Periodic Report Togo

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Executive summary

Prior to the adoption by the Council of Ministers of Togo, on 30 Mars 2011, of the National Cultural Policy document, cultural matters in Togo were regulated by the programme of the Rally of the Togolese People (RTP), the former ruling political party in a single-party system. The programme contained in the Green Paper of the RPT, though very ambitious, at least had the advantage of guiding cultural action towards the emergence of a new type of Togolese, without mimicry and evolving in a national environment where development options were clearly defined.

Unfortunately, like any cultural programme implemented by a political party, particularly in a single-party system, culture was soon instrumentalized, which led to serious setbacks.

The political action contained in the current cultural policy document is very clear and is based on the people’s deepest aspirations that are supported by the ten-year national strategic plan for culture, which will guide Togo up to the end of the first quarter of this century. 

This report, the first of its kind in an area that was previously overlooked, has the advantage of paving the way for future action to promote culture.

However, it should nonetheless be noted that sometimes, the instrumentalization of culture has positive aspects (relatively speaking). Owing to the political imperatives of the dictatorship, minority cultures were all valued through popular entertainment programmes, because no absence of any kind in the national arena was tolerated. The political control exercised by political commissioners was organized in such a way that no matter how small a minority, all communities must, through their cultures, extol the virtues of the Guide.

This report traces the interconnections that should necessarily exist between the diversity of cultural expressions and national development as well as the existing interrelationship between culture and the other development sectors, the support for creativity and artists, participation in cultural life, the role of women and young people, grassroots communities, civil society, the private sector, the consolidation of the foundations of cultural development and the essential cultural cooperation that should exist between nations and peoples. A prominent place is reserved for cultural events, particularly traditional ones, which are the mirror of cultural life in villages and the countryside. This does not mean that there is no place for other types of cultural events such as music concerts, festivals and art exhibitions.