Éyadéma officially won the presidential elections with 52%, but the opposition rejected the election as rigged. Éyadéma's dubious victory precipitated a national crisis, and led the opposition to boycott the legislative elections delayed and then scheduled for March 1999. In July, the RPT and opposition parties signed the Lomé Framework Agreement, which included a pledge by Éyadéma to respect the constitution and not to seek another term. The Agreement ensured among other things political rights for opposition leaders, the safe return for refugees, and compensation for victims of political violence. Éyadéma also agreed to dissolve the National Assembly in March 2000 and hold new legislative elections, to be supervised by an independent national election commission (CENI). The March deadline passed, as did deadlines in October 2001 and March 2002. The elections were finally held on 27 October 2002, but under a boycott from the Union of the Forces for Change (UFC) and the Action Committee for Renewal (CAR), grouped as the Coalition of Democratic Forces (CFD). The RPT took 72 of the 81 seats.

In December 2002, parliament amended the constitution to allow Éyadéma to seek a third term, and to bar Gilchrist Olympio, leader of the UFC, from running by instituting residence requirements. In February 2003, a new nine-member CENI was formed, including four representatives each of the RPT and the opposition umbrella group CFD. The ninth member was the president of the Lomé Court of Appeal. However, the UFC withdrew from the CFD because it regarded CENI's mandate as curtailed by the government, and because it regarded the CFD's actions and strategies as incoherent. In June, Éyadéma won the election with 57.8% of the vote, but no international observers were present, and the opposition refused to accept the outcome as a free and fair expression of the will of the people.

Facing a new political stalemate, the government initiated talks in late 2003 and into 2004 with the opposition via the Cotonou Convention platform (2000) sponsored by the EU. Despite the regime's new promises to implement reforms, the opposition mostly boycotted the talks. In December 2004, the boycott seemed to be having an effect as Éyadéma dissolved the parliament and announced new elections for 2005. However, in February 2005, he died unexpectedly leaving a succession void, which was precipitously filled by his son, Faure Gnassingbé. Although Gnassingbé had the support of the army, strong pressure from ECOWAS forced him to step down and to organize fresh elections. On 24 April, Gnassingbé won the election, but again the opposition dismissed the exercise as fraudulent, and neither the EU nor the United States recognized the outcome as legitimate. In rioting that followed, more than 150 people were killed, and thousands fled the country in the face of government crackdowns. Gnassingbé also appointed his brother Kpatcha Gnassingbé to be defense minister.

In the months that followed, Nigerian president Obasanjo insisted on a government of national unity with an opposition prime minister. Bowing to concerted pressure, Gnassingbé finally appointed an opposition leader, Edem Kodjoa former head of the OAUto be the new prime minister, however, this appointment was refused by the UFC. Talks held in Rome between Gnassingbé and Gilchrist Olympio sponsored by the Italian Catholic community of Sant Egidio, revealed a number of sticking points including a mutually acceptable electoral framework and constitutional rules.

Specifically, the opposition demanded a return to the 1992 constitution while the RPT refused to reverse the amendments made in 2002 that disqualify Olympio's candidacy, but allow Gnassingbé to hold office. In the meantime, Lomé became a dangerous city beset by violent organized crime. Owing to government crackdowns, poor military accountability and harassment by pro-government militias, the number of Togolese seeking refuge in neighboring Benin and Ghana grew to about 45,000 by 2006.


The constitution of 30 December 1979 provided for a president nominated by the RPT and elected for a seven-year term by universal adult suffrage at age 18. The president nominated and presided over the cabinet and may rule by decree after declaring a state of emergency. Members of the National Assembly were nominated by the RPT and directly elected for five years. The legislature, which may be dissolved by the president, met twice a year.

A new constitution mandating multiparty elections was approved in a referendum on 27 September 1992. Although opposition parties are permitted, they are subjected to intimidation and coercion. Chief of state, President Gen. Gnassingbé Éyadéma, held power between April 1967 and February 2005, which made him sub-Saharan Africa's longest ruling leader at the time. The cabinet is a Council of Ministers appointed by the president and the prime minister. Given the weakness of the legislature, and the RPT's majority, public decision-making authority resides with the executive.

According to the constitution, the president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. In December 2002, the National Assembly amended the constitution, revoking the two-term limit on the presidential office (allowing Éyadéma to run again), instituting a single rather than two-round system of voting (to prevent the opposition from forcing a run-off against their best-placed candidate), insisting that presidential candidates be residents of Togo for at least 12 months prior to the election (to prevent Gilchrist Olympio from running), and to lower the minimum age for presidential candidates to 35, (enabling Faure Gnassingbé to run). The 81-seat National Assembly is selected in national, multiparty elections.

The next presidential election was scheduled in principle for 2010, and the next parliamentary election was scheduled for 2007 with the possibility that an agreement would be reached to hold it in 2006.


Political parties in Togo were considerably more active and competitive before independence than after, and from 1969 till the legalization of opposition parties in 1991, Togo was a one-party state. In the first Territorial Assembly elections in 1946, there were two parties, the Committee of Togolese Unity (Comité de l'Unité TogolaiseCUT) and the Togolese Party for Progress (Parti Togolais du ProgrèsPTP). The CUT was overwhelmingly successful, and Sylvanus Olympio, the CUT leader and Assembly president, campaigned for Ewe reunification. The CUT controlled all Assembly seats from 1946 to 1952. In the 1952 elections, however, the CUT was defeated, and it refused to participate in further elections because it claimed that the PTP was receiving French support. In the territorial elections of 1955, the PTP won all 30 Assembly seats, and when Togo was given autonomy in 1956, Nicolas Grunitzky, PTP leader, became prime minister.

In the UN-supervised elections of April 1958, the CUT regained power with a demand for independence from France, while the PTP and the Union of Chiefs and Peoples of the North (Union des Chefs et des Populations du NordUCPN) advocated that Togo remain an autonomous republic within the French Union. The two defeated parties merged in October 1959 to form the Togolese People's Democratic Union (Union Démocratique des Populations TogolaisesUDPT), under Grunitzky's leadership.

In March 1961, the National Assembly enacted legislation that based elections to the Assembly on a party-list system, with a single ballot in which a majority would be decisive. In the April 1961 elections, which were held on this single-list system, candidates from the alliance of the UDPT and the Togolese Youth Movement (Mouvement de la Jeunesse TogolaiseJuvento) were prevented from registering and were not permitted on the ballot. Consequently, the new Assembly consisted entirely of CUT members.

After Olympio (who had become president in 1960) was assassinated by military insurgents, Grunitzky, who was living in exile in Benin (then Dahomey), was invited back to Togo to form a provisional government. Grunitzky announced that free elections would be held, but in fact the delegates of the four leading partiesUDPT, Juvento, the Togolese Unity Movement (Unité Togolaise, formed from the CUT after Olympio's assassination), and the Togolese Popular Movement (Mouvement Populaire Togolais)as well as the insurgents' Committee of Vigilance, agreed on a single national union list of candidates. In the elections of 5 May 1963, Grunitzky became president and Antoine Meatchi vice-president; a new 56-member Assembly was elected; and a new constitution was approved by national referendum. In early 1967, however, Grunitzky was deposed, and a military regime took power, with no constitution and no legislature.

Organized political activity was suspended until 1969, when the Togolese People's Rally (Rassemblement du Peuple TogolaisRPT) was founded as the nation's sole legal political party. The President heads the RPT, which has a Central Committee and a Political Bureau. In the 1979 and 1985 legislative elections, all candidates were nominated by the RPT. In the 1994 legislative elections, however, other parties participated.

Political opposition to Éyadéma became bolder after 1990. For years, an anti-Éyadéma group, the Togolese Movement for Democracy (Mouvement Togolais pour la Démocratie), functioned in exile from Paris. After opposition parties were legalized on 12 April 1991, and especially after the National Conference engineered a governmental change in August 1991, other parties began to function, albeit in an atmosphere of threat from the armed forces and pro-Éyadéma gangs. Among the country's parties as of 1996 were the Coordination des Forces Nouvelles (CFN), Rally of the Togolese People (RPT), Togolese Union for Democracy (UTD), Action Committee for Renewal (CAR), Union for Democracy and Solidarity (UDS), Pan-African Sociodemocrats Group (GSPan alliance of three radical parties: CDPADemocratic Convention of African Peoples, PDRParty for Democracy and Renewal, and PSPPan-African Social Party), Union of Forces for Change (UFC), and Union of Justice and Democracy (UJD).

All major opposition parties boycotted the 1993 elections, delaying elections until February 1994. The winners distributed the seats as follows: CAR 36, RPT 35, UTD 7, UJD 2, CFN 1. However, as a result of defections from the CAR to the RPT and the merging of the UJD with the RPT, representation in the National Assembly in August 1997 was RPT 42, CAR 32, UTD 5, CFN 1, independent 1, giving Eyadema's party a narrow majority.

Disagreements between the divided opposition and the RPT thwarted efforts to achieve a national consensus on how the 1998 elections were to be conducted. The opposition boycotted the elections in March 1999 to protest the alleged cheating by Éyadéma and his supporters in the June 1998 presidential election. But progress was made in defining the role of the national electoral commission (CENI), and by April 2000, the two sides agreed to return to the table to discuss endorsement of an electoral bill, and related issues pertaining to national reconciliation. Legislative elections were delayed throughout 2000, 2001, and early 2002; they were finally held on 27 October 2002. The elections were judged to be democratic and transparent by international election observers, but the two main opposition parties--the UFC and the CAR--grouped as the Coalition of Democratic Forces (CFD), boycotted the elections, and the RPT emerged with 72 of the 81 seats. Also winning seats were the Rally for Democracy and Development (Rassemblement pour le souteien de la démocratie et du développementRSDD), 3; the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (Union pour la démocratie et le progrès socialUDPS), 2; Juvento, 2; the Believers' Movement for Equality and Peace (Mouvement des croyants pour l'égalité et la paixMOCEP), 1; and an independent won 1 seat.

In early 2003, the UFC pulled out of the CFD umbrella opposition organization, due to disagreements with its strategies and its agreement to sit on the newly reformed electoral commission, CENI, which the UFC judged to be manipulated by the government. In the June 2003 presidential contest, Éyadéma scored 57.8% of the vote to 33.7% for the UFC candidate, Emmanual Bob-Akitani, Gilchrist Olympio's replacement. In the April 2005 presidential contest, Bob-Akitani ran against Éyadéma's son, Faure Gnassingbé, and was defeated 60.1% to 38.3%. The main opposition declared both polls fraudulent, and has refused to accept the results. The UFC and the CAR remained outside the government of national unity.


Togo is divided into five administrative regionsMaritime, Plateaux, Centrale, Kara, and Savaneseach supervised by an inspector. The regions are subdivided into 30 prefectures and four sub-prefectures. Inspectors and prefects are appointed by the president. The prefectures and sub-prefectures are subdivided into cantons. The prefectures in theory are supposed to be governed by elected councils, but these elections have never been held.

A policy of decentralization has been undertaken in Togo, and local communities comprise 30 communes, 9 of them "fully independent" with an elected mayor, and 21 "semi-independent" with the prefect acting as mayor. Communes have popularly elected municipal councils.


Maintaining the independence of the judiciary is the responsibility of the Superior Council of Magistrates, which was set up in 1964 and includes the president of the republic as chairman, the minister of justice, the president and vice president of the Supreme Court, and others. A Constitutional Court is the highest court of jurisdiction in constitutional matters. The Supreme Court sits in Lomé; there is also a sessions court (Court of Assizes), and Appeals Courts. Tribunals of first instance are divided into civil, commercial, and correctional chambers; labor and children's tribunals; and the Court of State Security, set up in September 1970 to judge crimes involving foreign or domestic subversion. A Tribunal for Recovery of Public Funds handles cases involving misuse of public funds.

The judicial system blends African traditional law and the Napoleonic Code in trying civil and criminal cases. In practice, the judiciary is subject to the influence and control of the executive branch.

Defendants in criminal cases are presumed innocent and are afforded the right to counsel. Village chiefs or a Council of Elders may try minor criminal cases in rural areas. Appeals from such rulings may be taken to the regular court system.

Trials are open and judicial procedures are generally respected. However, the judicial system suffers from the lack of personnel and remains overburdened.


In 2005, Togo's armed forces numbered 8,550 active personnel. The Army numbered some 8,100 troops including a Presidential Guard unit. Equipment included two main battle tanks and nine Scorpion light tanks. The 250-member Air Force had 16 combat capable aircraft that included 4 fighter ground attack aircraft. The country's estimated 200-member Navy had two coastal patrol vessels. Paramilitary forces numbered 750 members. In 2005, the defense budget totaled $38.3 million.


Togo was admitted to the United Nations on 29 September 1960. It is a member of ECA and several nonregional specialized agencies, such as the World Bank, UNESCO, UNIDO, the ILO, FAO, and the WHO. Togo also belongs to the African Development Bank, the ACP Group, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, ECOWAS, G-77, the WTO, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the West African Economic and Monetary Union, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the Community of Sahel and Saharan States (CENSAD), and the African Union. Togo has been an active member of the Conseil d'Entente, which includes Côte d'Ivoire, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Benin. Togo hosted the signing ceremony for the Lomé Convention (providing for preferential treatment by the European Community for developing countries) in February 1975. The nation is part of the Franc Zone.

In environmental cooperation, Togo is part of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Ramsar, CITES, International Tropical Timber Agreements, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, MARPOL, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change, and Desertification.


Togo has an agricultural economy with over 65% of its people engaged in subsistence and commercial agriculture. Togo is drought-prone but is food self-sufficient in years of ample rainfall. Coffee, cocoa, and cotton are the major cash crops, and the food crops include corn, sorghum, millet, cassava, and yams. The nation also has an active commercial sector and significant phosphate deposits upon which it draws for foreign exchange.

Political instability led to the suspension of international aid in 1992 as donors pressured the government into quicker action toward democratic reforms. Economic activity was further disrupted by an eight-month general strike that lasted until July 1993.

In January 1994 France suddenly devalued the CFA franc, cutting its value in half overnight. Immediately, prices for almost all imported goods soared, including prices for food and essential drugs. The devaluation was designed to encourage new investment, particularly in the export sectors of the economy, and discourage the use of hard currency reserves to buy products that could be grown domestically. Unfortunately, political instability and a general atmosphere of uncertainty prevented the country from taking advantage of the devaluation to improve the economy. Excessive military expenditures and stalled progress on privatizing state-owned enterprises were factors keeping the World Bank and IMF from resuming aid. During the 1995 to 1997 structural adjustment program, Togo succeeded in meeting demands and capturing funds only for the last year.

The 1998 presidential elections and 1999 legislative elections were characterized as undemocratic. These events led to reconciliation talks in July 1999 that laid the groundwork for a more democratic government, bringing back substantial development aid. However, legislative elections held in 2002 were boycotted by opposition parties, and the presidential elections of 2003 were deemed by opposition leaders to be marred by irregularities and fraud. This political climate did little to encourage foreign investors, increase donor contributions, and provide the stability needed for economic progress. While most bilateral and multilateral aid to Togo remained frozen as of early 2006, the EU initiated a partial resumption of cooperation and development aid to Togo in late 2004, based upon commitments by Togo to expand opportunities for political opposition and liberalize portions of the economy.


The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Togo's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $9.0 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $1,600. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 2.8%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 5.5%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 39.5% of GDP, industry 20.4%, and services 40.1%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $103 million or about $21 per capita and accounted for approximately 5.9% of GDP. Foreign aid receipts amounted to $45 million or about $9 per capita and accounted for approximately 2.6% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Togo totaled $1.49 billion or about $307 per capita based on a GDP of $1.8 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 3.9%. It was estimated that in 1989 about 32% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.


Togo's labor force in 2002 (the latest year for which data was available) was estimated at two million. In 1998, about 65% of the labor force engaged in agriculture, 30% in services, and 5% in industry. The majority of families engage in subsistence farming. Data on unemployment in Togo was not available.

Trade unions in Togo, which once were the base for left-wing opposition to the military regime, have been incorporated into the one-party system. The Central Committee of the RPT dissolved the central bodies of all Togolese trade unions in December 1972, and the National Workers Confederation of Togo (Confédération Nationale des Travailleurs du TogoCNTT) was established in 1973 as the sole national union. In 1991, the National Conference suspended the automatic withholding of CNTT dues for all workers, and it froze CNTT's assets. Several trade unions left the CNTT, some of which then affiliated with two new federations: the Labor Federation of Togolese Workers and the National Union of Independent Syndicates. Since 1991, all of Togo's labor federations have taken a more active role in independent collective bargaining. About 6070% of the workforce in the formal (wage) sector (about 20% of the entire workforce) was unionized as of 2002.

The minimum working age is 14 (18 for certain industrial employment) but it is not enforced and many children work, especially on their family's subsistence farms. The minimum wage varies for different categories of employment and ranged from $20 to $33 monthly in 2002. This does not provide a living wage for a family. The workweek is limited to 72 hours, with one mandatory rest period of 24 hours.


Togo is predominantly an agricultural country, with about four-fifths of the work force engaged in farming. Approximately 12% of the land area is arable. Most food crops are produced by subsistence farmers who operate on family farms of less than 3 hectares (7 acres). Peanuts and sorghum are grown in the extreme north; sorghum, yams, and cotton in the region around Niamtougou; sorghum, cotton, and corn in the central region; coffee, cocoa, and cotton in the southern plateau; and manioc, corn, and copra near the coast. Agriculture accounted for about 39.5% of GDP in 2003.

In the late 1990s, the government emphasized food production. Main food crops in 2004 (in tons) included manioc, 725,000; yams, 570,000; corn, 485,000; sorghum, 180,000; and millet, 50,000. Although Togo is basically self-sufficient in food, certain cerealsnotably wheat, which cannot be grown in Togomust be imported.

Leading cash crops are coffee and cocoa, followed by cotton, palm kernels, copra, peanuts, and shea nuts (karité). Coffee production decreased from 22,000 tons in 1991 to 13,500 tons in 2004. Cocoa production amounted to just 8,500 tons in 2004less than half the amount produced 15 years earlier. When world prices for both coffee and cocoa fell in the mid-1980s, there was a greater emphasis on cotton production, with cotton exports increasing by over 400% from 1984 to 1992. Cotton production averaged 7,000 tons annually from 1979 to 1981; production in 2004 totaled 76,000 tons of fiber. A new state organization, the Togolese Cotton Co., had been set up in 1974 to develop the industry. Production of palm kernels, historically erratic, was estimated at 21,000 tons in 2004. There are over 100,000 coconut trees in Togo; about 2,000 tons of copra are produced annually. The peanut crop in 2004 was 33,000 tons (shelled). Some attempts are being made to export pineapples, house plants, vegetables, and palm oil.


Alleviation of the tsetse fly in the savanna area north of the Atakora Mountains has permitted the development of small-scale cattle raising. Most of the cattle thus produced, principally the humpless West African shorthorn type, are either consumed locally or, when there are surpluses, driven south for consumption in the main cities and towns. Few cattle are exported. Grazing is communal, in the south on family group lands and in the north on tribal lands. Water supplies are short in certain areas.

Livestock in 2005 included an estimated 1.48 million goats, 1.85 million sheep, 320,000 hogs, 280,000 head of cattle, and 9 million chickens. There are slaughterhouses at Lomé, Atakpamé, Sokodé, Lama-Kara, Sansanné-Mango, and Dapaong.


Fishing remains relatively unimportant, in part because of the country's limited territorial waters. Production, mostly by small operators employing pirogues, amounted to an estimated 28,706 tons in 2003; about 78% of that was caught in Atlantic waters and the rest inland. Almost all fish is sold smoked or dried. A new fishing quay has been constructed at Lomé, and a joint Libyan-Togolese fishing company has been established. Togo imports fish from Europe and its West African neighbors.


Although much of Togo once was forested, the country now must import wood. Production of roundwood in 2004 was estimated at 5,914,000 cu m (208,700,000 cu ft), of which 96% was for fuel.


As of 2004, Togo was a producer of cement, clinker, diamonds, gold, limestone and phosphate rock, the latter of which is found mostly in the coastal region and whose production accounts for most of the country's industrial activity. Phosphate rock is also a leading export commodity, accounting for around 24% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). Phosphate rock production (by gross weight) in 2004 was 1.115 million metric tons, down from 1.441 million metric tons in 2003. Togo's output of phosphate rock has been declining since production hit a high of 2.73 million metric tons in 1996. Virtually the entire output was exported, the principal destination being the European Union (EU). However, the phosphate rock currently mined in the coastal region contains a high amount of cadmium (about 150 milligrams per kilogram; mg/kg), and the EU is considering setting a 60mg/kg cadmium limit on imports of phosphate rock within five years, followed by a 20mg/kg limit within 15 years. Although cadmium-free resources have been identified in Togo's northwest, they are not currently being mined. The phosphate industry was nationalized in 1974, and production was carried-on by the Togolese Office of Phosphates (Office Togolais des PhosphatesOTP), one of Togo's largest employers. Although the government was pursuing the privatization of its phosphate mines; no serious offers were made.

Exploitation of marble reserves in the region around Niamtougou was begun in 1970 by the Togolese Marble Co. The state-run Nouvelle Sotoma closed operations in 1991, and the government has been looking for private investors to lease or purchase the operation.

Iron ore reserves, east of Bassari, were 95 million tons, averaging more than 40% iron. There was some artisanal recovery of diamond and gold. Other mineral deposits included attapulgite, barite, bauxite, bentonite, brick clay, chromite, copper, dolomite, garnet, granite, gypsum, kaolin, kyanite, limestone, manganese, monazite, nickel, peat, rutile, silica sand, and dimension stone. The government considered many of these potential small-scale operations.


Togo, as of 1 January 2003 had no proven reserves of crude oil, natural gas, or oil refining capacity. All hydrocarbon needs were met by imports. In 2002, Togo's imports and consumption of refined petroleum products averaged 11,870 barrels per day. There were no recorded imports or consumption of natural gas in 2002.

Togo's main energy source is electricity. Togo's installed electrical generating capacity in 2002 totaled 0.035 million kW, of which 0.032 million kW of capacity came from conventional thermal plants, and 0.003 million kW came from Hydroelectric sources. Electric power production in 2002 amounted to 0.115 billion kWh, of which conventional thermal plants produced 0.112 billion kWh, and hydroelectric plants the rest. Demand for electric power that year came to 0.602 billion kWh, necessitating electricity imports of 0.500 billion kWh.


Manufacturing represents a small part of the economy (68%), with textiles and the processing of agricultural productspalm oil extraction, coffee roasting, and cotton ginning and weavingbeing the most important sectors. Cocoa, coffee, and cotton generate some 40% of export earnings, with cotton being the most important cash crop. Other industries were developed to provide consumer goodsfootwear, beverages, confectioneries, salt, and tires. Phosphate mining, however, is the most important industrial activity, accounting for 5% of GDP and 2628% of exports in 2002. Togo as of 2006 was the world's fourth-largest producer of phosphate. Until the mid-1980s, most industries were partly or totally government owned. Sales and leases reduced the parastatal sector by nearly half by 1990, but by 2006 most privatization had stalled.

The government-owned phosphates plant put out a maximum of 3.3 to 3.5 metric tons a year, at the Office Togolaise de Phosphates (OTP). Togo's cement clinker plant, Cimtogo, is operated and owned by a Norwegian company, Scancem. The textile complex at Kara, along with a second plant at Dadja, were bought by American and Korean interests in 1987. A cotton ginning plant opened in 1991 in Talo; as of 2002 there were six cotton-producing factories in Togo, with a capacity of 205,000 metric tons. A plastics factory is 25% state owned and 75% owned by Danish and Swiss interests. The steel rolling mill in Lomé reopened in 1991. The state-owned national oil refinery was leased to Shell Togo and converted into a storage facility. The national dairy was bought by a Danish company in 1995. A free-trade zone opened in Lomé in 1990. Following the election of Faure Gnassingbé as president in 2005, there was more interest in this program, as the country wished to attract foreign business from Asia and Europe in the industry and service sectors.

Togo is involved in the $500 million West Africa Gas Pipeline. The pipeline's estimated capacity is 400 million cubic feet per day, and is expected to supply industry in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, and Togo. Construction of the pipeline began in 2005.


The National Institute of Scientific Research, founded in 1965 at Lomé, is the central scientific coordinating body. Several French research institutes have branches in the capital, and there are pilot farm projects throughout the country. The University of Benin at Lomé maintains faculties of sciences and medicine and schools of engineering and agriculture. Togo also has an agricultural school at Kpalimé and a technical college at Sokodá. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 35% of college and university enrollments. In the same period, expenditures for research and development totaled 0.5% of GNP. For the period 19902001, there were an estimated 102 scientists and engineers, and 65 technicians engaged in research and development per million people. High technology exports in 2002 were valued at $1 million, accounting for 1% of the country's manufactured exports.


The Togolese are among the most active traders on the West African coast, with much of the domestic trade handled by women. The national trade organization, Société Nationale de Commerce (SONACOM), has a monopoly on importation and distribution of soaps, cereals, sugar, salt, and industrial products, but there is still a flourishing free market both within Togo and with neighboring countries.

Most wholesalers have their headquarters in Lomé, the principal commercial and financial center. In Lomé, some shops specialize in such lines as dry goods, foodstuffs, and hardware. Elsewhere, retailers deal in a wide variety of goods rather than specializing in a few products. In the smaller towns, individual merchants deal in locally grown products and items of the first necessity. Kpalimé, Sokodé, and Tsévié are smaller regional commercial and trade centers.

Business hours are from 8 am to 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday, and from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm on Saturday. Banks are normally open from 8 am to 4 pm on weekdays only.


Togo's export earnings in 2000 fell to nearly half their 1999 level due to sharp declines in coffee, cotton, and gold output. Togo's main export commodities are crude fertilizers, cotton, and cement. Other exports include coffee and cocoa.

In 2004, Togo's primary export partners were: Burkina Faso (16.3%), Ghana (15%), Benin (9.4%), Mali (7.6%), China (7.4%), and India (5.6%). Primary import partners included: China (25.5%), India (13.3%), and France (11.5%).

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 250.6 405.3 -154.7
Ghana 53.8 8.1 45.7
Benin 33.1 3.0 30.1
Burkina Faso 32.6 32.6
Other Asia nes 15.8 15.8
Niger 11.6 11.6
Australia 9.2 9.2
New Zealand 8.5 8.5
South Africa 5.9 8.1 -2.2
Poland 5.9 5.9
India 5.9 4.8 1.1
() data not available or not significant.
Current Account -139.9
   Balance on goods -151.4
     Imports -575.6
     Exports 424.2
   Balance on services -58.1
   Balance on income -21.6
   Current transfers 91.2
Capital Account 13.6
Financial Account 150.8
   Direct investment abroad -2.7
   Direct investment in Togo 53.7
   Portfolio investment assets -1.1
   Portfolio investment liabilities 13.0
   Financial derivatives
   Other investment assets -3.8
   Other investment liabilities 91.7
Net Errors and Omissions 5.0
Reserves and Related Items -29.6
() data not available or not significant.


In 2005, the value of Togo's exports was estimated at $768 million, and the value of imports at $1.047 billion. The current account balance was estimated at -$223 million. Togo had an external debt burden of $2 billion in 2005. The country had $331 million in reserves of foreign exchange and gold.


The bank of issue is the Central Bank of the West African States (Banque Centrale des États de l'Afrique de l'Ouest-BCEAO), based in Dakar, which also acts in that capacity for Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Niger, Senegal, and Burkina Faso. Togo has a 10% share in the BCEAO, the development bank of which has its headquarters in Lomé.

The most important commercial and savings banks include the Banque Internationale de L'Afrique (BIA), ECOBANK Togo, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, the Libyan Arab-Togolese Bank of Foreign Commerce, the Banque Togolaise de Commerce et de L'Industrie (BTCI), and the Union Bank of Togo (the latter two with a state share of 35%).

Development banks include the Togolese Development Bank, founded in 1967, which has a 50% state share; the 36.4% state-owned National Farm Credit Fund; and the state-owned National Investment Co., which is intended to mobilize savings, guarantee loans to small- and medium-sized domestic enterprises, and amortize the public debt. The banking and credit systems are not well developed, and large sections of the population remain outside the monetary economy. The banking system was virtually shut down by the general strike in the first half of 1993 and a limited service operated until the second half of 1994.

The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $220.3 million. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $327.0 million. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 4.95%. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 6.5%.

There are no securities exchanges in Togo.


The Togolese Insurance Group is 63% state owned; about a half-dozen French companies were also operating in Togo in the 1990s.


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) estimated that in 2005 Togo's central government took in revenues of approximately $251.3 million and had expenditures of $292.9 million. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$41.6 million. Total external debt was $2 billion.


Taxes are levied on individual incomes and on corporate profits and capital gains. A transactions tax, a tax on fuel consumption, and social security contributions are also paid. There are also registration and stamp taxes and a tax on income from securities. A 5% "solidarity" surtax on salaries was imposed in 1983 as an austerity measure. There was a value-added tax of 18% in 1998.


There are no export controls. Tariffs are based on a nondiscriminatory schedule at 5%, 10%, or 20% and there is a customs stamp tax and a 3% statistical tax. A common external tariff (CET) for members of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) is set at a maximum of 22% for goods coming from outside the WAEMU. Restricted or prohibited goods include arms, ammunition, narcotics, and explosives.


In the 1980s, Togo was distinguished by a relatively pro-Western, entrepreneurial stance, but incidents of political violence from 1991 to 1994including the targeting of foreign-owned shops (principally Lebanese and Indian) by rioters in January 1993and in 1998, following the contested presidential election in June, together with the maintenance of many restrictions on foreign investment and evidence of increased corruption have deterred foreign investment as well as stalled the privatization process. Togo's current investment code, enacted April 1990, was designed as an improvement over the previous code, and offers foreign investors guaranteed repatriation of capital and profits. The former investment code offered tax exemptions, but these were abused, and were removed in the 1990 revision. The investment code, which applies only to foreign investment of about $42,000, allows foreign participation up to 100% ownership in eight listed sectors (agriculture, fishing, and forestry; manufacturing; mining; low-cost housing; tourist infrastructure; agricultural storage; applied research; and socio-cultural activities), requires that the business must employ at least 60% local workers and provide at least 25% of the funding. The 1989 export processing zone (EPZ) law gives companies the advantages of duty-free imports of materials for production, a less restrictive labor code, and the ability to hold foreign currency accounts. About 35 firms were operating in the EPZ in 2002, representing investments from France, Italy, Norway, Denmark, the United States, India, and China. A severe electricity shortage in the EPZ from March to May 1998 hurt manufacturing enterprises particularly. Prospects for foreign investment in the EPZ in the industrial and service sectors looked brighter after the election of Faure Gnassingbé in 2005. In 2000 a Franco-Canadian consortium took over the state power company.

The annual inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Togo rose from $23 million in 1997 to a high of almost $70 million in 1999. FDI inflow declined to $57.2 million in 2000, but recovered to $67 million in 2001. As a percent of gross fixed capital formation, FDI inflows rose from 11.3% in 1997 to nearly 35% in 1999, averaging about 30% in 2000 and 2001. In 2003, FDI amounted to 1.12% of GDP.

Major foreign investors include the United States, France, Germany, and Denmark. Petroleum products distribution, seafood processing, construction, textile milling, and agricultural processing are the main foreign businesses. The top corporate tax rate in 2006 was 40%.


The 198185 development plan called for spending roughly equal allocation levels for rural development (26.5%), industry (29.2%), and infrastructure (29.5%). In the 198690 development plan, principal allocations were for infrastructure and rural development.

Of the development funds for the 198690 plan, 90% were sought from foreign sources. Principal sources of development aid are France, Germany, the United States, China, the EU, the World Bank, and IDA. France ranked first among the bilateral donors, with Germany second. The government was diverted from implementing the plan by international financial considerations and concerns over the process of democratization. In 1998 the EU and World Bank suspended aid because of such considerations, and poor economic performance. Accords signed in 1999 brought back some interest in developing the country economically, but the major setback remained inadequate political development. While most bilateral and multilateral aid to Togo remained frozen as of early 2006, the EU initiated a partial resumption of cooperation and development aid to Togo in late 2004, based upon commitments by Togo to expand opportunities for political opposition and liberalize portions of the economy.

Togo is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), whose development fund is located in Lomé. The country is also a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). Affiliated with the UEMOA is the West African Development Bank, also based in Lomé.


The government's social welfare program, under a 1973 law, amended in 2001, includes family allowances and maternity benefits; old age, disability, and death benefits; and workers' compensation. Retirement is normally allowed at age 55. The program covers employed persons, students, apprentices and members of cooperatives. Maternity benefits are provided for 14 weeks to working women. The labor code requires employers to provide paid sick leave. Family allowances are available for almost all workers with children, including domestic, casual, and temporary laborers. The program supplements a continued strong sense of social obligation to one's family or clan, even among those in urban centers.

The status of women is improving, but they are still subject to legal and social restrictions. A husband may deny his wife the right to work and has legal control over her earnings. Women face discrimination in employment and access to education. A wife has no financial rights in a divorce and no inheritance rights upon the death of her husband. Polygamy is practiced. Although illegal, female genital mutilation is performed on numerous girls and women. Domestic abuse and violence are widespread. Child labor also continued to be a problem.

The human rights record of the Togolese government remains poor. Abuses include political repression, excessive force by police (with little accountability), and arbitrary arrest and detention. Prison conditions remained very harsh. Human rights organizations are permitted to exist, although they may be subject to intimidation by the government.


Medical services include permanent treatment centers and a mobile organization for preventive medicine. Special facilities treat leprosy, sleeping sickness, and mental illness. All services are free except at the clinic attached to the hospital in Lomé, where some patients pay a nominal fee. In 2004, there were an estimated 6 physicians, 17 nurses, 1 dentist, 3 pharmacists, and 7 midwives per 100,000 people. About 61% of the population had access to health care services, and total health care expenditure was estimated at 2.6% of GDP. Approximately 54% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 34% had adequate sanitation.

The Mobile Service for Hygiene and Preventive Medicine performs mass inoculations, carries out pest control campaigns, and provides education in hygiene and basic preventive measures. Its activities have led to significant decreases in mortality caused by smallpox, yellow fever, and sleeping sickness. Yaws, malaria, and leprosy continue to be major medical problems. Immunization rates for children up to one year old were: tuberculosis, 73%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 71%; polio, 71%; and measles, 58%. Rates for DPT and measles were, respectively, 41% and 43%.

The crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 36.1 and 11.3 per 1,000 people. The fertility rate in 2000 was five children per woman living through her childbearing years. The infant mortality rate was 62.20 per 1,000 live births in 2005 and the maternal mortality rate was 480 per 100,000 live births. Average life expectancy in 2005 was 57.01 years.

The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 4.10 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 110,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 10,000 deaths from AIDS in 2003.

At least 50% of the women in Togo underwent female genital mutilation. The government has published a policy opposing the practice.


With the limited resources at its disposal, the government is endeavoring to solve the problem of urban overcrowding by promoting housing schemes and establishing sanitation facilities. According to the latest available information for 198088, total housing units numbered 470,000 with 6.2 people per dwelling.

Rural dwellings are generally made from sun-dried mud bricks and mud plaster, with straw roofs. Urban dwellings are made of cement blocks and/or bricks with brick or iron sheeted roofs.


Six years of primary education (ages 612) is compulsory and free of charge. Secondary education lasts for seven years, with students attending either general or technical secondary schools. Mission schools play an important role in education.

In 2001, about 2% of children between the ages of three and five were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 91% of age-eligible students. In 2000, secondary school enrollment was about 26.6% of age-eligible students. It is estimated that about 77.8% of all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 34:1 in 2000; the ratio for secondary school was about 31:1. In 2000, private schools accounted for about 40% of primary school enrollment and 18% of secondary enrollment.

The University of Lomé and the University of Kara are the primary sites for higher education. Lomé also has colleges of administration, architecture, and urban planning. In 1999, it was estimated that about 4% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in tertiary education programs. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 53%, with 68.5% for men and 38.3% for women.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 2.6% of GDP, or 13.6% of total government expenditures.


The National Library in Lomé has a collection of approximately 18,000 volumes. The University of Lomé Library offers some library services to the public. There is a public library with 26 service points holding a total of 63,000 volumes. The National Museum, founded in Lomé in 1975, has ethnography, history, and art exhibits. There are regional museums in Aného, Kara, Savanes, and Sokode.


Telecommunications links are maintained with major African, European, and American cities. There is an automatic telephone exchange in Lomé. In 2003, there were an estimated 12 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people; about 27,500 people were on a waiting list for telephone service installation. The same year, there were approximately 44 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

The government owns the only major television station as well as the primary radio stations. The radio network presents programs in French, English, and local languages. Television service, broadcast in French and local languages, began in 1973. In 2003, there were an estimated 263 radios and 123 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were 32 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 42 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There was one secure Internet server in the country in 2004.

The Journal Official de la République du Togo is published daily in Lomé; another Lomé daily, Togo-Presses, published in French and Ewe, had a circulation of 15,000 in 1999. Both are government owned. In 2005, there were at least six privately owned weekly papers.

The constitution of Togo provides for freedom of speech and of the press; however, though the government is said to generally respect these rights, it has on one occasion intimidated journalists through threats, detention, and other persecution. Opposition media are tolerated, though sometimes censored or prevented access to information.


The Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture, and Industry is active in Lomé. The Federation of Non-Government Organizations of Togo helps promote small enterprise development by providing training and lobbying services. The African Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions, a large multinational organization promoting high ethical business and accounting standards, is based in Lomé.

The major women's and youth groups are affiliated with the RPT. There is also a Junior Chamber, the Scout Association of Togo, and YMCA/YWCA programs for youth. Sports associations promote amateur competitions in such pastimes as tae kwon do, baseball and softball, badminton, and track and field. Cultural organizations, all located in Lomé, include the Alliance Française, American Cultural Center, Goethe-Institute, and Togolese Association for Cultural Exchanges with Foreign Countries.

Social action organizations include Islands of Peace, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, and the Togo Association of Volunteers for Development. Volunteer service organizations, such as the Lions Clubs International, are also present. There are national chapters of the Red Cross Society, Caritas, UNICEF, and CARE Togo.


Tourist attractions include the Mandouri hunting reserve in the northeast, and the beaches and deep sea fishing of the Gulf of Guinea coast. Even though social and political calm has been restored after disturbances in the early 1990s, there has been lack of financial resources for the development of tourism. In 2003, there were 60,592 tourist arrivals creating an 11% occupancy rate in the 4,480 hotel rooms with 6,720 beds. Tourism receipts totaled about $16 million in 2002.

According to 2005 estimates of the US Department of State, the average daily cost of staying in Lomé was $170, and Lama Kara and other small areas were significantly smaller averaging $72.


Togo's most prominent statesman was Sylvanus Olympio (190263), who led his country's fight for independence and was its first president. Gnassingbé Éyadéma (Étienne Éyadéma, 19372005) was president of Togo from 1967 until his death in 2005, when his son Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé (b.1966) became president. Edem Kodjo (b.1938) was OAU secretary-general, 197884.


Togo has no territories or colonies.


Decalo, Samuel. Togo. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Clio, 1995.

Curkeet, A. A. Togo: Portrait of a West African Francophone Republic in the 1980s. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Co., 1993.

Decalo, Samuel. Historical Dictionary of Togo. 3rd ed. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1996.

Zeilig, Leo and David Seddon. A Political and Economic Dictionary of Africa. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2005.

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Republic of Togo

Major Cities:

Other Cities:
Aného, Atakpamé, Dapaong, Kpalimé, Mango, Sokodé, Tsévié


This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report dated September 1995. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at for the most recent information available on travel to this country.


The West African Republic of TOGO , which had existed as part of the German protectorate of Togoland, as a League of Nations mandate and, later, as a United Nations trust territory under French administration, has been independent since 1960. Four years earlier, Togo had gained autonomy within the French Union.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to explore the Togolese coast, arriving late in the 15th century. Between 1600 and 1800, Brazilian, British, and other slave traders repeatedly and tragically raided the region, and Togo became known as the Slave Coast.

This small republic gives the visitor an unusual, first-hand look at developing Africa. Densely populated by African standards, it has a variety of cultures among its more than 35 ethnic groups, many of whom still follow their African traditions and customs.



Lome, the capital and chief commercial center of Togo, is on the Atlantic coast at Togo's extreme southwest corner. Part of the city lies on a mile-wide sandbar that rises 15-20 feet above the sea. The center of the city is a 20-minute walk from the Ghanaian border. Lome shares the climate of Togo's southern zone, and its sea breeze blows pleasantly all year. The city proper has 658,000 residents, and the greater area has a population of 727,000.

The major central thoroughfares are lined with small shops, occasional parks, and countless street vendors. In the Grand Marche, a bustling three-story building, vendors sell food, cloth (largely wax-print cottons locally made or imported from England and the Netherlands), housewares, small fetish objects, and almost anything else found in Lome. The railroad, as well as some buildings and roads still in use today, were built by the Germans.

Only main city streets have lights. Some streets are paved; others are of red laterite earth and sanddusty in the dry season, muddy when it rains, and usually full of potholes.

Most buildings are cement over soft-brick or concrete blocks. However, traditional rectangular one-or two-room mud-brick with corrugated metal or palm-thatch roofs built along the walls of a compound are still common. Residential areas with large houses include Lome proper, the suburb of Tokoin above the lagoons, Kodjoviakope, and a housing project located near the University of Benin.

The larger businesses are, for the most part, controlled by the French. A small but economically important Lebanese population also engages in commerce. Lome has 11 resident foreign diplomatic missions, 8 honorary consulates, U.N. and other country aid organizations, and regional banks.


Lome has a good supply of fresh foods, although supply can be seasonal. Local vegetables include leaf lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, green beans, sweet peppers, cabbage, eggplant, spring onions, onions, carrots, palm hearts, potatoes, sweet yams, African yams, hot peppers, mint, parsley, and several other herbs. The local fruits available are avocado, lemon, lime, orange, pineapple, banana, papaya, guava, grapefruit, cantaloupe, watermelon, coconut, mango, and passion fruit. Imported apples, pears, kiwi, and a few other European fruits can sometimes be found. Local fruits and vegetables are generally available in open markets throughout the year. Imported fresh fruits and vegetables are sometimes available in supermarkets at high prices.

Fresh meat, imported and domestic, includes beef, veal, pork, lamb and poultry. Locally made and imported French and German sausage, pate, ham and other prepared meats are available in the butcher section of local supermarkets. Duck, rabbit and guinea fowl are available at the local market, as well as the local delicacy, bush rat or agouti. Fresh fish, shrimp, lobster, mussels, hard-shell crabs and other seafood are sold in season either in the local market or in one supermarket.

Imported fresh foods arrive by air every week and some by ship every 2 weeks. These stocks include meat, cheese, fish, vegetables (artichokes, mushrooms, celery, endive, and lettuce), and fresh fruits. A limited variety of wines, herbs, and spices is imported, as are specialty items like canned Chinese and Lebanese foods. Prices for imported items are high. Imported frozen foods are available at several locations, include meats, poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables, prepared foods, and desserts.

Imported UHT and powdered milk are readily available, as are puddings and whipping cream. Local milk products such as yoghurt and sour cream can be found in the supermarkets. A local Danish-run factory produces ice cream. Some better quality, but very high-priced, imported brands are also available in supermarkets. Good French breads and fair pastries are made in Lome.

Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, soda water, tonic and a variety of other local soft drinks is bottled here. A good beer is also bottled by a German-established factory.

Most Americans do their shopping at one or more of the three modern supermarkets in Lome. In the heart of the business district is a lively congested Grand Marche, a three-story, open-air market where Togolese sell their fresh produce, fish and other foodstuffs. Clothes, household items, glass beads, wax cloths, and an endless variety of goods can be found. Many intriguing items can be discovered on a walking tour of the central business area, which abounds in small shops selling a wide diversity of items. Every "quartier" has its own open market. Many small provision stores, mostly run by members of the Indian community, are located around town. Necessary items are rarely all available in one place and sometimes not at the expected place, so shopping requires several trips and lots of time.


Men: Dress is less formal than in Washington. Safari suits or slacks and shirt combinations may be worn during office hours. Formal clothing (light-weight dinner jacket and black dress trousers) is optional. Sport shirts and slacks or safari suits suffice for most social engagements. Cotton or cotton polyester blend slacks and short-sleeved shirts are advisable for road travel. All clothes should be light-weight and washable since dry cleaning services are expensive and limited. Clothing wears out quickly due to frequent washing. All synthetic fabrics are less comfortable in the heat and humidity than cotton, linen or cotton-blend fabrics.

Women: Warm-weather washable dresses, blouses, and slacks or skirts are the norm. Simple dresses are worn at daytime and evening affairs. Cocktail dresses are often worn, and more formal long gowns are worn on few occasions. A light wrap or shawl may be useful at night during the cooler rainy season. Outdoor clothing and sometimes a sweater are convenient.

A limited supply of imported dress materials, as well as extensive supply of African-style cotton prints, both imported and locally manufactured, are available in the market area. Dressmakers do adequate work with supervision. A few expensive boutiques carry dresses and fancy dresses and accessories. Hats, gloves, and stockings are seldom worn. Lingerie in cotton or the cooler synthetic fabrics is usually not available. Walking on Lome's sandy streets is easier with sensible shoes. Several pairs of sandals are suggested.

Children: Bring a good supply of outdoor, hot-weather washable children's clothes, underwear, and shoes. Some sandals, underwear, and clothes are sold locally. Local seamstresses do a fair job making children's clothing.

Bring plenty of suitable sportswear and equipment for the entire family, including tennis or golf clothes and equipment as these are either expensive or not available locally.

Supplies and Services

Supplies: Consider bringing your own brand of toiletries, cosmetics, medicines, etc., as many American brand products are not available.

Basic Services: In general, community services are not well developed, and materials are often not available.

Dry-cleaning is not recommended except at the Hotel 2 Fevrier or Sarakawa, and at one dry-cleaning shop in town. Several beauty shops are recommended, as are several barbers in Lome. Some Togolese barbers will come to your home for a moderate fee. Shoe repair is satisfactory, but the materials used are usually of poor quality. Tailors or dressmakers do adequate-to-good work. Wicker and wooden furniture can be made locally and wears well in the humid climate. Due to high humidity, mildew is a problem.

Religious Activities

Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, Roman Catholic, Church of Christ, Islamic, Lutheran, Protestant, Pentecostal and Methodist places of worship can be found in Lome. Most services are in French and Ewe and occasional Protestant services are in English. An English-language non-denominational Christian service meets every Sunday at the Hotel 2 Fevrier and an English-Language Roman Catholic mass is celebrated each Sunday at the cathedral in Lome.


The American International School in Lome, established in 1967, follows the general academic curriculum for American schools. The private, coeducational international school, encompassing pre-school through eighth grade, is currently applying for accreditation. The school year extends from September to June. The school day begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 1:00 p.m. Instruction is in English. The school is housed in a large two-story building, and has a library, science room, and music room. In addition to basic academic subjects, AIS's curriculum includes French, art, music, drama, P.E. and health.

None of the several Togolese primary and secondary schools in Lome are recommended. Lome has one very good French Government supported lycee. The school ranges from kindergarten through the end of secondary school and prepares students for the French university entrance examination. The school program is identical to that of schools in France. Instruction is conducted in French; inability to speak the language presents a major drawback for all levels except grade 1. Several privately-run French-language nursery schools for 2-5 year olds are open most of the year.

In addition to the American and French schools, the privately-owned International Primary School offers an accredited American-based curriculum in English for children 2-12. The British school of Lome offers 3-16 year olds instruction in English following the British system.

Recreation and Social Life

Lome is a generally pleasant place and offers the opportunity for year-round sports activities. Many Americans enjoy touring in-country and taking short trips to the several neighboring countries which can be easily and quickly reached by road.


Swimming is possible in hotel pools. Due to the heavy surf and a dangerous undertow, saltwater swimming is limited to certain beaches. The sea and lagoons offer limited fishing. Lac Togo, located about 20 minutes from Lome, has sailing, wind-surfing, and pedal boating.

Several tennis clubs, including hotel clubs that Americans can join, are available, as well as volleyball, badminton, and table tennis facilities. The golf club has a nine-hole course about 8 miles from Lome. There is a riding club at the Hotel Sarakawa, and another near the airport. There are several fitness centers offering karate, weight lifting, body building, aerobics, and sports therapy massage.

Soccer is the principal spectator sport. Tennis, basketball, volleyball, and handball are other sports that are enjoyed by both Americans and Togolese. Sporting stores are few and merchandise that is available is expensive.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

In Lome itself, tourist attractions include the National Museum and the Village Artisanal Center where handcrafts are made and sold.

Outside of Lome, you may join tours of Togo and Benin arranged by hotels for their guests or by the Bureau of Tourism. Most in-country touring is done individually by private car. A main road extends from Lome northward to the Burkina Faso border. The road is paved and suitable for motoring, but the driver must be alert for animals and people on the road. Daylight travel is best.

The paved coastal road from the Ghana to Benin borders provides a continuous view of beaches, coconut palms, and small, scattered fishing villages. About 18 miles east of Lome and a short distance inland is Lac Togo, a lagoon with a hotel, restaurant, bar, swimming pool, and boat dock next door. Residents visit the Lac for a mild change in scenery; visitors from neighboring countries appreciate its French cuisine. On the hillside bordering the lake is Togoville, a small village that was the first permanent German settlement in Togo. It can be reached by car or pirogue.

An automobile trip to Kpalime and its environs can include the Centre Artisanal in Kloto, the Blind school and the Chateau Viale, which offers a mountain view and an occasional glimpse of Lake Volta.

Two hours beyond Kpalime brings you to the Akowa waterfall, just 7 miles from Badou. The Akowa waterfall, 35 meters high, descends vertically from an underground spring. It is accessible to the reasonably hardy. Following an animal trail, under vines and over rotting logs, one must hike for nearly one half hour before reaching the allegedly therapeutic falls. The scenery is beautiful. Guides must be hired at the village. The trip can be made in one long day, or visitors can stay at a hotel in Badou.

North of Atakpame, you journey more deeply into Togo's traditional culture. Acceptable but very modest hotels at Atakpame and Sokode provide overnight lodging. Many visit the game park at Fazao in central Togo, which suffers from a lack of wildlife at present, however. The hotel at Lama-Kara offers good accommodations and a swimming pool. Further north, the traditional African-architecture accommodations in the Keran reserve are adequate.

Places of interest in the neighboring country of Benin (also French-speaking) are within easy driving distance from Lome and include: Ouidah, the center of voodoo and the site of an old Portuguese fortress whose museum houses relics of the slave trade and illustrates cultural exchanges between Brazil and Africa; Cotonou, Benin's capital and major city; the villages of Lac Nakous and Ganvie, built on stilts in the middle of the lake; Porto Novo, 19 miles from Cotonou, which has a museum of handicrafts; and Abome, a day's drive from Lome and the seat of the ancient kingdom of Abomey (1600-1900), with an interesting historical museum in a former palace.


For those who like to dine out, Lome has a number of good restaurants offering French cuisine as well as Chinese, German, Italian, Lebanese, Ethiopian, Vietnamese, and traditional Togolese dishes. Restaurants are comparable to those in U.S. cities. Lome has many night clubs and discotheques, including those at the major hotels. Saturdays are disco nights in Lome, and discos are generally crowded and lively, with a variety of music and atmosphere. The Hotel Palm Beach, the Sarakawa, the 2 Fevrier, and the Hotel de la Paix all have casinos with tables for Blackjack and Roulette.

The German, French, and American Cultural Centers are active in Lome, offering scheduled monthly activities, as well as occasional special programs such as jazz and classical music concerts, art exhibits, and other cultural offerings.

Foreign films and a few American films (with the soundtrack dubbed in French) are shown at the cinemas. Sound equipment, projectors, seats and overall cleanliness could be better at some.

The USIS library, available to the public, is well stocked with American periodicals, books in French and English, and some recordings of American music. The German Cultural Center has books available for public use. The British School has a large book and video (PAL system) library available for those who have children enrolled in their school or otherwise sponsored. Bookshops in Lome are well supplied with French books and periodicals but quite limited in English-language periodicals and books. Avid readers should bring a supply of reading material and arrange to receive subsequent mailings from one or two book clubs.

Other activities available in Lome include dance classes and lessons and the International Choir.

Since both Accra and Cotonou are within 2 1/2 hours of Lome, Americans often visit these cities for a day or weekend of shopping and sightseeing.

Social Activities

Among Americans: The home is the center of evening activities such as cocktail parties, barbecues, and card games. Other social activities may also include one or two dances a year, occasional concerts, and national day celebrations.

International Contacts: Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Nigeria, Libya, North Korea and Zaire have embassies in Lome, and several countries are represented by Honorary Consuls. The U.N. has a resident representative and personnel from various nations working in Togo. The European Union is represented. Several nations have technical assistance teams. Rotary, Lions, Zonta and Soroptomist Clubs are active. A newly formed International Women's Association provides opportunities to make friends quickly with women of other nationalities and engage in charitable work.


ANÉHO , 26 miles east of Lomé, dates to the slave-trade period. Later, the Germans and French made the town Togo's capital. Aného is an important intellectual center for Togo, although it hasn't grown as rapidly as other cities in Togo. Still standing are many of the thick-walled colonial homes built by the Germans. The current population is about 25,000.

The town of ATAKPAMÉ was settled in the nineteenth century by the Ewe and Yoruba peoples. It is situated in an important cotton-growing area, and serves as a major trading center for cocoa and coffee. The current population is 62,000.

Situated in northern Togo, DAPAONG is renowned for its temperate climate. People from all over Togo and Burkina Faso come to this city of 30,000 for the festive marketplaces and local dances.

KPALIMÉ (often written Palime) is Togo's cocoa city, about 65 miles northwest of Lomé. Coffee and oil palms are cultivated here. Kpalimé is a major center for commercial trade in Togo. Scenic areas surround Kpalimé, including the massive Mount Aghou and Kpime and Kolme waterfalls. The Pottery Centre is a haven for ceramics lovers. The population is about 72,000 (2002).

Inhabited by the Anoufo people, MANGO is on the Oti River in northern Togo. It is the center for the cattle and peanut trade in the region and currently has a population of 23,000.

In the central region lies SOKODÉ , the nation's second largest city. Because of its location in the middle of the forest, hunting is popular. The city is a major commercial trade center for the country's northern regions. Industrial activities include cotton ginning and sugar processing. Muslim holidays are celebrated in Sokodé, especially Adossa, or Festival of the Knives. The population is approximately 82,000 (2002).

Located 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Lomé TSÉVIÉ is home to the Ewe people. The town is an important palm oil processing center and a major commercial trading area. In 2002, Tsévié had a population of roughly 36,000.


Geography and Climate

Togo, a narrow country of 21,853 square miles, about the size of West Virginia, stretches 370 miles from north to south and averages 56 miles in width. It is bounded on the west by Ghana, on the east by Benin, on the north by Burkina Faso, and on the south by the Bight of Benin on the Atlantic Ocean.

Brackish lagoons cross the country to the southeast, separating the mile-wide sandbar along the Bight of Benin from the geographical mainland. To the southwest a low plateau gradually rises, followed by a southwest-northeast mountain range that is from 2,300 to 3,300 feet high. Another plateau lies to the north of the mountain chain. An open savanna then unfolds and extends to the Burkina Faso border.

Togo is mostly flat. Much of the land lies at an altitude of less than 660 feet; scarcely one-sixth of the land exceeds 1,300 feet. Togo has no navigable rivers, but several rivers have the potential for irrigation, which the Togolese are beginning to exploit. The country's most fertile areas are in and around the mountain range; the northern savannas are the poorest.

Savanna-type vegetation dominates. Large trees, including the baobab, common in the south, are rarer in the north. Mangrove and reed swamps dot the coastal region, and coconut plantations grow along the sea.

Some deer, antelope, buffalo, wart hogs, and hippopotamuses roam the north. Togo's most common animal life includes monkeys, snakes, lizards, and birds. Chickens, sheep, goats, and a few other domestic animals are kept in the city as well as the rural areas.

There are protected forest game reserves at Fazao and Keran, in the central and savanna regions.

The country is divided climatically into southern and northern zones. The southern tropical temperatures fluctuate between 70°F and 89°F, with February and March the hottest months, and June, July, and August the coolest. Humidity is high (80%-90%) most of the year. The major dry season extends from the end of November to the end of March; August and early September are also sometimes quite dry. The two wet seasons are from the end of March to July, with maximum rainfall in June, and from September to mid-November, with the greatest rainfall in October. The coastal area receives the least rainfall; the region of Kpalime, about 65 miles inland, receives the most. Equatorial conditions in the mountains of Togo support the country's only rain forest.

Northern temperatures fluctuate between 65°F and over 100°F, and humidity is less severe than in the south. The northern zone has one rainy and one dry season. In December-January, a cool, dry, dust-laden "harmattan" wind from the Sahara sweeps across the land.


The population of Togo was estimated at 5.2 million persons in 2001. Lome, the capital city, has a population of about 727,000. Other major population centers are Sokode, 82,000; Kara, 49,000; Atakpame, 62,000; Kpalime, 72,000; Tsévié, 36,000; Dapaong, 30,000; Bassar, 30,000; Aneho, 25,000; and Mango, 23,000.

In Togo, 59 percent of the population are animists; 29 percent are Christians; and 12 percent are Muslims. In the south, most of the Ewe, Guen, Ouatchi, Akposso, and Ife-Ana ethnic groups are Catholics and Protestants. In the north, most of the Kabiye, Losso, and Lamba are Catholics and Protestants, but the Cotocoli, Bassar, Konkomba, Tchamba, Anoufo, and Moba are primarily Muslims.

Although Togo has some 37 different ethnic groups, three major ethnic groups dominate the population. These are the Ewe, the Kabiye, and the Mina groups. The Ewe group includes the subgroups of Ouatchi and Guen. They live in the Maritime region and a large part of the plateau region. The Kabiye group includes the Cotocoli and Losso groups. The Kabiye are mostly located in the Kara region. The Mina group is dominated by the Moba, followed by the Gourma, the Bassar, and the Konkomba groups. The home area of these groups is the savanna region.

Togo's prehistory and early history were marked by the migrations of various African peoples: prehistoric Sangoan hunting and gathering tribes who settled in central and southern Togo; people from the Sudan-Nile region who came to the north in the 10th-13th centuries; and the Ewes and other tribes from Nigeria who migrated between the 14th and 16th centuries; the Mina and other peoples from Ghana; and the Cotocoli and other ethnic groups from Burkina Faso who came in the 17th century. The boundaries of these kingdoms extended beyond present-day Togo.

The Portuguese, the first Europeans to explore the Togolese coast, came in the late 1400s. Between 1600 and 1800, Brazilian, British, and other slave traders raided the coast and later the interior, and Togo became part of what was known as the Slave Coast. German traders and missionaries reached Togo in the mid-1800s. In 1884, Germany set up a small coastal protectorate, gradually moved inland, and developed the social and economic infrastructure so successfully that Togo became its sole self-supporting colony. From 1885 to 1914. Lome was the administrative and commercial center of German Togo (called Togoland), which included what is now Togo and the Volta region (now part of Ghana). In 1914, Britain and France jointly invaded and took control of Togo. After World War I, Togo came under a League of Nations mandate and was divided into British and French Togo. The U.N. took over the mandate in 1946. Social and economic repercussions of the British-French trusteeship continue to be felt, particularly the splitting of the Ewe and other tribes and their territories.

In late 1956, French Togo voted for status as an autonomous republic within the French Union; the British-ruled people of the Volta region opted to join Ghana, which became independent in 1957. On April 27, 1960, French Togo gained full independence from France.

Although Western contact has affected the life and outlook in the towns, much of the countryside remains less affected. Traditional animist culture, and the customs peculiar to it, continues to strongly influence the Westernized population. Polygamy is widely practiced in rural areas and even in Lome and other towns. As in the rest of Africa, Togolese life centers on the extended family, which includes those far from the immediate family circle. Loyalties reach out beyond the family to the tribe. Traditional mud-brick homes and communal wells give way, in urban areas, to more modern housing and facilities. However, walled courtyards as centers of family life, cooking with charcoal or wood fires, and communal piped-water taps with the customary social life they create, are still common. Complex traditional women's hairstyles and dress for both men and women provide interesting contrasts to European fashions.

Western culture and Christianity have had the greatest influence in the south, the area that has been the source of most government officials, teachers, journalists, office workers, artisans, and traders. Recently, however, more northerners have become civil servants and professionals through an active government program to rectify past disparities.

The literacy rate in Togo is 51 percent. There are about 50 African dialects spoken. French is the official language, as well as the language of commerce. Some people also speak English or German. The government has a policy of developing two national languagesKabiye and Eweas languages of instruction. Some broadcasting (both radio and TV) is done in these languages, and one page in the daily newspaper is devoted to news in each of these languages. The principal native languages are Ewe and Mina in the South, and Kabiye and Hausa in the North.

Public Institutions

Togo's first President, Sylvanus Olympio, was overthrown and killed in a coup d'etat on January 13, 1963, in which the current President, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, participated. After 4 years of rule under civilian President Grunitsky, Togolese President Eyadema came to power as a result of a bloodless coup d'etat staged on January 13, 1967. The country's constitution and National Assembly were abolished, and the President ruled by decree. In 1969, the Rassemblement du Peuple Togolais (RPT) was founded as the sole political party, with Eyadema as its President and founder. However, beginning in late 1990, strike actions and demonstrations led by students and taxi drivers began a movement that demonstrated the Togolese wish for a more democratic form of government.

A transitional government was named in August 1991 to lead Togo through constitutional, local, legislative, and presidential elections. The transition process was not smooth. Demonstrations, an opposition-sponsored political general strike from November 1992 through July 1993 that severely shocked the economy, and sporadic outbreaks of violence from elements of the security forces and others created an unsettled atmosphere for much of 1991 through 1994.

Progress toward free elections and installation of a definitive government was slow and painful. A new, democratic constitution was approved in a referendum in September 1992. In seriously flawed presidential elections in August 1993 and again in 1998, President Eyadema was reinstated for a 5-year term. However, these elections were boycotted by the major opposition parties and a majority of the voters and therefore did not resolve underlying divisions between the opposition and pro-Eyadema factions of Togolese society. After extensive negotiations between the opposition and the presidential side, legislative elections were held in February 1994. The parties opposed to Eyadema won a slim majority in a poll that was generally held to have been free and fair. The 1999 parliamentary elections were boycotted by the major opposition parties, allowing the RPT to gain control of 79 of the 81 seats.

The constitution requires the president to name the prime minister from among the parliamentary majority. President Eyadema selected Agbeyome Messan Kodjo to be Prime Minister, and his government was installed in August 2000. Overall, the government, while faced by severe economic difficulties, shares the generally free-market, pro-Western orientation of previous governments and has declared its intention to promote democracy, human rights, and the rule of law but faces a major challenge fulfilling its promises of political and economic betterment.

Arts, Science, and Education

All public education in Togo is free. In principle, all children must begin school at the age of 6, but attendance is not compulsory. The attendance situation varies from region to region. In almost all villages, there are primary schools, and in the administrative districts, some junior secondary schools and lycee (secondary schools). Educational institutions, whether primary, secondary or technical, are either government affiliated or are associated with the Catholic church, Christian missionaries, or private institutions.

The Universite du Benin, founded in 1970, has a faculty of sciences and letters, schools of law, medicine, agronomy and science, and an advanced Institute for Industrial Engineering. Many Togolese go abroad to study, usually to France. Some also study in Germany and the U.S.

Paul Ahyi, sculptor, muralist, and painter, is the country's best known artist. Many of his works are publicly displayed in Lome. Several other artists occasionally exhibit works at Lome's hotels, the Palais du Congres, or the American, French, or German Cultural centers.

Many bronze, wood, ivory, and semi-precious stone artifacts are peddled by the ubiquitous traders in Lome and in other cities. Handicraft making has been boosted by the creation of a crafts center in Kloto, about a 30-minute drive from the capital. Craftsmen fashion batiks, hand-carve wood, weave cloth, and produce glazed pottery. Jewelers, sandal-makers, embroiderers, cloth and basket weavers, and workers in wood, ivory, and bone can be found in major cities.

Folklore remains an integral part of Togolese life, particularly in the villages, where you will find spontaneous plays and community singing and dancing. Traditional regional festivals are celebrated throughout the year.

Commerce and Industry

Togo is a small country on the coast of West Africa. Its economy depends heavily upon agriculture, phosphate mining, and regional trade. Togo had a per capita income of $1,500 and GDP of $7.3 billion in 2000. The majority of the population depends on subsistence agriculture. The agricultural sector accounts for 42 percent of the GDP and employs over 65 percent of the population. Principal food crops include yams, cassava, millet, corn, sorghum and groundnuts. Agricultural production rose to a record high in 1993 due to political disturbances and an 8-month general strike (1992-93) that forced many unpaid civil servants to migrate from Lome to rural areas and farms. Coffee, cotton, and cocoa are the major cash crops produced for export and account for approximately 40% of export earnings. Some attempts are being made to export pineapples, houseplants, vegetables, and palm oil. There has been a greater emphasis in cotton production in the last decade, leading to major growth in exports. Cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs are also raised.

Phosphate mining is the most important industrial activity. Togo has an estimated 130 million tons of phosphate reserves, and the government-owned Togolese Phosphates Office (OTP) has a production capacity of 3.25 million tons a year.

Industry plays a growing role in the Togolese economy, accounting for 21 percent of the GDP. Much of Togo's industrial base dates back to the government's industrialization program in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which resulted in a number of poorly run parastatals. Demands for higher wages have had a particularly negative impact on domestic industry. The government has liquidated some parastatals, privatized others, and improved the management of many of those remaining under state control. The government's privatization campaign has brought foreign investment in several former state-owned companies, including a steel mill, a dairy factory, a cookie factory, a pasta factory, a brewery, a flour mill, a detergent factory, and an edible oil refinery. In 1989, Togo created an export processing zone to encourage foreign investment and an export-led economic growth. Growth has been limited by Togo's political troubles.

Togo has few energy resources of its own and relies heavily on hydroelectric power from Ghana for its electrical needs. Togo's energy production capacity, however, increased with the completion of the Nangbeto hydroelectric dam, which was built on the Mono River in central Togo, near the Togo/Benin border. Electricity supplies in Lome and in several smaller cities are generally reliable, but wide fluctuations are common.

Regional trade is a very important component of the economy of Togo. In fact, commerce is the single most important economic activity in Togo, after traditional agriculture, and Lome has long been known as an important regional trading center. The commercial sector is dominated by five major trading companies, which control roughly half of the registered import activity. There are also many smaller registered commercial enterprises. Togo has a well-developed banking sector, with five full-service commercial banks. Lome's position as a regional banking center, however, has been reduced because of the political and economic difficulties of the early 1990s.

The modern and autonomous port of Lome, an extensive paved road network, and an improving telecommunications system all help to make Togo's infrastructure one of the best in the region. The country has over 2,250 miles of paved roads, the most important of which are the north-south road from Lome to the Burkina Faso border and the coastal road linking Ghana and Benin. The port of Lome, which was inaugurated in 1968 and expanded in 1984, has piers capable of handling a large variety of ships. The port operates daily and has extensive transit and storage facilities. It has a 173-acre free port area and an additional 1,581-acre industrial park, making it an attractive regional base. Warehousing, assembling, and manufacturing operations can receive customs exoneration on imported raw materials and exported finished exports. Togo's good infrastructure has made Togo an important transshipment center, particularly for goods going to Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

Togo's relative advantages as a regional trading center have eroded in recent years due to improvements in the business climates in neighboring countries and the political instability in Togo. The decline in regional trade was accelerated from late 1990 to 1993, due to political unrest. Trade through the port of Lome has dropped.

Capital and consumer goods in Togo are imported mainly from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Lebanon and China. Some 60 percent of the imports consist of consumer goods, one-third of which are foodstuffs and beverages.

In the past the Togolese Government had put a high priority on developing the country's tourist trade. Lome has 5 modern European-style hotels and many smaller tourist hotels. There is one nice, government-owned hotel in Kara, 430 kilometers north of Lome. The tourist industry has been badly affected by the long period of political instability and periodic violence.



In-town taxis provide inexpensive transportation to any point within central Lome, although vehicles are often in poor condition. Tipping is not expected. Taxis can be easily obtained during business hours. American drivers should exercise extreme caution while driving. Personnel should wear seat belts and have car seats for infants and small children. The condition of motor vehicles on the road is quite poor, so defensive driving is very important. The majority of Lome's population walks or cycles and frequently ignores traffic rules. Sheep, goats, chickens, and dogs wander the streets freely.

Cars can be rented with or without a chauffeur from a car rental firm, but prices are high.

Bicycles, motorscooters, and motorcycles are numerous on already congested streets. Limited brands/models of bicycles, motorscooters, and motorcycles (Yamaha, Honda, etc.) can be obtained locally. Togolese law requires the wearing of helmets, however, many cyclists do not wear them or wear inadequate protection.

Avoid night driving whenever possible. Many roads are full of large potholes and most are without street lights, additionally, many cars do not have proper headlights or tail-lights.

Most police vehicles are blue and white. Fire department vehicles are red. Official government vehicles are generally black. It is common practice to stop or reroute traffic if a VIP is going to pass. Everyone is required to obey either police or military persons directing traffic.

Most Americans travel by privately owned vehicle, although taxis and mini-buses provide regular (if crowded and not very safe) transportation to all towns. A railroad provides limited service from Lome to Blitta and Kpalime.


Togo's air-conditioned airport officially opened in 1988. Air services to and from neighboring countries are available although delays are common. Air Afrique flies three times weekly between Paris and Lome, making stopovers in other African cities. KLM offers two flights a week between Lome and Amsterdam, with connections to New York. Sabena airlines also offers two flights a week between Lome and Brussels, with connections to New York. Air France has a weekly flight between Lome and Paris. No American carriers serve Lome.

Togo has limited rail transport, but the two-lane macadam roads to Cotonou, Benin and Accra, Ghana permit automobile travel. All driving within the west African region is done on the right-hand side of the road. Cotonou and Accra are both about 3 hours by car from Lome; Lagos, Nigeria is approximately two hours beyond Cotonou, but road travel is not recommended to Lagos for safety reasons. It is also possible to drive to Burkina Faso via a serviceable paved road completed to Togo's northern border in 1980.

Togo's roads are not in good condition, with many potholes and bad stretches of road. Most country roads are dirt or sand routes. four-wheel drive vehicles are popular among the American community.


Telephone and Telegraph

France Cable operates a satellite communications system linking Lome, Europe and the U.S., 24 hours daily. Service is reliable and efficient (especially on weekends) but expensive. Phone connections to cities in Francophone Africa, such as Cotonou and Abidjan, can be made without too much delay, but calls to other African cities are difficult and sometimes impossible to make in a day.

PTT Lome, in conjunction with France Cable, provides commercial telegraph service 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Saturday, and 8:00 am to noon, Sundays and holidays.

Telex service to all parts of the world is fair.

Radio and TV

Radio Lome broadcasts from 5:00 a.m. to midnight daily, with news broadcast in French and local languages. Radio Kara, in northern Togo, broadcasts 97 hours per week. Radio France International (RFI) has received approval to set up an FM transmitter in Togo. Privately-owned Radio Kanal Plus, the station most listened to by English-speaking expatriates, plays an eclectic selection of music, ranging from European classical to rap. The Voice of America (VOA) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) transmit shortwave English-language broadcasts to West Africa.

Government-owned TV Togo (one station, one channel) was officially inaugurated in 1973. Programming is in color. Broadcasts are generally in French from 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. weekdays, and from noon to 11:30 p.m. on weekends. There is a prime-time newscast in French at 8:00 p.m., which is repeated at 10:00p.m. TV fare features movies, music videos, documentaries, and some American TV situation comedy reruns dubbed into French.

The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC-TV) can be received with an outside antenna and booster. GBC-TV offers a wider variety of programs than TV Togo. Most programs are in English. They transmit from 5:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. on weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. on weekends and holidays. Prime-time news is shown at 7:00 p.m. and retransmitted at 10:00 p.m. CNN International is featured from midnight to 1:00 a.m. American TV sitcom reruns are shown, as well as feature films.

There is a cable company in Lome that offers access to CNN International and Canal France International for those with special antennas. The company is currently negotiating with several other cable operators, including BET International.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

The government-owned Togo Presse is published six days a week. Most of the paper is in French with one page (half-page each) in Ewe and Kabiye, the major Togolese languages. Several independent French-language weeklies can be bought from street hawkers or local bookstores, which also carry the French dailies Le Monde and L'Express, and other French and European magazines. European editions of Time, Newsweek, and the International Herald Tribune are available. Air subscriptions of these publications are available, but they are expensive and arrive with delays.

English-language books can be found on rare occasions in some local shops. Those who have children enrolled at the British School can borrow English-language books from their well-stocked library.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

Bring eye-glass prescriptions with you in case you need emergency replacement. Bring any cleaning solution/equipment for contact lenses with you as you won't be able to find these in Lome.

Local dental care is adequate for routine care, such as fillings and cleaning, but you should complete any special treatment (endodontal, periodontal, crowns, or oral surgical problems) before coming.

The Lome city hospital is below American standards and is not used for health care by the American community. A small missionary hospital staffed by American surgeons is situated 2 1/2 hours north of Lome. The hospital has an adequate laboratory, x-ray unit and a clean, well-equipped operating room.

Lome's physicians, both generalists and specialists, are European or locally trained, and are called in for consultation on occasion. Obstetrical and diagnostic services are extremely limited. Prenatal care is substandard, and expatriates must be medevaced for delivery. Pregnant women are at increased risk from malaria.

Community Health

The level of sanitation in Lome, while good by African standards, is far below that of cities in developed countries. Water from the public system is contaminated and must be boiled and filtered. Most of the city is not served by a sewer system. Waste and contaminated water are discharged on the beaches. Garbage and trash are collected irregularly. Local government funds for food inspection, insect control, and disease prevention are extremely limited. Therefore, locally butchered meat must be thoroughly cooked, and fruits and vegetables should be soaked in a suitable disinfecting solution.

Many diseases unknown in the United States are present in Togo. These include malaria, dysentery, typhoid fever, leprosy, Guinea worm, Schistosomiasis, skin diseases, and various intestinal parasites, to name a few. For expatriates living in Lome and observing ordinary sanitary precautions, most of these illnesses are not a hazard. Rabies is present in Togo and care must be taken to avoid infected animals. Childhood diseases such as measles, diphtheria, polio, and strep infections are common. With the advent of chloroquine-resistant Falciparium malaria to West Africa, malaria has been a major concern for expatriates. Malaria in Togo is a pervasive, year round disease. The mortality rate among the Togolese is high. Expatriates are extremely susceptible to the disease and constant attention to preventive medications and mosquito control is necessary.

Preventive Measures

Most Americans remain remarkably well in Lome by following a number of preventive measures that soon become routine:

Bring water to a rolling boil for 3 minutes and then filter.

Wash fresh fruits and vegetables well, and soak in chlorine or iodine solution for 30 minutes, then rinse with boiled water.

Maintain a clean kitchen; foods spoil quickly hererefrigerate and store foods carefully; ensure that servants are not disease carriers by obtaining a pre-employment medical exam; periodic follow up tests for parasites every 6 months, and chest X-rays every 2 years; also ensurethat servants are carefully instructed in sanitary working habits.

Be sure that the entire family has received, and remains up-to-date on, recommended inoculations. Yellow fever is required for entry into Togo. Inoculations recommended include: measles, mumps, German measles, polio, hemophilus, meningitis, hepatitis, tetanus, rabies, and typhoid.

Teach children basic health and hygiene practices. Contact with infected soil causes hookworm infestation and larva migrate. Contaminated food and carriers can be the source of several intestinal parasites.

Machine dry or iron all clothes to prevent larval infestation of the skin.

Do not swim in or drink from bodies of water or streams of fresh water anywhere in Togo. Schistosomiasis due to infected snails is prevalent and enters through the skin. Guinea worm is contracted by drinking contaminated water.

The State Department's Office of Medical Services recommends that all Americans take mefloquine to prevent malaria. Mefloquine is an effective prophylaxis regimen in Togo and most other areas where there is chloroquine resistance. Mefloquine is safe and well tolerated when given weekly. Doxycycline has comparable effectiveness. However, those unable to take mefloquine or doxycycline should take chloroquine in combination with paludrine to prevent malaria.

Dosages for the prevention of malaria should begin 2 weeks before arrival, continue while in Togo and 4 weeks after you leave. While in Togo, screen houses, use mosquito nets at night; use repellents and aerosol sprays as necessary; and control local mosquito breeding areas. Malaria is a life-threatening disease.


Air travel to Lome is the only feasible transportation for visitors coming long distances.

Visas for Togo are issued by the French consular officers in the countries with no Togolese diplomatic mission. Americans may enter Togo without a visa and obtain a resident visa after arrival.

Dogs and cats being imported into to Togo must have a current rabies vaccination and a certificate of good health issued within 48 hours of departure. With the exception of Accra, which allows dogs to accompany visitors, entering British or former British areas en route to Togo requires special permits, which are difficult to arrange. If possible, avoid such areas and bring dogs and cats by air directly to Lome. Although available locally, pet supplies are very expensive.

Togo's currency is the CFA franc (Communaute Financiere Africaine) which is fixed to the euro. The exchange is about 656 CFA to one euro, and in January 2001 was 699 CFA to the U.S. dollar.

Commercial banks in Togo include: Ecobank, Union Togolaise de Banque (UTB), Banque Internationale pour l'Afrique Occidentale (BIAO), and Banque Togolaise pour le Commerce et l'Industrie (BTCI).

Commercial banks provide checking facilities, sell travelers checks, and will accept currency, drafts, and travelers and personal checks. Banks charge for service when a deposit in dollars is made to a franc account and do not return cancelled checks with periodic statements. While some larger hotels and restaurants may accept credit cards, not all types are accepted.

The metric system of weights and measures is used.

No ceiling is imposed on the amount of CFA francs you can legally import. However, permission must be obtained from the Togolese Government to convert CFA into dollars, except in the case of official personnel to whom the privilege is extended automatically.


Jan. 1 New Year's Day

Jan. 13 Liberation Day

Jan. 24 Economic Liberation Day

Mar/Apr. Easter*

Mar/Apr. Easter Monday*

Apr. 27 Independence Day

May 1 Labor Day

May/June Ascension Day*

May/June Pentecost*

May/June Pentecost Monday*

Aug. 15 Assumption Day

Nov. 1 All Saints' Day

Dec. 25 Christmas Day

Id al-Adah*


Id al-Fitr*



Few specific descriptions of Togo in English are available to the public. Most public libraries have the standard selection of recent books on formerly British Africa that may have some pertinence to Togo. Writings on formerly French African territories often contain a section on Togo. The French Embassy and Information Services have published excellent pamphlets.

Consult the American Association of Foreign Service Women (AAFSW) in the Foreign Service Lounge and the Overseas Briefing Center at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center.

Articles in various news magazines, such as Time, Newsweek, and The Economist have carried the events of the past few years.

Aithnard, K.M. Some Aspects of Cultural Policy in Togo. UNESCO: Studies and the Documents on Cultural Policies, 1976.

Carey, Joyce. Mr. Johnston. Harper& Row: New York. An English administrator's frustration and a young Nigerian employee's bewilderment and disappointment on a bush road development scheme.

Carpenter, Allan and James Frostman. Togo. PLB: Enchantment of Africa Series, 1977.

Conton, William. The African. This novel, by a Sierra Leonean, depicts the path from village hut to dominant politician's villa.

Cornevin, Robert. Histoire du Togo. Editions Berger-Levtault: Paris, 1969. General history of Togo with interesting chapters on early Togolese history, a long selection on the colonial period, and details of colonial administration.

Crowder, Michael. West Africa Under Colonial Rule. Hutchinson & Co., Ltd.: London, 1970. Africa in the mid-19th century, subsequent imposition of colonial rule, and local efforts to resist various colonial powers. Includes a section on Togo.

Decalo, Samuel. Army Rule in Africa: Studies in Military History. Yale University Press: New Haven.

. Historical Dictionary of Togo. 2nd ed. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1987.

Francois, Yvonne. Le Togo, Karthala, Paris, 1993.

Gess, Denise. Togo. Places & Peoples of the World Series. New York: Chelsea House, 1988.

July, Robert W. A History of the African People. Faber & Faber: London, 1970. A well-written, accurate, and up-to-date history of Africa with good maps, pictures, and excellent bibliographies.

Knoll, Arthur J. Togo Under Imperial Germany, 1884-1914. Hoover Institute Press: Stanford, 1978.

Laye, Camara. The African Child. (L'Enfant Noir, also The Dark Child). Fontana Press. A warm and moving autobiography of the youth of a well-educated Guinean under French colonial rule.

Levtzion, Nehemia. Muslims and Chiefs in West Africa. Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1968. The Dagomba, Mamprusi, and Gonja areas of northern Ghana, the Chokossi State centered around Mango in northern Togo, and another part of the Kotokoli of north-central Togo.

Oliver, Roland and J.D. Fage. A Short History of Africa. Penguin African Library: Baltimore, 1966. Paperback. Excellent introduction to African history.

Packer, George. The Village of Waiting. New York: Vintage Books, 1988.

Piraux, Maurice. Togo Today. Editions Jeune Afrique: Paris, 1977. Good touristic summary. Many photos, maps, and suggested road tour itineraries.

Reindorf, Carl Christian. The History of Gold Coast and Asante. Panther House: New York. Early Togolese history including the arrival of the Mina to the Aneho area.

Stoecker, H., ed. German Imperialism in Africa: From the Beginnings until the Second World War. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, 1986.

Stride, G.T. and D. Ifeka. Peoples and Empires of West Africa: West Africa in History 1000-1800. Thomas Nelson and Sons, Ltd.: London, 1971. Paperback. One of the best books on pre-colonial African history. Excellent maps and detailed discussions on the various empires and states in West Africa including Ghana, Mali, Songhai, Kanem-Bornu, Hausa, Benin, and Ashanti.

Unger, Sanford J. Anger. Simon &Shuster: New York, 1985. Discusses the complexity, beauty, tragedy, importance and fascination of the whole of Africa. It is a journey through virtually all the African nations and their bursting cities. He traces the emergence of the second largest continent from its post-colonial era. Includes section on Togo.

Winslow, Zachery. Togo. New York:Chelsea House, 1988.

Yagla, Wen'saa Ogma. l'Edification de la Nation Togolaise. Librarie-Editions l'Harmattan: Paris, 1978.


Africa Report. Monthly of the African-American Institute. Excellent coverage of events and outstanding personalities. Book reviews. Cultural, political, economic, and sociological subjects examined with careful historical perspective. Exchange visitors and special projects reported regularly.

Foreign Affairs. Serious discussions by scholars, administrators, and African politicians, plus a bibliography.

Jeune Afrique. French-language weekly that covers African news and current events. Published in Paris.

National Geographic. West, Central, and sub-Saharan Africa at their most photogenic, with usually accurate observations in the text. New African. West Africa.

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Togolese Republic
République Togolaise



The Togolese Republic is situated in West Africa. It is a narrow rectangle of land which extends north from the Bight of Benin, on which it has a small coastline of 50 kilometers (31 miles). To the west lies Ghana, to the east is Benin, and Burkina Faso borders on the north. It has a land area of 56,785 square kilometers (21,925 square miles), making it slightly smaller than West Virginia. Lomé, the capital city, is situated on the coast and is the only city with an international airport.


In mid-1999 the United Nations estimated Togo's population at 4.5 million. With an average annual population growth of 2.6 percent, the population is projected to grow by the year 2025 to 8.5 million. Some 31 percent of the population lives in towns, which have an urban growth rate of 4.8 percent. Togo has a young age profile, with half the population aged less than 14 years. Life expectancy in Togo is 48.8 years. Although infant mortality is down from 110 per 1,000 births in 1980 to 70 in 1995, it remains high. (In the United States, by way of comparison, the rate is 7 per 1,000 births). Fertility rates remain high, with an estimated average of 6.05 children born per woman. The country's workforce stands at 1.74 million and this comprises about 41.7 percent of the population.

The largest ethnic group, the Ewe, live predominantly in the south and on the coast, and have cross-border ties to Ghana. Also in the south live the Mena and the Ana. The Kabre people are concentrated in the Kozah and Binah prefectures of the Kara region in the north. The Losso and Tchokossi live in north Lamba. The Bassar inhabit Central Kotokoli and Kotokoli, and have strong links to northern Ghana. The population is 10 percent Muslim, one-third Christian, and the remainder follow traditional beliefs.


Togo is a small economy in terms of the total value of its output. This is because the population is small, at around 4.5 million, and the GDP per capita in 1999 was very low at US$1,700 a year (by way of comparison the U.S. figure is US$33,900 per capita). The population is growing rapidly, at 3.4 percent a year, which adds to the problems of generating higher incomes. Most people (66 percent of the total) depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, mostly from small family farms. The economy of Togo has not performed well in recent years. Output has increased less rapidly than population, and average living standards have fallen. The agriculture sector has performed better than industry and services, however, and agricultural output per person has increased in recent years.

Togo is by all accounts a severely underdeveloped country. Low income levels mean that most income is devoted to subsistence, and more than 80 percent of GDP goes to private consumption. Savings (7 percent of GDP) and investment (13 percent of GDP) are both low. But underdevelopment is more than just a matter of income levels. The United Nations (UN) includes education and health as well as income in its Human Development Index, and the problems in both these areas helped place Togo 145th out of the 174 countries listed by the Human Development Index in 1998.

There are, however, some bright spots in Togo's economic picture. Mineral exploration in 1998 showed oil deposits in Togo waters, which may be exploited if shown to be viable. Hoping to attract investment, the government inaugurated what it calls an "industrial free zone " (actually, a free trade zone) with fiscal benefits in exchange for company guarantees on export levels and employment. And electricity imports fell after the completion in 1988 of a hydroelectric dam, built in conjunction with Benin.

In 1994, Togo embarked upon a strategy to achieve currency and other fiscal stabilization in consultation with the IMF. This program has been delayed due to political instability. The IMF has also since been very critical of the government's loss of momentum in tightening public finances. In the lead-up to the election in 1998 the government overspent, which meant the budget deficit grew to 6.7 percent of GDP, well outside the IMF guidelines of 3 percent of GDP. There is pressure to establish effective control of the budget and to reduce public sector wages, with spending reallocated to poverty alleviation and other high priority issues. Despite efforts to rationalize and broaden the tax system, heavy deficits were still recorded. In the 2000 budget many cutbacks were made. Health spending decreased by 16.3 percent, defense spending decreased by 17.7 percent, presidential office spending decreased by 32.7 percent, and expenditures by the prime minister's office decreased by 51.1 percent. However, the government is still dependent on foreign aid to cover the US$40 million deficit.

Togo is a member of the CFA Franc Zone, with its currency linked by a fixed exchange rate to the French franc. This provides a convertible currency with other countries that share the CFA franc and exchange rate stability. However, in order to achieve this, Togo has agreed to give control of its monetary policy to the regional central bank of the CFA Franc Zone, the Banque Centrale des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (BCEAO). Since more rapid inflation makes it difficult to maintain the fixed exchange rate, the money supply is under the control of the BCEAO. The BCEAO changed its 1980s policy of expansion and started to restrict credits to the private and government sectors in the early 1990s, which meant a slowdown in the growth of the money supply. As inflation fell after a 1994 devaluation of the currency, BCEAO was able to ease its monetary policy by reducing interest rates from 19.5 percent (1994) to 6 percent (1997). In 1998 BCEAO raised interest rates to 6.25 percent and increased commercial bank minimum reserve ratios (which restrict the banks' ability to lend) to forestall inflation. In 1999 the CFA franc became tied to the euro (the European Union's common currency) at a rate that reflected the euro's relationship to the French franc. A smooth transition meant that the BCEAO was able to cut interest rates to 5.75 percent, making it easier for people and business to borrow money.

Steady economic growth in the 1970s (averaging about 4 percent) gave way to low growth in the 1980s, with GDP growth becoming less than population growth, leading to a reduction in GDP per capita. Political and social unrest in the early 1990s meant that GDP contracted by 3.7 percent in 1992 and 13.7 percent in 1993. The situation was aggravated by depressed world commodity markets and an economic crisis in the West African Franc Zone.

After a return to relative domestic normality and de-valuation in 1994, the economy had a positive, if patchy, recovery. Real GDP increased by 16.7 percent in 1994 (albeit from a very low base), 6.8 percent in 1995, and by 9.7 percent in 1996. Growth fell back to 4.3 percent in 1997, but it became negative in 1998 (at-1.3 percent) due to the energy crisis. GDP growth rallied in 1999, on the back of a good harvest, to 3.5 percent. This improvement partly reflected higher phosphate production, but manufacturing, which is still state dominated, suffered due to weak demand and inefficiency.

On average, consumer inflation is normally around 5 percent or less. In 1994 the CFA devaluation caused inflation to rise to approximately 40 percent, although it fell back down over the next 2 years. Inflation then rose again to 8.7 percent in 1998 due to an increase in the value-added tax (VAT), higher oil and food prices, and increased government spending. By 2000, however, inflation had settled to the targeted 3 percent, and is expected to remain at this level.


Politics have been dominated since 1967 by President Gnassingbé Eyadema, Africa's longest-serving head of state. Despite the introduction of a multi-party system in 1992 and elections in 1994, democracy still seems a long way off. The 1998 elections were boycotted and were deemed flawed by outside observers. A process of national reconciliation was forced on the president by the donor community, and talks with opposition groups resumed with a promise of a re-run of elections in 2000. Most bilateral and multilateral aid remains frozen, and the country has had a poor human rights record.

Togoland was originally a German protectorate from 1884 until the end of World War I. Britain and France split Togoland after the war and ruled under a League of Nations mandate. The western sector was controlled by Britain as part of the Gold Coast, which went on to become Ghana. French Togo became independent in 1960. The first leader, Sylvanus Olympio, was assassinated in 1963, and the army appointed a civilian, Nicolas Grunitzky, to rule. Four years later the army overthrew Grunitzky, and Colonel Eyadema took over control of the government. Eyadema formed the Rassemblement du Peuple Togolese (RPT) party in 1971 and drew civilian technocrats into government. Cabinet reshuffles in the late 1970s were designed to add legitimacy to the military regime.

A constitution based on universal suffrage was introduced in 1979, but the RPT remained the only legal party. After demonstrations and international pressure, Eyadema called a national conference in April 1991. A transitional government was appointed with opposition representation and was led by a lawyer, Joseph Koffigoh. However, the new government came under attack from the president's armed forces. Trade unions and opposition parties launched a general strike in 1992 which lasted for 9 months. A quarter of a million Togolese took shelter in neighboring countries from massacres perpetrated by the armed forces. The presidential election in 1993 was held amid further violence. The opposition boycotted the presidential election, only a third of the electorate voted, and all international observers (with the notable exception of France) rejected Eyadema's victory.

There was a legislative election in 1994. Two opposition parties gained 43 seats out of 81 in the assembly and hence the majority. The pro-Eyadema parties gained 37 seats, with Koffigoh's party winning only 1 seat. The major opposition party, the Union of Forces for Change (UFC), boycotted the election. Eyadema maintained supremacy by convincing the opposition leader, Edem Kodjo, to form an RPT-dominated government. In 1996 Kodjo was thrown out and a technocrat with links to Eyadema took control.

In the lead-up to the 1998 election there were opposition protests, social unrest, and military repression, although not nearly on the same scale as in the early 1990s. After chaos on election day, during which vote-counting stopped, the multi-party election was abandoned and Eyadema was proclaimed the winner. However, this led to violent demonstrations in Lomé. All 5 major opposition party leaders supported the claim of Gilchrist Olympio (son of the former leader and head of the UFC) that he won with 59 percent of votes. International observers condemned the result.

Legislative elections were held again in 1999. There is a National Assembly of 81 seats, with members elected for 5-year terms. The main opposition parties boycotted the election and the RPT gained all but 3 seats. There was much international pressure, including European Union threats to strike Togo off the Lomé Convention (a European Union aid program which compensates certain African and Pacific countries when the prices of their export products fall on world markets). This led to the government and opposition having reconciliation talks, mediated by the European Union and other bodies. A framework agreement was signed in July 1999 to hold a new election by March 2000, with an independent electoral commission. Disagreements have delayed this election, which may not take place until late 2001.

Eyadema remains in power with the support of the army. He has stated that he will not run in the 2004 election, although he has been known in the past to change his mind.

Government revenue comprises around 30 percent of GNP. Of this, about a third comes from taxes on incomes, profits, and capital gains, and a further third from customs duties . Of the rest, about 15 percent comes from indirect taxes on goods and services, and 14 percent is generated by government enterprises (mainly the surpluses from the phosphate sector).


Togo's main port and growing road transport sector have an important role in the sub-regional economy. The commercial and transport sector earns 35 percent of Togo's GDP. Togo has 9,600 kilometers (5,965 miles) of roads, 1,600 kilometers (994 miles) of which are paved. The World Bank has introduced a US$200 million transport infrastructure program, which was instituted in 1997. Parts of the 700 kilometer (435 miles) north-south road (the main road to Burkina Faso) have already been rehabilitated. The main east-west road which links Togo to Benin and Ghana also has money earmarked for rehabilitation. The railway network is limited and needs modernizing. There are 275 kilometers (171 miles) of track leading from Lomé to Blitta, and 262 kilometers (163 miles) from Kpalimé to Aného.

Lomé's deep-water port has benefitted from under-capacity in other countries and competes successfully within the region. In the 1970s the port grew rapidly, reflecting increased trade with Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali. Togo's social upheaval and a general regional economic downturn has led to a trade slump, with re-exports dropping from 2.7 million metric tons to 1.1 million metric tons in 1993. Under a government privatization program, new installations are planned, including computerization to speed up loading and unloading in order to make the port competitive.

Telecommunications are operated by Togo Telecom, which is a parastatal . Togo Telecom sought to increase the number of telephone lines in the country from 21,500 in 1998 to 30,400 in 2000. The company has been slated for privatization since 1997. One of its subsidiaries, Togocellulaire, manages the digital network, which had 6,000 subscribers by the end of 1998.

Apart from the government-run Togo Presse, there are several outspoken opposition newspapers. Since 1998 privately-owned television and radio stations have been allowed to operate alongside the parastatals.

In a US$400 million agreement with Nigeria, Ghana, and Benin in 1999, Togo hopes to find a solution to its energy supply problems. A gas pipeline will supply industry and power stations in recipient countries, which should reduce Togo's dependence on Ghana's unpredictable hydroelectricity supply. The pipeline should be in operation by 2002, and is funded by ECOWAS, the World Bank, the United States, and Italy, and will be managed by Chevron Oil of the United States. The problems of Togo's dependency on Ghana for energy were highlighted in 1998, when it received less than 5 percent of its requirements for electricity, severely disrupting the economy.

CEET, the Togolese electricity company, still relies heavily on Ghana. The hydroelectric dam that is jointly owned by Togo and Benin has produced output only sporadically. In 1996 CEET produced 35.1 million kilowatt-hours,

Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Togo 4 218 18 N/A 2 4.1 6.8 0.17 15
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Nigeria 24 223 66 N/A 0 N/A 5.7 0.00 100
Benin 2 108 10 N/A 1 0.2 0.9 0.04 10
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium ( and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

hours, but 349.3 million kilowatt hours (kWh) were required. CEET has also been earmarked for privatization.


The agricultural sector provided 42.1 percent of Togo's GDP in 1997, and was responsible for 65 percent of employment. Core food crop production and livestock rearing make up most of the sector's output. Togo is self-sufficient in beans, ground nuts, yams, cassava, and sweet potatoes. Roughly 20 percent of cereals are imported. Export cropsincluding cotton, coffee, and cocoaaccount for 20 percent of agricultural output.

The industrial sector is dominated primarily by phosphate production, which is the principal foreign exchange earner. The sector provided 21 percent of GDP in 1997 and employed 5 percent of the active population. Industry in Togo is also involved in agro-processing, construction, and energy. The government has recently set up a small Export Processing Zone in Lomé, which is designed to lure foreign companies who can take advantage of relaxed labor laws and hold large foreign exchange accounts.

The services sector (which includes commerce, transport, and tourism) provided 37 percent of GDP and 30 percent of employment in 1997.


Agriculture is the most important sector to most Togolese. It employs two-thirds of the active population, who predominantly work on small land holdings. Food crops (mainly cassava, yams, maize, millet, and sorghum) account for two-thirds of production, and are mostly used domestically. Togo's cash crops are mainly cocoa, coffee, cotton, and to a lesser extent, palm oil. These cash crops provide a valuable return for small farmers, and they provide 40 percent of exports. Some foodstuffs need to be imported. The main imported foodstuff is rice, although production has increased 6-fold since the mid-1980s. Production increased by 9.1 percent in 1999 due to good weather, although depressed world prices for exports affected Togo (especially in cotton).

Agricultural exports are dominated by cotton. The cotton production sector employs 230,000 people, predominantly small farmers. Cultivation has expanded rapidly since the mid-1980s. Output has quadrupled from the 1985-1986 season to 200,000 metric tons in 1998, stabilizing at 190,000 metric tons in the 1999-2000 season. About 163,420 hectares were under cotton cultivation during the 1999-2000 season. Soil degradation is likely to become a problem.

Most farmers are under contract to the state-owned marketing board, Sotoco. In 1995 Sotoco lost its monopoly on processing and the external marketing of cotton, and a private company, Sicot, was given export and processing rights. Sotoco still has a dominant purchasing position and is the sole provider of fertilizers and pesticides. Several new ginning plants opened in the late 1990s, and they should be running at full capacity by early 2001.

Cocoa and coffee production appear less important than cotton, but unrecorded cross-border trade distorts the figures. Togo's production of these 2 commodities is small compared to its neighbors, producing 13,000 metric tons of coffee and 9,000 metric tons of cocoa in 1998. The state-owned OPAT was in charge of marketing, processing, and exporting until 1996, when private companies were introduced.


Togo is the world's fourth-largest phosphate producer. Phosphate is a mineral used to produce fertilizers. Reserves are estimated at 260 million metric tons of first-class phosphate and 1 billion metric tons of carbonate phosphate. Deposits were found in 1952 not far from Lomé. The good geological characteristics and geographical position led to a low cost for extraction.

Established in 1974, the parastatal OTP has a monopoly on phosphates. Annual production was around 3.3 million metric tons in 2000, and OTP employed 2,200 people. After expansion during the 1980s, the industry suffered in the 1990s. In 1993 production was only 1.79 million metric tons, and prices bottomed at US$33 per metric ton, putting the company on the verge of bankruptcy. The devaluation of the CFA franc in 1994 restored the profitability of the phosphate industry. In 1997 output was 2.69 million metric tons, which realized US$110 million, though production fell in 1998 to 2.24 million metric tons. Although the industry looks good in the short term, it is likely to face growing international competition, especially as world phosphate fertilizer demand is falling. After World Bank negotiations, 40 percent of the OTP is to be privatized, mainly to outside investors.

The overvaluation of the CFA franc in the early 1990s hit the industrial sector hard. In addition, it was not helped by the political instability of the early 1990s, when industry's GDP contribution fell by a fifth. Once order was restored, and following the devaluation in 1994, industry's GDP contribution grew by 26 percent, and 20 percent in 1995, before settling to around 5 percent growth in 1997. Industrial activity recovered in 1998 after 2 bad years, despite the 1994 devaluation boost. The privatized construction sector led the recovery. In November 1999, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the agency of the World Bank which lends to the private sector , announced a US$6 million loan to the building materials sector.

A duty-free "Export Processing Zone" was launched in 1989, and now includes 41 industrial units, which involve a US$50 million investment and 7,000 new jobs. It has attracted international interest, predominantly French, and advantageous terms for foreign investors if they export 80 percent of their production and give jobs to Togolese.


A recent World Bank report shed doubt on the stability of Togo's banks, once thought to be amongst the most stable in West Africa, following the crises of the 1990s, during which period many banks suspended activities. The commercial banks, already faced with falling deposits and increased lending, also had to absorb public sector deficits in the early 1990s. Weak capital flows and stagnant exports led to a US$24 million decrease in bank assets by 1990-94. Credit grew by US$12 million in the same period, reflecting increased lending, while the government indebtedness increased by US$19 million. This meant that banks had to borrow heavily from BCEAO. The 2 state-owned banks fared the worst, and accounted for 74 percent of all lending and 62.5 percent of all deposits. The rest of the sector is shared between a variety of foreign banks, including French and Belgian interests.

In 1993, the hotel industry included 4,163 beds and employed 1,309 people. During the problems of the 1990s, hotel occupancy dropped to less than 20 percent of capacity. International arrivals halved, and visitors stayed on average only 3.5 nights. The 80,000 arrivals were a record in 1996, although many of these were business travelers and returning Togolese. Several state-owned hotels have been slated for privatization, and the government has allowed foreign leasing of the more prestigious hotels.


For the past 20 years Togo has had a net trade deficit , reaching $50 million in 1999, with exports at US$400 million and imports at US$450 million. Exports and imports both contracted in 1992 and 1993, but in 1994 the currency devaluation boosted agricultural exports, which meant that the trade deficit fell to $37 million from US$111 million in 1993. The main destinations for exports in 1994 were France, Benin, Ghana, and Canada, while imports came from France, Germany, Côte d'Ivoire, and China.

In 1998 trade revenue from cotton and cocoa fell, despite an increase in the volume exported, due to unfavorable world prices. However, phosphate exports increased both in terms of volume and revenue collected.

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Togo
Exports Imports
1975 .126 .174
1980 .338 .551
1985 .190 .288
1990 .268 .581
1995 .208 .386
1998 N/A N/A
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.
Exchange rates: Togo
Communauté Financiére Africaine francs per US$1
Jan 2001 699.21
2000 711.98
1999 615.70
1998 589.95
1997 583.67
1996 511.55
Note: From January 1, 1999, the CFA Fr is pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 CFA Fr per euro.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

Re-exports increased in 1998 (as in every year since 1994), and accounted for 20 percent of exports in 1998. France is historically the main importer of goods, but the suspension of aid led to a decrease in French imports and an increase in Chinese imports. However, the published data underestimate cross-border trade with Benin, Ghana, and Nigeria, much of which goes unrecorded.


Togo is part of the 8-member Union Economique et Monetaire Ouest-Africaine (UEMOA) and uses the CFA franc. The BCEAO issues currency notes and regulates credit expansion throughout the region. The CFA franc was pegged to the French franc at a 50:1 exchange rate from 1948, but was overvalued in the late 1980s; the 1994 devaluation dropped the value to a 100:1 exchange rate. With France having joined the European Monetary Union, the CFA franc is now valued at CFA Fr 655.959 to 1 euro.


Togo is a poor country; GDP per capita stood at $1,700 in 1999, and 32 percent of the population was thought to be living below the poverty line (according to 1987-89 estimates).

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Togo 411 454 385 375 333
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Nigeria 301 314 230 258 256
Benin 339 362 387 345 394
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

Education provisions have deteriorated in Togo in recent years. The one university, the University of Benin, was established in 1970. Originally designed for 6,000 students, it currently is trying to cope with 17,000, which has led to many campus demonstrations. A second university is planned in Clara, Eyadema's hometown, but its development is at a standstill due to the political situation.

Education has suffered during the 1990s due to demographic pressures and the freeze on hiring civil servants. A World Bank-sponsored scheme to provide 6,000 primary-level educators is under way. Despite these problems, Togo has traditionally had good education standards for a sub-Saharan African country. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) put adult literacy in Togo at 53.2 percent in 1997, with 82.3 percent of primary school age children attending school and 58.3 percent of children of the appropriate age attending secondary school. The government provided 24.7 percent of the money required for education. However, gender imbalances are rife throughout the education system. Roughly 43 percent of males and only 31 percent of females are literate in Togo, according to the U.S. Department of State.

Togolese health care has struggled due to a lack of resources and population growth. The number of AIDS cases is expected to increase up to 2005, when the number of new cases is expected to stabilize and then begin a slow fall, although this depends on the success of AIDS education programs. In 1993 there were 6 doctors and 31 nurses per 100,000 population, and this figure is unlikely to change in the near future. Regional disparities are huge, as 50 percent of all medical staff work in the capital. Infant mortality stands at 78 deaths per 1,000 live births, and 125 children per 1,000 die before the age of 5. The maternal mortality rate stands at 640 per 100,000. In 1997 there were 185 AIDS cases per 100,000.


A Labor Tribunal is provided for in Togo's judicial system. The Collectif des Syndicates Independents (CSI) was founded in 1992 and is a coordinating body for labor organizations. The other main trade union in Togo is the Confederation Nationale des Travailleurs de Togo (CNTT), which was affiliated with the RPT party until 1991. The trade unions can be militant in Togo, as was shown in a 9-month general strike in 1992.

In the 1990 budget a mere US$1.2 million was spent on social security and welfare. Togo has no minimum wage. The labor force was estimated at 2 million in 1998, of which 40 percent were women. Unemployment figures have little significance in Togo. There are very few people with no work at all, but few people work at what is considered full employment , and much work is informal or subsistence labor. There are no unemployment benefits, and those who do not work tend to rely on support from charities or their families. Many people would like a modern sector job, but eke out an existence on family farms or in casual informal sector activities in the urban areas.


1884-1919. Togoland is a German protectorate.

1919. Britain and France take Togoland from Germany during World War I; they split the countrywith France ruling French Togolandand rule under a League of Nations mandate.

1960. On April 27, the newly named Republic of Togo becomes independent, and Sylvanus Olympio is elected president under a provisional constitution.

1963. President Olympio is assassinated by army officers, and Nicolas Grunitzky leads a provisional government as prime minister and, later, as president.

1967. President Grunitzky's government is overthrown by the military, and Colonel Etienne Gnassingbé Eyadema takes control.

1972. Eyadema is reelected to the presidency in a national referendum in which he is the only candidate.

1979. Eyadema is reelected once more in elections in which he is the only candidate. A new constitution provides for a national assembly which will consult with the president, but Eyadema holds all the power.

1991. Facing pressure from pro-democracy protestors, Eyadema agrees to a transitional government leading up to free elections. Kokou Joseph Koffigoh is selected as prime minister, and Eyadema's powers are limited.

1992. Fearing that Eyadema will not relinquish power, trade unions and opposition parties launch a general strike, which lasts for 9 months and decimates Togo's economy.

1993. Presidential elections are held, but alleged fraud keeps many opposition parties and voters away. Eyadema wins with 96 percent of the votes and declares the success of democracy in Togo.

1994. Multiparty legislative elections are held, giving parties opposed to Eyadema's RPT control in the legislature. Edem Kodjo is named prime minister but has little power in a country that is still dominated by Eyadema.

1994. The CFA franc is devalued, leading to a surge in exports for Togo.

1998. Presidential elections are again boycotted by the opposition and deemed flawed by outside observers. Eyadema retains presidency.

1999. CFA franc becomes tied to the euro. Legislative elections are won by Eyadema's RPT.


It is very difficult to have economic progress without a platform of political stability, as both domestic and foreign investors are unwilling to risk their resources unless they are confident that they will be secure. In the Togolese context, the lack of consensus over the operation of the political system between the government and the opposition parties is the main worry for international donors and the business community. Until these matters are resolved, Togo cannot expect to make progress in improving the living standards of its people.

Disagreements between the opposition and the ruling parties may lead to such a delay that new legislative elections (to replace the elections in 1999, widely seen as flawed) may not be carried out until the end of 2001. European Union aid will resume if new elections are seen to be free and transparent. It is likely that the United States and the IMF will follow suit. The government plans to restore stability to public finances, including the banking and financial sectors, and to revive the privatization process. Real GDP is expected to grow to 3.5 percent in 2001, and 3.8 percent in 2002, thanks to external assistance. Assuming a satisfactory harvest and a downturn in oil prices, inflation is forecast to fall to 2 percent in 2001 and 1.5 percent in 2002. Aid inflow means Togo's economy can be expected to improve between 2001 and 2002.

Following international pressure, a national independent electoral commission will oversee the 2001 election. The president has strengthened his international position through the presidency of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). A joint UN and OAU investigation is underway into the murder of political opponents in the 1998 election.

Though there has been little increase in revenue, a decrease in public expenditures has resulted in a lower deficit. In 2000 the economy was recovering from the 1998 recession , helped by an agricultural upturn and by the fact that the OAU summit was held in Lomé. Cotton output is estimated to have fallen to 110,000 metric tons in 2000 due to uneven rainfall, but cereal and coffee production both increased in the 2000-2001 season. The new Togo, Benin, and Nigeria power scheme should improve Togo's power situation.


Togo has no territories or colonies.


Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Togo. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

Hodd, Michael. The Economies of Africa. Dartmouth: Aldershot,1991.

Togo. <>.Accessed September 2001.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000. <>. Accessed August 2001.

U.S. Department of State. Background Notes: Togo, October 1997. <>. Accessed September 2001.

U.S. Department of State. FY 2000 Country Commercial Guide: Togo. <>. Accessed September 2001.

Welcome to the Republic of Togo (official home page). <>. Accessed September 2001.

Jack Hodd




Communauté Financiére Africaine franc (CFA Fr). The CFA franc is tied to the French franc at an exchange rate of CFA Fr50 to Fr1. One CFA franc equals 100 centimes. There are coins of 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 CFA francs, and notes of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000 CFA francs.


Ginned cotton, coffee, cocoa, phosphate.


Consumer goods, foodstuffs, petroleum products.


US$8.6 billion (purchasing power parity, 1999 est.).


Exports: US$400 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.). Imports: US$450 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.).

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In Togo, a West African nation that lies between Ghana and Benin, the term family is broadly defined. A family is more than a husband, a wife, and children. Blood relatives of both spouses are considered part of the family, and the extended family embraces all relatives, living or dead. There is a strong cultural belief that ancestors, also called the living dead, are spiritually in contact with the souls of the living. Families often show reverence to their ancestors during ceremonies marking major life-cycle events and achievements, such as the birth of a child, marriage, death of a family member, or a professional achievement. Traditional social and cultural beliefs have regulated marriage and family behavior for many centuries. The social organization of most ethnic groups was based on a patrilineal system of descent, where sons were given inheritance over daughters (Fiawoo 1984). Some features have changed because of contact with Western civilization. However, instead of a convergence to the Western nuclear family model, the family has adapted traditional features to contemporary contexts and constraints.

Traditional Features of Marriage and Family

Within the traditional model of the family, marriage is virtually universal and closely associated with reproduction. It is an alliance between two lineages, beyond the realm of two individuals.

Traditionally, senior family members have watched closely over the mate selection process to ensure that social rules and beliefs were respected. Only elder members of the extended family were invested with authority to handle marriage negotiations. The blood relatives of both prospective spouses carefully studied the alliance of marriage to determine whether it was possible and worthy. Some types of marriages were prohibited, and others were preferred. Marriages of men inside their parents' minimal lineages and marriages with two living sisters were prohibited. The reasons invoked for these prohibitions were mainly supranatural and genetic disorders. The preferred marriage was between cross-cousins and, specifically, between second cousins. The groom's elder family members paid several visits to the lineage members of the bride to sort out concerns and determine whether the marriage was feasible. They also negotiated the amount and composition of the bride-wealth, or bride-price.

Marriage ceremonies used to last many days. They were opportunities for the extended families to get together. The actual marriage ceremonies started with payment of a bride-wealth to the bride's blood relatives. The bride-wealth could be composed of specially prepared food, palm wine, clothing, jewelry, and money (Manoukian 1952). During the ceremony the bride was handed over to the lineage members of the groom. This was followed by the consummation rituals, which included the verification of the bride's virginity. The bride was required to be virgin at marriage; this was an indication that she was raised in a respectable family. The amount of the bride-wealth was revised down if the bride was found not to be virgin (Nukunya 1969).

Polygamy, the marriage of a man with more than one woman, was an important aspect of marriage. Traditionally, men could take additional wives to increase the size of their family line. Farming was rudimentary and relied on heavy physical labor. Additional wives and children helped to make the farm more productive. Thus, a large number of relatives was therefore associated with wealth and prestige. This was the philosophy of old men, who were the ones in control of community resources. Their philosophy of life was law in the community.

Customary laws discouraged divorce. Blood kin were active in resolving disputes among spouses, and generally succeeded; it was rare that intermediation by the family did not save the marriage. If the wife initiated the divorce, then her relatives had to pay back the bride-wealth. In the husband initiated the divorce, he could not reclaim the bride-wealth.

When a married man died, customs allowed one of his brothers to inherit his wives. The wives and children then became part of the immediate household of that brother and remained part of the family line. This practice was called the levirate and was consistent with the social and economic values attached to wives and children.

Children were raised following strict social rules. They were taught to show respect to all adults in general. Everyone in the community was concerned with their socialization, not only their biological parents. Children were expected to win the trust of adults to gain knowledge. The transfer of knowledge was in the oral tradition, and only well-behaved children could have the knowledge revealed to them. Boys and girls were socialized differently in ways that were consistent with the roles they were expected to play as adults.

Factors in Change of Family Life

Traditional social beliefs have regulated individual behavior for many centuries. They may have altered over time, but few accounts exist to substantiate these changes. Recorded changes can only be traced back to contacts through trade with Europeans (Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, French, and British) initiated in the fifteenth century. Ethnic groups of the coastal region of Togo participated in the trade of humans from the seventeenth century to the first half of the nineteenth century. This tragedy affected families and may have reinforced the strong belief in having many children. Exposure to alternative lifestyles came mostly through missionaries, European colonialism, urbanization, and Western education. From the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, economic hardship and poverty were also important factors changing marriage and family behavior.

The first German missionaries came to Togo in 1847. They were convinced that the people there were living in sin, and they were particularly disturbed by the worship of ancestors and shocked by the practice of polygamy. Missionaries, through Christian education, promoted the benefits and sanctity of the Western nuclear family.

The work of missionaries was made easier with colonization. Togo experienced three colonial administrations: German, British, and French (Decalo 1996). Many aspects of social life, such as names, dress codes, and marriage customs, were subject to new regulations. For example, on November 17, 1924, the French colonial administration passed an ordinance aimed at regulating marriages in Togo. This ordinance was intended to make it mandatory that the bride consent to a marriage, in the expectation that it would reduce arranged marriages and polygamy (Kuczynski 1939; Knoll 1978).

The German and French administrations both built urban centers from which they could coordinate commercial and administrative activities (Nyassogbo 1984). Because key administrative and economic activities were concentrated in one place, many individuals had to move there to participate in the growing wage economy. This migration resulted in the emergence of new needs and aspirations. People from different social backgrounds were leaving communities with their own rules and customs, and they had to recreate a new community at the crossroads of traditional rules and modern ones. In a situation where both partners were able to earn money, and because every marriage could turn polygamous, women opted for separate budgets and their financial independence in marriage.

Western education is perhaps the most powerful among all factors that affected marriage and family behavior. The missionaries virtually controlled the education system (Lange 1991). It was a powerful medium to diffuse Western values and to challenge the customary social order. For the first time in history, children began to question the elderly lineage members' authority by aspiring to different lifestyles. Economic factors also affected families. From the mid-1980s until the end of the 1990s, families found themselves living with severe economic hardship and poverty. Young couples found it more difficult to afford marriage. Families began to find it difficult to meet the basic survival needs. In this environment, couples with children had difficulty enforcing traditional values. Further, the expectation that children succeed in life and help out their parents financially weakened.

Contemporary Marriage and Family Patterns

Another powerful influence on the family in Togo is an awareness of alternative lifestyles. Awareness of these lifestyles is one thing; their adoption is quite another. Togolese families, however, are adopting them, and they are displaying a spectrum of patterns that do not necessarily converge into the Western nuclear family model. Current and emerging marriage and family patterns are the result of an adaptation of traditional values, beliefs, and customs to the realities and constraints of modern life (Locoh 1984; Assogba 1990; Ekouevi 1994).

Especially in urban areas, features of the traditional marriage, such as the strong role of lineage members in marriage decisions, virginity of the bride, and elaborate marriage ceremonies, have altered over time. Social background and socioeconomic status now exert a more powerful influence on the mate selection process. A bride-wealth is still given to the bride's blood relatives as a symbolic gesture.

Three main forms of marriage co-exist in Togo: the traditional marriage, the Christian marriage, and the city hall, or official, marriage. According to the Togolese Family Code, constructed as a compromise between the law of custom and the French Law, a marriage performed by a traditional chief is validated as legal if reported to the municipal government. Under this condition, the traditional marriage is as valid as the civil marriage performed by a government official. The Family Code, however, does not validate a marriage performed by a Christian priest as legal (Pokanam 1982). Couples can perform all three of these forms of marriage either in a relatively short time or throughout the duration of their marriage. Often, the customary marriage is the first one, followed by either a Christian one, a civil one, or both.

The practice of polygamy has persisted over time despite different attempts to eradicate it. However, in urban areas, polygamy has mainly survived because spouses adopt separate living arrangements. A husband in a polygamous union visits his wives; often, he lives with one wife, and in addition, he has another wife in a different area of the city. In 1998 about 34 percent of women between fifteen and forty-nine years of age were in polygamous unions in urban areas and 47 percent in rural areas (Anipah et al. 1999).

A growing number of young men, even if they have university degrees, are finding it difficult to find employment. They cannot afford to marry and start families. One result is a growing number of pseudofamilies, in which the husband lives with his parents and the wife and children live with the wife's parents. The couple stays in this separate living arrangement hoping for better days when they can afford housing and live together. Informal unions exist also with women having a status of a mistress. In difficult economic circumstances, a relationship with a man (usually married) can improve a woman's financial situation and is part of her survival strategy. At the same time, as families face severe economic difficulties, a growing number of unmarried couples are having children.

Another indication of family breakdown is the high number of female heads of households. About 29 percent of households are headed by females in urban areas and 22 percent in rural areas (Anipah et al. 1999). In some cases, women choose to have children and cannot live with their children's fathers, especially if the man is already married. More and more well-educated women and women with successful businesses are finding themselves in this situation. They want to have children, but their pool of prospective husbands is small. They end up settling with a married man, and they have to raise their children by themselves. Most often, however, women are pushed to face the responsibilities of raising children alone because husbands cannot play the role of breadwinner anymore, due to economic difficulties.

Another shift in family behavior is that parents are having a harder time exercising their authority over their children, which is being eroded by hard times and poverty. They are failing to provide their children with basic necessities, and children have to try to meet these needs on their own.

See also:Kinship


anipah, k.; mboup, g.; ouro-gnao, a. m.; boukpessi, b.;adade, m. p.; and salami-odjo, r. (1999). enquête démographique et de santé, togo 1998. calverton, md: direction de la statistique et macro international.

assogba, m. l. (1990). "transition du statut de la femme,transition dans les structures familiales et transition de la fécondité dans le golfe du bénin." etudes togolaises de population 15:55–105.

decalo, s. (1996). "historical dictionary of togo." africanhistorical dictionaries, no. 9, 3rd. ed. lanham, md: scarecrow press.

ekouevi, k. (1994). "family and reproductive behavior in a changing society: the case of urban togo." union for african population studies, no. 7.

fiawoo, d. k. (1984). "some reflections on ewe socialorganization." in peuples du golfe du bénin (aja-ewe), ed. f. de meideros. paris: editions karthala.

knoll, a. j. (1978). togo under imperial germany1884–1914: a case study in colonial rule. stanford, ca: hoover institution press.

kuczynski, r. (1939). the cameroons and togoland: ademographic study. oxford, uk: oxford university press.

lange, m-f. (1991). "cent cinquante ans de scolarisation au togo: bilan et perpectives." dossiers de l'urd. unité de recherche démographique. lomé, togo: université du benin.

locoh, t. (1984). "l'evolution de la famille en afrique de l'ouest: le togo méridional contemporain." institut national d'etudes démographiques travaux et documents cahier no. 107. paris: presses universitaires de france.

manoukian, m. (1952). the ewe-speaking people of togoland and the gold coast. ethnographic survey ofafrica, western africa, part vi. london: international african institute.

nukunya, g.k. (1969). "kinship and marriage among theanlo ewe." monographs on social anthropology no. 37. london school of economics, university of london. london: the athlone press.

nyassogbo, k. (1984). "l'urbanization et son evolution autogo." cahier d'outre-mer 37:135–158.

pokanam, g. (1982). "quelques aspects du code togolais de la famille." etudes togolaises de population 4:1–40.


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Basic Data
Official Country Name: Togolese Republic
Region: Africa
Population: 5,018,502
Language(s): French, Ewe, Mina, Kabye, Dagomba
Literacy Rate: 51.7%
Number of Primary Schools: 3,283
Compulsory Schooling: 6 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 4.5%
Foreign Students in National Universities: 480
Libraries: 23
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 859,574
  Secondary: 169,481
  Higher: 13,124
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 120%
  Secondary: 27%
  Higher: 4%
Teachers: Primary: 18,535
  Secondary: 5,389
  Higher: 443
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 46:1
  Secondary: 34:1
Female Enrollment Rate: Primary: 99%
  Secondary: 14%
  Higher: 1%

History & Background

The Republic of Togo is situated in West Africa. It is bounded by Benin (previously Dahomey) in the east, Ghana in the west, Burkina (Burkina Faso, and earlier, Upper Volta) in the north, and the Atlantic Ocean in the south. Togo's landmass is 56,000 square kilometers. It is approximately 600 kilometers in length and about 70 kilometers at its widest point. Its government is constitutionally based on a parliamentary system. In practice, however, it has had a lifetime president in the person of General Gnasimbe Eyadéma, who took power in 1969.

Togo was placed under French administration first as a League of Nations "mandate," then as a United Nations "trust" territory. Up to and through World War I, the country now known as Togo and a sizable eastern segment of what is now Ghana were one entity under German colonial rule. In the transition from a German colony to a French "trust" territory, a significant western portion of German Togoland was ceded to Britain's colonial administration of Ghana. In the process, a major speech community, the Éwé, found themselves partitioned in roughly equal numbers into two different political entities, Ghana and Togo. The percentages are now slightly in favor of the Éwé population in Ghana. Whereas the Togolese government has not fully reconciled itself to the loss of its western territories of German Togoland, it takes no practical steps to exercise its frustrations. The area in question is fully integrated into the Ghanaian industrial and agricultural infrastructure.

Togo's population at independence and up to the late 1970s was between 2 and 3 million. The population is cited, as of 2000, to be between 5 and 7 million. The large disparity in population estimates is due to the difficulty in gathering population statistics, especially in assessing birth and mortality rates. The vast majority of the population lives in the southern third of the country. The capital, Lomé, is in the extreme southwestern corner adjacent to Ghana and actually spills over into that country. This portion is known as Aflao. The southern third also includes the best educational, industrial, infrastructural, medical, and economic facilities available in the country. Hence there is a strong southern migration by central and northern inhabitants. The Éwé speech community predominates in this all-important southern third.

The term "speech community" is preferred here because there are a large number of clusters of groups within which several ethnic groups distinguish themselves on historical and social grounds but who speak mutually intelligible languages. The significant four in terms of numbers and political dynamism are the Éwé cluster (45 percent of the population), the Kabiyê cluster (22 percent), the Moba cluster (10 percent), and the Tem, often called Kotokoli and sometimes spelled Cotocoli, (7 percent). The Éwé cluster belongs to the Kwa subfamily of languages within the broad Niger-Congo family of sub-Saharan Africa. The Kwa subfamily covers the languages from southeastern Nigeria, including Ibo, all the way west along the coast to the Akan languages of Ghana. The other three language clusters, or "speech communities," belong to the Gur (also known as Voltaic) family of languages within Niger-Congo. The Gur subfamily is primarily spoken in the Sahel region of West Africa, including the northern segments of Togo and Ghana, and much of Burkina, and Mali.

In geographic terms, the four main clusters from south to north are as follows. The Éwé occupy the southern third of the country. The Tem occupy the central section just north of the Éw. The Kabiyê occupy the northwest section to the northwest of the Tem bordering on Benin. The Moba occupy the northernmost section of the country bordering on Burkina. However, Togo's ethnolinguistic map is more complicated than these four neat clusters might suggest. There are approximately 30 ethnolinguistic groups that form part of the clusters mentioned above as well as outside those clusters.

Several communities grouped within large clusters would prefer to be listed separately. The most prominent among them are the Mina in the southeastern corner of the country around the city of Aneho, sometimes spelled Anecho. The Mina, along with many among the Fon speech community on the Benin side of the border, are descendants of Afro-Brazilian returnees in the 1800s. The Mina, particularly, insist on calling their language Mina, not Éwé. Yet lexically and structurally it is a variant, a marginally distinct dialect, of Éwé. The same is mostly true of Fon. Fon, however, is slightly more distinct. Political ambition, economic status, and a consciousness of their Brazilian heritage motivate the Mina position. It is interesting to note that members of their community held leadership positions in the immediate aftermath of independence until overthrown by General Eyadéma in 1969. The conflict between the Eyadéma government and the families and descendants of the pre-Eyadéma leadership continues, muted most of the time, but with frequent and vehement public discourse.

Educational SystemOverview

Superimposed on the linguistic, ethnic, and social mosaic of Togo is the French language and culture. In spite of the legally designated "trust" territory status, after independence on April 27, 1960, Togo was, for all practical purposes, a French colony and remained within the French sphere of influence, including the Franc zone and a commonwealth-like association of Francophone countries. Inevitably Togo has inherited a wholly French educational system in programmatic structure, curriculum, and language of instruction at all levels. French is also the official language used in government and the practical language for all commercial activity. This is not to suggest that Éwé and Kabiyê, and indeed any of the other Togolese languages, are excluded. Togolese languages have in fact a surprising degree of presence in all facets of life at the informal level, including informal exchanges between teachers and students at all educational institutions.

The government, in power since 1969, instituted in the late 1970s and early 1980s the adoption of two African languages, indigenous to Togo, as national languages. The two are Éwé and Kabiyê, sometimes spelled as Kabyê or Kabrê. In 1977 the government established a pedagogical research institute, Direction de la Formation Permanente de l'Action et de la Recherche Pedagogique (DIFOP) to produce Éwé and Kabiyê textbooks and generally oversee the training and preparation of teachers for these two languages. DIFOP was located on the campus of the University of Benin (Université du Benin) in Lomé. The ultimate intention was to replace French, the colonial language, with the two designated Togolese languages. Concurrent with the switch in language was the intention to "nationalize" the curriculum so as to be more Togo sensitive and to produce educated citizens in harmony with Togolese culture and the needs of Togo. Mr. Kondé Gnon-Samwa, Director of DIFOP at the time, in a speech in 1979 at a conference organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Dakar claimed that more than 2,000 primary school teachers were trained to teach the two languages in question and that more than 7,000 pieces of instructional material were distributed to various schools. However, the financial component of such a linguistic transformation is staggering. The results as of 2001 are inconclusive, and the effort is inevitably slow. As a result French continues to dominate the formal aspects of Togolese life, including the educational system.

There is a concern among some Togolese that the effectiveness of French, currently the only medium of education and the communicational medium of society's infrastructure and commercial life, will be reduced prematurely. There is evident decline in the instructional standards of the French language. Formal and universal instruction of Éwé and the use of Éwé, and of Kabiyê for that matter, in formal and official contexts is not yet feasible. Also the capacity for enforcing universal education at the primary level is absent. The rate of failure from one grade to the next is exceptionally high. The numbers of enrollees appear high in official statistics because of the large numbers of repeaters. This is especially true at the university level.

The United States Information Services has a strong presence in Lomé. It offers nightly classes to large numbers of young Togolese adults. The role of the United States in the world lends credence to the need for English language competence. The strongest effort for English language within the educational system is at the university level. To fulfill this need the University of Benin has a very strong English department.

Togo's educational system is highly restricted. It is broadest at the primary level then sharply reduced at the secondary level and even more sharply reduced at the university level. Moreover, Togolese society lacks a traditional system of formal education in the context of its respective ethnolinguistic communities that might possibly apply throughout the country.


The challenges that educational policy planners in Togo face are not simply financial. Informal education at the very age levels when children would attend primary schools progresses as it has from time immemorial. Cultural information and language fluency is passed down from generation to generation quite effectively. However, the trouble with this mode of education is that it is naturally and inevitably splintered across ethnic lines. In real terms this kind of education is divisive. The numbers of those who attend school long enough to learn French and as a result acquire a common denominator across ethnic lines are very small. The small number educated in French and the French system provides further problems by introducing an elite group that is by definition estranged from the rest of Togolese society. This further complicates the development of a rational educational system.


Cornevin, Robert. Histoire du Togo. Paris: Berger-Levrault, 1969.

Decalo, Samuel. Historical Dictionary of Togo. Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1976.

. Historical Dictionary of Togo. 2nd ed. Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1987.

Der-Houssikian, Haig. "Togo's Choice." In The Linguistic Connection, ed. Jean Casagrande, 73-82. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, Inc., 1983.

François, Yvonne. Le Togo. Paris: Karthala, 1993.

Menthon, Jean de. A la recontre du Togo. Paris: L'Harmattan, 1993.

UNESCO. Statistical Yearbook. Lanham, MD: Berman Press, 1999.

Haig Der-Houssikian

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B asic D ata
Official Country Name: Togolese Republic
Region (Map name): Africa
Population: 5,018,502
Language(s): French, Éwé,Mina,Kabiyê,Dagomba
Literacy rate: 51.7%

Background & General Characteristics

Socio-political Background

Several brief socio-political discussions, including ethnography, geography, and literacy are necessary for an appreciation of the press in Togo. Togo was placed under French administration first as a League of Nations "mandate" then as a United Nations "trust" territory at the end of World War I (WWI). Up to and through WWI, the country now known as Togo and a sizeable eastern segment of what is Ghana were one entity under German colonial rule. In the transition from a German colony to a French "trust" territory, a significant western portion of German Togoland was ceded to Britain's colonial administration of Ghana. In the process, a major speech community, the Éwé, found themselves partitioned in roughly equal numbers into two different political entities, Ghana and Togo.

Ethnography & Geography

To the east of Togo is Benin (previously Dahomey), to the north is Burkina Faso (previously Upper Volta). These two countries are significant because the Éwé speech community extends into coastal Benin in the form of Mina and Fon. Éwé, starting in Ghana and ending as Fon in Benin, belongs to the Kwa language family in the larger Niger-Congo family of languages which incorporates most of sub-Saharan Africa. The Éwé occupy roughly the southern third of the country. To their north are the Tem. To the northeast of the Tem are the Kabiyê. Moré speaking people who have strong linguistic affinity with the majority population of Burkina Faso inhabits the remaining northern tier of the country.

The Tem and the groups north of them all the way to Burkina are very predominantly Muslim. The Kabiyê and the Éwé for the most part observe their traditional religions. A significant educated elite segment in both ethnic groups is Christian, mostly Catholic among the Éwé and mostly Protestant among the Kabiyê. In Togo these ethno-religious boundaries are hard.

Literacy and Education

The population of Togo is estimated to be slightly more than 5 million. According to UNESCO's 1999 Statistical Yearbook, illiteracy among those aged 15 and over is approximately 43 percent. Approximately 76.5 percent of the population over 25 years of age have had no schooling. In 1997, 859,574 students were enrolled in primary schools. Some 178,254 students were enrolled in secondary schools. In 1996, 11,462 students were enrolled at Université du Benin in Lomé, the capital of Togo. These statistics present an accurate impression of the rate of literacy and the very steep educational pyramid. The significance of this impression is enhanced when the fact that all formal schooling or education at all levels is presented strictly in French, the language of colonial legacy and the official language. Not surprisingly the reading public reads largely in French.

Language Policy

The government, in power since 1969, in the late 1970s and early 1980s adopted two African languages. They are indigenous to Togo, as national languages, Éwé and Kabiyê. In 1977, the government established a pedagogical research institute, Direction de la Formation Permanente de l'Action et de la Recherche Pedagogique (DIFOP) to produce Éwé and Kabiyê textbooks and generally oversee the training and preparation of teachers for these two languages. DIFOP was located on the campus of the University of Benin in Lomé. The ultimate intention was to replace French with the designated two Togolese languages. The one daily newspaper, Togo Press, in French (at the time called La Nouvelle Marche ), includes a page in Éwé and another in Kabiyê. Radio and television broadcasts are the only other major outlets for these and other national languages indigenous to Togo. In the meantime French remains the official language and permeates every formal aspect of Togolese life.

The Press

As mentioned above, there is one daily newspaper, the Togo Press. The paper is mostly in French with segments in Éwé and Kabiyê. According to Africa South of the Sahara 2001, the circulation of Togo-Press is 8,000. The same source lists a number of other periodicals and their circulation numbers where special political or linguistic interests constitute their respective audiences.

  • L'Aurore (Lomé, Weekly, Circulation 2,500)
  • La Conscience (Lomé, Circulation 3,000)
  • Crocodile (Lomé, Twice weekly, Circulation 5,000)
  • La Dépêche (Lomé, Bimonthly, Circulation 3,000)
  • L'Eveil du Travailleur Togolais (Lomé, Quarterly, Circulation 5,000)
  • Game su/Teu Fema (Lomé, Monthly, in Éwé and Kabiyê, Circulation 3,000)
  • Politicos (Lomé, Twice monthly, Circulation 2,000)
  • Le Regard (Lomé, Weekly, Circulation 3,000)
  • Tingo Tingo (Lomé, Weekly, Circulation 3,500)
  • Togo-Images (Lomé, Monthly, Circulation 5,000)

The numbers given the periodicals addressed to special audiences would suggest a total readership in substantial numbers within the literate educated population. The government's efforts towards the promotion of Éwé and Kabiyê at least through the press are reflected accurately. The vast majority of the literate population is literate in French. Nevertheless a small but a critical mass of citizens has become literate in the national languages. The latter, however, are not sufficient in number to disturb the overwhelming balance of power in favor of the former. More importantly, an overwhelming inclination for French remains intact among the governing elite whatever their political and ideological perspectives might be.

State-Press Relations

The newspapers and periodicals listed may not all be available at all times. The number and identity of the periodicals are subject to change from year to year under political and financial stresses. Editors and editorial boards may change. This instability reflects the political and social stresses and strains within which both the press and the body politic at large exist and interact. The socio-political status of Togo has not evolved to a point where one could consider the "government," the "press," the "economic sector," the "judiciary," the "military," and so on as distinct entities. The individual participants in these various sectors for the most part belong to a small French educated elite. There is a great deal of mobility of participants from one sector to the other. A qualification somewhat peculiar to Togo needs to be made here. The President, General Gnasimbe Eyadema, is ethnically a Kabiyé and is a Protestant. He is rightly claimed to have close connections with German economic-agrarian and food distribution interests on the one hand and on the other, British interests with reference to the one oil refinery in the country. He has been president since 1969 with strong support from his own ethnic group, which tends to predominate in the military and bureaucracy.

It is not surprising that there is only the Togo Press ; it is heavily government controlled. The issue of "censorship" does not really arise directly, however, the influence does exist. A Press and Communication Code passed through the National Assembly in January 1998. "Articles 90 to 98 make defamation of state institutions or any member of certain classes of persons, including government officials, a crime punishable by imprisonment for up to 3 months and fines of up to $4,000 (2 million CFA francs)." Article 89 applies a similar provision to protect the president (U.S. Department of State).

Attitude toward Foreign Media

In addition to the publications within Togo, Lomé and several other major towns in the country provide ample access to French publications such as Le Monde, Jeune Afrique, and Le Nouvel Observateur. These are of special interest to the expatriate communities as well as the university educated Togolese segment of society. Several major countries have cultural centers in Lomé. Their libraries make available promotionally oriented publications in their respective languages. Newsweek, Time, and The Herald Tribune are available through the American Cultural center as well as bookstores and hotel newsstands. There are also a number of English language publications available from neighboring Ghana and Nigeria.

The governing elite does not seem to have a policy on foreign publications. One major reason is that only the educated elite who can afford these publications would read them. Another reason is that for the most part the expatriate community reads them, and they insist on having them available. A third reason, and likely the most important one, is that criticism within the foreign media is rarely initiated internally. The Ghanaian and Nigerian papers and journals are quite free in comparison, and frequently provide unfavorable information. These are promptly "corrected" by the daily Togo Press and its periodic sup plements.

Broadcast Media

Observers would have to turn to radio broadcasts and television transmissions to find some diversity and some recognition of indigenous languages other than Éwé and Kabiyê. Radio and television in sub-Saharan Africa, as elsewhere, form a continuum with print press especially where indigenous African languages are concerned. They provide a window on the relative influence of external and internal forces as well as the relative influence within internal power blocs.

Radio Kanal FM broadcasts in French and Mina (a socio-political dialect of Éwé spoken in the southeastern segment of the country centered around the city of Aneho. Radiodiffusion du Togo (National) broadcasts from Kara, the capital of the Kabiyê region to the northeast of the Éwé, and broadcasts in French, Kabiyê, and other languages indigenous to Togo. Télévision Togolaise transmits programs in French and languages indigenous to Togo. The latter is true especially where the news is concerned.

Within the country, according to the CIA, there were 940,000 radios and 73,000 televisions in the late 1990s.


Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The World Fact-bookTogo. Available from publications/factbook/geos/to.html.

Cornevin, Robert. Hiostoire du Togo. Paris: Berger-Levrault, 1969.

Decalo, Samuel. Historical Dictionary of Togo. 2nd ed. Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, 1987.

Der-Houssikian, Haig. "Togo's Choice" In The Linguistic Connection, Ed. Jean Casagrande, 73-82. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, Inc. 1983.

Europa Publications 2000. Africa South of the Sahara 2001, 30th Edition. London: Europa Publications, Taylor and Francis Group, 2001.

Francois, Yvonne. Le Togo. Paris: Karthala, 1993.

UNESCO. African Community Languages and their Use in Literacy and Education. Dakar, 1985.

UNESCO. Statistical Yearbook. Lanham, MD: Berman Press, 1999.

U.S. Department of State. "1999 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices." Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor/U.S. Department of State: February 25, 2000. Available from global/human_rights/1999_hrp_report/togo.html.

Haig Der-Houssikian

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Togo, officially Togolese Republic, republic (2010 pop. 6,191,155), 21,622 sq mi (56,000 sq km), W Africa. It borders on the Gulf of Guinea in the south, on Ghana in the west, on Burkina Faso in the north, and on Benin in the east. Lomé is the country's capital and its largest city.

Land and People

From south to north, Togo is made up of five successive geographic regions. In the extreme south is a narrow sandy coastal strip (c.30 mi/50 km long), which is fringed by lagoons and creeks. A region (c.50 mi/80 km wide) of fertile clay soils lies north of the coast. The third region is made up of the clay-covered Mono Tableland, which reaches an altitude of c.1,500 ft (460 m) and is drained by the Mono River. North of the tableland is a mountainous area comprising the Togo and Atakora mts. and including Mt. Agou (c.3,940 ft/1,200 m), Togo's loftiest point. The fifth region, in the extreme north, is the rolling, sandstone Oti Plateau. The country is almost entirely covered with savanna, which has somewhat thicker vegetation in the south and thinner vegetation in the far north. In addition to the capital, other cities include Sokodé, Kpalimé, Anécho, and Atakpamé.

Togo is comprised of more than 35 ethnolinguistic groups, including the Ewe and the Mina in the south and various Voltaic-speaking peoples, the largest of which is the Kabre, in the north. Some 50% of the inhabitants follow traditional African religious beliefs, 30% are Christian (mostly Roman Catholic), and 20% Muslim. French is the country's official language and is used in business; Ewe and Mina are widely spoken in the south and Kabiye and Dagomba in the north.


Agriculture is Togo's chief economic activity, engaged in by about 65% of the workforce. The principal food crops are yams, cassava, corn, beans, rice, millet, and sorghum. The leading cash crops are cotton, coffee, and cocoa. Sheep, goats, hogs, and cattle are raised, and fishing is important. Large-scale mining of phosphate deposits at Akoumapé (in the southeast) began in 1963 and is now Togo's most important industry. Small quantities of chromite, bauxite, limestone, and iron ore are also mined, and marble is quarried. The country's other industries consist mainly of agricultural processing, handicrafts, and the manufacture of basic consumer goods. Attempts to implement economic reforms, begun in the late 20th cent. and including increasing privatization and foreign investment, have met with limited success.

A hydroelectric plant completed in 1988 on the Mono River was a collaborative effort between Togo and Benin. Togo's limited road and rail transportation facilities are concentrated in the central and southern parts of the country; Lomé is the main port. The cost of Togo's imports is usually much higher than its earnings from export sales. The main imports are machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, and petroleum products; the leading exports are cotton, phosphates, coffee, and cocoa. The principal trade partners are Ghana, Burkina Faso, France, and China.


Togo is governed under the constitution of 1992. The president, who is head of state, is popularly elected to a five-year term; there are no term limits. The prime minister, who is head of government, is appointed by the president. The unicameral legislature consists of an 91-seat National Assembly whose members are popularly elected for five-year terms. Administratively, Togo is divided into five regions.


For the history of Togo before it became independent on Apr. 27, 1960, see Togoland. At the time of independence, Sylvanus Olympio was the country's prime minister, and when Togo adopted a presidential form of government in 1961, he became its first president. Until 1966 there were tense relations with neighboring Ghana, led by Kwame Nkrumah, who sought to merge Togo with Ghana—a plan that Togo strongly resisted. The government's inability to find employment for most of the 600 men who had served in the French army and then returned to Togo in the early 1960s led to a coup on Jan. 13, 1963, during which Olympio was assassinated.

Nicolas Grunitzky, Olympio's brother-in-law and an important political figure in the 1950s who had gone into exile (1958) in Dahomey (now Benin), returned to Togo and became president. Grunitzky unsuccessfully attempted to unify the country by including several political parties in his government. On Jan. 13, 1967, he was toppled in a bloodless army coup led by Lt. Col. Gnanssingbé Eyadèma, who became president in Apr., 1967, after an interlude of conciliar government. Eyadèma was confirmed overwhelmingly as president in elections in 1972. He proved to be intolerant of growing opposition, repressing dissent in trade unions and other areas of public life. Government efforts to exert increased control over the economy in the late 1970s included land-reform projects and state supervision of the textile trade. A new constitution that was approved in 1979 ended emergency military rule, proclaimed the Third Togolese Republic, and renewed Togo's status as a single-party state. Eyadèma was also elected to another term as president.

Civil wars in neighboring Ghana and Burkina Faso resulted in large refugee migration into Togo; in addition, the revolutionary governments in those nations isolated Togo by closing their borders. In 1986, Eyadèma survived a coup attempt and was elected to a third term as president. In 1991, a national conference was convened to force Eyadèma to resign, to set up a transitional government, and to schedule multiparty democratic elections. The Togolese army then began a violent campaign on Eyadèma's behalf to return him to power. In 1992, Eyadèma was given back much of his power and the transitional government was dissolved. Nonetheless, a new constitution approved that year succeeded in somewhat reducing presidential power.

In 1993, Eyadèma won reelection in a contest that was boycotted by the main opposition parties. As a result, economic sanctions were imposed by the European Union. He won again in 1998, and in 1999 his party swept parliamentary elections; once again, the elections were boycotted by the opposition. The 2002 parliamentary elections were also boycotted by the opposition, and were again swept by the government party. Also in 2002 the constitution was amended to permit the president to seek a third term, and in the presidential election in 2003 Eyadèma was returned to office. The opposition accused the government of electoral fraud; the most popular opposition leader was living in exile and barred from running.

In Feb., 2005, Eyadèma died. The army engineered the appointment of Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, Eyadèma's son, to the presidency, contrary to the constitution, which called for the speaker of parliament to succeed to the office. Parliament subsequently approved the move and amended the constitution to avoid a new election. These moves were protested internationally and sparked confrontations between Togolese demonstrators and police; Togo also was threatened with the loss of foreign aid. Under pressure Gnassingbé agreed at the end of the month to step down.

Abass Bonfoh was appointed interim president until the April presidential election, in which Gnassingbé was declared the winner. The election was denounced by the opposition as rigged, but other West African nations called on the two sides to compromise and form a national unity government. The electoral result sparked violence, in which several hundred died, between the opposition and the government's supporters and forces, and some 38,000 fled to neighboring Benin and Ghana, but Gnassingbé, strongly supported by the military, took office. The new government that was formed in June included some moderate opposition members but failed to be the broader unity government West African nations had encouraged, and the most powerful posts went to Gnassingbé's allies.

Negotiations in 2006 led to an agreement (August) that called for a government of national unity that included the opposition; in September, Yawovi Agboyibo, a human-rights activist, was named prime minister. In Oct., 2007, all political parties took part in the legislative elections, making them the first truly contested such elections in two decades. Observers said the elections were generally free and fair, but the constituencies were gerrymandered and unequal and the governing party won nearly two thirds of the seats with not quite a third of the vote, leading to opposition charges of vote-counting irregularities.

Ruling-party loyalist Komlan Mally became prime minister in Dec., 2007, but he was seen as ineffective and resigned in Sept., 2008. Gilbert Houngbo, a career diplomat, replaced Mally. In the Mar., 2010, presidential election, Gnassingbé was declared the winner with more than 60% of the vote, but the opposition denounced the results, saying that there were voting irregularities, including ballot stuffing. Houngbo resigned as prime minister in July, 2012, after several weeks of antigovernment demonstrations; Kwesi Ahoomey-Zunu succeeded him. Parliamentary elections in July, 2013, again resulted in a lopsided majority for the ruling party. The Apr., 2015, presidential election, which again resulted in a win by Gnassingbé, this time with 59% of the vote, was again denounced by the opposition, which accused the government of fraud. The prime minister resigned in June, and was succeeded by Komi Sélom Klassou.


See H. W. Debrunner, A Church between Colonial Powers: A Study of the Church in Togo (tr. 1965); S. Decalo, Historical Dictionary of Togo (2d ed. 1987).

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Official name: Republic of Togo

Area: 56,785 square kilometers (21,925 square miles)

Highest point on mainland: Mount Agou (986 meters/3,235 feet)

Lowest point on land: Sea level

Hemispheres: Northern and Eastern

Time zone: Noon = noon GMT

Longest distances: 510 kilometers (317 miles) from north to south; 140 kilometers (87 miles) from east to west

Land boundaries: 1,647 kilometers (1,023 miles) total boundary length; Benin 644 kilometers (400 miles); Burkina Faso 126 kilometers (78 miles); Ghana 877 kilometers (545 miles)

Coastline: 56 kilometers (35 miles)

Territorial sea limits: 56 kilometers (30 nautical miles)


Togo is a long, narrow country in West Africa, sandwiched between Ghana and Benin. With an area of 56,785 square kilometers (21,925 square miles), it is almost as large as the state of West Virginia.


Togo has no territories or dependencies.


Located only eight degrees north of the equator, Togo has a tropical climate. The northernmost part of the country, which is farther from the coast, has the greatest variations in temperature. The average high and low temperatures in the northern town of Mango are 35°C (95°F) and 15°C (59°F), compared with 30°C (86°F) and 23°C (73°F) in Lomé, which is on the southern coast.

Togo's climate, while moist, is drier than those of its neighbors on the Gulf of Guinea. The coast receives an annual average rainfall of about 78 centimeters (31 inches), although it has two rainy seasons: one between April and early August, and a second, shorter one in October and November. The plateau region to the north experiences only the April-to-Au-gust rainy season but still averages 100 centimeters (40 inches) of rainfall annually. The heaviest rainfall occurs in the Togo Mountains, which receive an average of around 150 centimeters (60 inches) of rain per year.


Togo's dominant physical feature is a chain of low mountains that stretches across the country from southwest to northeast. Several different types of terrain lie to the north and south of these mountains. At the southernmost end is a narrow coastal strip, bordered by the low Ouatchi Plateau, which, in turn, gives way to the higher plateau that rises to the mountains. North of the Togo Mountains is yet another plateau, drained by the Oti River and crossed from southwest to northeast by granite escarpments.


Togo is bounded on the south by the Bight of Benin, which is part of the Gulf of Guinea.

Seacoast and Undersea Features

The waters off Togo's coast have a strong undertow, making its beaches generally unsafe for swimming; one coastal area, however, is protected by a natural coral reef. Fishing is possible from the shoreline or from boats. Whales can often be seen nearby.

Coastal Features

Togo's narrow coast is fringed with sandy beaches separated from the rest of the land by lagoons and tidal flats, which give this area a swampy character.


Lake Togo is the largest of the inland lagoons lining Togo's coast; it is also Togo's largest natural body of inland water.


The Mono River flows north to south, traversing more than half the length of Togo before flowing into the Gulf of Guinea. Together with its tributaries, it drains most of Togo south of the central mountain chain. North of the mountains is the Oti River, a major tributary of the Volta River and Togo's longest river, traveling a total length of 550 kilometers (340 miles). Besides the Mono and the Oti, Togo's two other major waterways are the Kara River, which crosses the Togo Mountains in the north, and the Haho River in the south, which drains into Lake Togo.


There are no deserts in Togo.


Togo has a flat, low-lying coastal plain, from which plateaus rise gradually to the central mountains. In the far north, there is rolling savannah terrain to the north of the Oti River.


The Togo Mountains, which cross Togo from southwest to northeast, belong to a mountain system that extends from the Atakora Mountains in Benin to Ghana's Akwapim Hills. Togo's highest peak, Mt. Agou, is located at the southern edge of these mountains, rising to a height of 986 meters (3,235 feet).


Togo has no significant caves.


Togo has three different plateaus. The Ouatchi Plateau, which borders the coastal strip, is a transitional belt of reddish, lateritic clay soil. At elevations of between 61 and 91 meters (200 and 300 feet), it ex-tends some 32 kilometers (20 miles) from the edge of the coastal region to a higher plateau drained by the Mono River. This second plateau stretches northward to the edge of the Togo Mountains. North of the mountains, the Oti River drains a third sandstone plateau traversed by granite ridges in the northwest.


The reservoir of the Nangbeto Dam, on the Mono River at the Togo-Benin border, is Togo's largest inland body of water.



Curkeet, A. A. Togo: Portrait of a West African Francophone Republic in the 1980s. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1993.

Knoll, Arthur J. Togo Under Imperial Germany, 1884-1914: A Case Study in Colonial Rule. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1978.

Packer, George. The Village of Waiting. New York: Vintage Books, 1988.

Web Sites

Lonely Planet: Destination Togo. (accessed April 14, 2003).

Mbendi Information for Africa: Togo. (accessed April 14, 2003).

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56,790sq km (21,927sq mi)



capital (population):

Lomé (658,100)


Multi-party republic

ethnic groups:

Ewe 20%, Kabye 16%, Waci-Gbe 8%, Tem 5%, Mina 5%


French (official), Ewe, Kabiye


Traditional beliefs 59%, Roman Catholic 22%, Sunni Muslim 15%


CFA franc = 100 centimes

Small republic in w Africa, the capital is Lomé. It divides geographically into four regions. The coastal plain is sandy; n of the coast is an area of fertile, clay soil. North again is the Mono Tableland, which reaches an altitude of c.450m (1500ft), and is drained by the River Mono. The Atakora Mountains are the fourth region. The vegetation is mainly open grassland. History The historic region of Togoland comprised what is now the Republic of Togo and w Ghana. From the 17th to 19th century, the Ashanti raided Togoland, seizing the indigenous inhabitants, the Ewe, and selling them to Europeans as slaves. As a German Protectorate from 1884, it developed economically, and Lomé was built. At the start of World War 1, Britain and France captured Togoland from Germany. In 1922, it divided into two mandates, which, in 1942, became UN Trust Territories. In 1957, British Togoland became part of Ghana. In 1960, French Togoland gained independence as the Republic of Togo. In 1961, Sylvanus Olympio became the first president. He was assassinated in 1963. Nicolas Grunitzky became president, but he was overthrown in a military coup, led by Ghansimgbe Eyadéma, in 1967. In 1972, Eyadéma became president. In 1979, a new constitution confirmed Togo as a single-party state, the sole legal party being the Rassemblement du Peuple Togolais (RPT). Re-elected in 1972 and 1986, Eyadéma was forced to resign in 1991 after pro-democracy riots. Kokou Koffigoh led an interim government. Unrest continued with troops loyal to Eyadéma attempting to overthrow Koffigoh. In 1992, a new constitution was introduced, and Eyadéma regained some power. In 1993 Eyadéma won rigged elections, boycotted by opposition parties. An opposition alliance won elections in 1994, but Eyadéma formed a coalition government. In 1998, Eyadéma was re-elected in suspect and violent elections. In late 2002, the constitution was changed to allow Eyadéma to stand for re-election. He won the subsequent elections (2003). The majority of the population work in subsistence agriculture (2000 GDP per capita, US$1500). Cocoa, coffee, and cotton are the chief cash crops. Palm oil and phosphates are the principal exports.

Political map

Physical map


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Culture Name

Togolese; Togolais

Alternative Names

Republic of Togo; Republique du Togo; Togoland


Identification. Togo is named after the town of Togoville, where Gustav Nachtigal signed a treaty with Mlapa III in 1884, establishing a German protectorate. Togo is an Ewe (pronounced Ev'hé) word meaning "lake" or "lagoon." Since 1884, Togoland and later Togo became synonymous for the entire region under colonial control. The term Togolese first appeared after World War I, and the population increasingly identified with this term, culminating in 1960 with the choice of the Republic of Togo as the official name.

Location and Geography. Covering a total area (land and inland water) of 21,925 square miles (56,785 square kilometers), Togo extends 365 miles (587 kilometers) inland, 40 miles (64 kilometers) wide at the coast and 90 miles (145 kilometers) wide at its widest point. It is bordered by Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Benin.

Togo consists of six geographical regions. The coastal region is low-lying, sandy beach backed by the Tokoin plateau, a marsh, and the Lake Togo lagoon. The Tokoin (Ouatchi) Plateau extends about 20 miles (32 kilometers) inland at an elevation of 200 to 300 feet (61 to 91 meters). To the northeast, a higher tableland is drained by the Mono, Haho, Sio, and tributaries. The Atakora massif stretches diagonally across Togo from the town of Kpalime northeast; at different points it is known as the Danyi and Akposso Plateau, Fetish massif, Fazao mountain, Tchaoudjo massif, and Kabye mountains. The highest point is the Pic d'Agou at 3,937 feet (986 meters). North of the mountain range is the Oti plateau, a savanna land drained by the river of the same name. A higher, semi-arid region extends to the northern border.

The climate is tropical and humid for seven months, while the dry, desert winds of the Harmattan blow south from November to March, bringing cooler weather though little moisture. Annual temperatures vary between 75 and 98 degrees Fahrenheit (23 and 35 degrees Celsius) in the south and 65 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 38 degrees Celsius) in the north.

The thirty Togolese ethnic groups are now found in all parts of the country, most notably in the capital Lomé, which is situated on the border with Ghana.

Demography. The population of Togo is estimated by the United Nations to be 5 million in 2000, with growth at approximately 3.5 percent per annum (though the last government census dates from 1981). One fifth of the population lives in Lomé, the capital. Kara, the second largest city, has approximately two hundred thousand inhabitants. Population density reached 42 per square mile (67 per square kilometer) in 1991, with 75 percent in rural villages.

Linguistic Affiliation. French is the official language of government, but both Ewe of the Kwa and Kabye of the Gur language families have semi-official status. Ewe has a much wider use than its ethnic boundaries, partly as a consequence of German colonial education policies. Minaa constantly evolving melange of Ewe, French, English, and other languagesis the lingua franca of Lomé, of the coastal zone, and of commerce in general.

Symbolism. National symbols include Ablodé (an Ewe word meaning freedom and independence), immortalized in the national monument to independence; the African lion on the coat of arms (though long since extinct in Togo); and colorful Kente cloth, originating in the Awatime region shared with neighboring Ghana.

History and Ethnic Relations

The population of the central mountains is perhaps the oldest in Togo, with recent archeological research dating the presence of the Tchamba, Bogou, and Bassar people as far back as the ninth century. Northern Mossi kingdoms date back to the thirteenth century. Ewe migration narratives from Nigeria and archaeological finds in the region of Notse put the earliest appearance of Ewe speakers at c. 1600. Other research suggests the Kabye and others were the last to settle in the Kara region coming from Kete-Krachi in Ghana as recently as two hundred fifty years ago. Parts of north Togo were for a long time under the influence of Islamic kingdoms, such as that of Umar Tal of the nineteenth century.

European presence began in the fifteenth century and became permanent from the sixteenth. Though the Danish, Dutch, Spanish, British, German, and French all sailed the coastal region, the Portuguese were the first to establish local economic control. For the next three centuries the area that is Togo today was sandwiched between the two powerful slave trading kingdoms of Ashanti and Dahomey. Consequently the Togolese population was overrepresented among those unfortunates sold into the trans-Atlantic slave trade. During the same period a growing Arab controlled trans-Saharan trade in slaves, kola, and gold passed through Togo.

Missionaries arrived in the mid-1800s and set up schools and churches in the regions of Ho (present-day Ghana), Kpalimé, and Agou. The Berlin Conference led to the annexation of Togo as a Schutzgebiet (protectorate) by the German Empire in 1884, under the leadership of Captain Gustav Nachtigal. Initially the treaty negotiated covered only the coastal region of about fifteen miles, though over the next fifteen years the German colonial administrators moved their capital from Zebe to Lomé and extended control north as far as present day Burkina Faso. The borders were finalized in treaties with France (1897) and Britain (1899).

German colonial rule consisted largely of export-oriented agricultural and infrastructural development, and frequent accounts of barbarity reached international attention. The most significant contribution was an system of roads and railroads built by German money and Togolese forced labor.

British and French troops invaded and captured German Togoland in 1914. For the duration of World War I, British troops controlled much of the region, including the capital, but with the Treaty of Versailles and the creation of the League of Nations Mandate system, Togoland was repartitioned. Officially in 1922, one third came under British control, and two-thirds under the administration of France (modern-day Togo), including the capital Lomé. After World War II, the mandates passed to the control of the United Nations (UN) Trusteeship in 1946. In 1956, in a UN-sponsored plebiscite, the British section voted to join the Gold Coast Colony as independent Ghana in 1957.

Emergence of the Nation. During the interwar period, several organizationsincluding the Cercle des Amitiés Françaises, the Duawo, and the Bund der deutschen Togoländerorganized and militated in public and private against French rule. The Cercle became the Committee for Togolese Unity Party (CUT), under the leadership of Sylvanus Olympio. The Togolese Party for Progress, led by Nicolas Grunitzky, offered a more conservative message. In 1956 France made French Togoland a republic within the French Union, with internal self-government. Grunitzky was made prime minister and against the wishes of the UN, France attempted to terminate the trusteeship. In a UN-sponsored election, the CUT won control of the legislature and Olympio became the country's first president on 27 April 1960. In 1963 Togo gained the dubious distinction of being the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to experience a military coup d'état.

National Identity. Until the dictatorship of Gnassingbé Eyadema, the southern Ewe culture predominated in all realms of life and was second only to the influence of French. After 1967, however, the president deigned to redress the southern bias in cultural, political, and social life, and to this end created authenticité, modeled on the same program of the Zaire dictator Mobutu. This movement attempted to highlight the many and diverse cultures of Togo, but resulted in reducing them to two only: that of the north and south. More recently, the idea of Togolese nationhood has become submerged to that of Kabye ethnicity.

Ethnic Relations. Ethnic tensions are minimal, despite the persistent murmurings of certain politicians. Political strife came to a head in 19911994 and did result in south against north violence and the reverse, with its concomitant refugees and resettlement, but Togo's thirty ethnic groups continue to mix and intermarry throughout the country.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

The city of Lomé and the coastal region are deeply influenced by the architectural programs of the successive colonial regimes. Vestiges of the German administrative buildings, several cathedrals and many churches, as well as private houses can be found throughout the country, though German influence was less pervasive in the north. The British period featured no architectural innovation, but more than forty years of French administration left its mark, most prominently in the work of Georges Coustereau. The works of this Frenchman are to be found throughout the country and include the national independence monument and an unusual church in the small town of Kpele-Ele.

During the prosperous 1960s and 1970s, the president inaugurated an extravagant program, lavishing upon Lomé and his home town of Kara five-star hotels, a new port, and sports and government buildings. The skyline of Lomé is broken by four enormous skyscrapers, most prominently the five-star Hotel Deux Février. Since the economic decline of the 1980s and indebtedness, few new projects have succeeded. The Chinese government, however, funded the building of a forty-thousand-seat stadium, which opened in 2000. In the dire economic climate at the end of the twentieth century, private Togolese citizens invest their small incomes in private building, usually constructed by homemade concrete bricks. The vast majority, however, live in rural settings in a variety of traditional village designs: centralized, dispersed, on stilts, or in two-story conical mud huts like those of the Tamberma. Enclosures are gendered spaces, with the external kitchen area a female realm.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Togolese usually have two or three meals per day, each consisting largely of a starch product, such as cassava, maize, rice, yams, or plantains. A hot, spicy sauce is served with midday or evening meals, consisting of a proteinfish, goat, beans, or beefand often rich in palm (red) oil or peanut paste. Fruits and vegetables, though readily available, are eaten more by the bourgeoisie. Traditional French staples, including baguettes, are mainstream in the cities.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Food does not serve a significant ceremonial function, except perhaps in terms of animist rituals, when the sacrificed animals are prepared, cooked, and served. Beer, gin, and sodabi (distilled palm wine) are, however, essential. Among wealthy middle-class Togolese, the usual French three- or four-course meals are always served at functions.

Basic Economy. Agriculture provides the mainstay of the economy, employing close to four-fifths of the active population. Farmers grow food for subsistence and for sale.

Land Tenure and Property. Private property exists in Togo alongside traditional community custodianship, and land is bought and sold under both systems. Private ownership of land began during the German period, as small parcels were purchased for commerce and for missions. The French continued this policy of gentle aggrandizement, but post-independence this was complicated by the president's illegal seizure and redistribution of plantations owned by his opponents. Thus, much land in the south, and particularly in the capital Lomé, remains the site of intense litigation, which takes place in the civil courts. Warnings are often written in red on the walls of land parcels to deter sale or deception.

Commercial Activities. Agricultural and manufactured products are sold both retail and wholesale in shops and markets. The informal economy is significant and is found in every town and village market, including the Assigamé (Grand Marché) in Lomé.

Major Industries. The 1990s saw most government industries privatized. Phosphates, run as a monopoly, remain Togo's largest industry, with electricity production a distant second. The once highly favored banking sector is in permanent decline, and tourism is insignificant. Togo has a small oil refinery, and animal husbandry, telecommunications, and information technology are growth industries. Togo has possibly the highest use of Internet and email services per capita in West Africa.

Trade. Togo's stagnant, underdeveloped economy is largely dependent on agricultural exports. In the mid 1990s, over 50 percent of Togo's exports were of four primary productscoffee, cocoa, cotton, and phosphates. Until the relaunching of ports in Cotonou and Lagos, Lomé was one of the busiest on the coast. The roads and rail infrastructure are rapidly declining, however, despite the launching of the Free Trade Zone in 1989.

France is by far Togo's largest trading partner. Fifty percent of imports from France are consumption goods, of which a minority are re-exported to Burkina and Niger. Forty-two percent of imports are of equipment, building, and agricultural supplies. Togo imports all its petroleum needs.

Division of Labor. Child labor has been ubiquitous, and in 1996 and 1998 several incidents of child slavery were exposed. Girls are more likely to work than go to school in much of Togo.

Professional positions are usually occupied by individuals who have had post-secondary school education. Successful business people may or may not have formal educations, but often they have relatives, friends, or patrons who helped finance their establishment.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. Society is divided along traditional and nontraditional lines. The elite includes kings, paramount chiefs, and vodou priests. The modern elite includes government functionaries, business professionals, and the educated. Poor rural families often send their children to city-living relatives for schooling or employment.

Symbols of Social Stratification. During the colonial period, all but the simplest clothing was considered a social distinguishing factor in villages, while brick houses and cars were in towns. During the last decades of the twentieth century, wealthy villagers could afford tin roofs and some even telephones, while in the cities, large houses, cable television, western dress, and restaurant dining were hallmarks of success.

Political Life

Government. The Fourth Republic provides for a constitution modeled on that of the Fifth French Republic, with the president, the prime minister, and the president of the National Assembly being the three chief posts. The constitution limits the president to two successive five-year terms, although he has amended the constitution frequently in the past.

Leadership and Political Officials. President Gnassingbe Eyadema came to power by force in 1967, though he was implicated in the assassination of the first president, Sylvanus Olympio, and played kingmaker from 1961 until coming to power. There were no obvious successors within his partythe Rassemblement du Peuple Togolais (RPT)at the end of the twentieth century. After the 1991 national conference, Eyadema made the transition to being a democratically elected leader, though the 1998 presidential election was condemned internationally as flawed and fraudulent.

A one-party state from 1961 until 1991, Togo experienced a renaissance in multiparty politics, though political in-fighting beleaguer the chances of the Committee for Action and Renewal and the Union for Democratic Change (UDC). The leader of the UDC, Gilchrist Olympio, widely considered to have won the 1998 presidential election, lives in voluntary exile in Ghana.

Social Problems and Control. Large-scale social upheaval followed the political violence of 1992 1993 and approximately one-third of the population moved to neighboring countries. With the political deadlock, relative calm returned. The cancellation of all international aid projects and withdrawal of most nongovernmental organizations, however, put strain on the economy. Unemployment, unsustainable wages, and poverty rose rapidly. Crime increased, particularly violent robberies and car-jackings. Most educational institutions were on strike throughout much of 19992000.

Military Activity. Togo has a small army and minimal naval and air forces. Eighty percent of the gendarmerie and 90 percent of the military are of the Kabye ethnic group. Most regularly go unpaid and set up ad hoc roadblocks to extort money. The French and Chinese were the leading suppliers of military hardware to Togo from the latter portion of the twentieth century to the present day.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

Welfare is almost nonexistent, though pensioners who paid contributions to the Francophone cooperative system continue to receive payments. Structural readjustment is hardly a success story, but a great number of state industries have been privatized under the guidance of the IMF/World Bank.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

Most nongovernmental and aid organizations quit Togo in the 1990s, with only Population Services International and Organizacion Ibero Americana de Cooperacion Inter Municipal (OICI) still operating throughout the country. Voluntary service organizations, such as Rotary, Lions, and Zonta continue to operate.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. Customary divisions of labor generally do not still hold in Togo, though men do most heavy construction work. Women perform almost all other manual labor in towns and villages, though less machine work, and control small market commerce.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. Women, though having attained legal equality, remain unequal in all walks of life. Women and men are kept apart in most social gatherings. Women usually eat after men but before children. Discrimination against women in employment is common practice and widespread. Women have little place in political life and less in government programs, though there is a ministry allocated to women's and family affairs. Only women descended from ruling tribal families, successful businesswomen, or women politicians enjoy privileges equal to that of men, more won than granted. Togo recently banned the practice of female genital mutilation.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship. Traditional systems of social organization are significant in the daily lives of Togolese. Kinship systems provide networks for support and are visible during all major life-cycle ceremonies.

Marriage. Marriage practices vary throughout Togo according to the ethnic group, though organized religions and the State have altered the ceremonies of even the most secluded villages. Social disapproval of ethnic exogamy is lessening, though the government unofficially discourages it. Marriage law follows French legal statutes and requires an appearance before a magistrate for all state apparatuses to be in effect. Customary marriages, without state sanction, are still widespread. A bride-wealth, but not a dowry, remains important throughout Togo. Polygyny is officially decreasing, though unofficial relationships uphold its role.

Domestic Unit. The basic family structure is extended, although nuclear family units are increasingly commonplace, particularly in urban areas. In most cases, the man is the supreme head of the household in all major decisions. In the absence of the husband, the wife's senior brother holds sway. The extended family has a redistributive economic base.

Inheritance. Inheritance laws follow French legal statutes in the case of a legal marriage. In the event of a customary marriage only, customary inheritance laws are enforced. Most ethnic groups in Togo are patrilineal by tradition or have become so as a consequence of colonization.

Kin Groups. Kinship is largely patrilineal throughout Togo and remains powerful even among Westernized, urban populations. Village and neighborhood chiefs remain integral to local dispute resolution.


Infant Care. Infants are cared for by their mothers and female members of their households, including servants. Among some ethnic groups, infants are often only exposed to the father eight days after birth. Vaccination against all childhood diseases has been strongly encouraged by the government.

Child Rearing and Education. Until the age of five, children remain at home. Initiation ceremonies occur from this age and throughout adolescence. After the age of five, all children can commence school, providing they can pay the school fees. On average, boys are three times more likely to complete primary schooling than girls. This discrepancy increases into secondary schooling and is most marked in the rural central and northern regions.

Higher Education. Secondary schooling is more common in the south, and numerous private and public schools offer the French baccalaureate system. Often children are sent abroad during strikes. Togo has one university, located in the capital, and it offers first- and second-level degrees in the arts and sciences, as well as in medicine and law.


Public displays of affection are seldom. Men and boys hold hands, but not boys and girls. Courting remains private and is not generally arranged by parents except among some ethnic groups; for example, the Tchamba. Old people and village elders are highly esteemed, though the climate of political fear has brought the undue influence of youths. Eating is done most often with the right hand, though among the bourgeoisie flatware is prevalent. When guests arrive, water is offered and the traditional greetingasking about the family and their healthensues.


Religious Beliefs. Since the inception of the mandate, freedom of religious worship has been protected by law. The French interpreted this to include animistic African religions, and this perhaps partly accounts for the popularity of traditional vodou cults and rituals.

Throughout the country, many different forms of Christianity and Islam are practiced. Roman Catholicism is the most prevalent form of Christianity. Various American Baptist sects, the Assemblies of God, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Eckankar have been making inroads among urban and rural populations alike. Islam is virtually paramount in the north.

Religious Practitioners. Religious officials, whether Catholic priests or vodou sofo, are held in the highest esteem in both rural and urban settings. They are always invited to bless traditional ceremonies as well as building projects or any new initiative. Traditional healers also hold sway, andin the wake of the AIDS epidemicare regaining popularity.

Death and the Afterlife. A Togolese funeral is a most important event. Wildly extravagant (by Western standards), funeral celebrations are a daily occurrence. Marching bands, choirs, football tournaments, banquets, and stately services are as fundamental as an expensively decorated coffin. Funerals often take place over a month or more, and families frequently sell or mortgage land or homes to pay for the funeral of a beloved and elderly relative. If the person dies in an accident, however, or some other sudden tragedy (AIDS, for example), this is considered a "hot death," and the funeral services are concluded more quickly, with little circumstance.

Medicine and Health Care

Similar to other underdeveloped, tropical nations, Togo's population is challenged by numerous health problems, including parasitic, intestinal, nutritional, venereal, and respiratory diseases.

Public health problems are exacerbated by inadequate waste disposal, sewerage, drinking water, and food storage.

In the 1990s, life expectancy at birth was fifty-one years, though this is declining steeply with the onset of AIDS. Malaria, commonly referred to as palu, remains the leading cause of illness and death. Other common diseases include schistosomiasis, meningitis, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and HIV/AIDS.

Traditional healing methods and preparations continue to be the most widely used form of health care in Togo. Every small town has an herbalist, and one market in Lomé specializes in the sale of medicinal herbs. Frequently medical treatments are coupled with visits to the local vodou house or fetish priest.

Secular Celebrations

Major state holidays are 1 January; the Fête Nationale, 13 January; Fête de la Libération Economique, 24 January; Fête de la Victoire, 24 April; May Day, 1 May; Day of the Martyrs, 21 June; and Day of Struggle, 23 September. 27 April, Independence Day, is not officially celebrated by President Eyadema and is frequently a day of opposition activity.

The Arts and Humanities

There is little government support for the arts in Togo, beyond the rudimentary presence of a Ministry of Culture and the poorly funded and maintained departments of the university. Private organizations include the Centre Culturel Français, the American Cultural Center, and the Goethe Institut.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences

There is little government support for the physical and social sciences in Togo, beyond the existence of a Ministry for Scientific Research and Education. Private organizations and nongovernmental organizations provide various services, and a private academy of social sciences was created.


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Decalo, Samuel. Historical Dictionary of Togo. 3d ed., 1996.

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Benjamin Nicholas Lawrance

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Togo •Hidalgo •charango, Durango, fandango, mango, Okavango, quango, Sango, tango •GlasgowArgo, argot, cargo, Chicago, embargo, escargot, farrago, largo, Margot, Otago, Santiago, virago •Lego • Marengo •Diego, galago, Jago, lumbago, sago, Tierra del Fuego, Tobago, Winnebago •amigo, ego, Vigo •bingo, dingo, Domingo, flamingo, gringo, jingo, lingo •Bendigo • indigo • archipelago •vertigo • Sligo •doggo, logo •bongo, Congo, drongo, Kongo, pongo •a-gogo, go-go, pogo, Togo •Hugo •fungo, mungo •ergo, Virgo

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