Landmark weekend parliamentary elections in Togo were "free, fair and open", observers from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) concluded in a report on Tuesday. "In spite of a few shortfalls, the legislative elections on Sunday were free, fair and open," stated the 15-nation group, which sent 152 military and civilian monitors to the small country to track Sunday's poll.

The High authority of audio-visual and communication (HAAC) of Togo has criticesed the use of SMSees in Togo's election campaign. In a watershed decision the High Court on Tuesday denounced the publication of short messages by a member of the RPT which is the rulling party in Togo to send SMS messages to potential voters.

A 'Center for Commercial and Agricultural Information' (PICA) for the collection and the publication of price lists via the internet has been launched in Togo to enable farmers and traders to interact over prices and availability of products.of the products by ICT. The center is equipped with computer and Internet facilities with a web page with a strong integration of data and mobile technology.

Civil society organisations in Togo have welcomed the sentences handed down to five child traffickers last week. The trials marked the first application of a law adopted in August 2005 against the trafficking of children.

In the southern Togolese village of Yoto Kopé, Akoua Amouzouvi and several other women emerge from the bush with bowls of charcoal balanced on their heads -- hands and faces smeared with black dust. They have been burning trees to make charcoal for sale. "It's our daily activity," says Amouzouvi.