The capital of Togo, Lomé, is on the Gulf of Guinea. The city is the centre for Togo’s trade, culture, transport and administration. Prior to the country’s political trouble, Lomé was one of West Africa’s prime tourist centres. A lagoon divides the city between Togo and Ghana. Downtown includes the commercial and administrative area with hotels, a sport stadium and an industrial free trade zone. Uptown is chiefly a residential area, but has also two teaching hospitals, a university and an international airport.
In the twelfth century the Ewes moved into Togo from the Niger river valley. Portuguese traders arrived in the fifteenth century. In 1884, Togo became Germany’s only self-supporting colony and in 1897, Lomé became the colonial capital. It was turned into a modern town with railways built between Lomé and the rest of the country. In 1968 the deepwater harbour was completed and the oil refinery was opened in 1978. In 1975, The Lomé Convention agreed trade concessions with EC countries for 46 African, Caribbean and Pacific Ocean states.
Most of Togo’s international trade goes through Lomé. Goods from Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger are shipped from the port. The capital’s core exports are cacao, coffee, cotton and palm nuts. The city has processed food and textile industries. There is a university (founded in 1970). An international airport (Tokoin Airport) is outside Lomé. The Maison du Peuple (1972) is the headquarters for Togo’s only political party.
Places of Interest
The National Museum has historical artefacts, pottery and woodcarvings. The Grand Marché is a three-storey market with modern goods and traditional African foods, arts and textiles. The Village Artisanal shows artists at work making batiks, wooden sculpture and leather goods. The Marché des Féticheurs has a collection of potions used in traditional medicine.