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Brief History

Togo, officially known as the Republic of Togo, was formerly known as French Togoland. It gained its independence from the French-administered UN trusteeship on April 27, 1960 and became a sovereign nation, with Olympio as president. 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 1967, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, installed as military ruler and ruled Togo for almost four decades. Upon his death in February 2005, the military installed the president's son, Faure Gnassingbe. In October 2007, free and fair legislative elections took place. After years of political unrest, Togo is finally being re-welcomed into the international community.

Geography

Togo, capital Lomé, is located west coast of Africa covering an area of 56,785 square kilometers. Togo is bounded on the nort by Burkina Faso, on the east by Benin, on the south by the Gulf of Guinea, and on the west by Ghana. 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. Togo is traversed in the center by a chain of hills, the Togo Mountains. The Oti River drains in a southwesterly direction into the Volta River, which constitutes a part of the upper boundary with Ghana. Togo has some natural resources such as phosphates, limestone, marble, and arable land.

People

Togo has a population of 6,199,841 (2010). Native Africans constitute 99% of Togo's total population and include 37 tribes where the largest and most important are Ewe, Mina, and Kabre. The remaining 1% of Togo's populace is non-African, mostly European and Syrian-Lebanese. The official language is French, and there are two other major languages: the Ewe and Mina. Kabiye, Dagomba, and Hausa are also 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 literacy rate is 60.9%. Its religions are distributed among 29% Christians, 20% Muslims, and 51% followers of indigenous beliefs.

Government

The government of Togo is subject to a republic system. Its legal system is based on the French court system. It accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations. The chief of state is President Faure Gnassingbe since May 4, 2005, and the head of government, appointed by the president, is Prime Minister Gilbert Houngbo since September 7, 2008. The official currency is the CFA Franc, where 1 euro is equivalent to 655.957 francs.

Economy

This small, sub-Saharan economy is heavily dependent on both commercial and subsistence agriculture, which provides employment for 65% of the labor force and accounts for 47.4% of the country’s GDP. Some basic foods must be imported. Cocoa, coffee, and cotton generate about 40% of export earnings with cotton being the most important cash crop and the food crops include corn, sorghum, millet, cassava, and yams.

Togo is the world's fourth-largest producer of phosphate. Phosphate mining accounts for 5% of the GDP. 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. Manufacturing represents a small part of the economy (6–8%), with textiles and the processing of agricultural products—palm oil extraction, coffee roasting, and cotton ginning and weaving—being the most important sectors. Other industries were developed to provide consumer goods—footwear, beverages, confectionery, salt, and tires.

Following the serious economic collapse Togo experienced in 1992/3, the government launched a comprehensive adjustment programme primarily aimed at sustainable economic growth. This programme suffered a setback in 1998 with the energy crisis and unfavourable investment climate as a result of the presidential election in the same year. The government's decade-long effort, supported by the World Bank and the IMF, to implement economic reform measures, encourage foreign investment, and bring revenues in line with expenditures has moved slowly. Progress depends on privatization, increased openness in government financial operations, progress toward legislative elections, and continued support from foreign donors.

Economic growth remains marginal due to declining cotton production, underinvestment in phosphate mining, and strained relations with donors.

Togo’s GDP per capita is estimated to be US$900 (2009), and its inflation rate is 2% (2009). The Gross National Income (GNI) per capita is US$ 403.70 (2009).


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