Country Profiles:
Togo

Considered the smallest country in main-land Africa, The Togo is located in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, where its capital Lomé is located and is the largest city and port.

Prior to 1884, Togo was an intermediate zone between the states of Asante and Dahomey, and the various ethnic groups lived in general isolation from each other. In 1905, Toga became the German colony of Togoland, but after Germany was defeated during World War I, British and French factions soon administered the land. Togo became an autonomous republic within the French Union in 1959, then a year later, French Togoland achieved independence from France. In 1967, following a successful military coup, Gnassingbe Eyadema was named president, and he served for 38 years until his death in 2005; making Eyadema the longest-serving leader on the continent. Shortly thereafter his death, his son Faure Gnassingbe was elected president. Gnassingbe has won two more elections, in 2010 and 2015.

UNESCO Heritage site in Togo includes:

Koutammakou, the Land of the Batammariba in north-eastern Togo. Batamamariba people live in houses constructed of mud-towers.

Togo’s major mineral resource is Phosphate and is one of the world's top five producers of phosphates, which are used in fertilizers.

Limestone reserves are utilized primarily for cement production and also have substantial marble deposits, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Its economy is based primarily on commercial and subsistence agriculture, providing employment for 65% of the work force. Cotton, coffee and cocoa together generate about 40% of export earnings. According to the BBC, “the country has gained notoriety as a transit point for ivory poached elsewhere in the region. Poaching has risen in recent years across the continent, where well-armed criminal gangs kill elephants for tusks and rhino for their horns, before shipping them to Asia for use in ornaments and supposed medicine.”

There are about 30 ethnic groups, many of whom are immigrants from other parts of western Africa. The groups indigenous are the; Gur-speaking peoples: the Gurma; the Natimba, Dye, and Konkomba; the Tamberma; the Basari; the Moba; the Losso (Naudem); the Kabre and Logba; and the Lamba (Namba); a small number of Fulani; and the Kebu (Akebu). In the southwest the indigenous Kwa peoples also belonging to the central Togo group are the Kposo (Akposso), the Adele, and the Ahlo. The largest ethnic groups are the Ewe and Kabre and are also the two spoken indigenous languages  designated politically as national languages in 1975.Tthe official language is French.

Togolese cuisine presents many European elements, the staple foods in Togo remained traditional. They include corn/maize, cassava, yam, rice, plantains, beans and millet. Popular  dishes includes: Koklo meme, grilled Chicken with a spicy chili sauce; Pâté, made from millet, plantains, corn or cassava|manioc, riz sauce; D’arachide, rice with Peanut sauce, and other sauces based on Eggplant, tomato, fish or spinach. Fufu made from yam, its preparation is a communal ritual and takes hours to prepare.

Togolese music includes a great variety of percussion-led dance music. All over Togo drums are used, by Christians and Muslims as well, to celebrate all major events of life and for festivals like the Expesoso or Yeke Yeke festival. In the Aneho district alone drums in use include the agbadja, ageche, aziboloe, kple, amedjeame, akpesse, grekon, blekete and adamdom. There are numerous rhythms in Togo, each area having its own special beats. In addition, Togo has produced a number of internationally known popular entertainers including Bella Bellow, Akofah Akussah, Afia Mala, Itadi Bonney, Wellborn, King Mensah and Jimi Hope.

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