Togo By | Sunday, September 9 2012 at 15:00
Origins of name: Named after Togoville in Germany, where Germany declared a “protectorate” over the area that came to be called Togo. Before then, the Togo coast and adjoining coastline in West Africa was collectively known as the Slave Coast
In an 1884 treaty, present-day Togo became a German protectorate. The status was formalised in 1905
In 1914 Britain and France wrested control and ruled under League of Nations mandate.
After World War II, the mandate was transferred to UN. At independence, British Togoland voted to join Ghana, and French Togoland became the Togolese Republic.
It gained independence on April 27, 1960.
Form of Government
The 1992 as amended in 2002, provides for a President elected for a five-year term
President serves as Head of State
Prime Minister is Head of Government
Executive President, Prime Minister appointed by President, Unicameral Parliament
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 929,395 and females age 16-49: 943,967
Expenditures – 1.6% of GDP
Branches – Togolese Armed Forces (Forces Armees Togolaise, FAT): Ground Forces, Togolese Navy (Marine du Togo), Togolese Air Force (Force Aerienne Togolaise, FAT), National Gendarmerie
1960-1963: Sylvanus Olympio
1963 – 1967: Nicolas Grunitzky
1967-2005: Gnassingbe Eyadema
Population: 719,000 people
Size: 6,961,049 (2012)
Life expectancy: 58.7 years
Gender make-up: Male – 49.13%, Female – 50.87%
GDP per capita
Area – 56,785sqkm
Land boundaries - Benin 644km, Burkina Faso 126km, Ghana 877km
French (official), Ewe, Mina, Kabye, Dagomba
Christian 29%, Muslim 20%, Indigenous beliefs 51%
African (37 ethnic groups; largest are Ewe, Mina, and Kabye) 99%, European and Syrian-Lebanese less than 1%
Cotton, Phosphates, Coffee, Cocoa
Arable land: 44.2%
Permanent crops: 2.11%
Main port: Lome
Main airport: Lome-Tokoin International Airport (also known as Gnassingbe Eyadema International Airport) located 7km northeast of central Lome
Togo has had one of the highest deforestation rates in the world. Since 1990, it has lost 44% of its forest cover
Slush-and-burn agriculture and uncontrolled fuel wood cutting has further degraded the tropical cover
The mining industry causes environmental degradation as well.
The transition to free multi-party politics remains troubled after decades of one-man rule
The army has disproportionate influence in the political sphere. This has complicated the transition to democracy
Despite steps being taken towards political reform and fiscal transparency, with Faure Gnassingbé still in power many are not certain about whether these changes are just part of a ploy by the ruling party to maintain its hold on power
In recent years, Togo has succeeded to be self-sufficient in basic food crops (corn, cassava, yams, sorghum, millet and groundnuts). But export earnings from phosphates and cotton have fallen as prices for these commodities have plummeted
In 2011, Togo took significant steps towards poverty reduction and economic reforms. As a result, Paris Club cancelled all of Togo's debt, amounting to some $143.1 million, in a bid to encourage the West African nation to pursue economic reforms.
Countries also indicated they intended to provide debt relief on a bilateral basis to Togo amounting to $404 million.
Prior to Eyadema’s dictatorship the 30-odd ethnic groups in Togo lived amicably. But favouritism to the advantage of the Kabye and a systematic policy of diluting Ewe cultural influence has heightened ethnic tensions
Since Faure Gnassingbe’s elevation, there has been a cooling off in relations with Togo’s most important ally, France. Relations had been badly frayed toward the end of his father’s dictatorial rule
The Major Conflicts
When: 1963 and 1967
Who: Founding President Sylvanus Olympio and his successor vs Gnassingbe Eyadema
Why: Tensions between the mainly southern politicians and the army, which is dominated by the Kabye of the north (Eyadema’s ethnic group).
Outcome: In 1963, Eyadema led a group of soldiers who assassinated President Olympio. In 1967, Olympio’s successor Grunitzky was overthrown by Eyadema
Who: Benin vs Togo
Why: Benin claimed Togo had illegally moved boundary markers along the common border
Outcome: A Joint Boundary Commission continues to survey the boundary, but has yet to reach a conclusive agreement
Who: Army was pitted against Opposition supporters
Why: Following the death of Gnassingbe Eyadema, violent protests broke out in many towns over the army’s imposition of Eyadema’s son, Faure, to succeed him. The AU called the imposition a coup d’etat
Outcome: The ensuing crackdown forced 40,000 Togolese, mainly Ewes from the south, to flee to Benin and Ghana as refugees
What to see?
Mt Agou – at 986m, it is the highest mountain in Togo. With a guide, it is possible to walk all the way up.
Most popular sport
Soccer (Togo qualified for first time for the World Cup in 2006)
Famous sportsmen and sportswomen
Emmanuel Adebayor. He plays for England’s Manchester City football club.
Despite a veneer of democratic rule, Togo is one of the handful of African countries that are run as family dynasties. Since 1967, the Eyadema family has run the country as its fiefdom, with the full backing of the army
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