Lomé and Aflao: Ambivalent affinity at the Ghana-Togo border

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This chapter addresses the very particular relationship between Lomé, the capital of Togo, and the adjacent Ghanaian border town of Aflao. It begins with an historical account, juxtaposing Aflao as an old trading port with the sudden emergence of Lomé as a haven for smugglers drawn from across the sub-region once the British had defined their borders in the 1870s. Lomé was later adopted by the Germans as their capital and was conferred on the French after 1919. The contraband trade remained a feature of the colonial period, and it acquired renewed significance in the 1970s and 1980s when Ghana’s economic crisis was reflected in endemic shortages. The chapter then considers the rapid spatial and demographic growth of Lomé, reflecting capital city effects and the centrality of its market within the region. In consequence, it attracted settlers from northern Togo and neighbouring countries who were unrelated to the people of Aflao. However, Aflao has experienced its own rapid growth, as it has brought in settlers and commuters alike. Finally, the chapter returns to the close economic ties between Lomé and Aflao, and shows how internal political dynamics and regional integration agendas have played out in tensions around the border.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTwin Cities across Five Continents
Subtitle of host publicationInteractions and Tensions on Urban Borders
EditorsEkaterina Mikhailova, John Garrard
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781003102526
ISBN (Print)9780367609221
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021

Publication series

NameGlobal Urban Studies

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • border
  • twin cities
  • Lomé
  • Aflao
  • border history
  • trade
  • smuggling


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