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definitions - Togo

Togo (n.)

1.a republic on the western coast of Africa on the Gulf of Guinea; formerly under French control

2.(MeSH)A republic in western Africa, lying between GHANA on its west and BENIN on its east. Its capital is Lome. Togo was the eastern part of the German protectorate of Togoland from 1884 until it was captured by Anglo-French forces in 1914. It became an autonomous republic within the French Union in 1956, achieving independence in 1960. The country probably derives its name from Lake Togo, to (water) + go (edge or shore). (From Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, 1988, p1216&Room, Brewer's Dictionary of Names, 1992, p548)

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Togo (n.)

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Togolese Republic
République Togolaise
Flag Coat of Arms
Motto: "Travail, Liberté, Patrie"  (French)
"Work, Liberty, Homeland"[1]
Anthem: Salut à toi, pays de nos aïeux  (French)
"Hail to thee, land of our forefathers"

Location of Togo within the African Union
Location of Togo within the African Union
(and largest city)
6°7′N 1°13′E / 6.117°N 1.217°E / 6.117; 1.217
Official language(s) French
Vernacular languages Gbe languages such as Ewe, Mina and Aja; Kabiyé; and others.
Ethnic groups  African 99%
(37 tribes; largest and most important are Ewe, Mina, and Kabre)
European and Syrian-Lebanese less than 1%
Demonym Togolese
Government Republic
 -  President Faure Gnassingbé
 -  Prime Minister Gilbert Houngbo[2]
Legislature National Assembly
 -  from France April 27, 1960 
 -  Total 56,785 km2 (125th)
21,925 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 4.2
 -  2009 estimate 6,619,000[3] (101st1)
 -  Density 116.6/km2 (93rd²)
301.9/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $6.415 billion[4] 
 -  Per capita $898[4] 
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $3.611 billion[4] 
 -  Per capita $505[4] 
HDI (2010) increase 0.428 (low) (139th)
Currency CFA franc (XOF)
Time zone GMT (UTC+0)
Drives on the right
ISO 3166 code TG
Internet TLD .tg
Calling code +228
1 Estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected. Rankings based on 2005 figures CIA World Factbook – Togo
² Rankings based on 2005 figures (source unknown)

Togo, officially the Togolese Republic Listeni/ˈtɡ/, is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east, and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately 57,000 square kilometres (22,000 sq mi) with a population of approximately 6.7 million.

Togo is a tropical, sub-Saharan nation, highly dependent on agriculture, with a climate that provides good growing seasons. The official language is French, with many other languages spoken in Togo, particularly those of the Gbe family. The largest religious group in Togo are those with indigenous beliefs, and there are significant Christian and Muslim minorities. Togo is a member of the United Nations, African Union, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, South Atlantic Peace and Cooperation Zone, La Francophonie and Economic Community of West African States.

From the 11th to the 16th century, various tribes entered the region from all directions. From the 16th century to the 18th century, the coastal region was a major trading centre for Europeans in search of slaves, earning Togo and the surrounding region the name "The Slave Coast". In 1884, Germany declared Togoland a protectorate. After World War I, rule over Togo was transferred to France. Togo gained its independence from France in 1960.[5]

In 1967, Gnassingbé Eyadéma led a successful military coup, after which he became president. At the time of his death in 2005, Eyadéma was the longest-serving leader in modern African history, after having been president for 38 years.[6] In 2005, his son Faure Gnassingbé was elected president. In April 2012, Togo was ranked 156th in Gross National Happiness - GNH World Happiness report published by the earth institute.[7]



During the period from the 11th century to the 16th century, various tribes entered the region from all directions: the Ewé from the east, and the Mina and Guin from the west. Most settled in coastal areas.

  Togoland, 1908

The slave trade began in the 16th century, and for the next two hundred years the coastal region was a major trading center for Europeans in search of slaves, earning Togo and the surrounding region the name "The Slave Coast".

In 1884 a treaty was signed at Togoville with the King Mlapa III, whereby Germany claimed a protectorate over a stretch of territory along the coast and gradually extended its control inland. In 1905, this became the German colony of Togoland. During World War I this German territory was invaded by British troops from the neighbouring Gold Coast colony and French troops coming from Dahomey.

Togoland was separated into two League of Nations mandates, administered by Britain and France. After World War II, these mandates became UN Trust Territories. The residents of British Togoland voted to join the Gold Coast as part of the new independent nation of Ghana in 1957, and French Togoland became an autonomous republic within the French Union in 1959.

  Independence (1960)

Independence for French Togoland came in 1960 under Sylvanus Olympio. He was assassinated in a military coup on 13 January 1963 by a group of soldiers under the direction of Sergeant Etienne Eyadema Gnassingbe.[8] Opposition leader Nicolas Grunitzky was appointed president by the "Insurrection Committee", headed by Emmanuel Bodjollé.

On 13 January 1967, Eyadema Gnassingbe overthrew Grunitzky in a bloodless coup and assumed the presidency, which he held from that date until his sudden death on 5 February 2005 after 38 years in power, the longest occupation of any dictator in Africa. The military's immediate but short-lived installation of his son, Faure Gnassingbé, as president provoked widespread international condemnation, except from France. Some democratically elected African leaders such as Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria supported the move, thereby creating a rift within the African Union.[9]

Faure Gnassingbé stood down and called elections which he won two months later. The opposition claimed that the election was fraudulent. The developments of 2005 led to renewed questions about a commitment to democracy made by Togo in 2004 in a bid to normalise ties with the European Union, which cut off aid in 1993 over the country's human rights record.[citation needed] Up to 500 people were killed and around 40,000 fled to neighbouring countries in the political violence surrounding the presidential poll, according to the United Nations.[10]


  Graphical depiction of Togo's product exports in 28 color coded categories.

Togo serves as a regional commercial and trade centre. The government's decade-long effort, supported by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to implement economic reform measures, encourage foreign investment, and bring revenues in line with expenditures, has stalled. Political unrest, including private and public sector strikes throughout 1992 and 1993, jeopardized the reform program, shrank the tax base, and disrupted vital economic activity.

The 12 January 1994 devaluation of the currency by 50% provided an important impetus to renewed structural adjustment; these efforts were facilitated by the end of strife in 1994 and a return to overt political calm. Progress depends on increased openness in government financial operations (to accommodate increased social service outlays) and possible downsizing of the armed forces, on which the regime has depended to stay in place. Lack of aid, along with depressed cocoa prices, generated a 1% fall in GDP in 1998, with growth resuming in 1999. Assuming no deterioration of the political atmosphere, growth is expected to rise.[citation needed]

Togo is a member of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).[11]


  Map of Togo

Togo is a small West African nation. It borders the Bight of Benin in the south; Ghana lies to the west; Benin to the east; and to the north Togo is bound by Burkina Faso. Togo lies mostly between latitudes and 11°N, and longitudes and 2°E.

In the north the land is characterized by a gently rolling savanna in contrast to the center of the country, which is characterized by hills. The south of Togo is characterized by a savanna and woodland plateau which reaches to a coastal plain with extensive lagoons and marshes. The land size is 21,925 sq mi (56,785 km2), with an average population density of 253 people per square mile (98/km2).


The climate is generally tropical with average temperatures ranging from 27.5 °C (81.5 °F) on the coast to about 30 °C (86 °F) in the northernmost regions, with a dry climate and characteristics of a tropical savanna. To the south there are two seasons of rain (the first between April and July and the second between September and November), even though the average rainfall is not very high.


Togo's transition to democracy is stalled. Its democratic institutions remain nascent and fragile. President Gnassingbé Eyadéma, who ruled Togo under a one-party system, died of a heart attack on 5 February 2005. Gravelly ill, he was being transported by plane to a foreign country for care. He died in transit, whilst over Tunisia. Under the Togolese Constitution, the President of the Parliament, Fambaré Ouattara Natchaba, should have become President of the country, pending a new presidential election to be called within sixty days. Natchaba was out of the country, returning on an Air France plane from Paris.[12]

The Togolese army, known as Forces Armées Togolaises (FAT) – [or Togolese Armed Forces] closed the nation's borders, forcing the plane to land in nearby Benin. With an engineered power vacuum, the Parliament voted to remove the constitutional clause that would have required an election within sixty days, and declared that Eyadema's son, Faure Gnassingbé, would inherit the presidency and hold office for the rest of his father's term.[13] Faure was sworn in on 7 February 2005, despite international criticism of the succession.[14]

The African Union described the takeover as a military coup d'état.[15] International pressure came also from the United Nations. Within Togo, opposition to the takeover culminated in riots in which several hundred died. There were uprisings in many cities and towns, mainly located in the southern part of the country. In the town of Aného reports of a general civilian uprising followed by a large scale massacre by government troops went largely unreported. In response, Faure Gnassingbé agreed to hold elections and on 25 February, Gnassingbé resigned as president, but soon afterward accepted the nomination to run for the office in April.[16]

On 24 April 2005, Gnassingbé was elected President of Togo, receiving over 60% of the vote according to official results. His main rival in the race had been Emmanuel Bob-Akitani from the Union des Forces du Changement (UFC) [or Union of Forces for Change]. However electoral fraud was suspected, due to a lack of European Union or other independent oversight.[citation needed] Parliament designated Deputy President, Bonfoh Abbass, as interim president until the inauguration.[17]

  Current political situation

On 3 May 2005, Faure Gnassingbé was sworn in as the new president, after winning 60% of the vote, according to official results. The opposition again alleged electoral fraud, claiming the military had stolen ballot boxes from various polling stations in the south, and that telecommunications shutdowns were deliberately imposed to affect the results.[18] The European Union suspended aid to Togo in support of the opposition claims, unlike the African Union and the United States which declared the vote "reasonably fair." The Nigerian president and Chair of the AU, Olusẹgun Ọbasanjọ, sought to negotiate between the incumbent government and the opposition to establish a coalition government, but rejected an AU Commission appointment of former Zambian president, Kenneth Kaunda, as special AU envoy to Togo.[19][20] In June, President Gnassingbé named opposition leader Edem Kodjo as the prime Minister.

Reconciliation talks between government and opposition continued until Gnassingbé Eyadema's death in February 2005. In August both parties signed the Ouagadougou agreement calling for a transitional government to organize parliamentary elections. On 16 September, the president nominated Yaovi Agboyibor of the Action Committee for Renewal (CAR) prime minister, snubbing the major opposition party Union of the Forces of Change (UFC) which in reaction refused to join the government. Professor Léopold Gnininvi of the Democratic Convention of African Peoples (CDPA) was appointed on 20 September 2006.

In October 2007, after several postponements, elections were held under proportional representation. This allowed the less populated north to seat as many MPs as the more populated south. The president-backed party Rally of the Togolese People (RPT) won outright majority with the UFC coming second and the other parties claiming inconsequential representation. Again vote rigging accusations were leveled at the RPT supported by the civil and military security apparatus. Despite the presence of an EU observer mission, canceled ballots and illegal voting took place, the majority of which in RPT strongholds. The election was declared fair by the international community and praised as a model with little intimidation and few violent acts for the first time since a multiparty system was reinstated. On 3 December 2007 Komlan Mally of the RPT was appointed to prime minister succeeding Agboyibor. However, on 5 September 2008, after only 10 months in office, Mally resigned as prime minister of Togo.

Faure Gnassingbé won re-election in the March 2010 presidential election, taking 61% of the vote against Jean-Pierre Fabre from the UFC, who had been backed by an opposition coalition called FRAC (Republican Front for Change).[21] Though the March 2010 election was largely peaceful, electoral observers noted "procedural errors" and technical problems, and the opposition did not recognize the results, claiming irregularities had affected the outcome.[22][23] Periodic protests followed the election.[24] In May 2010, long-time opposition leader Gilchrist Olympio announced that he would enter into a power-sharing deal with the government, a coalition arrangement which provides the UFC with eight ministerial posts.[25][26]

  Administrative divisions

Savanes Region, Togo Plateaux Region, Togo Kara Region Centrale Region Maritime RegionA clickable map of Togo exhibiting its five regions.
About this image

Togo is divided into 5 regions, which are subdivided in turn into 30 prefectures and 1 commune. From north to south the regions are Savanes, Kara, Centrale, Plateaux and Maritime.

  Foreign relations

Although Togo's foreign policy is nonaligned, it has strong historical and cultural ties with western Europe, especially France and Germany. Togo recognizes the People's Republic of China, North Korea, and Cuba. It re-established relations with Israel in 1987.

Togo pursues an active foreign policy and participates in many international organizations. It is particularly active in West African regional affairs and in the African Union. Relations between Togo and neighboring states are generally good.


The military of Togo, in French FAT (Forces armées togolaises, "Togolese armed forces"), consists of the army, navy, air force, and gendarmerie. Total military expenditures during the fiscal year of 2005 totaled 1.6% of the country's GDP.[27] Military bases exist in Lomé, Temedja, Kara, Niamtougou, and Dapaong.[28] The current Chief of the General Staff is Brigadier General Titikpina Atcha Mohamed, who took office on May 19, 2009.[29]


  Togolese women in Sokodé.

New figures from the November, 2010 census gave Togo a population of 6,191,155, more than double the total counted in the last census. That census, taken in 1981, showed the nation had a population of 2,719,567. The capital and largest city, Lomé, grew from 375,499 in 1981 to 837,437 in 2010. When the urban population of surrounding Golfe prefecture is added, the Lomé Agglomeration contained 1,477,660 residents in 2010.[30][31]

Other large cities in Togo according to the new census were Sokodé (95,070), Kara (94,878), Kpalimé (75,084), Atakpamé (69,261), Dapaong (58,071) and Tsévié (54,474). With an estimated population of 6,619,000 (as of 2009), Togo is the 107th largest country by population. Most of the population (65%) live in rural villages dedicated to agriculture or pastures. The population of Togo shows a strong growth: from 1961 (the year after independence) to 2003 it quintupled.[32][33]

  Largest cities

  Ethnic groups

In Togo, there are about 40 different ethnic groups, the most numerous of which are the Ewe in the south who make up 32% of the population.(Although along the southern coastline they account for 21% of the population), Kotokoli or Tem and Tchamba in the center, Kabye people in the north (22%). The Ouatchis are (14%)of the population. Sometimes the Ewes and Ouatchis are considered the same, but the French who studied both groups considered them different people.[34] Other Ethinic groups include the Mina, Mossi, Aja (about 8%) and Akan people. There is also a European population who make up less than 1%.


  Mosque in Sokodé.

Approximately 51% of the population has indigenous beliefs, 29% is Christian, and 20% Muslim.[5]


French is the official language of Togo and is the language of commerce. The many indigenous African languages spoken by Togolese include: Gbe languages such as Ewe and Mina (the two major African languages in the south), Kabiyé (in the north), as well as Kotokoli or Tem, Aja, Akessele, Bassar, Losso, and others.[5]


Health expenditure was at US$ 63 (PPP) per capita in 2004.[35] The infant mortality rate is approximately 50 deaths per 1,000 children in 2012.[36] Male life expectancy at birth was at 60.6 in 2012, whereas it was at 65.8 for females.[37] There were 4 physicians per 100,000 people in the early 2000s.[35] Approximately one half of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.[38]

As of 2010, the maternal mortality rate per 100,000 births for Togo is 350, compared with 447.1 in 2008 and 539.7 in 1990. The under 5 mortality rate, per 1,000 births is 100 and the neonatal mortality as a percentage of under 5's mortality is 32. In Togo the number of midwives per 1,000 live births is 2 and 1 in 67 shows us the lifetime risk of death for pregnant women.[39]


Education in Togo is compulsory for six years.[40] In 1996, the gross primary enrollment rate was 119.6%, and the net primary enrollment rate was 81.3%.[40] The education system has suffered from teacher shortages, lower educational quality in rural areas, and high repetition and dropout rates.[40]


  Traditional Taberma houses

Togo's culture reflects the influences of its many ethnic groups, the largest and most influential of which are the Ewe, Mina, Tem, Tchamba and Kabre.

Despite the influences of Christianity and Islam, over half of the people of Togo follow native animistic practices and beliefs.

Ewe statuary is characterized by its famous statuettes which illustrate the worship of the ibeji. Sculptures and hunting trophies were used rather than the more ubiquitous African masks. The wood-carvers of Kloto are famous for their "chains of marriage": two characters are connected by rings drawn from only one piece of wood.

The dyed fabric batiks of the artisanal center of Kloto represent stylized and coloured scenes of ancient everyday life. The loincloths used in the ceremonies of the weavers of Assahoun are famous. Works of the painter Sokey Edorh are inspired by the immense arid extents, swept by the harmattan, and where the laterite keeps the prints of the men and the animals. The plastics technician Paul Ahyi is internationally recognized today. He practices the "zota", a kind of pyroengraving, and his monumental achievements decorate Lomé.


In Togo, breakfast normally consists of a porridge called aklui zogbon that is eaten with a doughnut tasting round ball called botoquoin.[citation needed] For lunch, they have white rice and tomato sauce with a side of chicken and or fish.[citation needed] In daily life, many Togolese indulge in a staple called akoemhe or akume, as the natives call it. La Pate are essentially balls of rice or corn that are mashed into a white dough-like paste. Akoemhe is eaten because it is extremely filling, so the Togolese eat it with several different sauces to give it flavour and variety.[41]


  At the Olympics

On 12 August 2008, Benjamin Boukpeti (born to a Togolese father and a French mother) won a bronze medal in the Men's K1 Kayak Slalom, the first medal ever won by a member of the Togolese team at the Olympics.


As in much of Africa, soccer is the most popular sporting pursuit. Until 2006, Togo was very much a minor force in world football, but like fellow West African nations such as Senegal, Nigeria and Cameroon before them, the Togolese national team finally qualified for the World Cup. Emmanuel Adebayor was the force behind that unexpected qualification.[citation needed]

Although Togo's qualification for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany was historic, its participation was marred by incidents and headlines. There were problems within the Togolese Football Association (Fédération Togolaise de Football – FTF) as well as between players and the Football Association. The culmination of that conflict led to the resignation of the national team coach, Otto Pfister, and the threat made by the players not to play their game against Switzerland on 16 June 2006. Ultimately, the FIFA stepped in to satisfy the players' requirements and the first boycott of a FIFA World Cup game never happened.

Until his dismissal from the team over a long-standing bonus dispute,[42] Adebayor was largely considered the side's star player. He currently plays for Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur on loan from Manchester City. Togo was knocked out of the tournament in the group stage after losing to South Korea, Switzerland and France.

Togo's 2006 World Cup appearance was marred by a dispute over financial bonuses, a situation that almost led to the team boycotting their match against Switzerland. Eventually, Togo did fulfill all three fixtures, failing to qualify for the second round of the competition. Over the following months, the stalemate continued to mar Togolese football, and eventually resulted in the dismissal of strike pair and Kader Coubadja-Touré, and defender Daré Nibombé in March 2007, ostensibly for "indecent remarks concerning the FTF management."[43]

On the 8th January 2010, The Togo National Football team's bus was fired upon in Angola whilst attending the African Nations Cup being held there. The bus driver, assistant coach and team spokesman died, and two players were also injured. This led to Togo withdrawing from the tournament at the behest of the Togolese government.

On the 12th April 2010, Emmanuel Adebayor retired from duty with the Togo National team.

On 26 November 2011, former Togo goalkeeper Charles Balogou was among six people killed when a bus, carrying players and officials from the Etoile Filante delegation, plunged into a ravine 130 kilometers north of Lomé and caught fire. Togo football federation spokesman Aime Ekpe said another 25 people from the delegation — 19 of them players — plus the driver were injured in the crash.[44]

  See also


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  41. ^ Conway, Ben. (2011-06-29) Togo! Togo! Togo!: P. Benkvammeconway.blogspot.com. Retrieved on 2012-01-08.
  42. ^ Togo axe Adebayor and two others. BBC Sport. Retrieved on 2009-03-19>.
  43. ^ "Togo axe Adebayor and two others". BBC News. 25 March 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/africa/6494073.stm. Retrieved 25 May 2010. 
  44. ^ Former Togo goalkeeper among 6 dead in bus crash, Sports Illustrated.com, November 26, 2011.

  Further reading

  • Bullock, A L C, Germany's Colonial Demands (Oxford University Press, 1939).
  • Gründer, Horst, Geschichte der deutschen Kolonien, 3. Aufl. (Paderborn, 1995).
  • Mwakikagile, Godfrey, Military Coups in West Africa Since The Sixties (Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2001).
  • Packer, George, The Village of Waiting (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1988).
  • Piot, Charles, Nostalgia for the Future: West Africa After the Cold War (University of Chicago Press, 2010).
  • Schnee, Dr. Heinrich, German Colonization, Past and Future – the Truth about the German Colonies (George Allen & Unwin, 1926).
  • Sebald, Peter, Togo 1884 bis 1914. Eine Geschichte der deutschen "Musterkolonie" auf der Grundlage amtlicher Quellen (Berlin, 1987).
  • Seely, Jennifer, The Legacies of Transition Governments in Africa: The Cases of Benin and Togo (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).
  • Zurstrassen, Bettina, "Ein Stück deutscher Erde schaffen". Koloniale Beamte in Togo 1884–1914 (Frankfurt/M., Campus, 2008) (Campus Forschung, 931).

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