U.S. Department of State Background Note

Togo

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Togo

GEOGRAPHY

Togo is bounded by Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin, and the Gulf of Guinea. It stretches 579 kilometers (360 mi.) north from the gulf and is only 160 kilometers (100 mi.) wide at the broadest point. The country consists primarily of two savanna plains regions separated by a southwest-northwest range of hills (the Chaine du Togo).

Togo's climate varies from tropical to savanna. The south is humid, with temperatures ranging from 23oC to 32oC (75oF to 90oF). In the north, temperature fluctuations are greater--from 18oC to more than 38oC (65oF to 100oF).

PEOPLE

Togo's population of 4.97 million people (2003 est.) is composed of about 21 ethnic groups. The two major groups are the Ewe in the South and the Kabye in the North. Population distribution is very uneven due to soil and terrain variations. The population is generally concentrated in the south and along the major north-south highway connecting the coast to the Sahel. Age distribution also is uneven; nearly one-half of the Togolese are less than 15 years of age. The ethnic groups of the coastal region, particularly the Ewes (about 21% of the population), constitute the bulk of the civil servants, professionals, and merchants, due in part to the former colonial administrations which provided greater infrastructure development in the south. The Kabye (12% of the population) live on marginal land and traditionally have emigrated south from their home area in the Kara region to seek employment. Their historical means of social advancement has been through the military and law enforcement forces, and they continue to dominate these services.

Most of the southern peoples use the Ewe or Mina languages, which are closely related and spoken in commercial sectors throughout Togo. French, the official language, is used in administration and documentation. The public primary schools combine French with Ewe or Kabye as languages of instruction, depending on the region. English is spoken in neighboring Ghana and is taught in Togolese secondary schools. As a result, many Togolese, especially in the south and along the Ghana border, speak some English.

HISTORY

Togo has a transitional unity government in preparation for legislative elections. President Gnassingbe faces a significant challenge, treading lightly with entrenched ruling party interests while trying to implement democratic reforms and revive Togo's deteriorating economy. Togo's long-suffering population has seen its living standards decline precipitously since the 1980s.

The Togolese judiciary is modeled on the French system. For administrative purposes, Togo is divided into 30 prefectures, each having an appointed prefect.

Principal Government Officials
President--Faure Gnassingbe
Prime Minister--Yawovi Agboyibo
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation--Zarifou Ayeva
Minister of Justice--Sela Polo
Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs--Kpatcha Gnassingbe
Minister of Security--Atcha Titikpina

Next Elections Scheduled
Presidential elections--2010
Legislative elections--October 14, 2007
Local elections--TBA in 2008.

ECONOMY

Although Togo's foreign policy is nonaligned, it has strong historical and cultural ties with western Europe, especially France and Germany. Togo recognizes the People's Republic of China, North Korea, and Cuba. It re-established relations with Israel in 1987.

Togo pursues an active foreign policy and participates in many international organizations. It is particularly active in West African regional affairs and in the African Union. Relations between Togo and neighboring states are generally good.

U.S.-TOGOLESE RELATIONS

Ambassador-- David B. Dunn
Deputy Chief of Mission--J.A. Diffily
Management Officer--vacant
Public Affairs Officer--Mary Daschbach
Consular Officer--Amanda Jacobsen
Pol/Econ/Commercial Officer--Melanie Zimmerman
Peace Corps Director--Brownie Lee

The U.S. Embassy is located on Boulevard Eyadema, Lomé (tel: 228-261-5470/1/2/3). The mailing address is B.P. 852, Lomé, Togo (international mail) and AmEmbassy Lome, 2300 Lome Place, Washington, DC 20521-2300 (by diplomatic pouch).

TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION
The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program advises Americans traveling and residing abroad through Consular Information Sheets, Public Announcements, and Travel Warnings. Consular Information Sheets exist for all countries and include information on entry and exit requirements, currency regulations, health conditions, safety and security, crime, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. Public Announcements are issued to disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term conditions overseas that pose significant risks to the security of American travelers. Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel to a certain country because the situation is dangerous or unstable.

For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://www.travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution, Public Announcements, and Travel Warnings can be found. Consular Affairs Publications, which contain information on obtaining passports and planning a safe trip abroad, are also available at http://www.travel.state.gov. For additional information on international travel, see http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Travel/International.shtml.

The Department of State encourages all U.S citizens traveling or residing abroad to register via the State Department's travel registration website or at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Registration will make your presence and whereabouts known in case it is necessary to contact you in an emergency and will enable you to receive up-to-date information on security conditions.

Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada or the regular toll line 1-202-501-4444 for callers outside the U.S. and Canada.

The National Passport Information Center (NPIC) is the U.S. Department of State's single, centralized public contact center for U.S. passport information. Telephone: 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778). Customer service representatives and operators for TDD/TTY are available Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight, Eastern Time, excluding federal holidays.

Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 877-FYI-TRIP (877-394-8747) and a web site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/index.htm give the most recent health advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements, and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. A booklet entitled "Health Information for International Travel" (HHS publication number CDC-95-8280) is available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, tel. (202) 512-1800.

Further Electronic Information
Department of State Web Site. Available on the Internet at http://www.state.gov, the Department of State web site provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy information, including Background Notes and daily press briefings along with the directory of key officers of Foreign Service posts and more. The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) provides security information and regional news that impact U.S. companies working abroad through its website http://www.osac.gov

Export.gov provides a portal to all export-related assistance and market information offered by the federal government and provides trade leads, free export counseling, help with the export process, and more.

STAT-USA/Internet, a service of the U.S. Department of Commerce, provides authoritative economic, business, and international trade information from the Federal government. The site includes current and historical trade-related releases, international market research, trade opportunities, and country analysis and provides access to the National Trade Data Bank.

Revised: Sep. 2007

See also:
  • Infoplease country profile: Togo
  • Encyclopedia: Togo
  • Atlas: Togo