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« Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #49 of 54: Tanzania | Main | Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #51 of 54: Tunisia »

August 13, 2006

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #50 of 54: Togo

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
50. TOGO
Flag of Togo

Formal Name: Republic of Togo.

Term for Citizens: Togolese.

Capital: Lome. Population: 735, 000.

Independence Achieved: 1960, from France.

Major Cities: Lome.

Geography:

Togo is in West Africa. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Benin, Ghana and Burkina Faso. Togo has an area of 21,825 square miles. It is composed of six natural topographical regions: sandy beaches at the coat, followed by barre-soil Ouatchi plateaus, then higher mono tableland, followed by the Chaine Mountains, then the northern sandstone Oti plateau and finally the northwest granite regions. The climate is tropical with two well-defined seasons, wet and dry. It rains heavily at the coast and tapers off inlands and a semi arid north.

Society:

Togo’s population is estimated at 4,909,000.

Ethnic Groups. An estimated 30 ethnic groups live in Togo, the major ones are: Ewe, Kabre, Moba, Kotokoli, Akosso, Bassila, Tchamba, Gurma, Yoruba, Hausa, and Fulani.

Languages: each of the ethnic groups speaks its own language. French is the official language.

Religion: Christian South and Muslin North, interspersed by indigenous beliefs.

Education, free primary education but scantly attended. Literacy rate is estimated at 60.9%.

Economy: Togo is primarily a subsistence economy with a few cash crops exported to France, cocoa, coffee and groundnuts. Mining activities center around phosphates. GDP estimate: $8 billion; Per Capita GDP: $1, 500. Monetary Unit: CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF)

History and Government:

Togo was colonized by Germany in the late 19th century. It was given to France after the defeat of Germany during world-war1, and ruled as a UN trust territory until 1960. Togo inherited the French system of government but a military coup deposed the elected president, President Olympio. The military strong man, Eyadema, has ruled Togo since 1967. When he died in 2005 his son was sworn in as the new president, in contradiction to constitutional specification for succession. Togo is a small island of undemocratic government in Africa.



CONTEMPORAY HISTORY AND POLITICS


The history of pre-European contact Togo is murky. The Portuguese came calling and buying slaves in the fifteenth century.

In 1884 Germany colonized Togoland. The Germans turned the territory into plantations for producing coffee and cocoa.

Germany was defeated during the First World War and Togo was divided between France and Britain. In the 1960s, a wind of change was blowing through Africa, calling for the end of European colonialism. The United Nations, the title holder to trust territories, called for there to be a referendum to decide the future of Togoland.

Togolese had a referendum to decide their fate; the West chose to be with Ghana and the East chose independence.

In 1963, Togo had the distinct honor of having the first military coup in independent Africa when President Sylvanus Olympio was toppled by a sergeant, Etienne Eyadema. Eyadema ruled until he died in 2005 and his son, Faure Eyadema, took over.

Initially, there was some sort of opposition to Faure because the constitution had stipulated that upon the death of the president that the speaker of the House would take over and have an election in 60 days to replace him. After much ado about nothing, Eyadema junior resigned and called for an election, which he promptly won.

(With the support of the country’s military, any election could be fixed, if not with 99% voting result, but with 60%; you see, African leaders are not as dumb as they tend to seem; in the past, they used to win by 100%, and that seemed incredulous, so, now they make their winning by only 60%, or something like that, to make it seem credible. Either way, the election is rigged and no one is deceived. Because they are in office illegally there seem nothing illegal when their throats are cut. We are still waiting to hear when Faure’s head is chopped off and another sergeant takes over as the president of Togoland. If you kill to come to power, there certainly is nothing wrong if you are killed by another person desiring power.)

Togo is divided into 5 regions, which are further subdivided into 23 prefectures.

Togo’s economy is largely dependent on the export of cocoa, coffee and cotton and mining of phosphate.

Ozodi@africainstituteseattle.org

Posted by Administrator at August 13, 2006 12:18 PM

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