U.S. Department of State
Background Notes: Togo, June 1996
Bureau of African Affairs


Prepared and released by the Bureau of African Affairs, 
Office of West African Affairs

June 1996
Official Name: Republic of Togo

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 56,600 sq. km. (21,853 sq. mi.); slightly smaller than West 
Virginia.
Cities: Capital--Lome(Pop. 1989 est. 600,000).
Terrain: Savannah and hills and coastal plain.
Climate: tropical.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Togolese (sing. and pl.).
Population (1994 est.): 3.9 million.
Annual growth rate (1994 est.): 3.1 percent.
Density: 68/sq. km.
Ethnic groups: Ewe, Mina, Kabye, Cotocoli, Moba.
Religions: Animist 50 percent, Christian 30 percent, Muslim 20 
percent.
Languages: French (official), local (Ewe, Mina, Kabye).
Education: Attendance (1987 est.)--70 percent of age group 5-19 
enrolled. Literacy (1990 est.)--male 43 percent, female 31 percent.
Health: Life Expectancy (1992 est.)--Male 53 yrs., Female 57 yrs.
Work force (160,000): Agriculture--65 percent, Commerce--29 
percent, Industry--less than 5 percent.

Government

Type: Republic.
Independence: April 27, 1960.
Constitution: Adopted 1992.
Branches: Executive--president (chief of state); prime minister (head of 
government). Legislative--National Assembly. Judicial--Supreme 
Court
Subdivisions: 30 Prefectures.
Political parties: Rassemblement du Peuple Togolais (RPT); Comite 
d'action pour le Renouveau (CAR), and Union Togolaise pour la 
Democratie (UTD).
Suffrage: universal adult.
Central government budget (1989): US$289 million.
National holiday: April 27, Independence day.
Flag: alternating horizontal stripes, three green and two yellow, with a 
white star in a red field in upper left corner.

Economy

GDP (1994 est.): US$1.04 billion.
Per capita income (1994): US$260.
Natural Resources: phosphates, limestone, marble.
Agriculture (42 percent of 1994 GDP): Products--yams, cassava, corn, 
millet, sorghum, cocoa, coffee, rice, cotton.
Industry (21 percent of 1994 GDP): Types--mining, manufacturing, 
construction, energy.
Trade (1994): Exports--US$249 million: phosphates, textiles, cocoa, 
coffee, cotton. Imports--US$330 million: Consumer goods, including 
foodstuffs, fabrics, clothes, vehicles, equipment.
Partners--France, U.K., Germany, Netherlands, Japan, Nigeria, Cote 
D'Ivoire, People's Republic of China, U.S., Poland.
Official exchange rate (June 1996): Communaute Financiere Africaine 
(CFA) Franc floats with French Franc (100 CFA equals lFf). Avg. 
U.S.$ 1 equals 500 CFA.
Fiscal Year: calendar year.

Membership International Organizations

UN, Organization of African Unity (OAU), Economic Community of 
West African States (ECOWAS), Entente Council, West African 
Monetary Union.

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 (l00 mi.) wide at the broadest point. The country 
consists primarily of two savannah plains regions separated by a 
southwest-northwest range of hills (the Chaine du Togo).

Togo's climate varies from tropical to savannah.  The South is humid, 
with temperatures ranging between 23 degrees C and 32 degrees C (75 
degrees F- 90 degrees F). In the North, temperature fluctuations are 
greater--from 18 degrees C to more than 38 degrees C (65 degrees F-
100 degrees F).

PEOPLE

Togo's population of 3.9 million people (1994 estimate) is composed of 
about 21 ethnic groups. The two major ones 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 is also uneven; more than one-half of the Togolese are less 
than 15 years of age. The ethnic groups of the coastal region, 
particularly the Ewes (about 25 percent 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 (15 percent of the 
population) live on submarginal 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

The Ewes moved into the area which is now Togo from the Niger river 
valley between the 12th and 14th centuries. During the 15th and 16th 
centuries, Portuguese explorers and traders visited the coast. For the 
next 200 years, the coastal region was a major raiding center for 
Europeans in search of slaves, earning Togo and the surrounding 
region the name  The Slave Coast.

In an 1884 treaty signed at Togoville, Germany declared a protectorate 
over a stretch of territory along the coast and gradually extended its 
control inland. Because it became Germany's only self- supporting 
colony, Togoland was known as its model possession. In 1914, 
Togoland was invaded by French and British forces and fell after a 
brief resistance. Following the war, Togoland became a League of 
Nations mandate divided for administrative purposes between France 
and the United Kingdom.

After World War II, the mandate became a UN trust territory 
administered by the United Kingdom and France. During the mandate 
and trusteeship periods, Western Togo was administered as part of the 
British gold coast. In 1957, the residents of British Togoland voted to 
join the Gold Coast as part of the new independent nation of Ghana.

By statute in 1955, French Togo became an autonomous republic 
within the French union, although it retained its UN trusteeship status. 
A legislative assembly elected by universal adult suffrage had 
considerable power over internal affairs, with an elected executive 
body headed by a prime minister responsible to the legislature. These 
changes were embodied in a constitution approved in a 1956 
referendum. On September 10, 1956, Nicholas Grunitzky became 
prime minister of the Republic of Togo. However, due to irregularities 
in the plebiscite, an unsupervised general election was held in 1958 and 
won by Sylvanus Olympio. On April 27, 1960, in a smooth transition, 
Togo severed its judicial ties with France, shed its UN trusteeship 
status, and became fully independent under a provisional constitution 
with Olympio as president.

A new constitution in 1961 established an executive president, elected 
for 7 years by universal suffrage, and a weak National Assembly. The 
president was empowered to appoint ministers and dissolve the 
assembly, holding a monopoly of executive power. In elections that 
year, from which Grunitzky's party was disqualified. Olympio's party 
won 90 percent of the vote and all 51 National Assembly seats, and he 
became Togo's first elected president.

Four principal political parties existed in Togo: the leftist Juvento 
(Togolese youth movement); the Union Democratique des Populations 
Togolaises (IDPT); the Parti Togolais Du Progres (PTP), founded by 
Grunitzky but having limited support; and the Unite Togolaise (UT), 
the party of President Olympio. rivalries between elements of these 
parties had begun as early as the 1940s, and they came to a head with 
Olympio dissolving the opposition parties in January 1962 ostensibly 
became of plots against the majority party government. Many 
opposition members, including Grunitzky, fled to avoid arrest.

On January 13, 1963, President Olympio was assassinated in an 
uprising of army noncommissioned officers dissatisfied with conditions 
following their discharge from the French army. Grunitzky returned 
from exile 2 days later to head a provisional government with the title 
of prime minister. On May 5, 1963, the Togolese adopted a new 
constitution which reinstated a multiparty system, chose deputies from 
all political parties for the National Assembly, and elected Grunitzky as 
president and Antoine Meatchi as vice president. Nine days later, 
President Grunitzky formed a government in which all parties were 
represented.

During the next several years, the Grunitzky government's power 
became insecure. On November 21, 1966, an attempt to overthrow 
Grunitzky - inspired principally by civilian political opponents in the 
UT party - was unsuccessful. Grunitzky then tried to lessen his reliance 
on the army, but on January 13, 1967, Lt. Col. Etienne Eyadema (later 
Gen. Gnassingbe Eyadema) ousted President Grunitzky in a bloodless 
military coup. Political parties were banned, and all constitutional 
processes were suspended. The committee of national reconciliation 
ruled the country until April 14, when Eyadema assumed the 
presidency. In late 1969, a single national political party, the Assembly 
of the Togolese People (RPT), was created, and President Eyadema 
was elected party president on November 29, 1969. in 1972, a national 
referendum, in which Eyadema ran unopposed, confirmed his role as 
the country's president.

In late 1979, Eyadema declared a third republic and a transition to a 
more civilian rule with a mixed civilian and military cabinet. He 
garnered 99.97 percent of the vote in uncontested presidential elections 
held in late 1979 and early 1980. A new constitution also provided for 
a national assembly to serve primarily as a consultative body. Eyadema 
was reelected to a third consecutive 7-year term in December 1986 
with 99.5 percent of the vote in an uncontested elections.

On September 23, 1986, a group of some 70 armed Togolese dissidents 
crossed into Lome from Ghana in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow 
the Eyadema government.

In 1989 and 1990, Togo, like many other countries, was affected by the 
winds of democratic change sweeping Eastern Europe and the Soviet 
Union.  On October 5, 1990, the trial of students for handing out anti-
government tracts sparked riots in Lome. The months that followed 
were marked by anti- government demonstrations and violent clashes 
with the security forces. In April 1991, the government began 
negotiations with newly-formed opposition groups and agreed to a 
general amnesty which permitted exiled political opponents to return to 
Togo. After a general strike and further demonstrations, the 
government and opposition signed an agreement to hold a "national 
forum" on June 12, 1991.

The national forum, dominated by opponents of President Eyadema, 
opened in July  1991, and immediately declared itself to be a sovereign 
"National Conference". Although subjected to severe harassment from 
the government, the conference drafted an interim constitution calling 
for a one- year transitional regime tasked with organizing free elections 
for a new government. The conference selected Kokou Joseph 
Koffigoh, a lawyer and human rights group head, as transitional prime 
minister, but kept President Eyadema as chief of state for the transition, 
although with limited powers.

A test of wills between the president and his opponents followed over 
the next three years in which President Eyadema gradually gained the 
upper hand. This period was marked by frequent political paralysis and 
intermittent violence.

Following a vote by the transitional legislature (High Council of the 
Republic) to dissolve the President's political party, the RPT, in 
November 1991, the army attacked the prime minister's office on 
December 3 and captured the prime minister. Under duress, Koffigoh 
then formed a second transition government in January 1992 with 
substantial participation by ministers from the President's party. 
Opposition leader Gilchrist Olympio, son of the slain President 
Sylvanus Olympio, was ambushed and seriously wounded, apparently 
by soldiers, on May 5, 1992, and another opposition leader, Tavio 
Amorin, was assassinated in July.

In July and August 1992, a commission composed of presidential and 
opposition representatives negotiated a new political agreement. This 
agreement extended the transition period until the end of 1992 and 
restored substantial power to President Eyadema. A new, third 
transition government was formed by Prime Minister Koffigoh with 
considerable participation by supporters of President Eyadema. The 
government was mandated to hold elections in the near future. On 
September 27, the public overwhelmingly approved the text of a new, 
democratic constitution, formally initiating Togo's fourth republic.

The democratic process was set back on October 22-23, 1992, when 
elements of the army held the interim legislature hostage for 24 hours. 
This effectively put an end to the interim legislature. In retaliation, on 
November 16, opposition political parties and labor unions declared a 
general strike intended to force President Eyadema to agree to 
satisfactory conditions for elections. The general strike largely shut 
down the capital of Lome for months and resulted in severe damage to 
the economy.

In January 1993, President Eyadema declared the transition at an end, 
and reappointed Koffigoh as prime minister under Eyadema's authority. 
This set off public demonstrations, and on January 25, members of the 
security forces fired on peaceful demonstrators in the presence of the 
French Cooperation Minister and German Minister of State for Foreign 
Affairs, killing at least 19. In the ensuing days, several security force 
members were waylaid and injured or killed by civilian oppositionists. 
On January 30, 1994, elements of the military went on an eight-hour 
rampage throughout Lome, firing indiscriminately and killing at least 
twelve persons. This incident provoked over 300,000 Togolese to flee 
Lome for Benin, Ghana, or the interior of Togo. although most had 
returned by early 1996, some still remain abroad.

On March 25, 1993, armed Togolese dissident commandos based in 
Ghana attacked Lome's main military camp and tried unsuccessfully to 
kill President Eyadema, causing significant casualties and setting off 
lethal reprisals by the military against soldiers thought to be associated 
with the attackers.

Under substantial domestic and foreign pressure and the burden of the 
general strike, the presidential faction entered negotiations with the 
opposition in early 1993. Four rounds of talks led to the July 11 
Ouagadougou agreement setting forth conditions for upcoming 
presidential and legislative elections and ending the general strike as of 
August 3, 1993. The presidential elections were set for August 25, but 
hasty and inadequate technical preparations, concerns about fraud, and 
the lack of effective campaign organization by the opposition led the 
chief opposition candidates, former minister and Organization of 
African Unity Secretary General Edem Kodjo and lawyer Yaovi 
Agboyibor, to drop out of the race before election day and to call for a 
boycott. President Eyadema won the elections by a 96.42 percent vote 
against token opposition. About 36 percent of the voters went to the 
polls; the others boycotted.

A new commando attack on military sites in Lome was launched by 
Ghana-based armed dissidents on January 5-7, 1994. Although 
President Eyadema was unscathed, the attack and subsequent reaction 
by the Togolese armed forces resulted in hundreds of deaths, mostly 
civilian.

The government went ahead with legislative elections on February 6 
and 20, 1994. In generally free and fair polls as witnessed by 
international observers, the allied opposition parties UTD and CAR 
together won a narrow majority in the National Assembly. On April 22, 
President Eyadema named Edem Kodjo, the head of the smaller 
opposition party, the UTD, as prime minister, instead of Yaovi 
Agboyibor, whose CAR party had far more seats. Kodjo's acceptance 
of the prime ministership provoked the CAR to break the opposition 
alliance and refuse to join the Kodjo government. Kodjo was then 
forced to form a governing coalition with the RPT. The National 
Assembly approved the new government, about half of whose cabinet 
members were associated with the RPT, on June 24. Kodjo's 
announced program emphasized economic recovery, building 
democratic institutions and the rule of law and the return of Togolese 
refugees abroad. In early 1995, the government made slow progress 
toward its goals, aided by the CAR's August 1995 decision to end a 
nine-month boycott of the National Assembly. By late 1995, however, 
Kodjo was forced to reshuffle his government, strengthening the 
representation by Eyadema's RPT party. Since the beginning of 1996 it 
has been increasingly clear that Eyadema has resumed control of most 
aspects of government.

On December 15, 1994, the National Assembly approved a general 
amnesty for political offenses, resulting in the release of over two 
dozen prisoners. In August, 1995, the government signed an accord 
with the UNHCR on the repatriation of Togolese refugees who 
remained in Ghana and Benin.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

With the adoption of a new constitution in 1992, presidential and 
legislative elections in 1993 and 1994, and the installation of a freely-
elected National Assembly and formation of a new government based 
on the legislative results in 1994, Togo has acquired nascent 
democratic institutions, but these remain fragile and only partially 
developed. President Eyadema, who ruled under a one-party system for 
nearly 25 years, remains the dominant political figure and retains 
effective control of the security forces.

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



Principal Government Officials

President--General Gnassingbe Eyadema
Prime Minister--Edem Kodjo
Minister of State, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation--Barry 
Moussa Barque
Minister of State, Minister of Economy and Finance--Elom Emile 
Dadzie
Minister of Defense--Bitokotipou Yaginim
Minister of Interior and Security--Col. Seyi Memene
Minister of Justice, Attorney General--Elliot Latevi-Atebo Lawson
Minister of Industry and State Enterprises--Payadowa Boukpessi
Minister of Rural Development and Hydraulic Resources--Yao Do 
Felli
Minister charged with relations with the National Assembly--Atsutse 
Agbobli
Minister of Equipment, Mines and Energy--Tchamdja Andjo
Minister of National Education and Scientific Research--Date Fodjo 
Francois Gbikpi-Benissan
Minister of Technical Education and Professional Training--Bamouni 
Somolou Stanislas Baba
Minister of Plan and Territorial Management--Kwassi Klutse
Minister of Youth and Sports--Kouami Agbogboli Ihou
Minister of Communication and Culture--Solitoki Esso
Minister of Public Health--Etse Jean-Pierre Amedon
Minister of Environment and Tourism--Ayitou Singo
Minister of Commerce, Prices and Transport--Kodzo Mensah Joffre 
Appoh
Minister of Employment, Labor and Civil Service--Liwoibe Sambiani
Minister for Women's Promotion and Social Welfare--Mrs. Kissem 
Tchangai-Walla
Minister of Human Rights and Rehabilitation--Ephrem Seth Dorkenoo
Minister-Delegate to the Minister of Interior, in charge of 
decentralization--Kossivi Victor Ayassou

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Although Togo's foreign policy is non-aligned, it has strong historical 
and cultural ties with Western Europe, especially France and Germany. 
Togo recognizes the People's Republic of China and North Korea. It 
reestablished 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 Organization of African Unity. Relations 
between Togo and neighboring states are generally good. Ties to 
Ghana and Benin have been strained due to armed incursions by 
Togolese dissidents residing in Ghana and the flow of Togolese 
refugees into these two countries.

ECONOMY

Subsistence agriculture and commerce are the main economic activities 
in Togo; the majority of the population depends on subsistence 
agriculture. Food and cash crop production employ the majority of the 
labor force and contribute about 42 percent to the gross domestic 
product (GDP). Coffee and cocoa are traditionally the major cash crops 
for export, but cotton cultivation increased rapidly in the late 1980s and 
early 1990s, with 84,500 metric tons produced in 1994. Despite 
insufficient rainfall in some areas, the Togolese government largely has 
achieved its goal of self-sufficiency in food crops-- corn, cassava, 
yams, sorghum, millet, and groundnut. Food crop production is 
controlled by small - and medium-sized farms; average farm size is 1-3 
hectares.

Commerce is the most important economic activity in Togo after 
agriculture, and Lome is an important regional trading center. Its port 
operates 24 hours a day mainly transporting goods to the inland 
countries of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger. Lome's "Grand Marche" is 
known for its entrepreneurial market women, who have a stronghold 
over many areas of trade, particularly in African cloth. In addition to 
textiles, Togo is an important center for re- export of alcohol, 
cigarettes, perfume, and used clothing to neighboring countries. Recent 
years of political instability have, however, eroded Togo's position as a 
trading center.      In the industrial sector, phosphates are Togo's most 
important commodity, and the country has an estimated 130 million 
metric tons of phosphate reserves. Togo exported 2.4 million metric 
tons of phosphates in 1994, mainly to South Africa, Canada and the 
Philippines. Togo also has substantial limestone and marble deposits.

Encouraged by the commodity boom of the mid- 1970s, which resulted 
in a four-fold increase in phosphate prices and sharply increased 
government revenues, Togo embarked on an overly ambitious program 
of large investments in infrastructure while pursuing industrialization 
and development of state enterprises in manufacturing, textiles, and 
beverages. However, following declines in world prices for 
commodities, its economy became burdened with fiscal imbalances, 
heavy borrowing, and unprofitable state enterprises.

Togo turned to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance in 
1979, while simultaneously implementing a stringent adjustment effort 
with the help of a series of IMF standby programs, World Bank loans, 
and Paris Club debt rescheduling. Under these programs, the Togolese 
government introduced  a series of austerity measures and major 
restructuring goals for the state enterprise and rural development 
sectors. These reforms were aimed at eliminating most state 
monopolies, simplifying taxes and customs duties, curtailing public 
employment, and privatizing major state enterprises. Togo made good 
progress under the IFI programs in the late 1980's, but movement on 
reforms ended with the onset of political instability in 1990-1991. With 
a new, elected government in place, Togo negotiated new three-year 
programs with the World Bank and IMF in 1994.

Togo returned to the Paris Club in 1995 and received Naples terms, the 
Club's most concessionary rates. With the economic downturn 
associated with Togo's political problems, scheduled external debt 
service obligations for 1994 were greater than 100 percent of projected 
government revenues (excluding bilateral and multilateral assistance).

Togo is a member of the Economic Community of West African States 
(ECOWAS), a grouping of 16 West African countries. The ECOWAS 
development fund is based in Lome. Togo is also a member of the 
West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), which 
groups seven West African countries using the CFA franc. The West 
African Development Bank (BOAD), which is associated with 
UEMOA, is based in Lome. Togo long served as a regional banking 
center, but that position has been eroded by the political instability and 
economic downturn of the early 1990's. Historically, France has been 
Togo's principal trading partner, although other European Union 
countries are important to Togo's economy. Total U.S. trade with Togo 
amounts to about US$20 million annually.

DEFENSE

The Togolese military is one of the most important institutions in the 
country. It serves as the ultimate power base for the president. The 
Togolese armed forces total about 10,000, with most personnel in the 
land forces, including armored, paratroop, and rapid intervention 
divisions, as well as the presidential guard. Togo also has a small navy 
with two coastal patrol craft, and a small air force with fighter and 
transport aircraft. Historically, the Togolese armed forces have 
obtained equipment form Eastern and Western sources. A number of 
French military officers serve in advisory and technical capacities. 
Many Togolese officers are trained in France; some also are trained in 
other foreign countries. The U.S. government has provided training to 
Togolese officers in the United States under the international military 
education and training program.

U.S.-TOGOLESE RELATIONS

Togo is a pro-Western, market-oriented country and the United States 
and Togo have had generally good relations since its independence. 
Although the United States has never been one of Togo's major trade 
partners, the fall in the dollar/CFA exchange rate in recent years has 
helped make U.S. goods a little more competitive. The largest U.S. 
exports to Togo generally have been used clothing and scrap textiles. 
Other important U.S. exports include rice, wheat, shoes, tobacco 
products, and U.S. personal computers and other office electronics are 
becoming more widely used.

The government of Togo, with the support of the Overseas Private 
Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Agency for International 
Development (AID), established an export processing zone (EPZ) in 
Togo. The zone has attracted private investors interested in 
manufacturing, assembly, and food processing, primarily for the export 
market.

As of 1996 U.S. economic aid to Togo includes about 90 Peace Corps 
volunteers and health related projects amounting to over US$2 million. 
There is an active cultural and information exchange program run by 
USIS's cultural center.

U.S.-Togolese relations underwent strains during the turbulent 
democratic transition period. U.S. military assistance was suspended in 
the wake of political violence by members of the security forces

In 1991 and most economic assistance was suspended after further 
army violence in late 1992 and early 1993. The USAID office in Lome 
was closed in 1994.

Principal U.S. Officials

Ambassador-- Johnny Young
Deputy Chief of Mission--Terence P. McCulley
Public Affairs officer (USIS)-- Theodore A. Boyd
Peace Corps Director-- James F. Bell

The U.S. embassy is located at Rue Pelletier and Rue Vauban, Lome 
(telephone: 21-29-91/94). The mailing address is B.P. 852, Lome, 
Togo (international mail) and Lome, Department of State, Washington, 
D.C. 20521-2300 (by diplomatic pouch).

TRAVEL NOTES

Climate and Clothing: Bring warm weather clothing. a light wrap is 
useful in July and August.

Customs: U.S. citizens do not need a visa to enter the country for stays 
of under 3 months. Inoculation against yellow fever is required unless 
the traveler is arriving from a noninfected area and is staying in Togo 
less than 2 weeks. Malaria is a risk. As health requirements change, 
please check latest information.

Currency: The CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine - African 
Financial Community) franc is legal tender and no ceiling is imposed 
on the number of CFA francs which may be brought into the country.  
However, for conversion into U.S. dollars, obtain permission from the 
government agency handling foreign exchange. Dollars and travelers 
checks can be exchanged in Lome.

Health: Avoid tap water and unwashed fruits and vegetables. Local 
medical services are limited.

Telecommunications: Voice and fax telecommunications improved 
dramatically when a new satellite ground station came into service in 
1981. It is now possible to directly dial many countries (including the 
United States) from Togo. The embassy also recently contracted with a 
U.S. company to provide a direct dial voice communications link to the 
United States which has greatly reduced the costs of official 
international telephone calls. The capability has also been extended to 
embassy personnel in their homes at their expense. E-mail capability 
was established in may 1994 for embassy users here in Lome.

Transportation: Air travel is the best way to get to Lome, which has 
daily international flights to and from Europe and major West African 
cities. Uncertain road conditions or frontier difficulties can complicate 
automobile travel to Benin other than via the direct road from Lome to 
Cotonou. Accra is an easy 3 hours drive from Lome, but the border has 
been closed occasionally. Lagos is about 5 hours by road, depending on 
border crossing formalities. Taxis are available in Lome and other 
urban areas.

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