About Togo

Sandwiched between Ghana and Benin in West Africa, the Togolese Republic (Togo) is one of the smallest countries on the continent. It boasts a rapidly increasing population of 8.3 million people representing at least 37 different ethnic groups. While many people speak one of the four major Togolese languages, French is the official language of the country. Togo boasts a wide array of natural landscapes, including beaches, forests, hills, and savannas.

Since gaining independence in 1960—after control by German, French, and British governments—Togo has struggled to maintain consistent economic and political stability and experiences occasional demonstrations, strikes, and marches. And while poverty has decreased by several percentage points over the past two decades, it is still widespread, especially in rural areas, where about 70 percent of households live below the poverty line. Togo’s economy is based mainly on agriculture, with nearly 60 percent of the workforce employed in the subsistence and commercial farming of crops such as coffee, cocoa, cotton, yams, cassava, corn, beans, rice, millet, and sorghum. Togo is also a mining nation with large quantities of phosphate.

Life expectancy in Togo has increased significantly, from age 53 to 61, between 2000 and 2018. Similarly, under-five mortality rates decreased from 141 to 63 deaths per 1,000 live births between 1990 and 2019. While these are overall improvements, the population is still vulnerable to poor health. Currently, leading causes of death in Togo include diseases such as diarrheal diseases, malaria, neonatal disorders, lower respiratory infections, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis. However, non-communicable diseases have also increased substantially in recent years, and top causes of death now include ischemic heart disease, stroke, and cirrhosis. Trauma and mortality from road injuries are also significant.

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