Prostitution and the risk of HIV/AIDS in the capital of Togo.

Prostitution is gaining ground in the Togolese capital, Lomé and its outskirts; as a result the risk of contamination from STIs (Sexually Transmitted infections) and HIV/AIDS has become great. The investigation entitled “Conditions for protection of prostitutes in the face of STIs/HIV-AIDS » is a reportage which describes the conditions under which prostitutes in Lomé and surrounding areas practise their profession of call girls with regard to protection against STIs and HIV/AIDS.

In Lomé and its environs, the areas of major activity in the suburbs of Dékon, Palm Beach, Bè, Adidogomé, Agoè and Baguida are invaded by prostitutes every night. Sex markets are established at all street corners. Thus, 200 prostitution sites and 8000 prostitutes have been identified in Lomé and its environs. Girls wear skimpy dresses and easily approach men they meet to propose to them of a time sexual pleasure. This is done against an amount which varies between 2000 and 7000 or between 15000 and 20000 CFA francs, if it is for the whole night.

The main issue is how these sex workers targeted in this reportage protect themselves. In all, three conditions for protection were mentioned by girls who were interviewed during the investigation. These are the wearing of male condoms, observation of hygienic measures as well as screening for HIV/AIDS. Most of the prostitutes interviewed admitted that male condoms are their preferred means of protection.  However, they consider hygienic measures which are meant to help them reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections. In this regard they mention personal hygiene with traditional products. For these girls HIV/AIDS screening constitute one measure of health check. Nevertheless, protection is not always possible in all cases. Some girls accept offers to have intimacy without protection depending on the price paid by the client. Finally, it must be noted that institutions of the state of Togo and civil society organization do initiate sensitization and counseling programmes for sex workers in Lomé and its outskirts.

By Elikplim Goka-Adokanu.

Broadcasted Februay 1st, 2013 on the radio Métropolys-Lomé.

Listen to the programme in French: Les conditions de protection des prostituées face aux risques des IST/VIH-SIDA.

The double sale of land in Togo

Every year more and more land buyers experience to buy a plot of land that have already been sold to one or several other persons. Multiple sale of lands is a criminal act but is common in the capital and its suburbs or neighbouring areas. This recurrence generates real insecurity in land matters and a psychosis among the population and buyers.

It is often the source of litigations and is the greater part of the court cases involving traditional rulers. Land related issues are said to constitute 90 % of cases before the law courts.

This scourge is deeply rooted in the land tenure system practiced in Togo, that is by which it is the local authorities who own the land unlike in other countries where it is the State which holds that privilege. However the actual factors which explain the commonplace nature of the phenomenon go even further, based on the explanations gathered from various actors connected with land issues, who are interviewed in this investigation.

First of all it is the greed of land owners, added sometimes to the reduction in the lands available for sale in the capital, which all force land owners to set their heart on plots already sold out. The casual attitude or rather the complicity of the law courts which fail to effectively punish persons guilty of double sales has have also a lot to do with it. In relation with this weakness of the courts, sometimes the crooks operate in a network. However the recurrence is also facilitated by the buyers, some through ignorance, some by negligence fail to do due diligence from the local authorities or neighbours in respect of the ownership rights of sellers as well as the availability of the plots from the appropriate agencies.

Persons interviewed in this investigation suggested some possible solutions. These range from the need for buyers to check on the property rights of sellers as well as the availability of the lands to the drafting of a new modern land law to manage the land sector, including satellite mapping of the territory, formal registration of plots, approval of rural areas.

By Tino Kossi

Published January 28, 2013 in Liberté.

Read the article in French La double vente de terrain, un phénomène institutionnalisé à Lomé et sa banlieue.

Management of household refuse and the insanitary situation in Lomé : Wasteful management of PEUL fund

In front of houses, waste bins spill out the excess rubbish rotting in the open without being collected. And everywhere in Lomé, makeshift dump sites spring up like mushrooms. A sorry sight which is blight on “beautiful” Lomé but which only adequately conveys the failure of the solid waste management policy in the capital.

In 2010, the municipal authorities of Lomé initiated the Lomé Urban Environmental Project (PEUL) of which one of the components is the restructuring of the system of pre-collection through the introduction of mini-tractors in the place of hand-drawn carts and the development of some refuse dumping points. However, the failure of the project is so glaring, with the indicators which can be measured by the collapse of the pre-collection enterprises enrolled into the PEUL and the dismal state of sanitation of the city of Lomé.

By Lola AKOMATSRI

Published January 16, 2013 in Focus Infos.

Read the article in French Du gâchis dans l’exécution des fonds du projet PEUL.

Why is education poorly funded in Togo?

Like several sectors of our country’s socio-economic life, the educational sector, from pre-school to the University, paid a heavy toll from the outlawing of Togo by the international community, from 1993 to 2007. However, unlike other priority sectors such as agriculture, health, etc., education continues to receive very little attention from Togo’s current rulers, both in their actions and promises, while in fact the authorities depend daily on the human resources produced by the same national educational system to plan the country’s development.

The fact that Togo was denied all external aid between 1993 and 2007 is often put forward by the authorities responsible for education to explain the drop in the resources allocated to the sector, which has lead to the poor state of Togo’s educational system in recent time. With the reopening of the floodgates of cooperation, external funding has resumed. However, it must be admitted that the authorities have been passive in mobilizing resources to support education, in spite of efforts made here and there.

By Elom ATTISSOGBE.

Published January 14, 2013 in Golf Infos.

Read the article in French Pourquoi l’éducation au Togo est peu financée ?

 

Fuel trade in Nigeria, Benin and Togo – an unstoppable illegal business

In Nigeria, nearly 150 000 barrels of petrol are stolen daily out of an estimated daily production of two million barrels, to service an illegal business in Benin and Togo. The authorities in these three countries take measures to curb the phenomenon but in vain. The sale of petrol in the informal sector has resisted all manner of solutions and continues in full swing, and with its own host of consequences : fire outbreaks, loss of human lives, profiteering and blunders by the security and control forces, losses for the national economy,  pollution of the environment, etc.

The illegal sale of “kpayo” or “boudè” (Editor’s note: local name in Benin and Togo for illegally sold fuel), is carried out under the very eyes of everybody particularly the police, the gendarmerie and customs, as well as the authorities charged with combatting the illegal fuel business. In spite of the numerous measures, this business endures because since Nigeria’s borders with its neighbours are largely porous, some quantity of this subsidised fuel appears through fraudulent means in the neighbouring countries where a litre of petrol is more expensive at the filling stations.

Since this highly inflammable product is not sold under appropriate conditions, fire outbreaks and illnesses are frequent. Petrol sold in the informal sector is seven times more than what is sold in accredited filling stations. Every month more than 17 million litres of fuel are brought into Beninese territory, which makes more than 200 million litres per year; considering the average price of the litre sold to the consumer, the annual turnover of the illicit sale in Benin will thus be close to 150 billion CFA Francs, which is about 300 million US Dollars. In Togo, the loss to accredited petrol dealers was valued at more than 60 billion CFA F (i.e. about 120 million US Dollars) for 2011. Yet the major illegal importers and bulk dealers are well known but are left untroubled because they are protected by politicians and the communities which assure them of their support during elections jousting, because they invest in social initiatives. It is clear that beyond the official speeches, the authorities have given in to this illicit business which is hurting the national economy.

Investigation carried out by Brice HOUSSOU (Bénin), Jean-Baptiste ATTISSO (Togo) et Daouda  ALIYOU (Nigeria).

Published January 6, 2013 on the blog: Nigeria Infos.

Published January 8, 2013 in FRATERNITE, Bénin.

Published January 8, 2013 in L’Indépendant Express, Togo.

Read the article in English .

Read the article in English on the blog Nigeria Infos.

 

The collection of taxes and unusual practices

Togo: The investigation reveals a number of unusual practices connected with tax collection, in four of the five regions of the country. These are the Savannah Region (Dapong), the Kara Region (Kara), the Central Region (Sokodé), and the Coastal Region (Lomé). Tax payers (traders, petty traders, motorcycle-taxi operators…) complain particularly of the mode of collection of taxes, the corruption which reigns in the sector as well as the lack of information on the uses to which the taxes are put in the markets and in the informal sector. It is about practices which hinder the smooth running of business activities in the informal sector which, as a matter of fact, is more developed than the formal sector

By Andréa Magnim N’Gbanla.

Date of broadcast: December 17, 2012 on FM Lome.

Listen to the radio program in French La collecte des impôts et les pratiques anormales.

Phosphate mining in Togo and the half-century movie of social injustice

Phosphate mining in Togo is as old as the country’s independence, if not more. It has been Togo’s main source of exports since the mining begun. It contributes some 40% of Togo’s GDP. Only that this activity which rakes in the billions is conducted at the detriment of the communities in the region where the pits are open. Communities in three districts are affected by this mining activity, for which they are displaced sometimes without any compensation, and where there is any compensation at all, it is pittance. There are several persons who do not receive even one dollar as lease for their farmland after three months. The region where the mining takes place has over the years become one of the poorest in the country on account of this industry.

A community which had refused to relocate because they were not satisfied with the conditions offered by the company, had to suffer degrading and inhuman reprisals. Today, their village is on the verge of disappearing from the map. For the one year of the investigation for which we had to make several trips to the site, the management of the current company conducting the phosphate mining operations did not want to provide answers to our questions.

By Maxime Domegni

Published October 23, 2012 in the newspaper l’Alternative and on the websites www.etiame.com; www.lalternative-togo.com and www.icilome.com.

Lire l’article Exploitation de phosphate au Togo et le film d’un demi-siècle d’injustices sociales.

The Takient – An abandoned heritage

The Koutamakou site in batamaribaland, in North-eastern Togo, has been classified as a world heritage by UNESCO in 2002. It covers an area of 500 square km and is home to the “Takienta”, “Tata” for short, which is a series of towers arranged in circles interconnected by a thick wall which resemble small fortified castles. According to official statements, efforts would be made to promote this heritage in the interest of the country and the communities around the site. However, many inhabitants say the management of the site does not bring them any benefit. The site is not sufficiently developed to attract many tourists while the problem of communication is even more serious. The attraction of “Takient” to tourists brings in its wake the phenomenon of mendacity. A real problem. Ten years on, there is still a lot to be done. The initiatives are not lacking, but they are sleeping in the drawers.

By Saibou Abass

Published October 3, 2012 in Le Regard.

Read the article in French Le takient, un patrimoine abandonné.

 

 

Barriers limit trade aspiration of ECOWAS

Random road blocks, entrenched bribery and bloated tariffs along the Ghana-Togo-Benin-Nigeria corridor are seriously affecting the achievement of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme ((ETLS) and affecting inter-country trade within the sub-region.

By Michael Thompson, Wisdom Johnny-Nuekpe and Vanessa Obioha Onyinye.

Published July 21, 2012 in The Globe Newspaper and www.citifmonline.com.

Read the article Barriers limit trade aspiration of ECOWAS.

The detrimental side of phosphate mining

Men, women and children with yellow-stained teeth, lung disease, and phosphate deposits in the testicles – all symptoms of communities living in the mining zones in Togo. This investigation uncoveres how phosphate mining, a leading mineral resource in Togo, is seriously affecting the health of people living in mining areas – a phenomenon which can no longer be ignored or met with silence.

By Isidore Sassou Akollor and Etonam Akakpo-Ahiango

Published May 17, 2011 in Actu Express.

Read the article in French – page 1 and page 2.