Nigeria: The People, Facts And The History Of This West African Nation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Nigeria

Introduction British influence and control over what would become Nigeria grew through the 19th century. A series of constitutions after World War II granted Nigeria greater autonomy; independence came in 1960. Following nearly 16 years of military rule, a new constitution was adopted in 1999, and a peaceful transition to civilian government was completed. The government continues to face the daunting task of reforming a petroleum-based economy, whose revenues have been squandered through corruption and mismanagement, and institutionalizing democracy. In addition, Nigeria continues to experience longstanding ethnic and religious tensions. Although both the 2003 and 2007 presidential elections were marred by significant irregularities and violence, Nigeria is currently experiencing its longest period of civilian rule since independence. The general elections of April 2007 marked the first civilian-to-civilian transfer of power in the country’s history.
History Early History

The Nok people in central Nigeria produced terracotta sculptures that have been discovered by archaeologists.[6] A Nok sculpture resident at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, portrays a sitting dignitary wearing a “Shepherds Crook” on the right arm, and a “hinged flail” on the left. These are symbols of authority associated with Ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, and the god Osiris, and suggests that an ancient Egyptian style of social structure, and perhaps religion, existed in the area of modern Nigeria during the late Pharonic period.[7] In the northern part of the country, Kano and Katsina has recorded history which dates back to around AD 999. Hausa kingdoms and the Kanem-Bornu Empire prospered as trade posts between North and West Africa.

The Yoruba people date their presence in the area of modern republics of Nigeria, Benin and Togo to about 8500 BC. The kingdoms of Ifẹ and Oyo in the western block of Nigeria became prominent about 700-900 and 1400 respectively. However, the Yoruba mythology believes that Ile-Ife is the source of the human race and that it predates any other civilization. Ifẹ produced the terra cotta and bronze heads, the Ọyọ extended as far as modern Togo. Another prominent kingdom in south western Nigeria was the Kingdom of Benin whose power lasted between the 15th and 19th century. Their dominance reached as far as the well known city of Eko which was named Lagos by the Portuguese traders and other early European settlers. In the 18th century, the Oyo and the Aro confederacy were responsible for most of the slaves exported from Nigeria.[8]

Post Independence

On October 1, 1960, Nigeria gained its independence from the United Kingdom. The new republic incorporated a number of people with aspirations of their own sovereign nations. Newly independent Nigeria’s government was a coalition of conservative parties: the Nigerian People’s Congress (NPC), a party dominated by Northerners and those of the Islamic faith, and the Igbo and Christian dominated National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) led by Nnamdi Azikiwe, who became Nigeria’s maiden Governor-General in 1960. Forming the opposition was the comparatively liberal Action Group (AG), which was largely dominated by Yorubas and led by Obafemi Awolowo.[9]

An imbalance was created in the polity by the result of the 1961 plebiscite. Southern Cameroon opted to join the Republic of Cameroon while northern Cameroon chose to remain in Nigeria. The northern part of the country was now far larger than the southern part. The nation parted with its British legacy in 1963 by declaring itself a Federal Republic, with Azikiwe as the first president. When elections came about in 1965, the AG was outmanoeuvred for control of Nigeria’s Western Region by the Nigerian National Democratic Party, an amalgamation of conservative Yoruba elements backed heavily by the Federal Government amid dubious electoral circumstances. This left the Igbo NCNC to coalesce with the remnants of the AG in a weak progressive alliance.[9]

Map of Nigeria

Military Era

This disequilibrium and perceived corruption of the electoral and political process led in 1966 to several back-to-back military coups. The first was in January and led by a collection of young leftists under Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna & Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, it was partially successful – the coupists overthrew the embattled government but could not install their choice, jailed opposition leader Chief Obafemi Awolowo,[10] General Johnson Aguiyi-ironsi, then head of the army was invited by the rump of the Balewa regime to take over the affairs of the country as head of state. This coup was counter-acted by another successful plot, supported primarily by Northern military officers and Northerners who favoured the NPC, it was engineered by Northern officers, which allowed Lt Colonel Yakubu Gowon to become head of state. This sequence of events led to an increase in ethnic tension and violence. The Northern coup, which was mostly motivated by ethnic and religious reasons was a bloodbath of both military officers and civilians, especially those of Igbo extraction.

The violence against Igbos increased their desire for autonomy and protection from the military’s wrath. By May 1967, the Eastern Region had declared itself an independent state called the Republic of Biafra under the leadership Lt Colonel Emeka Ojukwu in line with the wishes of the people. The Nigerian side attacked Biafra on July 6, 1967 at Garkem signalling the beginning of the 30 month war that ended on January 1970.[11] Following the war, Nigeria became to an extent even more mired in ethnic strife, as the defeated southeast and indeed southern Nigeria was now conquered territory for the federal military regime, which changed heads of state twice as army officers staged a bloodless coup against Gowon and enthroned Murtala Mohammed; Olusegun Obansanjo succeeded the former after an assassination.

During the oil boom of the 1970s, Nigeria joined OPEC and billions of dollars generated by production in the oil-rich Niger Delta flowed into the coffers of the Nigerian state. However, increasing corruption and graft at all levels of government squandered most of these earnings. The northern military clique benefited immensely from the oil boom to the detriment of the Nigerian people and economy. As oil revenues fuelled the rise of federal subventions to states and precariously to individuals, the Federal Government soon became the centre of political struggle and the centre became the threshold of power in the country. As oil production and revenue rose, the Nigerian government created a dangerous situation as it became increasingly dependent on oil revenues and the international commodity markets for budgetary and economic concerns eschewing economic stability. That spelled doom to federalism in Nigeria.[12]

Beginning in 1979, Nigerians participated in a brief return to democracy when Obasanjo transferred power to the civilian regime of Shehu Shagari. The Shagari government was viewed as corrupt and incompetent by virtually all sectors of Nigerian society, so when the regime was overthrown by the military coup of Mohammadu Buhari shortly after the regime’s fraudulent re-election in 1984, it was generally viewed as a positive development by most of the population.[13] Buhari promised major reforms but his government fared little better than its predecessor, and his regime was overthrown by yet another military coup in 1985.[14] The new head of state, Ibrahim Babangida, promptly declared himself President and Commander in chief of the Armed Forces and the ruling Supreme Military Council and also set 1990 as the official deadline for a return to democratic governance. Babangida’s tenure was marked by a flurry of political activity: he instituted the International Monetary Fund’s Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) to aid in the repayment of the country’s crushing international debt, which most federal revenue was dedicated to servicing. He also inflamed religious tensions in the nation and particularly the south by enrolling Nigeria in the Organization of the Islamic Conference,[15]

After Babangida survived an abortive coup, he pushed back the promised return to democracy to 1992. When free and fair elections were finally held on the 12th of June, 1993, Babangida declared that the results showing a presidential victory for Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola null and void, sparking mass civilian violence in protest which effectively shut down the country for weeks and forced Babangida to keep his shaky promise to relinquish office to a civilian run government.[16] Babangida’s regime is adjudged to be at the apogee of corruption in the history of the nation as it was during his time that corruption became officially diluted in Nigeria.[17]

Umaru Yar’Adua of the People’s Democratic Party is the current president of Nigeria

Babangida’s caretaker regime headed by Ernest Shonekan survived only until late 1993 when General Sani Abacha took power in another military coup. Abacha proved to be perhaps Nigeria’s most brutal ruler and employed violence on a wide scale to suppress the continuing pandemic of civilian unrest. Money had been found in various western European countries banks traced to him. He avoided coup plots by bribing army generals. Several hundred millions dollars in accounts traced to him were unearthed in 1999.[18] The regime would come to an end in 1998 when the dictator was found dead amid dubious circumstances. Abacha’s death yielded an opportunity for return to civilian rule.

Recent History

Nigeria re-achieved democracy in 1999 when it elected Olusegun Obasanjo, a Yoruba and former military head of state, as the new President ending almost thirty three-years of military rule (between from 1966 until 1999) excluding the short-lived second republic (between 1979-1983) by military dictators who seized power in coups d’état and counter-coups during the Nigerian military juntas of 1966-1979 and 1983-1998.

Although the elections which brought Obasanjo to power in 1999 and again in 2003 were condemned as unfree and unfair, Nigeria has shown marked improvements in attempts to tackle government corruption and to hasten development. While Obasanjo showed willingness to fight corruption, he was accused by others of the same.[who?]

Umaru Yar’Adua, of the People’s Democratic Party, came into power in the general election of 2007 – an election that was witnessed and condemned by the international community as being massively flawed.[19]

Ethnic violence over the oil producing Niger Delta region (see Conflict in the Niger Delta), interreligious relations and inadequate infrastructure are current issues in the country.

There have been bogus claims of a Nigerian astronaut program that have made the news.

Geography Location: Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Benin and Cameroon
Geographic coordinates: 10 00 N, 8 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 923,768 sq km
land: 910,768 sq km
water: 13,000 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly more than twice the size of California
Land boundaries: total: 4,047 km
border countries: Benin 773 km, Cameroon 1,690 km, Chad 87 km, Niger 1,497 km
Coastline: 853 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate: varies; equatorial in south, tropical in center, arid in north
Terrain: southern lowlands merge into central hills and plateaus; mountains in southeast, plains in north
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Chappal Waddi 2,419 m
Natural resources: natural gas, petroleum, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead, zinc, arable land
Land use: arable land: 33.02%
permanent crops: 3.14%
other: 63.84% (2005)
Irrigated land: 2,820 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 286.2 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 8.01 cu km/yr (21%/10%/69%)
per capita: 61 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: periodic droughts; flooding
Environment – current issues: soil degradation; rapid deforestation; urban air and water pollution; desertification; oil pollution – water, air, and soil; has suffered serious damage from oil spills; loss of arable land; rapid urbanization
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: the Niger enters the country in the northwest and flows southward through tropical rain forests and swamps to its delta in the Gulf of Guinea
Politics Nigeria is a Federal Republic modelled after the United States, with executive power exercised by the president and with overtones of the Westminster System model in the composition and management of the upper and lower houses of the bicameral legislature.

The current president of Nigeria is Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who was elected in 2007. The president presides as both Chief of State and Head of Government and is elected by popular vote to a maximum of two four-year terms. The president’s power is checked by a Senate and a House of Representatives, which are combined in a bicameral body called the National Assembly. The Senate is a 109-seat body with three members from each state and one from the capital region of Abuja; members are elected by popular vote to four-year terms. The House contains 360 seats and the number of seats per state is determined by population.

Ethnocentricism, tribalism, sectarianism (especially religious), and prebendalism have played a visible role in Nigerian politics both prior and subsequent to independence in 1960. Kin-selective altruism has made its way into Nigerian politics and has spurned various attempts by tribalists to concentrate Federal power to a particular region of their interests.[22] Nationalism has also led to active secessionist movements such as MASSOB, Nationalist movements such as Oodua Peoples Congress, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta and a civil war. Nigeria’s three largest ethnic groups have maintained historical preeminence in Nigerian politics; competition amongst these three groups, the Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo, has fuelled corruption and graft.[23]

Due to the above issues, Nigeria’s current political parties are declaredly pan-national and irreligious in character (though this does not preclude the continuing preeminence of the dominant ethnicities).[24] The major political parties at present include the ruling People’s Democratic Party of Nigeria which maintains 223 seats in the House and 76 in the Senate (61.9% and 69.7% respectively) and is led by the current President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua; the opposition All Nigeria People’s Party under the leadership of Muhammadu Buhari has 96 House seats and 27 in the Senate (26.6% and 24.7%). There are also about twenty other minor opposition parties registered. The outgoing president, Olusegun Obasanjo, acknowledged fraud and other electoral “lapses” but said the result reflected opinion polls. In a national television address he added that if Nigerians did not like the victory of his handpicked successor they would have an opportunity to vote again in four years.[2]

Like in many other African societies, prebendalism and extremely excessive corruption continue to constitute major challenges to Nigeria, as vote rigging and other means of coercion are practised by all major parties in order to remain competitive. In 1983, it was adjudged by the policy institute at Kuru that only the 1959 and 1979 elections witnessed minimal rigging

People Population: 138,283,240
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 42.2% (male 29,378,127/female 28,953,864)
15-64 years: 54.7% (male 38,466,129/female 37,172,355)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 2,046,309/female 2,266,456) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 18.7 years
male: 18.8 years
female: 18.6 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.382% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 39.98 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 16.41 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.25 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.9 male(s)/female
total population: 1.02 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 93.93 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 100.87 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 86.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 47.81 years
male: 47.15 years
female: 48.5 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.41 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 5.4% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 3.6 million (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 310,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne disease: malaria and yellow fever
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
aerosolized dust or soil contact disease: one of the most highly endemic areas for Lassa fever
water contact disease: leptospirosis and shistosomiasis
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008)
Nationality: noun: Nigerian(s)
adjective: Nigerian
Ethnic groups: Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is composed of more than 250 ethnic groups; the following are the most populous and politically influential: Hausa and Fulani 29%, Yoruba 21%, Igbo (Ibo) 18%, Ijaw 10%, Kanuri 4%, Ibibio 3.5%, Tiv 2.5%
Religions: Muslim 50%, Christian 40%, indigenous beliefs 10%
Languages: English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 68%
male: 75.7%
female: 60.6% (2003 est.)

Togo: The Truth Knowledge And The History Of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA FACT BOOK)

 

Togo

Introduction French Togoland became Togo in 1960. Gen. Gnassingbe EYADEMA, installed as military ruler in 1967, ruled Togo with a heavy hand for almost four decades. Despite the facade of multiparty elections instituted in the early 1990s, the government was largely dominated by President EYADEMA, whose Rally of the Togolese People (RPT) party has maintained power almost continually since 1967 and maintains a majority of seats in today’s legislature. Upon EYADEMA’s death in February 2005, the military installed the president’s son, Faure GNASSINGBE, and then engineered his formal election two months later. Democratic gains since then allowed Togo to hold its first relatively free and fair legislative elections in October 2007. After years of political unrest and fire from international organizations for human rights abuses, Togo is finally being re-welcomed into the international community.
History Western history does not record what happened in Togo before the Portuguese arrived in the late 15th century. During the period from the 11th century to the 16th century, various tribes entered the region from all directions: the Ewé from Nigeria and Benin; and the Mina and Guin from Ghana. Most settled in coastal areas. When the slave trade began in earnest in the 16th century, the Mina benefited the most. For the next two hundred 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. This became the German colony Togoland in 1905. After the German defeat during World War I in August 1914 at the hands of British troops (coming from the Gold Coast) and the French troops (coming from Dahomey), Togoland became two League of Nations mandates, administered by the United Kingdom and France. After World War II, these mandates became UN Trust Territories. The residents of British Togoland voted to join the Gold Coast as part of the new independent nation of Ghana, and French Togoland became an autonomous republic within the French Union. Independence came in 1960 under Sylvanus Olympio. Sylvanus Olympio was assassinated in a military coup on 13 January 1963 by a group of soldiers under the direction of Sergeant Etienne Eyadema Gnassingbe. Opposition leader Nicolas Grunitzky was appointed president by the “Insurrection Committee” headed by Emmanuel Bodjollé. However, on 13 January 1967, Eyadema Gnassingbe overthrew Grunitzky in a bloodless coup and assumed the presidency, which he held from that date until his sudden death on 5 February 2005.

Eyadema Gnassingbe died in early 2005 after thirty-eight years in power, as Africa’s longest-sitting dictator. The military’s immediate but short-lived installation of his son, Faure Gnassingbé, as president provoked widespread international condemnation, except from France. However, surprisingly, some democratically elected African leaders, such as Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, supported that move and created a rift within the African Union. Faure Gnassingbé stood down and called elections which he won two months later. The opposition claimed that the election was fraudulent. The developments of 2005 led to renewed questions about a commitment to democracy made by Togo in 2004 in a bid to normalize ties with the European Union, which cut off aid in 1993 over the country’s human rights record. Moreover, up to 400 people were killed in the political violence surrounding the presidential poll, according to the United Nations. Around 40,000 Togolese fled to neighbouring countries.

Geography Location: Western Africa, bordering the Bight of Benin, between Benin and Ghana
Geographic coordinates: 8 00 N, 1 10 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 56,785 sq km
land: 54,385 sq km
water: 2,400 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than West Virginia
Land boundaries: total: 1,647 km
border countries: Benin 644 km, Burkina Faso 126 km, Ghana 877 km
Coastline: 56 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 30 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate: tropical; hot, humid in south; semiarid in north
Terrain: gently rolling savanna in north; central hills; southern plateau; low coastal plain with extensive lagoons and marshes
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mont Agou 986 m
Natural resources: phosphates, limestone, marble, arable land
Land use: arable land: 44.2%
permanent crops: 2.11%
other: 53.69% (2005)
Irrigated land: 70 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 14.7 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 0.17 cu km/yr (53%/2%/45%)
per capita: 28 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: hot, dry harmattan wind can reduce visibility in north during winter; periodic droughts
Environment – current issues: deforestation attributable to slash-and-burn agriculture and the use of wood for fuel; water pollution presents health hazards and hinders the fishing industry; air pollution increasing in urban areas
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: the country’s length allows it to stretch through six distinct geographic regions; climate varies from tropical to savanna
Politics Togo’s transition to democracy is stalled. Its democratic institutions remain nascent and fragile. President Gnassingbé Eyadéma, who ruled Togo under a one-party system for nearly twenty-five of his thirty-seven years in power, died of a heart attack on 5 February 2005. Under the constitution, the speaker of parliament, Fambaré Ouattara Natchaba, should have become president, pending a new election. N The Togolese army closed the nation’s borders, forcing the plane to land in son Faure Gnassingbé, also known as Faure Eyadéma, who had been the communications minister, would succeed him. The constitution of Togo declared that in the case of the president’s death, the speaker of Parliament takes his place, and has sixty days to call new elections. However, on 6 February 2005, Parliament retroactively changed the Constitution, declaring that Faure would hold office for the rest of his father’s term, with elections deferred until 2008. The stated justification was that Natchaba was out of the country. The government also moved to remove Natchaba as speaker and replaced him with Faure Gnassingbé, who was sworn in on 7 February 2005, despite international criticism of the succession.

The African Union described the takeover as a military coup d’état. International pressure came also from the United Nations. Within Togo, opposition to the takeover culminated in riots in which several hundred died. In the village of Aného reports of a general civilian uprising followed by a large scale massacre by government troops went largely unreported. In response, Gnassingbé agreed to hold elections and on 25 February, Gnassingbé resigned as president, but soon afterward accepted the nomination to run for the office in April. On 24 April 2005, Gnassingbé was elected president of Togo, receiving over 60% of the vote according to official results. However fraud was suspected as cause of his election, due to a lack of presence of the European Union or other such oversight. See the History section of this article for details. Parliament designated Deputy Speaker Bonfoh Abbass as interim president until the inauguration of the election (a clear violation of the constitution but a political compromise).

People Population: 5,858,673
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 41.7% (male 1,226,320/female 1,218,182)
15-64 years: 55.6% (male 1,588,354/female 1,666,274)
65 years and over: 2.7% (male 63,508/female 96,035) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 18.6 years
male: 18.2 years
female: 19 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.717% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 36.66 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 9.48 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: NA (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 57.66 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 65.01 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 50.09 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 58.28 years
male: 56.2 years
female: 60.43 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 4.85 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 4.1% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 110,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 10,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria and yellow fever
water contact disease: schistosomiasis
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2008)
Nationality: noun: Togolese (singular and plural)
adjective: Togolese
Ethnic groups: African (37 tribes; largest and most important are Ewe, Mina, and Kabre) 99%, European and Syrian-Lebanese less than 1%
Religions: Christian 29%, Muslim 20%, indigenous beliefs 51%
Languages: French (official and the language of commerce), Ewe and Mina (the two major African languages in the south), Kabye (sometimes spelled Kabiye) and Dagomba (the two major African languages in the north)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 60.9%
male: 75.4%
female: 46.9% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 9 years
male: 11 years
female: 7 years (2000)
Education expenditures: 2.6% of GDP (2002)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Togolese Republic
conventional short form: Togo
local long form: Republique togolaise
local short form: none
former: French Togoland
Government type: republic under transition to multiparty democratic rule
Capital: name: Lome
geographic coordinates: 6 08 N, 1 13 E
time difference: UTC 0 (5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions: 5 regions (regions, singular – region); Centrale, Kara, Maritime, Plateaux, Savanes
Independence: 27 April 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)
National holiday: Independence Day, 27 April (1960)
Constitution: multiparty draft constitution approved by High Council of the Republic 1 July 1992, adopted by public referendum 27 September 1992
Legal system: French-based court system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage: NA years of age; universal (adult)
Executive branch: chief of state: President Faure GNASSINGBE (since 4 May 2005); note – Gnassingbe EYADEMA died on 5 February 2005 and was succeeded by his son, Faure GNASSINGBE, with the support of the military following international condemnation for the unconstitutional move he then stepped aside pending elections, and Abass BONFOH served as interim president; Faure GNASSINGBE later won popular elections in April 2005
head of government: Prime Minister Gilbert HOUNGBO (since 7 September 2008)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president and the prime minister
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (no term limits); election last held 24 April 2005 (next to be held by 2010); prime minister appointed by the president
election results: Faure GNASSINGBE elected president; percent of vote – Faure GNASSINGBE 60.2%, Emmanuel Akitani BOB 38.3%, Nicolas LAWSON 1%, Harry OLYMPIO 0.5%
Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (81 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held on 14 October 2007 (next to be held in 2012)
election results: percent of vote by party – RPT 39.4%, UFC 37.0%, CAR 8.2%, independents 2.5%, other 12.9%; seats by party – RPT 50, UFC 27, CAR 4
Judicial branch: Court of Appeal or Cour d’Appel; Supreme Court or Cour Supreme
Political parties and leaders: Action Committee for Renewal or CAR [Yawovi AGBOYIBO]; Democratic Convention of African Peoples or CDPA; Democratic Party for Renewal or PDR; Juvento [Monsilia DJATO]; Movement of the Believers of Peace and Equality or MOCEP; Pan-African Patriotic Convergence or CPP; Rally for the Support for Development and Democracy or RSDD [Harry OLYMPIO]; Rally of the Togolese People or RPT [Faure GNASSINGBE]; Socialist Pact for Renewal or PSR; Union for Democracy and Social Progress or UDPS [Gagou KOKOU]; Union of Forces for a Change or UFC [Gilchrist OLYMPIO]
Political pressure groups and leaders: NA
International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, AU, ECOWAS, Entente, FAO, FZ, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OIC, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WADB (regional), WAEMU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d’Affaires Lorempo LANDJERGUE
chancery: 2208 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 234-4212
FAX: [1] (202) 232-3190
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Patricia McMahon HAWKINS
embassy: 4332 Blvd. Gnassingbe Eyadema, Cite OUA, Lome
mailing address: B. P. 852, Lome; 2300 Lome Place, Washington, DC 20512-2300
telephone: [228] 261-5470
FAX: [228] 261-5501
Flag description: five equal horizontal bands of green (top and bottom) alternating with yellow; a white five-pointed star on a red square is in the upper hoist-side corner; uses the popular pan-African colors of Ethiopia
Culture Togo’s culture reflects the influences of its thirty-seven ethnic groups, the largest and most influential of which are the Ewe, Mina, and Kabre.

French is the official language of Togo. The many indigenous African languages spoken by Togolese include: Gbe languages such as Ewe, Mina, and Aja; Kabiyé; and others.

Despite the influences of Christianity and Islam, over half of the people of Togo follow native animistic practices and beliefs.

Ewe statuary is characterized by its famous statuettes which illustrate the worship of the ibeji. Sculptures and hunting trophies were used rather than the more ubiquitous African masks. The wood-carvers of Kloto are famous for their “chains of marriage”: two characters are connected by rings drawn from only one piece of wood.

The dyed fabric batiks of the artisanal center of Kloto represent stylized and coloured scenes of ancient everyday life. The loincloths used in the ceremonies of the weavers of Assahoun are famous. Works of the painter Sokey Edorh are inspired by the immense arid extents, swept by the harmattan, and where the laterite keeps the prints of the men and the animals. The plastics technician Paul Ahyi is internationally recognized today. He practices the “zota”, a kind of pyroengraving, and his monumental achievements decorate Lome.

Economy Economy – overview: This small, sub-Saharan economy is heavily dependent on both commercial and subsistence agriculture, which provides employment for 65% of the labor force. Some basic foodstuffs must still be imported. Cocoa, coffee, and cotton generate about 40% of export earnings with cotton being the most important cash crop. Togo is the world’s fourth-largest producer of phosphate. The government’s decade-long effort, supported by the World Bank and the IMF, to implement economic reform measures, encourage foreign investment, and bring revenues in line with expenditures has moved slowly. Progress depends on follow through on privatization, increased openness in government financial operations, progress toward legislative elections, and continued support from foreign donors. Togo is working with donors to write a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) that could eventually lead to a debt reduction plan. Economic growth remains marginal due to declining cotton production, underinvestment in phosphate mining, and strained relations with donors.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $5.042 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $2.497 billion (2007 est.)
GDP – real growth rate: 2.1% (2007 est.)
GDP – per capita (PPP): $900 (2007 est.)
GDP – composition by sector: agriculture: 40%
industry: 25%
services: 35% (2003 est.)
Labor force: 1.302 million (1998)
Labor force – by occupation: agriculture: 65%
industry: 5%
services: 30% (1998 est.)
Unemployment rate: NA%
Population below poverty line: 32% (1989 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Investment (gross fixed): 24.2% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $466.8 million
expenditures: $514.7 million (2007 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1% (2007 est.)
Central bank discount rate: 4.25% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: NA (31 December 2007)
Stock of money: $624.9 million (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money: $383.9 million (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit: $590.7 million (31 December 2007)
Agriculture – products: coffee, cocoa, cotton, yams, cassava (tapioca), corn, beans, rice, millet, sorghum; livestock; fish
Industries: phosphate mining, agricultural processing, cement, handicrafts, textiles, beverages
Industrial production growth rate: 1% (2007 est.)
Electricity – production: 203 million kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity – consumption: 607 million kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity – exports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity – imports: 505 million kWh; note – electricity supplied by Ghana (2006 est.)
Electricity – production by source: fossil fuel: 98.7%
hydro: 1.3%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Oil – production: 0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil – consumption: 17,770 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil – exports: 1,547 bbl/day (2005)
Oil – imports: 16,650 bbl/day (2005)
Oil – proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas – production: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – consumption: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – exports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – imports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas – proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: -$159 million (2007 est.)
Exports: $702 million f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports – commodities: reexports, cotton, phosphates, coffee, cocoa
Exports – partners: Ghana 16.8%, Burkina Faso 14.5%, Germany 9.2%, Benin 9.1%, Netherlands 5.9%, Mali 5.8%, India 4.7% (2007)
Imports: $1.201 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports – commodities: machinery and equipment, foodstuffs, petroleum products
Imports – partners: China 36.3%, Estonia 9.6%, US 7.6%, Netherlands 7.3%, France 7% (2007)
Economic aid – recipient: ODA, $86.71 million (2005 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $438 million (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt – external: $2 billion (2005)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Currency (code): Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XOF); note – responsible authority is the Central Bank of the West African States
Currency code: XOF
Exchange rates: Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XOF) per US dollar – 482.71 (2007), 522.59 (2006), 527.47 (2005), 528.29 (2004), 581.2 (2003)
note: since 1 January 1999, the XOF franc has been pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 XOF francs per euro
Communications Telephones – main lines in use: 82,100 (2006)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 1.19 million (2007)
Telephone system: general assessment: fair system based on a network of microwave radio relay routes supplemented by open-wire lines and a mobile-cellular system
domestic: microwave radio relay and open-wire lines for conventional system; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity roughly 15 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code – 228; satellite earth stations – 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean), 1 Symphonie
Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 9, shortwave 4 (1998)
Radios: 940,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 3 (plus 2 repeaters) (1997)
Televisions: 73,000 (1997)
Internet country code: .tg
Internet hosts: 769 (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 3 (2001)
Internet users: 320,000 (2006)
Transportation Airports: 9 (2007)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 (2007)
Airports – with unpaved runways: total: 7
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 3 (2007)
Railways: total: 568 km
narrow gauge: 568 km 1.000-m gauge (2006)
Roadways: total: 7,520 km
paved: 2,376 km
unpaved: 5,144 km (2000)
Waterways: 50 km (seasonally on Mono River depending on rainfall) (2005)
Merchant marine: total: 10
by type: cargo 9, refrigerated cargo 1
foreign-owned: 6 (Bangladesh 1, Denmark 1, Egypt 1, Lebanon 1, Syria 2) (2008)
Ports and terminals: Kpeme, Lome
Military Military branches: Togolese Armed Forces: Ground Forces, Togolese Navy (Marine du Togo), Togolese Air Force (Force Aerienne Togolaise, FAT), National Gendarmerie (2008)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for selective compulsory and voluntary military service; 2-year service obligation (2006)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 1,365,505
females age 16-49: 1,374,993 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 897,195
females age 16-49: 913,327 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 69,156
female: 69,200 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures: 1.6% of GDP (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Disputes – international: in 2001, Benin claimed Togo moved boundary monuments – joint commission continues to resurvey the boundary; in 2006 14,000 Togolese refugees remain in Benin and Ghana out of the 40,000 who fled there in 2005
Refugees and internally displaced persons: refugees (country of origin): 5,000 (Ghana)
IDPs: 1,500 (2007)
Illicit drugs: transit hub for Nigerian heroin and cocaine traffickers; money laundering not a significant problem

Ghana: History And Current Conditions

(This article is courtesy of Wikipedia)

Ghana (Listeni/ˈɡɑːnə/), officially the Republic of Ghana, is a sovereign unitary presidential constitutional democracy, located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. Spanning a land mass of 238,535 km2, Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. The word Ghana means “Warrior King” in the Soninke language.[10]

The territory of present-day Ghana has been inhabited for millennia, with the first permanent state dating back to the 11th century. Numerous kingdoms and empires emerged over the centuries, of which the most powerful was the Kingdom of Ashanti.[11] Beginning in the 15th century, numerous European powers contested the area for trading rights, with the British ultimately establishing control of the coast by the late 19th century. Following over a century of native resistance, Ghana’s current borders were established by the 1900s as the British Gold Coast. In 1957, it became the first Sub-Saharan African nation to declare independence from European colonization.[12][13][14]

A multicultural nation, Ghana has a population of approximately 27 million, spanning a variety of ethnic, linguistic and religious groups.[5] Five percent of the population practices traditional faiths, 71.2% adhere to Christianity and 17.6% are Muslim. Its diverse geography and ecology ranges from coastal savanna’s to tropical jungles. Ghana is a democratic country led by a president who is both head of state and head of the government. Ghana’s economy is one of the strongest and most diversified in Africa, following a quarter century of relative stability and good governance.[15] Ghana’s growing economic prosperity and democratic political system has made it a regional power in West Africa.[16] It is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Group of 24 (G24).[17]

Russian Intelligence Ship Sinks After Collision With Merchant Freighter In Black Sea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)

April 27 at 11:18 AM
A Russian naval intelligence ship sank Thursday after colliding with a merchant freighter in foggy conditions on the Black Sea near Istanbul, the Turkish coast guard said. All 78 crew members on the Russian vessel were rescued.The crew of the freighter Youzarsif H, a Togo-flagged ship traveling from Romania to Jordan and carrying 8,800 sheep, was unharmed and the ship suffered slight damage to its bow, according to local media reports.

In Moscow, Russia’s Defense Ministry issued a statement confirming that the vessel, the Liman, went down after the collision tore a hole in the hull below the waterline.

Russian officials did not immediately provide any information about the Liman’s mission. The Russian state-run Sputnik news agency reported in 2016 that the Liman had been deployed in the Black Sea to monitor the joint Sea Breeze naval exercises between Ukraine and several NATO countries, including the United States. Russian officials had complained that the joint exercises were provocative.

Turkey’s prime minister, Binali Yildirim, called Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to express “sadness,” Turkey’s semiofficial Anadolu news agency reported.

Russia and Turkey have developed increasingly warm ties over the last year, putting aside bitter differences over the war in Syria to cooperate on brokering a political solution to the conflict. The relationship reached a low point in 2015, when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane that Ankara said had strayed over the Syrian border.

The collision occurred about 20 miles northwest of the Bosporus Strait, one of the world’s busiest waterways connecting the Black Sea to the shipping lanes leading to the Mediterranean.

At the time of the accident, the Bosporus was closed because of poor visibility, the Reuters news agency reported, citing the shipping agency GAC.

The Liman had also previously been deployed for three months to the coast of Syria in the Mediterranean Sea, where Russia is in the second year of an intervention to back President Bashar al-Assad against a wide array of rebel groups, including Islamist fighters and others with U.S. backing.

Ship spotters in the Bosporus photographed the ship traversing the strait near Istanbul under heavy snow in January.

It is not clear whether the ship was headed toward Syria on Thursday.

The Liman was built as a hydrographic survey vessel in the Gdansk shipyards in Poland in 1970 and later converted for military service in 1989, shortly before the fall of the Soviet Union. The ship is outfitted to capture signals intelligence, largely communications, using an array of Soviet and Russian-made sensors that have been retrofitted onto the ship.

Roth reported from Moscow

Ghana: History And Current Conditions

(This article is courtesy of Wikipedia)

Ghana (Listeni/ˈɡɑːnə/), officially the Republic of Ghana, is a sovereign unitary presidential constitutional democracy, located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. Spanning a land mass of 238,535 km2, Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. The word Ghana means “Warrior King” in the Soninke language.[10]

The territory of present-day Ghana has been inhabited for millennia, with the first permanent state dating back to the 11th century. Numerous kingdoms and empires emerged over the centuries, of which the most powerful was the Kingdom of Ashanti.[11] Beginning in the 15th century, numerous European powers contested the area for trading rights, with the British ultimately establishing control of the coast by the late 19th century. Following over a century of native resistance, Ghana’s current borders were established by the 1900s as the British Gold Coast. In 1957, it became the first Sub-Saharan African nation to declare independence from European colonization.[12][13][14]

A multicultural nation, Ghana has a population of approximately 27 million, spanning a variety of ethnic, linguistic and religious groups.[5] Five percent of the population practices traditional faiths, 71.2% adhere to Christianity and 17.6% are Muslim. Its diverse geography and ecology ranges from coastal savanna’s to tropical jungles. Ghana is a democratic country led by a president who is both head of state and head of the government. Ghana’s economy is one of the strongest and most diversified in Africa, following a quarter century of relative stability and good governance.[15] Ghana’s growing economic prosperity and democratic political system has made it a regional power in West Africa.[16] It is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Group of 24 (G24).[17]