Togo, Republic of Togo, Africa
Togo is a state in West Africa with an area of 56,785 km². Its territory stretches north from the coast of the Gulf of Guinea. Before 1960 it was a French possession. The official language is French. Despite the small size of the country, its natural conditions are quite diverse. The coast is low-lying and less rugged, with numerous lagoons and groves of coconut palms, alternating with huge baobabs, give it a unique and picturesque.
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Sandy beaches, a favorable climate (maximum temperature in March +31 °C, from July to September +21 °C, rainfall is low – 850-1000 mm), make Togo an attractive place for tourism. To the north of the coast is a low plateau with two parallel mountain ranges in the central part (the highest point is Mount Agu, 986 m). The rainy season in the area lasts from March to September, and the dry season is very short. The annual rainfall on the plains is up to 1200 mm, and up to 1700 mm in the mountains. Most of the central plateau is occupied by savannas, with gallery forests along the rivers.
The north of Togo is occupied by a mountainous plateau. It is very hot here, even the average annual temperature reaches 34-35 ° C. The dry season lasts five months, the rainy season – from March-April to October. In the north of Togo, savannas and forest savannas alternate with groves of oil palms. Two major rivers cut through the country: the Oti in the north, the Mono in the south and the Mono (flowing into the ocean) in the east. The animal world is diverse: in remote areas leopards, elephants, lions, hippos, antelopes and crocodiles are preserved. For the protection of large animals in the north there is a reserve Keran.
Togo’s population of 7,965,055 (2017) consists of 45 ethnic groups: the most numerous are the Ewe and their close agricultural peoples, and the Kabre (and their close kotokoli, Chokosi, etc.). Many of these peoples are famous as skilled artisans and weavers. Colorful annual holidays of the Kabre and other peoples, such as the festival of yams, celebrated in August and coinciding with the New Year according to the traditional calendar. Mass dances and rituals last for three days. The largest city is the capital Lome, founded in the late XIX century on the site of a fishing village. Lomé is very picturesque, rich in greenery, especially in the most fashionable residential and administrative districts.
The ancient period of the country’s history is little studied. Archaeological finds testify to the ability of the distant ancestors of the Togolese to make pottery and work iron. The name Togo means “the land behind the lagoons” (in use since 1884). The Portuguese were the first Europeans to enter the territory of modern Togo in the Mids. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in modern Togo in the mid-15th century. From the beginning of the 16th century they annually exported (from the southern parts of the country) some thousands of slaves. The formation of the ethnic composition of the country took place in the course of numerous migrations of peoples who found refuge here from slave traders from the neighboring states of Ashanti and Dahomey. In the early 17th century, large settlements of Ewes were formed in the southern regions. In the end. In the late 18th century, in the place of one of them was founded the city of Lome.
In the 1840s German missionaries and merchants began to infiltrate the territory of Togo. English and French Christian missions were also established. In July 1884 the German emissary H. Nachtigal concluded a protectorate agreement with several local chiefs. Its boundaries were defined after the capture of the German troops inland and the conclusion of agreements with France (1897) and England (1907). The administrative center of the German colony of Togo was the city of Lomé. The strict colonial regime (imposing heavy taxes on peasants, forced labor on public works, including building a wharf and railroads, corporal punishment, etc.) lead to mass protest actions of local inhabitants. The resistance to the authorities was especially strong among the Kabiers and the Konkomba. In August 1914 Togo was occupied by the troops of France and England. According to the Versailles Peace Treaty (1919) the eastern part of the country (most of the territory) became French Togo and the western part – British Togo (administratively attached to the English colony on the Gold Coast – as the Republic of Ghana was before it became independent in 1957). France and Great Britain administered these possessions as mandated territories of the League of Nations, and from December 13, 1946 (by decision of the UN General Assembly) – as trust territories of the UN.
The economy of the colony was based on commodity production of coffee and cocoa beans. In the period between the two world wars a number of highways and railroads were built and the port in Lomé was enlarged. In 1945 the country gained the right to send three representatives to the French parliament. The following year, a 30-member territorial assembly was created, with 24 members elected by the local population.
The first political organization, the Comité de l’Unity de Togo (CET), was founded in 1941. It demanded the unification of both parts of the country and the right to self-determination. It was supported by the Party Juvento (an acronym for “justice,” “union,” “vigilance,” “education,” “nationalism,” “persistence,” and “optimism” in French), created in 1951 on the basis of the patriotic youth movement. The interests of conservative forces of the country were expressed by the Party of Progress of Togo, created in the second half of the 1940s. The Party of Progress of Togo (PPT) and the Union of Chiefs and People of the North of Togo (UPCNT) were founded in the second half of the 1940s. Following the referendum of October 28, 1956 Togo was officially recognized as an autonomous republic with a Legislative Assembly. Under pressure from the National Liberation Movement in February 1958 France established Togo as a Republic with the right to control defense and foreign relations as well as finances. The elections to the Chamber of Deputies (new name for the legislature) on April 27 1958 were won by the CET, which was in alliance with JUVENTO. The new government was led by CET leader Silvanus Olimpio. In 1959, the PPT and the SVNST united under the opposition party, the Democratic Union of the Population of Togo (UDTP). The Juvento party, accusing the CET of seeking one-man rule, went into opposition.
The independence of the Republic of Togo was proclaimed on April 27, 1960. In March 1961 the CET was renamed the PET (“Party of Unity of Togo”). S. Olimpio (99% of the vote) was elected President in elections on April 9, 1961. The opposition parties boycotted the election. April 9, 1961 the constitution was adopted, by which the National Assembly became the highest legislative body of the country. In December of the same year after the arrest of the leaders of Juvento accused of preparing an antigovernment conspiracy, the decree on the dissolution of the opposition parties was issued. January 13, 1963 there was a military coup: President S. Olimpio was killed and the state of emergency was declared. The military gave the power to the provisional government headed by N. Grunitzky (the leader of the PPT). In May 1963 he was elected president. The new government pursued a policy of strengthening all-round relations with France.
On January 13, 1967, as the result of another military coup, Lieutenant Colonel Gnassingbe Eyadema (Kabie by ethnicity) came to power. The activities of political parties were banned and a one-party system was instituted with the creation in November 1969 of the Rassemblement du Peuple Togolais (RPT). The period of the military regime ended with the election of G. Eyadema as president in 1979. He was re-elected to the post also at the 1986 elections.
The power of Eiadema who concentrated in his hands the state, party and military governance of the country, was practically one-man rule. The strengthening of the position of the Kabirs in all spheres of national life has exacerbated ethnic contradictions. Economic crises have led to social tensions in society. The government was forced to undertake reforms. Implementation of privatization program was started in 1983 (by the end of 1995 33 state enterprises were privatized). In 1991 the activity of political parties was legalized. At the presidential election in 1993 held in a multiparty system G. Eiademy won again (96.4%). The OTN won the parliamentary elections of 1994 and 1998 (boycotted by the opposition).
The next parliamentary elections were postponed twice and were held on October 27, 2002. Most of the opposition parties again boycotted them, and the ruling UPM won with 72 of the 81 seats. The party “Union for Democracy and Development” won three seats. In December 2002, the parliament amended Article 59 of the Constitution to remove the two-term limit on presidential terms, and lowered the minimum age of the president from 45 to 36.
Despite his intention to retire in 2001, President Eyadema ran for presidency at the presidential elections held on June 1, 2003. There were 2.25 million voters (out of 3.23 million). Out of 7 candidates, G. Eyadema won (57.79% of the votes). The candidate of the opposition party “Union des forces de changement (UFC)”, Emmanuel Bob Aquitani (the candidacy of the party leader J. Olimpio was not approved by the Constitutional Court, on the grounds that he had not submitted all the necessary documents for registration) received 33.69% of the votes. The opposition disagreed with the election results and the opinion of 187 international observers, who declared the elections free and fair. In July, a new government (headed by Prime Minister Koffi Sama) was formed, which included one of the president’s sons, Faure Essozimne Gnassingbé, as Minister of Equipment, Mines, Posts, and Telecommunications.
In April 2004, in Brussels there were held negotiations between the EU and Togo to resume the cooperation frozen in 1993 (the EU considered the re-election of General G. Eyadema in 1993, 1998 and 2003 as his seizure of power, the main condition was to move away from the authoritarian form of government). G. Eyadema promised to hold the next parliamentary elections in 2005.
In the late 1990s, the GDP growth was down to 2.1%, and in 2000 it was down to 1.9%. Its growth began in 2001: it rose to 2.7%, and in 2002 to another 3.7%. Increased production and exports of phosphate rock improved the economic situation. GDP growth in 2004 was 3.3%, GDP volume was $8.257 billion. GDP GROWTH IN 2004 WAS 3.3% AND GDP VOLUME WAS $8.257 BILLION. In January 2005, work began on laying a gas pipeline onshore and offshore from Nigeria to Ghana, Togo and Benin.
On February 5, 2005, G. Eyadema died of a heart attack at the age of 65. The closure of all land, sea and air borders was announced. According to the constitution, the powers of the head of state were to be temporarily transferred to the Chairman of the National Assembly Fambara Ouattara Natchaba until presidential elections were held (within 60 days). Since he was in Benin at the time, the military command transferred power to the son of the deceased president, 39-year-old F. E. Gnassingba. On February 6, 2005 Natchaba was unanimously removed as President of the National Assembly (the aircraft in which he had attempted to return from Benin was not allowed into Togo), and Gnassingbé was unanimously elected President. There is a constitutional amendment allowing him to remain in power as president until 2008 (the official end of G. Eyadema’s term).
The UN, the African Union, the EU, ECOWAS and France condemned the actions of the Togolese army, equating them to a military coup, and called on Togo to hold new general elections. The French military contingent, which is present in the Togolese Republic, is on high alert to protect French citizens on the territory of the country in case of need. The International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) suspended the membership of Togo. At the call of the opposition, there were protests against the unconstitutional change of government in Lomé from February 8 to 10, 2005. The government responded by banning demonstrations. On February 9, the new president appeared on radio and television to make his first public address. He also spoke about the possibility of free and “transparent” general elections in Parliament. The reaction of the Togolese opposition, the AU and other international organizations was not commented.
Folk dwellings in different parts of the country differ in architectural forms and building materials (often a mixture of clay and straw). In the forest zone, round in plan huts made of clay (there are also stone huts) covered with thatched cone-shaped roof are common. In the mountains – rectangular houses under pointed or flat roofs. In the north, the dwellings are fortified farmsteads consisting of several 2-3-story irregularly shaped rooms. In the south (including the Ewes) there are rectangular or square shaped huts with walls built of thin tree trunks tied together and covered with clay. The roof is gable (less often flat) of dried grass or palm leaves. On the banks of rivers there are houses on wooden piles (most often without windows). Some people decorate the walls of homes with multicolored drawings of a schematic nature. In modern cities, houses are built of brick and reinforced concrete structures, plastics are used, and local marble is used for building finishes. Some hotels and motels are styled as African dwellings.
Developed woodcarving. Masks are rare. Traditional wooden sculpture of southern peoples is original – decorated with round sculpture ceremonial thrones, paired statuettes “ibedzhi” figures ancestors, a variety of figurines, fetishes and brightly colored wooden vessels with differently shaped bottoms. Popular are the so-called “wedding chains” (figures of husband and wife made of a solid piece of wood) made by the masters of the craft center in Clotho.
Professional fine art began to develop after independence. Many artists and sculptors studied at art schools of European countries (including the USSR) and were recognized at international exhibitions (in France, etc.) – P. Ayi, A. Gbenon, A. Dabla, D. Agboli, A. Kpeglo, R. Dalaken and K. Agbeve. Other masters of fine arts are F. Sambiani, J. Cyr, L.F. Togbunu, and D. Hunce. In the city of Lomé there is a school of architecture.
Widespread crafts and trades: pottery, making batik, kalebas (vessels), necklaces from miniature (up to 0.5 cm) snail shells, weaving headdresses, baskets and baskets of raffia palm fiber, straw, as well as wood carving, metal, ivory and weaving (including polychrome tapestries).
Based on traditions of oral folklore (until early 1980s only the Ewes had a written language, their folklore was recorded). Modern national literature develops mainly in French. Writers – F. Cushoro (a Beninese man who lived most of his life in Togo), D. Ananu, V. Alaji, F. Sidola, P. Santos, etc. Poets – I.-E. Dogbe, A. Timam and others.
National music has a long tradition and is an integral part of the life of the peoples of Togo. The musical instrumentation is varied. Drums are widespread: donga (paired drums of different sizes) by the Kabie, acrima (extended upward) by the Bassari, the griots (caste of itinerant storytellers, musicians and singers in West Africa) by the Bassari and Konkomba peoples use oblong “talking drums” called “kulum”, the Kokokoli use kamo drums (reminding European ones), the coast peoples use kpeti (wide in shape). Other musical instruments include avaga bells, bells, lutes (kibeu, chimu, etc.), rattles (assogoe, etc.) and a variety of flutes (yilo, etc.). Music is inextricably linked with traditional dances, which are very diverse – adeun and akposse (hunter dance and youth dance by the Eve), ajokbo, jokoto and gbekon (by the Gen), tobol (“fire dance” by the Bassari), etc. After World War II, numerous so called “consert-parties” – theatrical-concert groups emerged. Folk groups take part in regularly held national shows and international festivals. Since the middle. 20 century the musical culture is influenced by the modern pop music.
In the pre-colonial period the Yoruba-Ana people had puppet theater. Elements of theater are present in traditional ceremonies and rituals. The formation of the national theatrical art was influenced by the work of the griots. In the colonial period, theater groups were created at schools and Christian missions, which staged plays by Shakespeare, Moliere and African authors (in 1907 the play “The Fifth Lagoon” by Ghanaian author K. Fiawu was staged). In 1930 in Lomé an amateur company “Zupica” was founded, which staged plays by local authors, and in the 1950s – the amateur theaters “Agbodovo” (Kpalime) and “Bodi” (Sokode). In 1953 the French Cultural Center was organized in the capital, where the most popular troupes performed (including the “Santos”, founded in 1955 by the writer and educator P. Santos).
After independence, youth theater groups were created in Lomé, and in 1974 – the first professional National Togolese company (included ballet, music and theater sections). Agokoli” theatrical group was popular. Playwrights – M. Aitnard, D. Ananu and K.K. Koffi-Kanabo (received his theater education in the USSR).
Togo is a republic. There is a constitution approved by referendum of September 27, 1992, which was later amended in December 2002 and February 2005. The head of state and supreme commander of the armed forces is the president, who is elected by direct universal suffrage for 5 years. The head of state has the right to dissolve the parliament. Legislative power belongs to unicameral parliament (National Assembly) which consists of 81 deputies elected by direct universal suffrage for 5 years.
Togo is an agrarian country. The economy basis is made by phosphorites extraction and export. One of the least developed countries in the world. 32% of the population is below the poverty line.
The area of cultivated land is 46.15%. Oranges, peanuts, bananas, yams, beans, cocoa beans, coffee, corn, manioc, vegetables, millet, rice, sorghum, tobacco, taro, cotton, and yams are grown. Livestock breeding (cattle, goats, horses, sheep, donkeys, and pigs) is underdeveloped, also due to the spread of the tsetse fly. Products of sea (catching anchovy, mackerel, sardinella, herring and tuna) and river (tilapia, etc.) fisheries needs of the domestic market only partially covers. Forestry is developing – planting of caysedra, mango and teak trees.
Mining industry – the extraction of dolomite, phosphate, table salt and marble. Manufacturing industry (about 10% of GDP) is represented by enterprises of food industry (production of soft drinks, starch, flour, beer, palm oil, etc.), leather and shoe industry, textile, chemical industry (production of paints, varnishes, detergents, matches and plastics), clothing industry, production of building materials (lumber, cement, etc.). The city of Lomé has an oil refinery and a steel plant.
Import exceeds export: in 2004, imports (in US dollars) amounted to 501.3 million, exports – 398.1 million. Import goods – machinery, equipment, petroleum products and foodstuffs. The main import partners are France (21.1%), the Netherlands (12.1%), Côte d’Ivoire (5.9%), Germany (4.6%), Italy (4.4%), South Africa (4.3%) and China (4.1%) – 2003. Cocoa, coffee, re-export goods, phosphates and cotton make up the bulk of exports. The main export partners are Burkina Faso (16.6%), China (15.4%), the Netherlands (13%), Benin (9.6%) and Mali (7.4%) – 2003.
The Republic of Togo
Togo lies within several natural zones, ranging from the tropics to the savannah, and six geographic zones. There are plains in the north, a plateau in the center rising to 400 m above sea level, and lagoons in the south coastal plain. Almost the entire territory of Togo is savannah with huge baobabs standing alone. On the mountain slopes and river valleys, evergreen and gallery forests grow. Impervious jungle covers only 6% of the country, and it continues to shrink as a result of intensive logging. This entails a decrease in numbers and species of wildlife. It is hot here year-round because the country is located almost on the equator, stretching in a narrow strip from the fifth to the tenth degrees of northern latitude. In the depths of Togo there are significant deposits of bauxite, graphite, iron ore and gold, as well as phosphate, chromium and uranium. In spite of its great economic potential, the Republic of Togo is one of the poorest countries, classified as a “fourth world” country, i.e., an undeveloped one. This situation is largely due to Togo’s complicated history.
Before the arrival of the first Europeans, the Portuguese, the country was already inhabited by numerous tribes who migrated here from other territories: the Ewes from Benin, the Mina and the Guins from Ghana, all of them settled along the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, because the interior areas were jungles unsuitable for the life of large masses of people. Even today, coconut plantations are no more than 160 kilometers inland from the coast. The Ewe tribe knew the craft of pottery and could make primitive tools of iron. The same tribe gave the country its name: Togo means “land beyond the lagoons” in Ewe language. At first it was the name of a village on the shore of a large lagoon, now called Lake Togo, and later the name was applied to the whole territory of the country. When the Portuguese landed in the middle of the 15th century, they immediately reached an agreement with the local chiefs and engaged in the slave trade. Unlike the neighboring countries of Ghana and Benin, the Portuguese did not build forts here because the coast of Togo lacked natural harbors. For the next 200 years this place was the center of the slave trade and was thus nicknamed the “Slave Coast. Under this name, Togo appeared on maps for a long time. It was not until the late 18th century that the city of Lomé was founded, the result of a profitable slave trade alliance between the Ewe kings and the Portuguese. No industry or agriculture developed here and the tribes maintained the same primitive way of life. The situation began to change for the better in the second half of the 19th century when the Germans became interested in the “Land beyond the Lagoons. King Wilhelm I of Prussia appointed the military surgeon Gustav Nachtigal as special envoy to Africa and charged him with expanding the zone of German influence. In July 1884 Nachtigal, who displayed outstanding diplomatic skills, concluded a protectorate treaty with the kings of the Ewe tribe and raised the German national flag over Togo. The protectorate was named Togoland and lasted until 1914. The German administration abolished slavery, established cocoa, coffee, and cotton plantations, built bridges, a railroad, and even a radio station. Barely after World War I broke out, Togo was occupied by Britain and France, who declared Togo an Anglo-French condominium (condominium). It was only in 1960 that Togo declared independence. The political situation in the country is characterized by instability, which has a direct impact on the economy and living standards. The capital of the Republic of Togo is the port city of Lomé. In the 18th century, on the site of the future city was a fishing village of Alomé, the name was later changed to Lomé. Lomé was originally the center of the German colony of Togoland, and later a condominium of England and France. Traces of the presence of Europeans here can be found at every step: the buildings of the colonial administration in some places are well preserved. The railroad line built by the Germans runs right down the middle of the city. It divides the city into two sections: the western section consists of offices and European homes, while the eastern section consists of stores, hotels, a large covered market and the neighborhoods where the indigenous Africans live. The sights in Lomé are few and all typical of the former colony: the Sacre-Coeur (Sacred Heart) Cathedral, the Palace of the National Assembly, the Presidential Palace and the Independence Monument. The local market offers everything that the local culture is rich in: multi-colored batik, wooden figurines and earthenware with traditional ornaments.
The technique of batik was introduced to Togo relatively recently, but here it is already considered a folk craft of its own. When making batik, Togolese masters prefer blue-blue shades of indigo and red-brown, burgundy and brown shades of ochre. They depict in batik what the Togolese see around them every day: picking cotton, cutting wood, fishing boats, palm trees. Wooden figurines are also special: they are paired figurines of “ibedji” or “wedding rings” – figurines of two spouses made of a single piece of wood. Wooden Togolese figurines are not only an element of folklore. The town of Togoville on the northern shore of Lake Togo is where the voodoo cult spread around the world, along with the slaves. All the accessories of the cult, bags of bones, straw dolls, black candles, are sold at the world famous Marché des Fetishes, or “Market of Idols”, located in Lomé. While the cities of Togo are quite a lot of stone houses, the countryside is a land of round huts with pointed roofs built from “banco” – a mixture of clay and thatch. The peculiarity of Togolese huts, called “tata”, is that here they are built two or three stories, they resemble European medieval castles in miniature, and they are cool even in the hottest day. The Republic of Togo is the fourth largest producer of phosphate in the world. But the amount of phosphate mined is steadily declining because of the depletion of existing mines and the high cost of building new ones. The country mainly lives off the export of coffee, cocoa and cotton. The already small number of tourists is only a short coastal strip. There aren’t many tourists, and one reason is that the railroads, one of the main modes of transport, are worn out. The roads were laid under the Germans, in the late XIX century, and are now in poor condition. There are several protected areas in Togo, and the most famous are the Kwe, Keran and Fazão-Malfacasa National Parks. Despite the presence of nature reserves, rare animals are almost nonexistent here. On Lake Togo, which is 30 km east of Lomé, each year come to spend the winter in thick reeds innumerable flocks of pelicans, herons and many other birds. The jungle and savannah are home to a small number of large animals: leopards, elephants, panthers, cheetahs, lions, hippos, crocodiles, and small duck antelopes.
Location: west Africa. Form of government: presidential republic. Administrative division: 5 regions (Kara, Maritim, Plateau, Savannah, Central). Capital: Lomé, 1,593,000 (2009). Languages: French (official and language of international communication), Ewe and Mina (in the south), Kabiyya and Dagomba (in the north). Ethnic composition: 37 tribes (the most important are Ewe, Mina and Kabre) – 99%, Europeans Syrians and Lebanese – 1%. Religions: local cults – 51%, Christianity – 29%, Islam – 20%. Currency: the CFA franc. Major population centers: Lomé, Kara, Sokode, Atakpame. Major rivers: Mono, Haho, Oti. Largest lake: Togo. Important ports: Lom, Kpeme. Important airports: the international airport Lomé Tokoin, the international airport Niamtugu.
GDP: $5.9 billion (2010). 32% of the population is below the poverty line. Industry: mining (phosphates), food processing, cement, light industry (textiles). Agriculture: plant growing (coffee, cocoa, cotton, yams, tapioca, corn, beans, rice, sorghum).
Climate and weather