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July 1, 2009

Togo, a Country Profile & Prayer Guide

Filed under: Country Profiles and Prayer Guides,Prayer Requests,Togo — TimMc @ 7:29 pm

togo

Togo is a tiny sliver of a country squashed between Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Benin. In spite of its small land mass, it still manages to squeeze in dense lush forests, savannah, coastal lagoons, long sandy beaches, and swampy plains.

The capital city Lomé is situated on the Gulf of Benin. It is the only capital in the world situated right on a border. Modern hotels line the beach to welcome tourists. In various places throughout the city, there are still pockets of colonial architecture to be seen.

Togo’s national parks are home to buffalo, elephant, antelope, and numerous tropical bird species. Coffee plantations and cocoa farms, waterfalls, and palm plantations all lie on the country’s plateau, which rises up from the coast and is within an easy drive. In northeastern Togo, the traditional mud-tower settlements of the Batammariba in the Koutammakou landscape gained UNESCO World Heritage status in 2004.

A few interesting facts about Togo:

  • The country has a population of approximately 6 million people.
  • The official language is French. There are 43 languages used in Togo. The literacy rate is around 52%. There are only two indigenous languages used in the education system: Ewe/Mina and Kabiye. There are 6 languages with a complete translation of the Bible, 7 with the New Testament, and 12 other languages that are works in progress.
  • Subsistence agriculture is performed by 80% of the population. Togo’s main exports are phosphates, cotton, cocoa, and coffee. Economic growth has lagged behind population growth due to endemic government corruption. Most foreign aid has been suspended because of lack of fiscal discipline and a poor human rights record. About a third of the population lives below the international poverty line of US $1.25 a day.
  • A period of intense anti-Christian rhetoric in the 1970’s cooled to an official indifference. In 1978, 20 religious groups were banned; only Muslims, Catholics, and five Protestant churches were legally permitted to function. In 1990 nearly all restrictions were lifted and there has been considerable religious freedom since.
  • Despite the influences of Christianity and Islam, over half of the people of Togo follow native animistic practices and beliefs.
  • As with many other African countries, football (soccer) is the most popular sport. Until 2006, Togo was very much a minor force in world soccer, but like fellow West African nations such as Senegal, Nigeria, and Cameroon (which is located in Central Africa) before them, the Togolese national team finally qualified for the World Cup.

Specific ways to pray for the country of Togo:

  • Regaining religious freedom in 1990 has given a decade of more rapid church growth and outreach to many people for the first time. Evangelicals have grown from 17,000 in 1960 to nearly 400,000 in 2000. (Continue reading…)