Western Africa

Capital City:

total: 56,785 sq km
land: 54,385 sq km
water: 2,400 sq km

Land boundaries:
Total: 1,880 km

border countries (3):
Benin 651 km,
Burkina Faso 131 km,
Ghana 1,098 km
Coastline: 56 km
Total: 1936 km




hot, humid in south;
semiarid in north

gently rolling savanna in north; central hills; southern plateau; low coastal plain with extensive lagoons and marshes

mean elevation: 236 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Agou 986 m

Natural resources:
phosphates, limestone, marble, arable land

Land use:
agricultural land: 67.4%
arable land 45.2%; permanent crops 3.8%; permanent pasture 18.4%
forest: 4.9%
other: 27.7% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land:
70 sq km (2012)

Population – distribution:
one of the more densely populated African nations with most of the population residing in rural communities, density is highest in the south on or near the Atlantic coast

Natural hazards:
hot, dry harmattan wind can reduce visibility in north during winter; periodic droughts


People and Society

In November 2017, Togo a population is about 7,965,055 more than double the total counted in the last census. Togo’s population is estimated to have grown to four times its size between 1960 and 2010. With nearly 60% of its populace under the age of 25 and a high annual growth rate attributed largely to high fertility, Togo’s population is likely to continue to expand for the foreseeable future. Reducing fertility, boosting job creation, and improving education will be essential to reducing the country’s high poverty rate. In 2008, Togo eliminated primary school enrollment fees, leading to higher enrollment but increased pressure on limited classroom space, teachers, and materials. Togo has a good chance of achieving universal primary education, but educational quality, the underrepresentation of girls, and the low rate of enrollment in secondary and tertiary schools remain concerns.

Togo is both a country of emigration and asylum. In the early 1990s, southern Togo suffered from the economic decline of the phosphate sector and ethnic and political repression at the hands of dictator Gnassingbe EYADEMA and his northern, Kabye-dominated administration. The turmoil led 300,000 to 350,000 predominantly southern Togolese to flee to Benin and Ghana, with most not returning home until relative stability was restored in 1997. In 2005, another outflow of 40,000 Togolese to Benin and Ghana occurred when violence broke out between the opposition and security forces over the disputed election of EYADEMA’s son Faure GNASSINGBE to the presidency. About half of the refugees reluctantly returned home in 2006, many still fear for their safety. Despite ethnic tensions and periods of political unrest, Togo in September 2017 was home to more than 9,600 refugees from Ghana.

7,965,055(July 2017 est.)


Ethnic groups:
African (37 tribes; largest and most important are Ewe, Mina, and Kabre) 99%, European and Syrian-Lebanese less than 1%

French (official, the language of commerce), Ewe and Mina (the two major African languages in the south), Kabye (sometimes spelled Kabiye) and Dagomba (the two major African languages in the north)

Christian 29%, Muslim 20%, indigenous beliefs 51%


Ethnicity, Language, and Religion

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. Along the southern coastline, they account for 21% of the population. Also found are Kotokoli or Tem and Tchamba in the center and the 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. Other Ethnic groups include the Mina, Mossi, and Aja people (about 8%). There is also a European population who make up less than 1%.

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.

Almost half of the population adheres to various ancestral forms of belief, including Yoruba-based sects associated with Vodou (Voodoo). About one-third of Togo’s population s Christian, many of whom are Roman Catholic, although there are also substantial Protestant, independent, and other Christian communities. Since independence, the Roman Catholic Church in Togo has been headed by a Togolese archbishop. The main Protestant (Calvinist) church has been governed for a long time by Togolese moderators. More than one-six of the population is Muslim.




Education in Togo is compulsory for six years. The education system has had teacher shortages, lower education quality in rural areas, and high repetition and dropout rates. In the north part of the country, 41 percent of the primary school teachers are remunerated by the parents compared with only 17 percent in Lome, where incomes are substantially higher. Despite the increase in the number of school kids, education in Togo is insufficient. The educational system of Togo is patterned on the French model that has the three levels of primary, secondary and higher education.

The primary education is free and compulsory for children six years of age and lasts for six years. The secondary education follows the primary level and is offered for 12-year old children and consists of two cycles of four years for the first, and three years for the second cycle for a total of seven years. Higher education is offered in universities and colleges that have programs of study leading to baccalaureate and master’s degrees. Among these institutions is the University of Lome, which was founded in 1970 and has schools of humanities and sciences; the University Institute of Technology; and the University of Kara, which was founded in 1974 and offers various courses of study.

The abolition of school fees in the primary schools in 2008 was a welcome development in the country, especially for parents and children who used to pay at least US$4 per day per child for school fees, which had impeded the goal of education for all. The United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has partnered with the national government and local agencies to ensure free access by children to free and quality education at the primary level as it continues to provide financial and technical support. To benefit every child in Togo, UNICEF also finances a study on the impact of the abolition of school fees, with the results and recommendations that can be used to help the government to implement a program of reforms for the basic education in the country.




Togo has enjoyed a period of steady economic growth fueled by political stability and a concerted effort by the government to modernize the country’s commercial infrastructure, but discontent with President Faure GNASSINGBE has led to a rapid rise in protests, creating downside risks. The country completed an ambitious large-scale infrastructure improvement program, including new principal roads, a new airport terminal, and a new sea-port. The economy depends heavily on both commercial and subsistence agriculture, which provides employment for around 60% of the labor force. Some basic foodstuffs must still be imported. Cocoa, coffee, and cotton and other agricultural products generate about 20% of export earnings with cotton being the most important cash crop. Togo is among the world’s largest producers of phosphate and seeks to develop its carbonate phosphate reserves, which provide more than 20% of export earnings.

Togo’s economic growth decelerated in 2017, a reflection of political tensions and fiscal consolidation, slowing to an estimated 4.4 percent from 5.1 percent in 2016—its growth rate was driven largely by the good performance of the agricultural sector, which accounts for about 40% of GDP and over 60% of employment. Favorable rainfall, the use of new farming techniques, and the distribution of improved seeds to poor farmers all helped agriculture. Construction suffered from the retrenchment of public capital spending, while political tension had a negative impact on private sector commerce. Extractive industries and trade also contribute to the national economy.

Inflation in Togo has remained under control, averaging -0.7% in 2017 thanks to the prudent monetary policy followed by members of the La Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, BCEAO, and low food prices. The external current account deficit dropped from 11.1 percent of GDP in 2015 to 9.6 percent in 2016, and 8.2 percent in 2017, due to a fall in imports and increase in exports. The internal public deficit, though, remained large, reflecting the undiversified nature of Togo’s economy; it was financed by non-concessional government borrowing from local banks and Foreign Direct Investment.

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. Togo completed its IMF Extended Credit Facility in 2011 and reached a Heavily Indebted Poor Country debt relief completion point in 2010 at which 95% of the country’s debt was forgiven. Togo continues to work with the IMF on structural reforms, and in January 2017, the IMF signed an Extended Credit Facility arrangement consisting of a three-year $238 million loan package. Progress depends on follow through on privatization, increased openness in government financial operations, progress toward legislative elections, and continued support from foreign donors. Togo’s 2018 economic growth probably remained steady at 5.0%, largely driven by infusions of foreign aid, infrastructure investment in the port and mineral sectors, and improvements in the business climate. Foreign direct investment inflows have slowed in recent years


GDP (purchasing power parity):
$12.43 billion (2017 est.)
$11.84 billion (2016 est.)
$11.28 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$4.797 billion (2017 est.)

GDP – real growth rate:
5% (2017 est.)
5% (2016 est.)
5.3% (2015 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP):
$1,600 (2017 est.)
$1,600 (2016 est.)
$1,500 (2015 est.)

Gross national saving:
17.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
17.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
15.9% of GDP (2015 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 28.1%
industry: 21.6%
services: 50.3% (2017 est.)

Agriculture – products:
coffee, cocoa, cotton, yams, cassava (manioc, tapioca), corn, beans, rice, millet, sorghum; livestock; fish

phosphate mining, agricultural processing, cement, handicrafts, textiles, beverages

Population below poverty line:
55.1% (2015 est.)

revenues: $1.469 billion
expenditures: $1.7 billion (2017 est.)



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.


Electricity access:
population without electricity: 5,000,000
electrification – total population: 27%
electrification – urban areas: 35%
electrification – rural areas: 21% (2013)
Electricity – production:
78.8 million kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity – consumption:
1.213 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity – exports:
0 million kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity – imports:
1.242 billion kWh (2015 est.)
Electricity – installed generating capacity:
229,000 kW (2015 est.)
Electricity – from fossil fuels:
69.9% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)
Electricity – from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2015 est.)

Telephones – fixed lines:
total subscriptions: 33,817
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2016 est.)
Telephones – mobile cellular:
total: 5,505,424
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 69 (July 2016 est.)

Internet country code:
Internet users:
total: 877,310
percent of population: 11.3% (July 2016 est.)


Industry and Mining

Mining generated about 33.9% of GDP in 2012 and employed 12% of the population in 2010. Togo has the fourth largest phosphate deposits in the world. Their production is 2.1 million tons per year. Since the mid-90s, however, there has been a decline in the mining industry and government will need to invest heavily to sustain it. The mining industry is facing difficulties due to falling phosphate prices on world markets and increasing foreign competition. There are also reserves of limestone, marble, and salt. The industry provides only 20.4% of national income because it consists only of a few of light industry and builders. Large reserves of limestone allow Togo to produce cement.

Togo’s mineral sector primarily consisted of cement, iron ore, limestone, phosphate rock, and to a lesser extent, diamond production. Historically, mining has had an insignificant role in the country’s economy. Togo ranked 19th in the world in phosphate rock production, by tonnage of output, in 2014. The country also produced more than 1.8 million metric tons (Mt) of limestone, which was used locally in the production of cement. Undeveloped mineral resources included bauxite, gypsum, ilmenite, rutile, and zinc.

Under its 2018-2022 national development plan which is being finalized, Togo’s government plans to establish a manufacturing hub and two industrial parks in the country. Each of the parks will have 15 intensive factories producing textile, shoes, among others, for export. Indeed, the plan should help boost Togolese textile exports to many countries, such as the U.S (in line with AGOA).

The current project will focus on boosting local know-how, cotton production and improve the search for strategic foreign partners. It is expected to capture up to CFA1,000 billion of foreign direct investments from 2018 to 2022. Efforts to improve business climate should contribute to that. The project aims at creating 100,000 jobs over the considered period. In this framework, the government intends to develop value chains of major subsectors of Togo’s agro-industry. Based on this, it eyes an annual growth of 10% of the industrial and manufacturing sectors.



Banking and Finance

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 deposits—an aggregate is commonly known as M1—were equal to $220.3 million. In that same year, M2—an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual funds—was $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%.


Togo is just a thin sliver of West Africa; a line of land that ranges from the Atlantic Ocean to the depths of inland Burkina Faso. But size has never been an issue for this culturally-rich place sandwiched between Benin and much-bigger Ghana. Still endearingly and excitingly off-the-beaten-track, it bursts from the region in a medley of misty mountains and swamps, winding rivers and muddy backcountry, all trodden by the occasional elephant herd and bushbuck.

In the south, the salty spray of the Atlantic crashes against the beaches, and little lagoons host water sporting locals all the while. The capital at Lome ticks over to the buzz of modern energy, still proud of its elegant Parisian-style boulevards and cafes. And deep in the north, the Sahel takes over. It’s here that the savannah dominates, and the mysterious adobe villages of Koutammakou pop up – a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s certainly worth the visit!

Place of Attraction

Lake Togo is located at about a 45-minute drive from Lome. Close to the lake’s northern shore is Togoville, the center of the local voodoo cult. Take a boat ride on the lake to Togoville to visit its shrines and the ancient German Cathedral which dominates the town. Also visit the traditional museum of the King of Togoville, where we’ll be received and welcomed by the king and his court.

Lomé Grand Marché; The large central market of Lomé is located near Lomé Cathedral near the city center. The market occupies an entire city block in Lomé and consists of three sections, known locally as Atipoji, Asigame, and Assisi too. You’ll find anything at this colorful and entrepreneurial labyrinthine from Togolese football tops to cheap cosmetics. The majority of the vendors are women and children.

Akodessewa Fetish Market; The practice of voodoo began in West Africa, before being taken to America by slaves, and in countries like Togo, Ghana, or Nigeria the religion is very much alive. Many people believe healers using animal parts and strange talismans can invoke spirits with their bizarre rituals, and solve their problems. And if there’s one place where voodoo priests can stock up on their creepy supplies, it’s the Akodessewa Fetish Market, in Togo’s capital.



  • The Ewe people

    Ewe people are located primarily in the coastal regions of West Africa, in the region south and east of the Volta River to around the Mono River at Togo and Benin border. They are particularly found in Volta Region in southeastern Ghana (formerly British Togoland), southern Togo (formerly French Togoland), and in southwestern parts of Benin. The Ewe region is sometimes referred to as the Ewe nation or Eʋedukɔ́ region. city literature). They consist of four groups based on their dialect and geographic concentration: the Anlo Ewe, the Mina, Anechɔ, Ʋedome(Danyi), Tongu or Tɔŋu. The literary language has been the Anlo sub-branch.

    The ancient history of the Ewe people is not recorded. But people believe that the Ewe migrated from a place called Kotu or Amedzowe, east of the Niger River, or that they’re from the region that is now the border between Benin and Nigeria and then because of invasions and wars in the 17th century migrated into their current location. Archaeological evidence suggests that the Ewe people likely had some presence in their current homelands at least earlier than the 13th century. This evidence dates their dynamism to a much earlier period than previously believed. However, other evidence also suggests a period of turmoil, particularly when Yoruba warriors of Oyo Empire ruled the region. Their own oral tradition describes the brutal king Agɔ Akɔli or (Agor Akorli) of Notsie ruled from Kpalimé in 17th century.

    They share a history with people who speak Gbe languages. These speakers occupied the area between Akanland and Yorubaland. Previously some historians have tried to tie them to both Akan and Yoruba ethnic groups, but more recent studies suggest these are distinct ethnic groups that are neither Akan or Yoruba, although they appear to have both influenced and taken influence from the two ethnic groups.

  • Colonial German

    The German Empire established the protectorate of Togoland (in what is now the nation of Togo and most of what is now the Volta Region of Ghana) in 1884 during the period generally known as the “Scramble for Africa”. Gustav Nachtigal, Germany’s Commissioner for West Africa who oversaw both the inclusion of Togoland as well as Kamerun into the German colonial empire, had negotiated with King Mlapa III to gain control of the coast of what would eventually become Togoland, particularly the cities of Lomé, Sebe, and Aného. France, at the timing controller of neighboring Benin, recognized German rule in the region on 24 December 1885.

    The colony was established in part of what was then the Slave Coast and German control were gradually extended inland. Because it became Germany’s only self-supporting colony and because of its extensive rail and road infrastructure – Germany had opened Togo’s first rail line between Lomé and Aného in 1905 -, Togoland was known as its model possession.

    On August 7, 1914, at the outset of World War I, British and French colonial troops from the Gold Coast and Dahomey invaded Togoland and on August 26 secured the unconditional surrender of the Germans. Thereafter the western part of the colony was administered by Britain, the eastern part by France. By an Anglo-French agreement of July 10, 1919, France secured the railway system and the whole coastline. After Germany renounced its sovereignty in the Treaty of Versailles, the League of Nations in 1922 issued mandates to Britain and France for the administration of their spheres.

  • League of Nation Mandate

    On August 8, 1914, French and British forces invaded Togoland and the German forces there surrendered on 26 August. In 1916, Togoland was divided into French and British administrative zones. Following the war, Togoland formally became a League of Nations mandate divided for administrative purposes between France and the United Kingdom. After World War I, newly founded Czechoslovakia was also interested in this colony but this idea did not succeed. Lome was initially allocated to the British zone but after negotiations transferred to France 1 October 1920.

    After World War II, the mandate became a UN trust territory administered by the United Kingdom and France. During the mandate and trusteeship periods, western Togo was administered as part of the British Gold Coast. In December 1956, the residents of British Togoland voted to join the Gold Coast as part of the new independent nation of Ghana. In the Representative Assembly elections in 1946, there were two parties, the Committee of Togolese Unity (CUT) and the Togolese Party of Progress (PTP). The CUT was overwhelmingly successful, and Sylvanus Olympio, the CUT leader became Council leader.

    In 1955, French Togoland became an autonomous republic within the French union, although it retained its UN trusteeship status. Following elections to the Territorial Assembly on 12 June 1955, which were boycotted by CUT, considerable power over internal affairs was granted, with an elected executive body headed by a Prime Minister responsible to the legislature. These changes were embodied in a constitution approved in a 1956 referendum. On 10 September 1956, Nicolas Grunitzky became Prime Minister of the Republic of Togo. On 13 October 1958, the French government announced that full independence would be granted.

  • Independent Togo

    After the 1961 elections, which established a presidential form of government, Olympio became the first president. He maintained economic cooperation with France. Togo became a member of the Organization of African Unity (OAU, now the African Union) in 1963 and in 1965 subscribed to the renewed Joint African and Malagasy Organization, which provided for economic, political, and social cooperation among French-speaking African states. on 13 January 1967, Eyadéma Gnassingbé overthrew Grunitzky in a bloodless coup and assumed the presidency. He created the Rally of the Togolese People Party, banned activities of other political parties and introduced a one-party system in November 1969. He was reelected in 1979 and 1986.

    Eyadéma Gnassingbé suddenly died on 5 February 2005 after 38 years in power, the longest occupation of any dictator in Africa. The military’s immediate installation of his son, Faure Gnassingbé, as president, provoked widespread international condemnation, except 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. Gnassingbe left the power and held elections, which he won two months later.

    The opposition declared that the election results were fraudulent. The events in 2005 led to re-question the commitment to democracy that Togo had contracted in an attempt to normalize relations with the EU, which cut off aid in 1993 to the uncertainty of the human rights situation. In addition, up to 400 people were killed for political violence surrounding the presidential elections, according to the UN. Around 40,000 Togolese fled to neighboring countries. Faure Gnassingbé was reelected in 2010 and 2015. In late 2017, anti-government protests erupted in Togo, the biggest since ones after the 2005 election. They demand the resignation of Gnassingbé, who is part of a family they say has been in power too long.