President Etienne Eyadema of Togo and the Economic Co-operation Minister of West Germany, Herr Hans-Juergen Wischewaki, officially opened West Germany's biggest development aid project in Africa on Friday -- the new deep-water port of Lome, built about six miles (9 kms) east of the Togolese capital.
The ceremony of opening the new port, and the parade the next day.
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Background: President Etienne Eyadema of Togo and the Economic Co-operation Minister of West Germany, Herr Hans-Juergen Wischewaki, officially opened West Germany's biggest development aid project in Africa on Friday -- the new deep-water port of Lome, built about six miles (9 kms) east of the Togolese capital. The opening ceremony came the day before the 8th anniversary of Togo's independence, marked on Saturday by a one-and-a half hour parade through Lome.
The new port was built by West German contractors and financed by a 73,000,000 marks (GBP7,600,000 Sterling) loan with Togo contributing an additional 880,000,000 CFA francs (about GBP1,500,000 Sterling). Among those present at the ceremony were representatives of Upper Volta, Dahomey, Ghana and Niger. President Eyadema said he hoped Togo's neighbours would make use of the new port within the framework of regional co-operation. He expressed his warm thanks to West Germany.
The anniversary parade the next day was one of the biggest ever held in Lome, with its population of about 87,000. The day's celebrations started with the firing of a 21-gun salute early in the morning -- early enough, in fact, to wake many of Lome's citizens. By 7.30 a.m. Lome's Liberation Square -- where the celebration were being held for the first time -- was already crowded.
The celebrations officially started two hours later with the arrival of President Eyadema, who came to power in 1967 following a military coup. Liberation Square, formerly Freau Square, was packed. Among the musicians present were drummers from all over Togo. A big parade of Togo's armoured forces then began. Civilians also paraded with all sections of the community represented, from officials and civil servants to beer-sales girls. The three planes of the Togoless Air Force flew overhead.
The streets of Lome were still crowded and the festivities continued long after the parade was over. The celebrations were officially ended at a cocktail party given by President Eyadema that night. The Republic of Togo, which occupies a narrow strip running north from a short coast-line on the Gulf of Guinea, is a mainly agricultural country relying on such export products as cocoa, copra and cotton. It has a population of about 1,600,000.