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République Togolaise
Republic of Togo
Flag of Togo
Togo coat of arms
flag coat of arms
Motto : "Travail, liberté, patrie"
French , "Work, freedom, fatherland"
Official language French
national languages: Ewe and Kabiyé
Capital Lomé
Form of government republic
Government system Presidential system
Head of state President
Faure Gnassingbé
Head of government Prime Minister
Komi Sélom Klassou
surface 56,785 km²
population 7,692,000 (as of 2017) Source: UN
Population density 120 inhabitants per km²
Population development   + 2.66% (2016)
gross domestic product
  • total (nominal)
  • total ( KKP )
  • GDP / inh. (nominal)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
2018 (as of 2019)
  • $ 5.358 billion ( 151. )
  • $ 13.987 billion ( 150th )
  • 670 USD ( 181. )
  • 1,750 USD ( 181. )
Human Development Index 0.513 ( 167th ) (2017)
currency CFA Franc BCEAO (XOF)
independence April 27, 1960
(from France )
National anthem Salut à toi, pays de nos aïeux
National holiday April 27
Time zone UTC ± 0
License Plate RT
ISO 3166 TG , TGO, 768
Internet TLD .tg
Telephone code +228
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Togo ( German [ ˈtʰoːgo ], French [ tɔˈgo ]) is a state in West Africa , located on the Gulf of Guinea , and borders Ghana in the west, Benin in the east and Burkina Faso in the north. The capital and seat of government is Lomé .

The territory of Togo comprises the eastern part of the German colony Togo, which existed from 1884 to 1916 . From 1916 to 1960, Togo was a mandate area of the League of Nations or trust area of ​​the United Nations under French administration. The country was shaped for almost 40 years by the autocratic ruling President Gnassingbé Eyadéma . After his death in 2005, his son Faure Gnassingbé was appointed new president by the Togolese army in disregard of the constitution. International pressure and unrest in the country did not lead to a return to constitutional conditions. Gnassingbé won the following elections, with the opposition and the European Union accusing him of massive electoral fraud. There are still several thousand refugees abroad. In the human development index , the country ranks 167th out of 189 (as of 2019).


Topography of Togo

Togo has an area of ​​56,785 km² and is a small state by African standards : only a few African countries have an even smaller state area. It has an elongated, narrow shape with an extension in the north-south direction of about 550 km, but only 50 to 140 km in the west-east direction. Of this, 16% is forested , 25% arable land and 3.5% pasture land .

The country is located in West Africa at 8 degrees north latitude and 1 ° 10 'east longitude . It is divided into the five regions Maritime, Plateaux, Center, Kara and Savanes. The national border has a length of 1647 km. Of this, 644 km are on the border with Benin , 126 km on the border with Burkina Faso and 877 km on the border with Ghana .

From the palm-fringed lagoons and sandy beaches of the 56 km-long coastline, extending Ouatchi plateau to the higher plateau . The Togo Mountains , which are forested in the south-west of the interior, run north-east to Benin . In the lower areas in the north and south there is a savannah with antelopes and elephants .

The highest mountain in the country is Mont Agou at 986 m above sea ​​level . The longest river is the Mono with a length of 467 km. It runs from north to south and can be used as a waterway for 50 km.


Climate diagram of Lomé

The climate is tropical and humid all year round with average temperatures of 30 ° C in the north and 27 ° C on the coast in the south. There is only a slight cooling at night. In the north there is almost a savannah climate. It gets hottest in February and March. In December and January the dusty harmattan blows from the north.

In the north there is a rainy season from May to October of the West African monsoon , which reaches its greatest intensity in August. This is also the coolest month with midday temperatures of around 30 ° C. January is the driest, when the humidity is around 22%. The average temperatures are then around 35 ° C, with around 39 ° C being reached at lunchtime in March.

There are two rainy seasons in the south, from April to June and from September to November. The rainiest months are June and October. The humidity in June is around 80 percent. The driest month is December. It is warmest in March with midday temperatures around 32 ° C. The coolest month is August with temperatures of around 27 ° C.


Togo is roughly divided into two main catchment areas. The north drains over the Oti (38% of the land area) into the Volta system . The south drains via the Zio and especially the Mono .


Population development in millions of inhabitants
Age pyramid in 1000 inhabitants
Population data (estimated 2015)
Life expectancy 59.0 years
Death rate 9.3 per 1000 inhabitants
Birth rate 36.3 per 1000 inhabitants
Fertility rate per woman 4.69
Infant mortality 50.0 per 1000 births
growth of population 2.718%
Population under 15 years of age 41.7%
Population over 65 years 2.7%

The term of approximately 7,692,000 citizens of Togo is, according to the Standing Committee on Geographical Names Togolese or Togoerin . The Duden also lists the common form Togolese or Togolesin .

The largest cities are (as of 2017): Lomé 1,933,700 inhabitants, Kara 108,700 inhabitants, Sokodé 104,700 inhabitants, Kpalimé 84,900 inhabitants and Atakpamé 77,300 inhabitants. Overall, 40.46% of the population live in cities, and the trend is rising (as of 2016).

There is a marked migration from the countryside to the cities. There is, however, increasing unemployment, especially among young people. Young men in particular are therefore emigrating abroad with the aim of finding work in Europe or North America.

Ethnic groups

proportion of people
40.1% Ewe
23.1% Temba-Kabre
13.2% Akebu
9.7% Gurma
12.8% African minorities
0.99% other ethnicities

Togo is a multiethnic state made up of almost as many ethnic groups as there are language groups. The population of the different ethnic groups ranges from a few hundred to a few million people. The feeling of belonging to one's own ethnic group has increased since independence, but has also repeatedly led to tensions.

The main ethnic groups are the Ewe (around 40%) in the south and the Kabiye (16%) in the center and north. The Ewe already dominated the state system in the German colonial times, and many civil servants, skilled workers and businessmen were Ewe. This dominance ended in 1967 and the second largest ethnic group in the country, the Kabiye, was given a higher position, as many military and security forces were recruited from the ranks of the Kabiye during the Gnassingbé Eyadéma dictatorship .

Minorities are the Tem , the “ remaining Togo peoples ” such as the Akebu (13.2%) as well as Gurma (9.7%) and Yoruba (6.8%). About 0.99% of the population come from Europe or are of a different ethnic origin. The group of Togolese minorities mentioned here includes smaller ethnic groups of Togo as well as other African minorities, most of whom come from Togo's neighboring countries. In 2017, 3.6% of the population was born abroad.


language speaker
Ewe 862,000
Kabiyé 700,000
Waci / Gbe 366,000
Tem 204,000
( Kotokoli : 300,500)
Gen / Mina 201,000
Moba 189,000

Togo's national languages are Ewe and Kabiyé , but French is the only official language, which is a legacy of French colonial rule.

In addition to Ewe, Kabiye and various Kwa and Gur languages , the official language French is also spoken. There are also the “ remaining Togo languages ”, such as Akebu and a few others. Their affiliation to different language families has not been fully clarified.

39 living languages ​​are spoken in the country. In addition to these languages, languages, including Akan from Ghana and Yoruba (Nigeria), from neighboring countries and other West African countries, are spoken by smaller minorities due to trade contacts with the surrounding countries and migration movements . No independent deaf language has developed in Togo, so French sign language is used in Togo . About 100,000 people speak German as a foreign language.


New and Great Mosque in Sokodé

There is freedom of religion. Almost half the population is committed to the traditional religions - especially the religion of the Ga and the religion of the Yoruba . The voodoo religion is also very important. Secret societies, especially those of the Ewe, exert great influence within ethnic groups.

The approximately 26 percent Christians belong to the Roman Catholic Church , about 9 percent of the population are Protestants . The Islamic Sunni direction belong to about 20% of the population, including Fulani and Hausa . There are some small Jewish communities in the coastal regions .


According to the CIA, life expectancy averaged 59 years (men 58.3, women 59.7), with the high child mortality rate of 5.8 percent being a key factor in this comparatively low figure.

The population structure represents the classic population pyramid. About half of the population is under 16 years old. The population is growing by around 2.78 percent annually (estimated for 2008).

The global COVID-19 pandemic first reached Togo on March 6, 2020 with a patient who had previously traveled to Germany and France.

See also: COVID-19 pandemic in Togo


Compulsory schooling is six years, and primary school is free of charge. The education system suffers from a shortage of teachers, poor quality in rural areas and high repetition and dropout rates.

School availability and school attendance show a considerable north-south as well as urban-rural gap, with people in the cities of the south having a higher education; The inadequate educational offer is supplemented above all by numerous mission schools. In the north, Koran schools are on the rise. The illiteracy rate in 2015 was 33.5%.


In 1958, Sylvanus Olympio , an ewe from the south, won the first general election. On April 27, 1960, he became Togo's first president with the declaration of independence from France. He was murdered on January 13, 1963 in an uprising by officers. An unstable multi-party government under President Grunitzky followed. From January 13, 1967 to early February 2005, President Gnassingbé Eyadéma ruled the country. He belonged to the Kabiyé ethnic group from the north. Persecution and human rights violations have forced many people into exile.

After Gnassingbé Eyadéma's death on February 5, 2005, the country's army appointed his son, Faure Gnassingbé , who had been Minister of Telecommunications until then, as the new president. The African Union speaks of an unconstitutional military coup. The West African economic community ECOWAS suspended Togo's membership on February 19 in response to the unconstitutional seizure of power. In addition to other sanctions, ECOWAS also imposed a weapons embargo .

On February 25, Faure Gnassingbé resigned due to international pressure and resistance from the opposition. ECOWAS then lifted the sanctions . The President of Parliament, Abass Bonfoh, became President on an interim basis . The new head of state should be elected within 2 months, which happened on April 24th.

However, the opposition (the top candidate was 74-year-old Emmanuel Bob-Akitani ) warned of organized fraud even before election day and called the elections null and void on April 23, among other things with reference to irregularities in the issuing of ballot papers. Foreign election observers also reported massive irregularities. Ballot boxes were destroyed, election observers were not allowed to monitor the count, and more.

On April 26th, Faure Gnassingbé was declared the election winner with allegedly 60.22% of the vote. The opposition candidate Emmanuel Bob-Akitani also called himself the election winner and did not recognize the election result. Opposition leader Gilchrist Olympio , who was not allowed to run for election, also raised allegations of electoral fraud . During the elections, a number of ballot boxes with ballot papers were stolen and opposition voters were persecuted. In the days following the election there were street fights with up to 500 dead and numerous injuries, according to figures reported to the world public. Unconfirmed reports indicate that southern Togolese massacres took place in the countryside prior to the election. Soldiers and simple peasants are said to have been ordered there with weapons from the president's homeland in northern Togo. Northern Togoers who had previously resided in the south were also allegedly harnessed to their direct neighbors for these purposes. Around 35,000 people from southern Togo fled in the following weeks, mainly to the neighboring countries of Benin and Ghana.

In the course of the unrest, on April 29, 2005, the Goethe-Institut in Lomé was also shot at, stormed and partly set on fire after an advance notice from people (presumably close to the government). Nobody was injured. The government of Togo accuses Germany of being on the side of the opposition. The German Foreign Office condemned the attack. The then Federal Foreign Minister Fischer called for an end to anti-German agitation . On April 30, 2005, the first Germans responded to the Federal Foreign Office's call to leave Togo.

On June 10, 2005, President Faure Gnassingbé, who is still not recognized by the EU because of his controversial election, appointed Edem Kodjo , leader of the moderate opposition party, the Patriotic Pan-African Party, Prime Minister. Kodjo was Prime Minister under Gnassingbe's father from 1994 to 1996, before that from 1978 to 1984 Secretary General of the then Organization for African Unity (OAU), now the African Union . Before the election, Kodjo had proposed the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission modeled on South Africa . (For literature on these opposites and the role of the Federal Republic of Germany and France in this, see History of Togo ).


Acting President of Togo: Faure Gnassingbé on November 29, 2006

Togo had been a presidential republic since 1967 . Since then, President Gnassingbé Eyadéma ruled dictatorially until he died in 2005. In 1993, however, after international pressure, he had to draft a new liberal constitution, which should first be approved by the opposition . However, this was and is often disregarded, and there are repeated accusations of electoral fraud. In the   2019 democracy index of the British magazine  The Economist, Togo ranks 126th out of 167 countries, making it one of the authoritarian states. In the country report  Freedom in the World  2017 by the US  non-governmental organization  Freedom House  , the country's political system is rated as “partially free”.

The parliament ( Assemblée Nationale du Togo ) has 81 members and is re-elected every 5 years. The president is also determined in a direct election every 5 years. Since 2005 it has been Faure Gnassingbé , a son of the late dictator.


In the parliamentary elections in 2002, 72 of the 81 seats went to the Rassemblement du peuple togolais (RPT), the party of then President Gnassingbé Eyadéma.

In 2005 Edem Kodjo was elected Prime Minister. He is chairman of the Convergence Patriotique Panafricaine (CPP), which emerged from the merger of the small opposition parties PAD, UTD, UDS and PDU. In September 2006 he was replaced by Yawovi Agboyibo as Prime Minister.

From the parliamentary elections on October 14, 2007, the Rassemblement du peuple togolais (RPT) emerged as the winner with 50 seats. Further seats in parliament went to the Union des Forces du Changement (27 seats) and the Comité d'Action pour le Renouveau (4 seats).

On December 3, 2007, President Faure Gnassingbé appointed the politician Komlan Mally as Prime Minister. He resigned on September 5, 2008. On September 7, 2008, the President named Gilbert Houngbo Prime Minister.

In the election on April 25, 2015, according to the national independent electoral commission CENI, 58.75 percent of the votes fell on the previous President Faure Gnassingbé. Jean-Pierre Fabre, the best-known opposition candidate, got 34.95 percent. While the elections in 2005 and 2010 were unrest, these elections were largely peaceful. In May 2019, a constitutional amendment restricted the presidential term of office to two five-year terms. The regulation does not apply retrospectively, so that incumbent Faure Gnassingbé can run again in 2020 and 2025. On February 23, 2020, he was confirmed in office with 72% of the votes.

Women's suffrage

After a popular vote in 1956, in which women could take part, the area under British administration became part of the independent state of Ghana in 1957 and therefore adopted universal suffrage for adults.

In the French parts of the country, since 1951, most women had taken part in the elections for the local legislative body (Conseil de Circonscription) . Active women's suffrage for elections to the French parliament was introduced on August 22, 1945. In 1946, women voted in the elections for the first legislative assembly after Togo's application for universal suffrage was completed and the French decree of August 22, 1945 came into force. From 1956, the loi-cadre Defferre enabled women to vote in the local legislative assembly elections. In 1958 universal suffrage for adults was introduced. Universal suffrage was confirmed.

Foreign policy

Togo is a member of the United Nations , the African Union , the West African Economic Community , the West African Economic and Monetary Union , the Community of Sahel-Saharan States and the Zone d'Alliance et de Coprospérité .

Human rights

Trafficking in human beings , especially children , is a serious problem in Togo. From Togo, children are sold to Nigeria , Benin , Cameroon , Liberia or Gabon , where they very often end up as slave labor . It is estimated that over 300,000 Togolese children between the ages of 5 and 15 are exploited as workers in other countries. The city of Lomé is considered the hub of the international trade in child slaves. The total number of working children between 5 and 14 years of age in Togo is estimated at 32.7% (boys: 33.7%, girls: 31.6%).

Amnesty International complained that detainees had been mistreated in 2008 and that the conditions of detention themselves were classified as inhuman. Several people reportedly died of torture or ill-treatment in police custody in 2009. In June 2009 the death penalty was abolished for all criminal offenses.

On May 25, 2015, clashes with the security forces broke out at a rally in Gléi, 160 km north of Lomé. Army members shot the demonstrators with live ammunition, injuring at least 30 people. In November 2015, security forces killed seven people and injured at least 117 others, including many children and pregnant women, in demonstrations in the city of Sansanné-Mango . According to Amnesty International, people in police custody have been tortured and otherwise ill-treated in order to obtain "confessions" from them. Prisoners were also denied timely medical treatment.

The right to freedom of expression is seen as threatened. Journalists are deliberately mistreated. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and non-profit organizations such as Amnesty International report restrictions on freedom of assembly each year. In the 2017 press freedom ranking, published by Reporters Without Borders , Togo was ranked 86th out of 180 countries. There are “recognizable problems” with the press freedom situation in the country, according to the non-governmental organization, but it was one of the better in Africa.

The Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany informs that although the human rights situation has improved since 2006, homosexuality in public can still be prosecuted and punished with prison terms of up to three years and fines.


The military (French Forces armées togolaises ) has a staff of approx. 8,550 men. Togo spent almost 1.6 percent of its economic output or 88 million US dollars on its armed forces in 2017.

The armed forces are divided into Army ( Armée de terre togolaise ), Navy ( Marine Nationale Togolaise ) and Air Force ( Force Aérienne Togolaise ). There is also the (paramilitary) national police force ( Gendarmerie Nationale ) (as of 2008).

The military has not been a pure defense force in recent decades, but has also been heavily involved in the country's politics. Gnassingbé Eyadéma was able to hold onto power in the country for 40 years because of various military coups and military interventions. Human rights organizations name the military in Togo in connection with human rights violations in the country.

Administrative division

Administrative division of Togo

The state is divided into five regions. The regions are further subdivided into 39 prefectures and the capital Lomé (as of 2020).

Regions of Togo
Surname Capital Residents 2010
Savanes Dapaong 0828.224
Kara Kara 0769.940
Centrale Sokodé 0617.871
Plateaux Atakpamé 1,375,165
Maritime Lomé 2,599,955
Togo Lomé 6,191,155


Passenger train at the end of February 1990

The rail network Togo is currently on km 517, the road network on 7250 km, of which 2,376 km fixed, expanded. Rail traffic was discontinued a few years ago. Lomé has the only deep sea port in the country, through which almost all imports and exports are handled.

Togo has two international airports: Lomé Airport ( IATA code LFW) and Niamtougou / Lama Kara (IATA code LRL).


Togo is mainly a tropical, rain-dependent agricultural country . Almost two thirds of the workforce are employed in agriculture . The staple foods grown include yams , cassava , corn , millet , peanuts and sorghum ( sorghum ).

The gross domestic product (GDP) of Togo amounted to EUR 3734 million in 2015. The gross domestic product per capita was 520 EUR in the same year. The inflation was at 1.9 percent in 2015. Togo has experienced a considerable economic boom in recent years. However, the country is still poor. About 40 percent of the population of Togo have less than 1.25 US dollars and about 70 percent less than 2 US dollars a day. The unemployment rate was 6.9% in 2016, but many jobs are informal and underemployment is widespread. The total number of employees is estimated at 2.6 million in 2017; 49.2% of them are women. In 2015, 11.5% of the population were malnourished . In 2000 the share was 30.4%.

Key figures

All GDP values ​​are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ).

year GDP
( purchasing power parity )
GDP per capita
( purchasing power parity )
GDP growth
(in percent)
Public debt
(as a percentage of GDP)
1980 02.13 billion 0897 −2.2% 12.3% ...
1985 02.67 billion 0844 3.7% −1.8% ...
1990 03.80 billion 1,037 5.9% 1.1% ...
1995 04.71 billion 1,153 19.7% 15.8% ...
2000 05.07 billion 1,058 −1.0% 1.9% ...
2005 06.00 billion 1,111 −4.7% 6.8% ...
2006 06.36 billion 1,149 2.7% 2.2% 91%
2007 06.44 billion 1,075 −1.8% 0.9% 102%
2008 06.84 billion 1.110 4.0% 8.7% 92%
2009 07.28 billion 1,149 5.5% 3.7% 81%
2010 07.81 billion 1,202 6.1% 1.4% 47%
2011 08.49 billion 1,270 6.4% 3.6% 47%
2012 09.21 billion 1,342 6.5% 2.6% 47%
2013 09.93 billion 1,410 6.1% 1.8% 56%
2014 10.70 billion 1,481 5.9% 0.2% 60%
2015 11.44 billion 1,543 5.7% 1.8% 72%
2016 12.18 billion 1,601 5.1% 0.9% 82%
2017 12.94 billion 1,659 4.4% −0.7% 79%

Foreign trade

The phosphate mining by the Société Nouvelle des Phosphates du Togo , which in 1985 contributed 8.4% to the GNP, only came to a share of 2.2% in 2001. Industrial goods, machines, vehicles, food and fuels are imported. The most important export goods are calcium phosphate , processed cotton (27%), coffee (10%), tea and cocoa .

Further economic incentives were given through the creation of a free trade area.

Togo is a member of the International Cocoa Organization .

State budget

The state budget included expenditures in 2016 of the equivalent of 1,377 million US dollars , which were income equivalent to 1,140 million US Dollar against. This results in a budget deficit of 5.3% of GDP . The national debt was 79.1% of GDP in 2016.

In 2006, the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:


The traditional national sport of Togo is wrestling, and football also plays an important role. The Togolese national soccer team has already taken part in the African Championships several times , but only reached the quarter-finals once, in 2013. In 2006 the Togolese team was able to qualify for the soccer world championship in Germany, with accommodation in Wangen im Allgäu , where they failed as an outsider in the preliminary round. Togo was also able to qualify for the 2010 African Cup of Nations in Angola, but it withdrew its participation because the team bus was attacked two days before the start of the tournament on January 8, 2010. Three delegates died and others, including players, were injured in the attack at Cabinda initiated by the Frente para a Libertação do Enclave de Cabinda . Due to this withdrawal from the Africa Cup, the Togolese national team was initially banned from the African Football Association CAF for the next two tournaments. However, this ban was lifted a few months later. At the African Cup of Nations 2013 , the Togolese national team made it to the quarter-finals for the first time.

Participation in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing was the eighth Togolese athlete. Benjamin Boukpeti was able to win the first Olympic medal for Togo with a bronze medal in canoeing slalom.


  • Rebekka Habermas : Scandal in Togo. A chapter of German colonial rule . Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 2016, ISBN 978-3-10-397229-0 .
  • Jürgen Runge . Republic of Togo. Geographical insights between the Gulf of Guinea and the Sudan Zone in West Africa . Shaker Verlag, Aachen 2013, ISBN 978-3-8440-1709-0 .
  • Margret Kopp: Beim Baobab right down , 2nd edition, Togo-Contact publishing house, Maisach 2012, ISBN 978-3-00-040570-9 . Personal experiences from over 30 years of development aid in Togo, as well as interesting facts about the country.
  • Jonas Bakoubayi Billy: Model Colony of the Racial State: Togo in Colonial Political Propaganda and Planning in Germany 1919–1943, JHRöll-Verlag, Dettelbach 2011, ISBN 978-3-89754-377-5 .
  • Ederer, Norbert: Togo - including the crossing of the Sahara , 2nd edition, M. Velbinger Verlag, Seefeld 2009.
  • Small German Colonial Atlas , 3rd edition ed. by the German Colonial Society published by Dietrich Reimer (Ernst Vohsen), Berlin 1899, with comments on the maps (description of the colonial areas). Edition 2002 of the publishing group Weltbild GmbH in Augsburg, ISBN 3-8289-0526-9 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Togo  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Togo  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikimedia Atlas: Togo  - geographical and historical maps
Wikisource: Colonialism  - Sources and Full Texts
Wikivoyage: Togo  - travel guide

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Coordinates: 8 °  N , 1 °  E