Lomé is not to be confused with the so-called federal capital district due to the fact that it serves categorically as the administrative capital of the Republic of Togo including the regional and district level divisions called Maritime Region and Golfe Prefecture respectively. The Ewes in Ghana, Benin, and Togo who first settled here preferred it to be so, to prevent them from taking the necessary steps towards the gaining of independence. The city was founded by the Ewes and thereafter in the 19th century by German, British and African traders, becoming the capital of Togoland in 1897.
The city's population grew rapidly in the second half of the 20th century. The city had approximately 30,000 inhabitants in 1950: by 1960 (the year Togo gained its independence from France) the population had reached 80,000, increasing to 200,000 by 1970.
Since 1975, investments grew by 10% in the past year and had been targeted for development. At the same time, railways, which have an important role in serving the suburbs of the city, deteriorated however.
Market gardening around the city increased, spurred by growing unemployment, rural migration and the demand for vegetables. Market gardening, first extended to the north, is carried on mainly along the beach (whose sand is very salty), and planting hedges provides protection.
The various studies of the land market of the city show that the areas are quite heterogeneous, combining opulent villas and modest housing, without social and spatial division of the city. Other problems increasingly experienced by Lomé are related to garbage collection, and the fight against unhealthy urban living conditions has become a priority of the city and its inhabitants.
Lomé is surrounded by a lagoon to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the south, the village of Bè to the east and the border of Aflao, Ghana to the West. The city has seen massive growth in recent times due to an oil refinery in the east.
Neighborhoods in Lomé include Ablogamé, Adawlato, Amoutivé, Bé, Dékon, Forever, Kodjoviakopé, Noukafou, Nyékonakpoé, Tokoin and Xédranawoe.
Neighbourhoods in the north of the city are almost separated from the Lomé is recognized by the Togolese government as a Municipal Greater Urban Area. Cities and towns in the Greater Lomé Metropolitan Area include: Aflao (Ghana), Agbalépédogan, Akodésséwa, Anfamé, Baguida, Kanyikopé, Kélékougan, Lomé II, Totsigan, Adidogome, Kegue and Totsivi. Services of the Municipality of Lomé far beyond the boundaries of the Gulf and the town north and east of the city.
Lomé has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen climate classification Aw), which is rather atypical of that latitude. The capital of Togo is relatively dry with an annual average rainfall of 800–900 mm and on average 59 rainy days per year. Despite this, the city experiences heavy fog most of the year and receives a total of 2330 bright sunshine hours annually.
The annual mean temperature is above 27.5 °C (81.5 °F) but heat is constant as monthly mean temperatures range from 24.9 °C (76.8 °F) in July, the least warm month of the year to 29.6 °C (85.3 °F) in February and in April, the hottest months of the year.
The Lomé Convention is a trade and aid agreement between the European Union (EU) and 71 African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries. It was first signed on 28 February 1975, in Lomé. The first Lomé Convention (Lomé I), which came into force in April 1976, was designed to provide a new framework of cooperation between the then European Community (EC) and developing ACP countries, in particular former British, Dutch, Belgian and French colonies. It had two main aspects. It provided for most ACP agricultural and mineral exports to enter the EC free of duty. Preferential access based on a quota system was agreed for products, such as sugar and beef, in competition with EC agriculture. Secondly, the EC committed to the ECU for 3 billion in aid and investment in the ACP countries.
The convention was renegotiated and renewed three times. Lomé II (January 1981 to February 1985) increased the aid and investment expenditure for the ECU to 5.5 billion. Lomé III came into force in March 1985 (trade provisions) and May 1986 (aid), and expired in 1990; it increased commitments to ECU by 8.5 billion. Lomé IV was signed in December 1989. Its trade provisions cover ten years, 1990 to 1999. Aid and investment commitments for the first five years amounted to 12 billion. In all, some 70 ACP states are party to Lomé IV, compared with the 46 signatories of Lomé I.
The Lomé Peace Accord between the warring parties in the civil war in Sierra Leone was signed in Lomé. With the assistance of the international community, Sierra Leone President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and Revolutionary United Front leader Foday Sankoh signed the Peace Accord on 7 July 1999. However, the agreement did not last and the Sierra Leone Civil War continued for two more years.
Located 200 kilometres (124 miles) from Accra, Ghana and 150 kilometres (93 miles) from Cotonou, Benin, Lomé is an important port, including a free trade zone opened in 1968. It exports phosphates, coffee, cocoa, cotton and palm oil, much of the transit going to the neighbouring countries of Ghana, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. The port also holds an oil refinery.
The University of Lomé is now known in West Africa. The country's main airport is situated outside the city. The tallest building in Lomé, and throughout the country, is the Hotel Corinthia (36 storeys or 102 m).
The city in general has great potential, because tourism is growing in the country. However, political instability that began to surface in the passing years and continues today has seriously affected the country's tourism sector. In 2003, the country received 57,539 visitors, an increase of 1% compared to 2002. 22% of tourists came from France, 10% from Burkina Faso and 9% were from Benin.
Country of Togo average annual income (USD): $1,500
Communauté Financière Africaine Francs BCEAO (XOF) = 0.152 euro
Notable landmarks in the city include Lomé Grand Market, the Togo National Museum in the Palais de Congrés, a fetish (voodoo) market, Lomé Cathedral, beaches and the former wharf.
The city of Lomé is a typical African city in the sense that many styles, influences, and traditions are mixed. The landscape combines red earth, with grand boulevards and large squares, green gardens and colourful houses.
There are some remnants of colonial architecture from the turn of the century, such as arcades and galleries and the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart designed in the German Gothic style. There are also many modern buildings, like the headquarters of the BCEAO, the BTCI, the magnificent edifice of ECOWAS, Hotel de la Paix, the Hotel Mercure Sarakawa, Palm Beach Hotel and the famous Hotel du 2 Fevrier, rising to 102 metres.
Not far away is the Lomé Grand Market, with a large 3-storey hall. It sells everything from red peppers, green lemons, and dried fish, to combs, travel bags, and traditional medicinal remedies. There are spices like cinnamon sticks, star anise, clove and nutmeg. On the first floor is the Nana Benz, which is noted for its clothing. Nearer the centre of the city, there is the Akodessewa market, which is much more specialized than the general market. There are fetishes, gongons, and gris-gris.
The coast is considerably less frantic than the market, with local fishermen quietly pushing their large boats out to sea. To the west of the city is a residential area that faces the sea. The area has long streets, dotted by official government buildings excluding the Palace of Justice and the various embassies and consulates. East to the port there is fishermen's market (Marché du port de pêche). The market is being used by local fishremen to sell their fish directly to the vendors. The market is the entry point for the canoes used by the fishermen.
Farther north, near the Monument of Independence, is the house of the Rally of the Togolese People (RPT), a major convention center, within which lies the Togo National Museum. The museum contains collections, jewelry, musical instruments, dolls, pottery, weapons and many other objects showing the arts and traditions.
The University of Lomé (previously called University of Benin) is located in Lomé Tokoin Campus and the University of Kara is located in the town of Kara in the northern part of Togo.
Schools located in the city include American International School of Lomé, British School of Lomé, Ecole Internationale Arc-en-Ciel and Lycée Français de Lomé.
The city is served by the Lomé-Tokoin Airport which is the hub for ASKY Airlines and has intercontinental connections to Paris, Brussels, and (from 3 July 2016) New York. The former railway line to Blitta runs from the airport to the city. In Lomé, and in many other places in Togo, moto-taxis are a common form of transportation. Motorcycle drivers fill the streets and passengers flag them down for a ride on the back for a small charge.