Country profile: Togo
Togo, a narrow strip of land
on Africa's west coast, has for years been the target of criticism over
its human rights record and political governance.
spilled over into deadly violence when its strong-arm, veteran leader
died in 2005 and a succession crisis followed. Political reconciliation
Togo formed part of the Slave Coast, from where captives were
shipped abroad by European slavers during the 17th century. In 1884 it
became the German protectorate of Togoland.
Faure Gnassingbe succeeded his father in a manner condemned
internationally. The opposition and government have agreed to form a
government of national unity
Economy: Togo is among the world's poorest countries. Isolation has further aggravated its weak economy
International: Togo faces international
pressure to hold credible parliamentary elections and improve its human
rights record. Thousands who fled 2005 election violence remain in
It was seized by Britain and France at the start of World War I, divided and administered under League of Nations mandates.
The British-ruled western part was later incorporated into what is now Ghana.
granted independence in 1960 and Togo's first president, Sylvanus
Olympio, was assassinated in a military coup three years later. Head of
the armed forces Gnassingbe Eyadema seized power in a 1967 coup and
dissolved all political parties.
Although political parties
were legalised in 1991 and a democratic constitution was adopted in
1992, the leadership was accused of suppressing opposition and of
cheating in elections.
A joint UN-Organisation of African Unity
investigation into claims that hundreds of people were killed after
controversial elections in 1998 concluded that there had been
systematic human rights violations.
Gnassingbe Eyadema died in
early 2005 after 38 years in power. The military's immediate but
short-lived installation of his son, Faure Gnassingbe, as president
provoked widespread international condemnation. Mr Faure stood down and
called elections which he won two months later. The opposition said the
vote was rigged.
The developments of 2005 led to renewed
questions about a commitment to democracy made by Togo in 2004 in a bid
to normalise ties with the EU, which cut off aid in 1993 over the
country's human rights record.
Moreover, up to 500 people were
killed in the political violence surrounding the presidential poll,
according to the UN. Around 40,000 Togolese fled to neighbouring
- Full name: Togolese Republic
- Population: 6.6 million (UN, 2009)
- Capital: Lome
- Area: 56,785 sq km (21,925 sq miles)
- Major languages: French (official), local languages
- Major religions: Indigenous beliefs, Christianity, Islam
- Life expectancy: 61 years (men), 64 years (women) (UN)
- Monetary unit: 1 CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) franc = 100 centimes
- Main exports: Cocoa, phosphates, coffee, cotton
- GNI per capita: US $400 (World Bank, 2008)
- Internet domain: .tg
- International dialling code: +228
President: Faure Gnassingbe Eyadema
the son of Togo's late veteran leader Gnassingbe Eyadema, won
presidential elections in April 2005, gaining 60% of the votes.
Faure Gnassingbe succeeded his father as president
The poll was followed by street violence in the capital involving
security forces and opposition supporters, who said the election had
The Constitutional Court rejected the claim and a
regional delegation said the vote had been broadly free and fair,
despite isolated problems.
In 2009, the Togolese authorities
claimed there had been a foiled coup plot against President Gnassingbe
involving his half-brother and former defence minister, Kpatcha
In August 2006 Togo's political parties agreed to
form a transitional government of national unity, intended to draw a
line under years of violence and instability and to herald
parliamentary elections in 2007.
As a first step in implementing the deal, opposition party leader Yawovi Agboyibo was appointed as prime minister in September.
the opposition was excluded from the new government formed after
President's Gnassingbe's Rally of the Togolese People's won the 2007
election, which was declared free and fair by international observers.
military installed Faure Gnassingbe as president after his father died
in February 2005. The opposition and some African leaders described the
succession as a military coup. Under strong international pressure
Faure Gnassingbe stepped down and called the election.
Since the late 1990s there has been a proliferation of
privately-owned media outlets. There are dozens of commercial and
community radio stations and weekly newspapers, as well as a handful of
private TV stations.
Togolese newspapers operate under pressure
However, many private media firms have shaky finances and lag behind
their state-owned counterparts in terms of advertising revenue.
Radio is the most popular medium, particularly in rural areas. Around 80 stations were on the air by late 2006.
main TV station is government-owned Television Togolaise, the only
daily newspaper is government-owned Togo-Presse, and some private radio
stations are government-owned or associated with the ruling
Rassemblement du Peuple Togolais (RPT).
constitution provides for freedom of the press, the government does not
follow this in practice. Politically-motivated attacks on journalists,
police raids on news stands and printing presses, and closures of radio
stations are some of the ways in which the state controls the flow of
information, according to media freedom groups.
Under an amendment to the 2002 media law, press offences cannot be punished by imprisonment.
BBC is available in the capital on 97.5 FM. Also on air in Lome is
Gabon's Africa No 1. Radio France Internationale broadcasts on FM in
Lome and Kara.
The internet is poorly developed as a medium; the few cyber-cafes have slow connectivity.
- Togo-Presse - government daily
- Le Regard - private, weekly
- Le Combat du Peuple - private, weekly
- Nouveau Combat - private, weekly
- Carrefour - private, weekly
- Le Crocodile - private, weekly
- Motion d'Information - private, weekly
- Television Togolaise (TVT) - state-run
- Telesports TV - state-run, sports, culture
- TV2 - private
- TV7 - private
- TV Zion - private, Christian
- TV Djabal'nour - private, Islamic
- Media Plus - pay-TV operator
- Radio Togolaise - state-run national radio, via shortwave, mediumwave (AM) and FM
- Radio Lome - state-run FM station for Lome
- Radio Kara - state-run station in north
- Metropolys Lome - private
- Kanal FM - private, Lome
- Radio Nostalgie - private, Lome
- Nana FM - private, Lome
- Radio Zephyr - private
- Radio Djabal'nour - private, Islamic