Currently viewing country profile for 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.
Tensions spilled over into deadly violence when its strong-arm, veteran leader died in 2005 and a succession crisis followed. Political reconciliation remains elusive.
ogo 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.
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.
France 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 countries.
- Full name: Togolese Republic
- Population: 6.8 million (UN, 2010)
- 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: 62 years (men), 66 years (women) (UN)
- Monetary unit: 1 CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) franc = 100 centimes
- Main exports: Cocoa, phosphates, coffee, cotton
- GNI per capita: US $440 (World Bank, 2009)
- Internet domain: .tg
- International dialling code: +228
President: Faure Gnassingbe Eyadema
Faure Gnassingbe Eyadema succeeded his father when he died in 2005, having ruled the country with an iron fist for 38 years.
The military installed Faure Gnassingbe as president, but following intense local and international pressure he stepped aside and called elections. Hundreds died challenging his victory in those polls.
In the subsequent presidential elections in March 2010, he was declared winner, with 61% of the ballots against the main opposition's candidate Jean-Pierre Fabre, who received 35% of the vote. The opposition cried foul again and staged repeated protests.
In talks to end the dispute, Gilchrist Olympio, leader of the main opposition Union of Forces for Change (UFC) and son of first post-independence president Sylvanus Olympio, struck a deal with Mr Gnassingbe under which the UFC would join the government.
However, the UFC rejected the deal and suspended Mr Olympio. Thousands of the party's supporters took to the streets to protest against the deal.
The president's father, Eyadema Gnassingbe, seized power in a 1967 coup.
Private media have proliferated; there are dozens of commercial and community radios and weekly newspapers, as well as a handful of private TV stations.
However, many private media firms have shaky finances and lag behind state-owned rivals in terms of advertising revenue.
Radio is the most popular medium, particularly in rural areas. The main TV station is government-owned Television Togolaise. The government also operates Togo-Presse daily.
Reporters Without Borders describes the media freedom environment as "satisfactory" (2009). Under legislation introduced in 2002, press offences cannot be punished by imprisonment.
The BBC broadcasts 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.
There were 350,000 internet users by June 2009 (Internetworldstats).
- Togo-Presse - government daily
- Liberte - private, daily
- Forum de la Semaine - private, 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
A chronology of key events:
15-17th centuries - Ewe clans from Nigeria and the Ane from Ghana and Ivory Coast settle in region already occupied by Kwa and Voltaic peoples.
1700s - Coastal area occupied by Danes.
1884 - German protectorate of Togoland established, forced labour used to develop plantations.
1914 - British, French forces seize Togoland.
1922 - League of Nations issues mandates to Britain to administer the western part and to France to rule the eastern area of Togoland.
1956 - British-ruled western territory included into the Gold Coast, later renamed Ghana.
1960 - Independence.
1961 - Sylvanus Olympio elected as first president.
1963 - Olympio assassinated, replaced by Nicolas Grunitzky.
1967 - Gnassingbe Eyadema seizes power in bloodless coup, political parties dissolved.
1974 - Phosphate industry nationalised.
1979 - Eyadema, standing as sole candidate, elected as president in first parliamentary polls since 1967, under constitution entrenching civilian, one-party rule.
1985 - Series of bombings in Lome.
1985 - Coup attempt, French troops come to government's assistance. Togo accuses Ghana and Burkina Faso of involvement. Togo's frontier with Ghana shut until 1987.
1986 - Exiled opposition leader Gilchrist Olympio sentenced to death in absentia for complicity in 1985 coup attempt.
1986 - Eyadema re-elected.
1991 - Strikes, demonstrations. Eyadema agrees to split power with transitional adminstration pending elections.
1992 - New constitution approved.
1993 - Eyadema dissolves government, sparking protests and fatal clashes with police. Thousands flee to neighbouring states.
1993 - France, Germany, US suspend aid to press for democratic reforms.
1998 - Eyadema re-elected.
2000 March - UN report alleges that presidents Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso and Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo helped the Angolan rebel group Unita get arms and fuel in exchange for diamonds. Both countries deny the accusations.
2001 February - UN-OAUl inquiry into allegations of summary executions and torture in Togo concludes there were systematic violations of human rights after 1998 presidential election.
2001 August - Opposition leader Yawovi Agboyibo is jailed for six months for libelling the prime minister. Demonstrators take to the streets.
2002 June - Eyadema sacks his prime minister and ally Agbeyome Kodjo and says the action is in preparation for parliamentary elections. Kodjo lambasts the president and accuses his aides of corruption and human rights abuses.
2002 October - Ruling party wins parliamentary elections. Main opposition parties stage boycott in protest at way poll was organised.
2002 December - Parliament alters the constitution, removing a clause which would have barred President Eyadema from seeking a third term in 2003.
2003 June - Eyadema re-elected. Prime Minister Koffi Sama and his government resign.
2003 July - President Eyadema reinstates Koffi Sama as prime minister. A unity government is announced but the main opposition parties are not included.
2003 September - Togo sends 150 soldiers to Liberia to bolster a West African peacekeeping force.
2004 November - European Union restores partial diplomatic relations. Ties were broken in 1993 over violence and democratic shortcomings.
2005 February - President Gnassingbe Eyadema dies, aged 69. The military appoints his son Faure as president in a move condemned as a coup. Under international pressure Faure stands down and agrees to hold presidential elections.
Faure Gnassingbe elected
2005 April - Faure Gnassingbe wins presidential elections which the opposition condemns as rigged. The vote is followed by deadly street violence between rival supporters. The UN later estimates that 400-500 people were killed.
2005 June - President Gnassingbe names opposition's Edem Kodjo as prime minister.
2006 April - Reconciliation talks between government and opposition resume. Dialogue was abandoned after Gnassingbe Eyadema's death in 2005.
2006 August - Government and opposition sign an accord providing for the participation of opposition parties in a transitional government.
2006 September - Yawovi Agboyibo, veteran leader of the opposition Committee of Action for Renewal, is named prime minister and tasked with forming a unity government and organising polls.
2007 February - Exiled opposition leader Gilchrist Olympio returns home briefly.
2007 October - Ruling Rally of the Togolese People party wins parliamentary election. International observers declare the poll free and fair.
2007 November - The European Union restores full economic cooperation after a 14-year suspension, citing Togo's successful multi-party elections.
2007 December - Rally of the Togolese People's Komlan Mally appointed prime minister
2008 September - Former UN official Gilbert Houngbo appointed prime minister with support of governing Rally of the Togolese People.
2009 April - President Gnassingbe's half-brother and former Defence Minister Kpatcha Gnassingbe and several army officers are arrested in connection with an alleged coup plot against the president.
2009 June - Togo abolishes death penalty.
2010 January - Togo quits African Cup of Nations football tournament in Angola after an attack on its team bus kills two officials.
2010 March - President Gnassingbe declared winner of presidential elections. The main opposition Union of Forces for Change alleges widespread fraud and refuses to recognise the result.
2010 May - Veteran opposition leader Gilchrist Olympio agrees power-sharing deal with ruling party, splitting his Union of Forces for Change (UFC).
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- Congo Dem Republic
- Cote d'Ivoire
- Equatorial Guinea
- Sao Tome and Principe
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
- The Gambia
- Western Sahara