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Country Brief

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Chad: Country Brief

Since independence from France in 1960, Chad has suffered from instability and conflict – arising from tensions between different religious and ethnic factions, further fuelled by interference from neighboring states. President Idriss Déby Itno and his party, the Patriotic Salvation Movement, have dominated Chadian politics since taking power in 1990. Déby won the 1996 elections – the first pluralist elections held in Chad – and 2001 and 2006 elections. The electoral processes during these elections have, however, been controversial. Chad suffers from a fragmented political opposition (estimated between 70 to 110 political parties) and all but the ruling party suffers from a lack of organization and funding.  The country also completed this year the legislative and presidential elections organized within the framework of the “Accords du 13 août 2007”, under the auspices of the European Union in order to “consolidate the democratic process”. President’s Deby’s party won the legislative elections, organized on February 13, 2011, with 118 over the 188 seats. But these results were contested by the opposition which alleged irregularities and massive frauds. The presidential election held on April 25, 2011 was boycotted, as in 2006, by the main opposition leaders who made similar allegations. President Déby won 83,59%  against two marginal opponents, with a disputed rate of participation of 55,71%. The municipal elections were programmed for November 2011. The security situation has improved. However the crisis in Libya is having a serious impact   as more than 70 000 Chadians have fled the war and returned to Chad. Chad is among the poorest countries in the world, with around 55 percent of the population living below the poverty line and about 36 percent of the population living in extreme poverty.  Poverty is primarily concentrated in rural areas, where 87 percent of the country’s poor live. Chad is ranked 163rd out of 169 countries on the 2010 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Index.

2003 represents an important shift in the history of Chad as the country became an oil producing nation and oil revenues began accruing. In 2002, before the start of the oil era, the Chadian economy was predominately agrarian, with gross domestic product (GDP) per capita estimated at around US$220 - less than half of the average in Sub-Saharan Africa. By 2010, GDP per capita had risen to about US$674.

The substantial increase in revenues created by the on-set of oil has led to an important increase in public spending in priority poverty reducing sectors as highlighted in the Government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. The real impact of the increase in public resources on poverty is, however, not determined – due to a lack and reliability of poverty data. Despite higher-than-expected oil revenues, continued insecurity and weak management have slowed implementation of the government’s development agenda to date, and with the current trajectory, most Millennium Development Goals are not likely to be met.

Chad’s growth rates since 2003 have been largely driven by evolutions in the oil sector, and the economy is currently heavily dependent on oil. The international economic and financial crisis, coupled with a decline in oil production, has, however, triggered a sharp reduction in oil revenues. In addition, oil supply is declining—down from 177 thousand barrels per day in 2005 to 120 thousand barrels per day in 20101, and Chad’s oil reserves are limited, even when considering new fields under development.  A critical challenge for the country and its decision-makers will therefore be to gradually reduce the dependence on oil and reduce the non-oil primary deficit which is 31.2% of non oil GDP in 2010.

Chad continues to lag behind other comparable African countries in terms of social development. With a population of 11.1 million, Chad is ranked 163rd out of 169 countries on the 2010 United Nations Human Development (UNDP) Human Development Index. While public financial resources have increased dramatically since 2003, the impact on poverty is unclear. Data on poverty in Chad is lacking, with the main source of data being two household surveys undertaken in 1995 to 1996 and 2003 to 2004. While some progress has been made towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the country will not, if following the current trend, reach these targets.  In addition to a lack of funding compared to needs, social sectors suffer from a lack of strategic planning, imbalances in sector spending, high unit costs, and weak budget management.

Health indicators in Chad are among the lowest in Sub Saharan Africa. Maternal mortality stands at 191 per 1,000 live births, with 76 percent of women delivering without qualified assistance.  The risk of maternal mortality is heightened by precocious and intense fertility (6.3 children on average per women and 15- to 19-year-old girls contributing to 15 percent of national pregnancies). Chad also lags behind other Sub Saharan African countries in the education sector.  Public primary education was declared free of charge in 2006 and the government has engaged in an important school construction program. The primary gross enrolment rate is estimated at around 98 percent, while the primary completion rate is around 36 percent.  However, there are large regional differences in terms of access to education, as well as important gender inequalities. Primary school enrollment and completion rates for girls stand at 78 percent and 25 percent respectively – versus 112 percent and 47 percent for boys.


Chad joined the World Bank in 1963. Since then, the World Bank has provided support to more than 50 development projects, accompanying the country’s work towards achieving sustainable economic growth while reducing poverty.

The Bank’s engagement in Chad in the past decade had been defined by its support to the Chad Cameroon Pipeline Project (CCPP). The Bank supported the financing of the pipeline through three credits subject to an agreement on the use of the oil revenues. However, the Government of Chad did not respect the original agreement or a subsequent Memorandum of Understanding on its amendment. In February 2008, as a result of the rebel attack on the capital, the World Bank office in N’Djamena closed, Bank staff evacuated, and mission travel was suspended. Since the agreements on oil revenues had not been respected, Bank management decided to keep the office closed until a solution could be found. In September 2008, the Government repaid the balance of pipeline-related credits, and Bank engagement in the petroleum sector in Chad thus came to a close. The Bank’s office in N’Djamena reopened in January 2009.

Following a period of transition, in July 2010 the World Bank’s Executive Board approved a new Interim Strategy Note covering Bank engagement in Chad over the June 2010 to June 2012 period.  The main objectives for Bank engagement during the ISN period are  to re-establish a productive dialogue and working relationship with state and non-state actors, and strengthen the Bank’s knowledge base for further engagement.  The ISN focuses on areas of common ground between the Government and the Bank. The Bank seeks to leverage the impact of all public resources on the lives of the people of Chad - through work to strengthen both the design and operation of public financial management systems, by accompanying Government in its efforts to improve the provision of key social services (health, education, water), diversify its economy (agriculture), better understand and address the needs of the rural poor, and improve regional connectivity.

The current Bank portfolio in Chad consists of nine projects and represents a total of US$220 million in commitments. This includes five national and three regional operations and cover the following sectors: health, urban development, rural development/community development, education, public financial management, transport, telecommunications, and environment.


Education Sector

The Bank’s education sector project – an education sector reform project – supports the Government’s efforts to provide quality basic education to all by 2015 – one of the Millennium Development Goals. The project objective is to ensure that the framework for quality universal basic education is put in place and ready for implementation. It places an emphasis on developing an effective partnership between State and communities, creating technical capacity nationally for developing curricula and textbooks, and improving quality and efficiency of the basic education system. At the end of the project, it is expected these objectives will translate into stronger institutional and managerial capacity, increased enrollment rates, more equitable access and better education quality and efficiency.

Results to date include:

  • 400 classrooms built and equipped;
  • 2 606 300 schoolbooks procured and distributed to schools;
  • 20 000 – of whom 60% women – taught to read and write;
  • 11 700 community teachers trained;
  • Creation of a new national center for the development of curriculum.

Throughout the implementation of the project, there has been an increase in the number of girls who attend school, and the overall rate of children attending school has increased from 87 percent in 2003/2004 to 96 percent in 2007/2008.

Health Sector

The Bank’s support to the health sector over the last years has consisted of a population and AIDS project – effective from April 2002. The project aims to contribute to changing behaviors of the Chadian population - adopting behaviors which would reduce the risk of HIV infection and preventing too closely spaced and/or unwanted pregnancies.

In response to recommendations from a Mid-Term Review held in 2005, the project piloted an integrated decentralized response to HIV/AIDS in the two regions of Ndjamena and Logone Occidental. Activities supported under this pilot sought to stimulate demand for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) and Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) services through peer education, social mobilization, and condom promotion and sales. The project also financed social centers (providing social and nutritional support to the most vulnerable and educational support to orphans), training of public and private health personnel, provided vehicles, equipment, drugs, STI kits, reagents, and medical supplies to all partners and worked to strengthen existing health and VCT centers. It also established two mobile units to cover 40 sites within the two regions.

Results from 2007 and 2008 of the decentralized local response showed an acceleration of counseling and testing activities, as well as a high rate of HIV positive cases among those tested, demonstrating both a large unmet demand and the relevance of this targeted strategy.  In 2007, 22,761 people were tested in the intervention areas (38 percent increase from 2006) of which 22 percent tested positive; and in 2008, 25,102 people were tested (10 percent increase) of which 22 percent tested positive. Out of those infected in both regions, 8,434 are being followed by health facilities of which 4,805 are under antiretroviral treatment.  Furthermore, 4,459 cases of STI were treated (a 107 percent increase from 2006).

The Mid-term review showed that the project was not successful in meeting its population objectives and recommended reorienting the population activities and putting in place mobile teams focused on reproductive health and family planning services in a region with very low contraceptive usage. An international technical assistance program was structured to support this process and ensure a transfer of skills and knowledge.

A mobile team approach was piloted in 2007 - with support from Tunisian experts - in Mayo Kebbi Ouest, a region with the lowest reproductive health indicators in the country. Two mobile teams were put in place to provide a comprehensive package of reproductive and child health services in 40 sites (located in both existing health centers and in villages without access to health centers) for 120,000 inhabitants of 103 villages within a five-kilometer radius of the intervention sites. This resulted in coverage of around 80 percent of the population. This new approach had very encouraging 2007 results

A comparison with 2006 figures

  • 276 percent increase in the number of prenatal consultations;
  • 132 percent increase in the number of deliveries assisted by qualified personnel
  • 188 percent increase in the number of children between 0-11 months vaccinated
  • 266 percent increase in the number of women vaccinated

Despite the suspension of activities in Pala from March to September 2008, as a result of lack of financing, this positive trend continued in 2008 and 2009. Activities resumed in September 2008, with partial Government financing. The Bank will provide additional financing to the project to continue the work under this project.

Local Development

The Bank has been also engaged in the Community Based Ecosystem Management Project in Chad since June 2005, aiming to restore some of the most fragile ecosystems, by enabling local communities to better fight desertification, rehabilitate degraded lands, and protect biodiversity. It was fully integrated into the design, and implementation of the first phase of the Local Development Program Support Project - PROADEL, whose development objective is to reduce poverty, promote sustainable rural development, and establish a participatory, decentralized financing mechanism for community-driven development initiatives. The first component - financial support for community-based ecosystem management subprojects - co-financed subprojects to support community-based ecosystem preservation, and natural resources management activities within the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Priority Zones. Eligibility was restricted to activities requested by communities, within their Local Development Plans, and the ecosystem management schemes (under Component 2).

Results to date include:

  • 329 sub-projects out of a total of 405 have been completed
  • 35,500 children secured for full school year
  • 257,000 people have access to clean potable water
  • 65,000 people to have access to basic proximity healthcare by building and equipping health centers
  • More than 100,000 cattle have secured access to watering points
  • 123 community-based ecosystem management micro-projects approved and under implementation
  • 71 community-based ecosystem management micro-projects approved and fully completed
  • More than 135,000 hectares of land protected against deforestation, land degradation and bush fire in targeted areas
  • More than 40,500 hectares of land which benefited from soil fertility improvement techniques in targeted areas
  • 35 training sessions and sensitization campaigns conducted for the communities
  • 14,000 people in rural areas benefited from the trainings and sensitizations campaigns in environment protection, sustainable land management techniques, and wildlife protection.
  • More than 5,000 Decentralized Assemblies installed with 174 Local Development Plans prepared and adopted
  • 210 Cantonal Committees have been set up, thus setting the stage for the participation of communities and their representatives in the decision-making process and management of public socio-economic goods of their neighborhood
  • Six laws on decentralization along with 47 application decrees have been prepared and enabled, thus setting the ground for the local elections.

Urban Development

The Bank has been engaged in an urban development project in Chad since 2007, aiming to increase sustainable access to municipal services for residents in targeted project cities, including N'Djamena, Moundou, Sarh, Abeche, and Doba. The project also aims to develop the technical and financial capacity of decentralized services – as part of a decentralization process which will give decentralized services responsibility for managing resources for maintaining urban infrastructure investments. The project finances two main types of activities: (i) capacity development initiatives at the municipal administrative level; and (ii) rehabilitation of basic urban infrastructure investments.

Results to date include

  • Updating of urban reference plans for Moundou, Abéché, Sarh, and Doba;
  • 80 percent of planned urban management training undertaken;
  • 50 percent of planned local fiscal training undertaken;
  • Installation of information technology (IT) equipment.
  • Support through Regional Projects – CEMAC Transport and Transit Facilitation Project

Gaping potholes, many official and unofficial checkpoints and miles and miles of uneven or unpaved dirt roads – this is the scene for motorists along part of the 2,000-kilometer stretch that connects the landlocked Chad and Central African Republic to the Douala Port in Cameroon. The corridor, known as one of Africa’s worst for shippers struggling to get their goods to and from international markets, has hampered trade for thousands and is a substantial toll on the price of doing business regionally. The predicament is in sharp contrast to some parts of Africa where infrastructure projects have improved regional transportation.

To travel to N'Djamena from the region’s main port in Douala along a stretch of country that bounds equatorial forests in Cameroon with desert-like conditions in Chad can take between 10 and 28 days. The trip spans all kinds of climates and involves challenges to travel including roadblocks, heavy traffic, poorly managed border crossings and even areas such as the one-lane bridge between Chad and Cameroon where the processing of livestock several times per week takes precedence over the passing through traffic. According to experts, it is the worst case in the whole region, this being one of the last sub-regions where there are not all-weather, paved roads connecting one part of Africa to another.

To combat this problem, the World Bank, in partnership with the European Union, the African Development Bank, and the French Development Agency, are providing US$680 million to improve transport facilities in three countries – Chad, Cameroon and Central African Republic. The project aims to facilitate access to Chad, the CAR and the northern part of Cameroon through a comprehensive approach that would encompass the infrastructure – rail and road – and the facilitation issues, which consist mainly of improving customs and control systems along the corridor.

Part of the funds will finance the paving of 450-kilometer, two-lane highways in Cameroon and the Central African Republic as well as the rehabilitation of another 400-kilometers of road in Chad and 400-kilometers in Cameroon. Other money will go toward providing technical assistance and computerizing systems at the Douala Port to help implement an effective community-based system, which would cut by 20 percent the port clearance delays.

Customs administrations will also be supported in the three countries to implement fully electronic clearance processes, which would help tackle corruption.

Finally, funds will address gaps in the rehabilitation of the Cameroonian rail network, the preferred mode for Chad imports and CAR’s timber exports.


Last updated September 2011

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