The country known as Togo or the Republic of Togo, is located at the Gulf of Guinea on the west side of the African continent. It is neighbors with Ghana in the west, Benin in the east, Burkina Faso in the north.
Togo is perhaps one of the smallest countries in the African continent. It has a total area of 56.785 km2 and it is rich in underground sources, has a big free trade zone and has a large agricultural sector demanding investments. The country has a long and thin form; its north-to-south length is 550 km and it is 140 km at its widest. 16% of its territories is covered with forests, and 25% is dedicated for agriculture and 3,5% of it is grasslands.
Country is divided into five regions as Savanes, Kara, Centrale, Plateaux and Maritime. Each zone is also divided into administrative zones in itself.
Country’s capital city is Lomé, and a great port located in Lomé is country’s one of the biggest sources of income. Lomé mainly depends on maritime commerce, and petroleum drilled out of sea is one of biggest underground resources in Lomé.
In the past the country, which traders set free from Brazil preferred to settle down, was colonized by Germany in 1884 and was shared among Britain and France after WWI. It gained independence in 1960. Cotton, corn, coffee, cacao grow in Togo, and extractive industry based on food and potash is advanced.
Export products are potash, coffee and cacao, and import products are chemicals, food foodstuffs and consumer goods. We made a good interview with Pascal Kokou ADALESSOSSI from TOGO studying in the Department of Business Administration in Akdeniz University and talked on Togo and Africa.
First of all, can you please give us some information about yourself?
I’m Pascal Kokou ADALESSOSSI and I was born in 1980. I’m from Tabligbo town from Togo.
What were the motives behind your coming to Turkey?
came to Turkey by winning a state scholarship after taking master degree in France and the Island of Mauritius on Entrepreneurship, Business and SME. I’m studying for doctorate in the Department of Business Administration in Akdeniz University.I used to have a company giving consultancy service in my country. I was giving service for the Ministry of Development. Making up deficiencies in terms of directing investments and providing investment instruments, and performing bureaucratic procedures were my job.
Togo is a small country but it has fertile soils, what do people do for a living?
People engage in trade. Also we have precious underground sources such as limestone, phosphor (Togo comes 4th in the world and it is extracted in Hahotoe), copper, offshore drilled petroleum, gold, coal and marble. However, good investments are required; these sources have to be processed and thus produce more profits.
Especially, when it comes to fruits, diversity is incredibly rich. Yet, we don’t have a technology that will enable us to reintroduce these fruits to the society and export them to the world and plant and pick them. Pineapple, cotton, palmier, mango, orange, papaya, carrot, watermelon, mandarin, banana (types), bean and peanut are the ones that come to my mind.
On this issue, I cooperated with non-governmental organizations, provided consultancy for manufacturers, arranged meetings with banks, and conducted negotiations for investments.
The free trade zone in Lomé constitutes country’s one of the most important sources of income. For this reason, Lomé is a developed city.
What about your food culture?
There is a vegetable called Manioc. Our most famous meals are made from this; many types of it are available. Mostly, we make a meal named Fufu using Manioc. We also like corn and make a variety of meals using it. We cook the meal named Igname using corn and nonsweet big bananas.
On what fields does your country need investments?
Currently, we need investments on railways, air transportation, and infrastructure and construction sectors. Especially, hotel and bridge construction take an important place when it comes to the construction sector. Despite the fact that we have rich fruit diversity, there are no investments made on this issue. For example, we have a very fructuous fruit named Palmier á huile. Although appearance of the tree resembles to your palm trees, they are one and the same. Every part of this fruit and tree is beneficial for something. Interior side is used in health and cosmetics, and oil from the outer shell is used in food and cosmetics. It is unbelievably miraculous. Shell of the outer part is used for the production of biodiesel. Pulp part remaining after the extraction of the fruit oil can be used to feed There are 2 state and 20 private universities in my country. Being too rich or too poor is one of the most obvious problems in my country.
What would you like to tell about Togo’s history?
Germany colonialized Togo in 1884, and then it was put under the command of France and Britain after WWI. After that, the country was divided into two, being named as Ghana and Togo.
While Ghana remained a British colony, Togo proceeded on its way as a French colony. Togo gained independence from France in 1969. As the first President of the country Syvanus Olympio took the chair, but this didn’t last long and he was murdered 3 months later. Then Nicolas Grunustiky democratically became president for 4 years. Along with the next elections, General Gnassingbe Eyadema took the presidency chair for 38 years.
Faure Gnassingbe was democratically elected as the president in 2005, and he is still in service. Next elections will be held in 2015. Apart from these, a civil war or a conflict atmosphere did never happen in our country. Stability sustains in both policies and country’s agenda.
What are your expectations from the investors?
Our president is my close friend. Before coming here, we had a conversation and I told him that ‘Turkish businessmen want to come and make investments in our country and Africa’. He told me that they will not refrain to support and will readily direct investors in terms of suitable fields of investment. In Togo, we have laws protecting foreign investors and providing great conveniences. You may do business without paying taxes in Togo for 10 years.
What do you do for entertainment in Togo?
Young people go picnics, play football, make music, teach their culture and sports to each other on the Lomé Shore.
* This article was taken from “Africa Time” magazine (November 2014 Edition) by demanding all necessary permissions for copyright.