The 27th of April is commemorated with pomp and color across three different countries in Africa as they mark their independence.
Siera Leonne, Togo, and South Africa have the unique distinction of having the same independence date.
This edition of the African Round-Up will highlight just how far these countries have come since the colonial rule.
Togo has a population of 7.6 million people and is bordered by Ghana, Benin, and Burkina Faso and has a 56-kilometer coastline that runs along the Gulf of Guinea.
Togo and its surrounding regions were known as “the slave coast” between the 16th and the 18th century because Europeans would come to the region in search of slaves.
Togo gained her independence from France on 27 April 1960.
The country is known for many things including its history, attraction sites, culture, and commercial activities. Although it is not as high ranking when it comes to economic growth, the nation has been making consistent steps to achieve growth.
Togo’s economic growth picked up in 2018 to 4.7% (2.1% per capita). This recovery was driven largely by the rebound in the extractive industry, and the continued expansion of the agricultural sector
The country’s capital Lomé, now hosts West Africa’s leading container port, taking the position from Lagos, Nigeria. Spurred by many modernisaion reforms, the Port of Lomé (PAL) has rapidly expanded indeed. From 311,500 Twenty-foot equivalent (TEU) containers in 2013, the number of containers transiting by the port has almost tripled reaching 1,193,800 TEU in 2017, while at other ports in the region remained stagnant.
Togo is also home to international soccer star, Emmanuel Adebayor
Sierra Leone was a British Colony until April 27, 1961 a year after Togo. Sir Milton Margai who became the country’s first prime minister spearheaded the struggle for independence.
The economy, which was growing steadily, took a beating in the 90’s as a result of the civil war. The war was as a result of the trade in illicit gems, known as “blood diamonds”, came to and ends in 2002 and the country has been working hard to focus on her growth.
Sierra Leone has relied on mining, especially diamonds, for its economic base. It is also among the largest producers of titanium and bauxite, is a major producer of gold, and has one of the world’s largest deposits of rutile. Sierra Leone is home to the third-largest natural harbor in the world.
Although South Africa gained independence from Britain in 1961 May it was only on April 27, 1994 that they were truly free from the shackles of apartheid. It is for this reason that they commemorate Freedom Day. Shortly after the end of the apartheid regime the first totally inclusive elections were held and won by the African National Congress and Nelson Mandela became president.
It was a historic moment for South Africa as it was the first time just under 20 million people lined up in queues to cast their vote in 1994 (compared to the mere three million that voted in 1989).
South Africa’s economy is hailed as the second largest in Africa, after Nigeria. According to the World Bank it is hailed as one of the most industrialized countries in Africa. It is also the only African nation to be in the G20.
Since the end of Apartheid South Africa has had a number of amazing inventions. One such being JONGA, a low-cost, low-tech security system that sends a notification to a paired smartphone when something triggers the motion sensors in the home. The sensor itself is wireless, allowing for seamless repositioning. The device utilizes energy-saving technology, which ensures that it will keep watch over the household for seven years, before needing to be replaced.
South Africa is also the home to intentional comedian Trevor Noah, Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu.