Togo (officially the Togolese Republic) is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, on which the capital Lomé is located. Togo covers an area of approximately 57,000 square kilometres (22,000 sq mi) with a population of approximately 6.7 million.
Togo is a tropical, sub-Saharan nation, highly dependent on agriculture, with a climate that provides good growing seasons. The official language is French; however, there are many other languages spoken in Togo. Approximately one half of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.
Togo gained its independence from France in 1960. In 1967, Gnassingbé Eyadéma led a successful military coup, after which he became president. At the time of his death in 2005, Eyadéma was the longest-serving leader in African history, after having been president for 38 years. In 2005, his son Faure Gnassingbé was elected president.
The Gbe languages (IPA: [ɡbè]) form a cluster of about twenty related languages stretching across the area between eastern Ghana and western Nigeria. The total number of speakers of Gbe languages is between four and eight million. The most widely spoken Gbe language is Ewe (3 million speakers in Ghana and Togo), followed by Fon (1.7 million, mainly in Benin). The Gbe languages were traditionally placed in the Kwa branch of the Niger-Congo languages, but more recently have been classified as Volta-Niger. They include five major dialect clusters: Ewe, Fon, Aja, Gen, and Phla-Pherá.
Most of the Gbe peoples have come from the east to their present dwelling-places in several migrations between the tenth and the fifteenth century. Some of the Phla-Pherá peoples however are thought to be the original inhabitants of the area who have intermingled with the Gbe immigrants, and the Gen people probably are immigrants from the north of Ga or Fante origin. In the late eighteenth century, many speakers of Gbe were enslaved and transported to the New World, causing Gbe languages to play a role in the genesis of several Caribbeancreole languages.
Around 1840, German missionaries started linguistic research into the Gbe languages. In the first half of the twentieth century, the Africanist Diedrich Hermann Westermann was one of the most prolific contributors to the study of Gbe. The first internal classification of the Gbe languages was published in 1988 by H.B. Capo, followed by a comparative phonology in 1991. The Gbe languages are tonal, isolating languages and the basic word order is Subject Verb Object.
editJoseph Kokou Koffigoh (born 1948) is a Togolese politician who served as Prime Minister of Togo from 27 August 1991 to 25 April 1994. Elected as Prime Minister by the opposition-dominated National Conference in 1991, Koffigoh was given full executive powers and tasked with overseeing a transition to multiparty elections. Beginning in December 1991, however, President Gnassingbé Eyadéma increasingly reasserted his authority at Koffigoh's expense. Although Koffigoh remained in office, the opposition eventually abandoned him, feeling he had become too cooperative with Eyadéma.
Koffigoh has been the President of the Coordination of New Forces (CFN) since 1993. He was replaced as Prime Minister after the 1994 parliamentary election, in which the CFN performed poorly, although Koffigoh himself won a seat in the National Assembly. Later, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1998 to 2000 and Minister of Regional Integration, in charge of Relations with Parliament, from 2000 to 2002.