Last Updated in 2010
Togo officially Togolese Republic, republic (2005 est. pop. 5,682,000), 21,622 sq mi (56,000 sq km), W Africa. It borders on the Gulf of Guinea in the south, on Ghana in the west, on Burkina Faso in the north, and on Benin in the east. Lomé is the country's capital and its largest city.
Land and People
From south to north, Togo is made up of five successive geographic regions. In the extreme south is a narrow sandy coastal strip (c.30 mi/50 km long), which is fringed by lagoons and creeks. A region (c.50 mi/80 km wide) of fertile clay soils lies north of the coast. The third region is made up of the clay-covered Mono Tableland, which reaches an altitude of c.1,500 ft (460 m) and is drained by the Mono River. North of the tableland is a mountainous area comprising the Togo and Atakora mts. and including Mt. Agou (c.3,940 ft/1,200 m), Togo's loftiest point. The fifth region, in the extreme north, is the rolling, sandstone Oti Plateau. The country is almost entirely covered with savanna, which has somewhat thicker vegetation in the south and thinner vegetation in the far north. In addition to the capital, other cities include Sokodé, Kpalimé, Anécho, and Atakpamé.
Togo is comprised of more than 35 ethnolinguistic groups, including the Ewe and the Mina in the south and various Voltaic-speaking peoples, the largest of which is the Kabre, in the north. Some 50% of the inhabitants follow traditional African religious beliefs, 30% are Christian (mostly Roman Catholic), and 20% Muslim. French is the country's official language and is used in business; Ewe and Mina are widely spoken in the south and Kabiye and Dagomba in the north.
Agriculture is Togo's chief economic activity, engaged in by about 65% of the workforce. The principal food crops are yams, cassava, corn, beans, rice, millet, and sorghum. The leading cash crops are cotton, coffee, and cocoa. Sheep, goats, hogs, and cattle are raised, and fishing is important. Large-scale mining of phosphate deposits at Akoumapé (in the southeast) began in 1963 and is now Togo's most important industry. Small quantities of chromite, bauxite, limestone, and iron ore are also mined, and marble is quarried. The country's other industries consist mainly of agricultural processing, handicrafts, and the manufacture of basic consumer goods. Attempts to implement economic reforms, begun in the late 20th cent. and including increasing privatization and foreign investment, have met with limited success.
A hydroelectric plant completed in 1988 on the Mono River was a collaborative effort between Togo and Benin. Togo's limited road and rail transportation facilities are concentrated in the central and southern parts of the country; Lomé is the main port. The cost of Togo's imports is usually much higher than its earnings from export sales. The main imports are machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, and petroleum products; the leading exports are cotton, phosphates, coffee, and cocoa. The principal trade partners are Ghana, Burkina Faso, France, and China.