The African city of Lomé has a fast growing population and is a free trade zone offering exports of coffee, cocoa, cotton and palm oil. Its industry has made an interesting proposition for potential expats with work opportunities not only in the main commercial areas but also in Lomé's fastest growing industry: tourism. Togo itself is only a small country, but it has a number of sandy beaches where you can relax after a week at the office. If you want an extraordinary expat experience, then living and working in Lomé could be just the adventure you are looking for.
Healthcare is always a major concern when considering moving to a new country. In Lomé, it will not be what you are used to if you are relocating from a Western country. Healthcare here may be a lot cheaper than in other countries, but facilities are few and of poor quality.
If you are considering life in Lomé as an option, you are advised to have precautionary vaccinations and treatments for malaria and yellow fever. Evacuation insurance is also strongly advised for expats. The three main hospitals in Lomé are The Hospital Saint Jean de Dieu, the Clinique des Cocotiers and the Clinique Barruet.
If you are moving to Lomé with young children, you will find that primary education is free and also compulsory for all kids across Togo. All schools are state owned and will be either Christian or Islamic in origin. Primary school education lasts for six years, followed by another six year span in secondary education. Lomé has a good selection of private schools that offer a far higher standard of education than the non-private institutions. The curriculum is very similar to that currently used in France.
Children always need a while to get used to learning abroad but many take up the challenge happily and enjoy learning about new cultures. Be prepared for a few teething problems, particularly with teenagers, as this will be a big change to the system they are used to. Beyond the basic structure, education is primarily linked to the religious institutions and to foreign donors. Higher education is a property of the rich, so private institutions are the only option; Lomé hosts the most important university in the country.
Living in Lomé may be a far cry from the life you are used to living. You can have a lot of fun outside in the sun and there are a good number of attractions worth visiting. Museums of African art can give an insight into the history of the country, and will also give a reflection of the strong Voodoo belief that still prevails among the inhabitants. If you are of a squeamish nature try to avoid the Lomé fetish market, which will offer you animal parts instead of food!
Coco beach is an excellent destination for a family day out, and you can find great opportunities for shopping in street stalls or the major Marox Supermarche. Well stocked, you will find a good selection of canned foods and drinks as well as fresh produce. For household items the Le Champion Supermarche stocks all your domestic requirements.