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Republic of Chad

République du Tchad

CAPITAL: N'Djamena (formerly Fort-Lamy)

FLAG: The flag is a tricolor of blue, yellow, and red vertical stripes.

ANTHEM: La Tchadienne begins "Peuple Tchadien, debout et à l'ouvrage!" ("People of Chad, stand up and set to work!").

MONETARY UNIT: The Communauté Financière Africaine franc (CFA Fr), which was originally pegged to the French franc, has been pegged to the euro since January 1999 with a rate of 655.957 CFA francs to 1 euro. The CFA franc is issued in coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 500 CFA francs and notes of 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000, and 10,000 CFA francs. CFA Fr1 = $0.00194 (or $1 = CFA Fr516.5) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is the legal standard.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; National Holiday, 11 January; Labor Day, 1 May; African Independence Day, 25 May; Independence Day, 11 August; Assumption, 15 August; All Saints' Day, 1 November; Proclamation of the Republic, 28 November; Christmas, 25 December. Movable religious holidays include 'Id al-Fitr, 'Id al-'Adha', Milad an-Nabi, Easter Monday, Ascension, and Pentecost Monday.

TIME: 1 pm = noon GMT.


A landlocked country situated in northern Central Africa, the Republic of Chad has an area of 1,284,000 sq km (495,755 sq mi), extending 1,765 km (1,097 mi) ns and 1,030 km (640 mi) ew. Comparatively, the area occupied by Chad is slightly more than three times the size of the state of California. It is bounded on the north by Libya, on the e by the Sudan, on the s by the Central African Republic, on the sw by Cameroon, and on the w by Nigeria and Niger, with a total boundary length of 5,968 km (3,708 mi).

The Aozou Strip of Chad, an area along the northern border of about 114,000 sq km (about 44,000 sq mi), was occupied and annexed by Libya in 1973. In February 1994, the International Court of Justice rejected Libya's claim to the territory. Armed clashes broke out in 1983 with Nigeria over several islands in Lake Chad that had emerged as the water level fell.

Chad's capital city, N'Djamena, is located in the southwestern part of the country.


The country's most marked feature is Lake Chad, which is situated at the foot of a gently sloping plain, is surrounded by vast marshes and is fed chiefly by the Chari and Logone rivers. The surface area of the lake varies from about 9,842 to 25,641 sq km (3,8009,900 sq mi). From this low point of 230 m (750 ft) above sea level, the land rises to a maximum of 3,415 m (11,204 ft) at Emi Koussi, an extinct volcanic peak in the Tibesti Mountains of northern Chad. The center of the country is primarily a shallow bowl known as the Bodélé Depression.


The three chief climatic zones are the Saharan, with a wide range of temperatures between day and night; the Sahelian, a semidesert; and the Sudanic, with relatively moderate temperatures. Extreme temperatures range from -12° to 50°c (10°122°f); at N'Djamena the average daily maximums and minimums are 42°c (108°f) and 28°c (73°f) in April and 33°c (91°f) and 14°c (57°f) in December. The rains last from April (in the south) or July (farther north) through October. Average annual rainfall is about 76 cm (30 in) at N'Djamena. In the far south, it is as much as 122 cm (48 in), but at Faya-Largeau in the north, it averages only 2.5 cm (1 in). A severe drought affected two-thirds of the country from 1967 through 1973 and again in the early 1980s, especially 1984.


Animal and plant life correspond to the three climatic zones. In the Saharan region, the only flora is the date-palm groves of the oases. Palms and acacia trees grow in the Sahelian region. The southern, or Sudanic, zone consists of broad grasslands or prairies suitable for grazing. Elephants, lions, buffalo, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, giraffes, antelopes, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, snakes, and a variety of birds are found in the savanna country. As of 2002, there were at least 134 species of mammals, 141 species of birds, and over 1,600 species of plants throughout the country.


With two national parks, five game reserves, and two Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance, about 9% of Chad's natural areas are protected. The chief environmental problem is increasing desertification after a decade marked by below-normal rainfall and periodic droughts. Warring factions in Chad have damaged the environment and hampered the efforts of the government to address environmental problems for 25 years. Locust swarms periodically cause crop damage. The availability of fresh water is also a major problem. Safe drinking water is available to 40% of urban dwellers and 32% of the rural population. About 82% of the nation's renewable water resources are used for farming activity.

According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the number of threatened species included 12 types of mammals, 5 species of birds, 1 type of reptile, and 15 species of plants. Endangered species in Chad include the black rhinoceros, Dallon's gerbil, and African wild ass. The Sahara oryx, also called the scimitarhorned oryx, is extinct in the wild. Elephant herds were reported greatly decimated in the 1970s.


The population of Chad in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 9,657,000, which placed it at number 82 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 3% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 48% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 98 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 20052010 was expected to be 2.7%, a rate the government viewed as satisfactory. The projected population for the year 2025 was 16,979,000. The population density overall was 7 per sq km (19 per sq mi), but almost half of the area is desert, and almost half the population lives in the southwestern 10% of Chad.

The UN estimated that 24% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 4.71%. The capital city, N'Djamena, had a population of 797,000 in that year. Other cities and their estimated populations include Sahr (formerly Fort-Archambault), 193,800; Abéché, 187,900; and Moundou, 127,500.


At least 200,000 Chadians fled the country during the civil war in 197981, mostly to Cameroon and Nigeria. About 150,000 returned in 1982. In 1983, up to 200,000 of the estimated 700,000 Chadians in Nigeria were expelled as part of a general expulsion of foreigners. Beginning in 1983, tens of thousands of Chadians fled from Libyan-controlled northern Chad and other areas of the country. The government of Chad reported that more than 152,000 Chadians returned home between November 1985, when a general amnesty was proclaimed, and the end of June 1987. As of 1995, there were 42,900 Chadian refuges in Cameroon; 21,500 in the Central African Republic; 2,000 in Niger; and 1,300 in Nigeria. A total of some 10,500 Chadian refugees were repatriated from the Central African Republic between April 1995 and September 1997, and from Niger between December 1997 and January 1999. The Chadian government, in agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), decided to facilitate the repatriation of another 55,000 Chadian refugees between 1999 and the end of 2000.

As of 2004, there were 260,064 asylum seekers, refugees, and others of concern to UNCHR living in Chad, of which 52,663were refugees. Of the total migrant population, 88% were living in camps. In 2004, 39,261 Chadian refugees were in Cameroon and 5,023 were in Sudan. In that same year, countries of asylum for Chadians were Cameroon, the Central African Republic, and France. The net migration rate for 2005 was estimated as 0.11 per 1,000 population. The government views the migration levels as satisfactory.


The basic population of Chad derives from indigenous African groups, whose composition has been altered over the course of years through successive invasions from the Arabic north. The present population is a mixture of at least 200 ethnic groups.

The population can be broadly divided between those who follow the Islamic faith and the peoples of the south, by which is meant the five southernmost prefectures. The Arab invaders brought Islam, perhaps as early as the 8th century, and today their descendants form a relatively homogeneous group, localized in the regions of Chari Baguirmi and Ouaddai, but mostly seminomadic. Muslim indigenous groups include Arabs, Toubou, Hadjerai, Fulbe, Kotoko, Kanembou, Baguirmi, Boulala, Zaghawa, and Maba. Some indigenous groups, such as the Salamat and the Taundjor, were largely Arabized by intermarriage over the years. Other Muslim peoples include the Fulani, the great sheep and goatherders of Chad.

Among the non-Muslim indigenous peoples, the most important (and the largest single group in Chad) are the Sara, about 30% of the population. They live in the valleys of the Chari and Logone rivers and are farmers of considerable skill. Others include the Ngambaye, Mbaye, Goulaye, Moundang, Moussei, and Massa.

There are about 150,00 nonindigenous inhabitants, of whom about 1,000 are French.


More than 120 languages and dialects are spoken by the different ethnic groups, but Arabic is commonly spoken in the north and Sara and Sango languages in the south. French and Arabic are the official languages.


As of 2004, about 54% of the people are Muslims, 33% are Christians, and the remainder are followers of indigenous religions or no religion. Most of the people of northern Chad are Muslims. Islam, brought both from Sudan and from northern Nigeria, spread through the area around Lake Chad long before the coming of Europeans. Protestant and Catholic missionaries have been in the territory only in this century. A majority of the nation's Muslims are of the mystical Tidjani sect (also known as Sufism). Some indigenous religious elements are also incorporated into this Muslim practice. About 510% of the nation's Muslims are considered fundamentalists. Most of the people of southern Chad are Christian, with a majority of Roman Catholics. Protestants tend to be affiliated with evangelical groups. Followers of two minority religions, the Baha'i and Jehovah's Witnesses, also have small communities in the country. Some people of the south, particularly those living in the valleys of the Chari and Logone rivers, follow African traditional religions. There are also small communities of Baha' is and Jehovah's Witnesses.

The constitution provides for freedom of religion, but this right has been restricted by the government in some situations. For instance, the Islamic group Faid al-Djariahas has been banned because of religious customs that are considered to be non-Islamic. In 2002, the Catholic Church was formally admonished by the government for its sponsorship of a training program for election observers. The Minister of Territorial Administration claimed that the church was taking on the role of a political party, thus promoting an illegal combination of religion and politics. All religious organizations must be registered with the Department of Religious Affairs in the Ministry of the Interior. Though there is no state religion, a majority of the senior government officials are Muslim. Certain Muslim and Christian holidays are officially observed.


Chad suffers from poor transportation both within the country and to outside markets; its economic development depends on the expansion of transport facilities. During the rainy season, the roads become impassable and the economy slows down almost to a standstill. There are no railways.

In 2002 there were an estimated 33,400 km (20,754 mi) of roads, of which only 450 km (280 mi) were paved. In 1992 there were about 8,720 passenger cars and 12,350 commercial vehicles in use, including trucks and buses. The main export routes are to the Nigerian railhead of Maiduguri and the Cameroonian railhead of Ngaoundéré. A bridge across the Chari, linking N'Djamena to Kousséri, Cameroon, was completed in 1985. In the same year, a us$19.2 million loan for road rehabilitation was provided by the IDA.

Most rivers flow but intermittently. On the Chari, between N'Djamena and Lake Chad, transportation is possible all year round. In September and October, the Logone is navigable between N'Djamena and Moundou, and the Shari between N'Djamena and Sarh. Total waterways cover 4,800 km (3,000 mi), of which 2,000 km (1,250 mi) are navigable all year.

Chad had an estimated 50 airports in 2004, only 7 of which had paved runways as of 2005. Air Tchad (60% state owned) provides internal service to 12 locations but suffers from lack of fuel and equipment. The international airport at N'Djamena was damaged in fighting in 1981, but is now served by several international carriers including Air Afrique, which is partly owned by Chad. Another major airport, developed as a military staging area, is located at Sarh. In 2003, scheduled airlines in Chad carried about 46,000 passengers on domestic and international flights.


Fine prehistoric rock engravings and paintings can be found in northern Chad, dating from between 50002000 bc. In 2002, an international research team announced the discovery of the fossil remains of the earliest hominid on record. The six specimens, collected in Chad in 20012002 are the oldest hominid evidence, and are dated as between six and seven million years old.

As early as the 8th century ad, Arabs (Berbers) entered from the north and their records tell of the existence of great African empiresKanem, Bornu, Baguirmi, and Ouaddaibetween the 9th and 16th centuries. By the end of the 19th century, many small states south of Lake Chad became vassals of the northern sultanates, which conducted a flourishing slave trade.

Europeans began exploration of Chad in the 19th century. Chad was explored in part in 1822 by Dixon Denham and Hugh Clapperton, two British travelers. More detailed explorations were carried out by Heinrich Barth (1853) and Gustav Nachtigal (187071). In the decade after 1890, French expeditions gradually expanded French control of the lands to the south and east of Lake Chad. Completed conquest of the territory was achieved by 1913. The borders of Chad as they presently stand were secured by conventions between France and Germany (1894) and France and the United Kingdom (1898). In 1910, Gabon, Middle Congo, and Ubangi-Shari (which included Chad) were constituted administratively as colonies; together they formed French Equatorial Africa. Chad was separated in 1916 and became a colony in 1920.

On 26 August 1940, during World War II, French officials in Chad rallied to the Free French standard, making Chad the first colony to do so. N'Djamena, formerly Fort-Lamy, was an important Allied air base on the route to the Middle East, and from there Col. Philippe Leclerc's troops departed to fight in the North African campaign. After 1945, Chad became one of the territories of French Equatorial Africa in the French Union, and in the referendum of 28 September 1958 the territory of Chad voted to become an autonomous republic within the French Community. On 26 November 1958, the territorial assembly became a constituent assembly and proclaimed the autonomous Republic of Chad. On 11 August 1960, Chad achieved full independence, with François (later Ngarta) Tombalbaye as head of state and prime minister. On 4 April 1962, a new constitution was proclaimed, and a new government formed with Tombalbaye as president.

By 1965 power had been consolidated, and Chad was a one party state. In 1965 there was full-scale rebellion in the Muslim north country, largely the result of Muslim resentment toward the Christian- and animist-oriented government in N'Djamena. Prominent in the rebellion was the National Liberation Front (Front de Libération NationaleFROLINAT). In late 1968, President Tombalbaye requested and received the aid of French troops in combating the rebels. French troops were officially withdrawn from Chad in 1972 although technical advisers remained. In 1973, Libya, a major source of covert aid for the rebels, occupied and annexed the Aozou Strip in northern Chad.

On 13 April 1975, Tombalbaye's 15-year rule ended with an army coup and his assassination. Gen. Félix Malloum became the new president. Like his predecessor, Malloum was a Southerner whose rule was opposed by the Muslim north. In 1976, however, a faction led by Hissène Habré split with FROLINAT and eventually formed the Armed Forces of the North (Forces Armées du NordFAN). Goukouni Oueddei, a powerful leader from the north, with Libyan support, emerged as head of FROLINAT, but a FROLINAT advance south was stopped by additional French troops in 1978. In a government shuffle, Malloum named Habré prime minister in 1978, but the two broke in early 1979 as antagonism between Muslims and Southerners intensified. After Habré's FAN party seized control of the capital, Malloum resigned as president on 23 March 1979 and fled the country. In April Habré became defense minister and Oueddei interior minister in a coalition government, which in August was reconstituted with Oueddei as president. In November it became the interim Government of National Unity, representing 11 armed factions, with Oueddei remaining as president and Habré as minister of defense.

Fighting between FAN and government forces broke out in March 1980, and Habré was dismissed from the cabinet in April. France withdrew its forces from Chad in May, and the FAN occupied Faya-Largeau in June, as well as holding part of N'Djamena. By October, Libya had intervened on Oueddei's behalf, and, in December, an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 Libyan troops completed the conquest of Chad by occupying N'Djamena. Habré's forces fled to eastern Chad and the Sudan.

Libya's action and proposed union with Chad angered other African leaders and France; Oueddei himself may have become alarmed at the growth of Libyan influence. At Oueddei's request, Libyan troops withdrew in November 1981 and were replaced by a 3,600-man OAU peacekeeping force. These troops did nothing, however, to halt the FAN's subsequent advance from the east. On 7 June 1982, Habré's forces occupied the capital, and Oueddei fled to Algeria. Habré declared himself president of Chad on 19 October 1982.

By early 1983, Habré's dictatorial regime had extended its control to southern Chad, but was meeting increasing difficulties in the north. Ousted president Oueddei formed a rival government and, with a rebel army of about 3,000, captured the northern town of Faya-Largeau on 10 August 1983, with the support of Libyan aircraft and artillery. Although Habré's regime was characterized by widespread atrocities, France and the United States supported his quest for power, seeing him as a bulwark against Libya's Muammar el-Qaddafi. As of early 1984, Chad was effectively partitioned, with a chain of French military posts stretching across the center of the country. To the south, the Habré regime was consolidating its position. France subsequently moved its defensive line 100 km (60 mi) to the north. Northern Chad, however, remained under the control of Libya and Oueddei's rebel forces, and there were growing fears that Libya was moving to annex the area.

A November 1984 agreement between France and Libya called for both countries to withdraw their forces from Chad, but although France complied, Libya reneged. French troops returned in 1985 to help repulse an enemy offensive. On 8 August, Aozou, and with it the entire disputed strip, fell to Chad, but a Libyan counteroffensive recaptured the settlement on 28 August. However, after a damaging Chadian raid on an air base within Libyan territory on 5 September, Libya agreed to a cease-fire, effective 11 September. During 1987 fighting, Chad captured us$500 million to us$1 billion worth of Libyan military equipment, most of it intact. US-supplied Stinger missiles allowed Habré's forces to neutralize Libya's air force. In 1987 Libya withdrew, and Hissène Habré was officially recognized as president of the whole of Chad.

The struggle for Chad took another twist in November 1990. After a three-week campaign by guerrillas loyal to an ex-army commander, Idriss Déby, Habré's dictatorship fell. Déby was supported by Libya and Sudan, but he also was backed by the United States, France, and Nigeria. A French force of 1,200 assisted Déby against pro-Habré rebels, who were eventually put down in 1993.

In May 1992, Déby appointed a new prime minister, Joseph Yodoyman, who formed a new cabinet that included several opposition figures. A democratization process was agreed upon, parties were legalized and, by the end of 1992, 28 parties had registered. In April 1992, Yodoyman stepped down. He died in November.

A Sovereign National Conference that lasted from January to April 1993 brought together a diverse group of government, economic, military, and special interest representatives. It confirmed Déby as Chief of State, established a new transitional government, elected 57 counselors to a Higher Transitional Council (a quasilegislative body), and adopted the Transitional Charter, an interim constitution. This government was given a one-year mandate. Late in 1993, a technical commission of jurists was constituted, which began work on a new constitution, an electoral code, and a charter for political parties. In April 1994 Déby's mandate was extended by 12 months, and the work of the jurists was continued. Elections were scheduled for April 1995 but were postponed. The Transitional Council submitted a proposed constitution in 1994 calling for a directly elected president, a bicameral legislature, and a constitutional court.

Chad's long-standing territorial dispute with Libya over the Aozou Strip was taken up by the International Court of Justice in June 1993. On 3 February 1994, the Court rejected Libya's claim to Chadian territory. Libyan withdrawal was slow, but was fully completed by May 1994. French forces remained in the area despite Libyan protests. In December 1994 the government announced an amnesty for exiled opposition politicians and for political prisoners, excluding Habré. Opposition activity expanded afterwards, but Déby was accused of sponsoring harassment despite the amnesty. Opposition forces coalesced early in 1995, to form the Political Parties Concentration (CPP), which, joining with Western nationsnotably Francebegan calling for changes in the administration of the Transitional Council. In March, ignoring such demands, the Transitional Council expanded its mandate to govern the country and removed the sitting prime minister. In August, the chairman of the Transitional Council resigned amid allegations of fiscal mismanagement. Later that month, the Council sponsored raids of opposition parties, and the government briefly detained a prominent opposition leader. Elections and the required constitutional referendum continued to be postponed.

In March 1996 the government signed a cease-fire agreement with 13 opposition parties for the constitutional referendum and following elections to take place. The agreement was brokered by Gabon in Franceville, with assistance from the Central African Republic and Niger. Though an election timetable was established and proceeded, numerous opposition groups, and particularly those who wished a federal governmental system rather than a unitary one, urged a boycott of the referendum polling. Despite these calls and opposition in the southern part of the country, 63.5% of the voters on 31 March 1996 agreed to adoption of the constitution.

The presidential elections could then proceed. The first round of voting took place on 2 June 1996 with Déby garnering 43.8% of the votes. The second round, held on 3 July was contested between Déby and Wadal Abdelkader Kamagoué, representing the URD (Union pour le renouveau et la démocratie), who had taken 12.4% of the voters in the first round. Déby was inaugurated as president on 8 August.

Legislative elections, though delayed again, took place in January and February 1997, with 658 candidates representing 49 political parties in polling for 125 national assembly seats.

Much of Déby's presidency since his 1996 inauguration has been engagement in negotiations or armed conflict with continuing dissident groups in the northern and southern regions of the country. Due to the desire to see the oil reserves from the Doba oil fields brought into production, his government has been particularly eager to bring a cessation to hostilities in the south, with mixed results. Outbreaks of violence continued to be reported in both the northern and southern regions, and in 1998, Youssouf Togoimi left the government and his position as Defense Minister to form the MDJT (Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad), and organized an armed rebellion against the government.

The Chadian security forces continue to be charged with human rights violations by various internal and international rights organizations. In October 1996 Amnesty International also accused France of participating in these violations in Chad. Despite various disagreements over the years, France continues to see maintenance of an armed force in Chad as essential to securing its strategic position as a border state of Libya and Sudan. Déby's government also continues to be accused of harassing the opposition, including detentions, prosecutions, and jail terms. Chadian forces have taken part in the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic in 1998 and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from September of that year.

In January 1998 Déby's government stated its intention of requesting extradition of Hissène Habré from Senegal in order to prosecute him for human rights abuses and embezzlement of government funds. In a separate approach toward Habré, the Chadian Truth Commission, which spent 15 months studying charges against the former president, has pressed for his criminal trial in Senegal, where he has lived in exile since his ouster in 1990. They are joined by several international human rights organizations. The Commission, in a 1992 report, estimated that Habré's forces killed 40,000 Chadians, most of the deaths being attributed to his National Security Service. Habré was indicted in 2000 on charges of torture and crimes against humanity, and placed under house arrest under the 1984 UN Convention Against Torture. However, in March 2001, Senegal ruled it did not have jurisdiction to try Habré in Senegal on torture charges during his tenure in power in Chad. On 18 August 2005, at the urge of Human Rights Watch, Prime Minister Pascal Yoadimnadji announced in a letter that all remaining Habré-era officials accused of human rights violations and still holding key government positions would be released from service of the Chadian government while awaiting trial.

On 20 May 2001, Déby won reelection as president with 63% of the vote in an election determined by credible sources to have been marked by fraud and vote-rigging. Six of the candidates opposing Déby were detained for questioning by the police, but were released within an hour. Although results from 25% of the polling stations were cancelled due to irregularities, Déby's reelection was confirmed and he was sworn in August for a second five-year term. During the campaign, Déby promoted a us$3.5 billion development project from southern Chad to the coast of Cameroon. Supported by an international consortium of companies with the ExxonMobil affiliate EssoChad serving as the primary operator. The Chad/Cameroon Development Project was the largest development project in the history of Chad; as many as 11,000 workers developed the Doba oil fields of southern Chad, and built a 1070-kilometer pipeline to transport the oil from land-locked Chad to the coast of Cameroon. Of the total investment, us$2 billion of this was invested in Chad. Planned for a 25-year production phase, Chad began to export oil extracted from the Doba Basin in late 2003, adding an estimated us$100 million to government revenues, an increase of approximately 40%. An estimated one billion barrels existed in oil reserves. The World Bank estimates that government income could increase annual government revenue from a minimum of us$80 million to us$100 million; Chad expects to receive between us$2.5 billion and us$5 billion in direct revenues from royalties, taxes, and dividends, depending on the price of oil over the Chadian oilfield's production period. Despite the increase in oil revenue, 80% of the population relies on agriculture and subsistance farming, herding, and fishing. Although the government committed 80% of its future oil revenues on health, education, rural development, infrastructure, environment, and water, according to the World Bank, the government of Chad distributed us$67.7 million from oil revenues during 2004 for the priority poverty-reduction sectors, us$4.2 million for the oil production region, and us$12.7 million for the general budget.

In the first half of 2005, Chad netted us$102.5 million in net revenues. Chad estimated its direct oil revenues for the whole year would reach us$225 million.

In November 2001, relations between Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) broke down when the CAR army chief of staff, François Bozizé, fled to Chad after being accused of involvement in a failed coup attempt. Chad and the CAR accused each other of supporting dissidents in cross-border attacks. CAR President Ange-Félix Patassé claimed Chad was looking to annex part of the CAR's oil-rich north, as, according to Patassé, 85% of the rebels occupying the north and center of the country were Chadians. In March 2003, rebels overthrew President Ange-Félix Patassé, and approximately 400 Chadian troops were sent to help stabilize the situation and back the newly self-declared president, General Bozizé. The relations between the new CAR government and Chad have significantly warmed.

In January 2002, the Chadian government and Togoimi's MDJT reached a peace agreement, brokered by Libya. The accord provided for an immediate cease-fire, an amnesty for prisoners held by both sides, the integration of rebels into the national army, and government jobs for MDJT leaders. However, in May, fighting between the two forces broke out in the far north of the country, and 64 were killed. As of early 2003, skirmishing between government forces and the MDJT continued.

In January 2003, the government signed a peace agreement with the National Resistance Army (ANR), a rebel group operating in eastern Chad, near the border with Sudan and the Central African Republic. The accord provided for an immediate ceasefire and an amnesty for prisoners. The following December, a new peace agreement was signed with the northern rebels. Fighting between rebel groups, militias, and the government in the neighboring Darfur region of Sudan has driven upwards of 180,000 refugees into eastern Chad, as well as sparking clashes between these militias and Chad's military. Tensions also remained high along the Central African Republic and Libyan borders, especially due to increased CAR refugees, amounting to 52,000, from clashes between Central African rebels and the CAR.

Although Chad is peaceful in contrast to its neighbors, much of the money initially earned on the pipeline was reportedly used to buy arms, and the influx of refugees as well as the nearby political instability has contributed to the unease. Although the Chadian government attempted to broker a peace accord between the Sudanese government and the Darfur rebels in April 2004, the Chadian army itself clashed with the Janjaweed militia, and the conciliatory attitude the Chadian government has taken with the Sudanese government is thought to be partly responsible for the 2004 uprising in the capital.

Drought, locusts, and a cholera epidemic in western Chad, in addition to the influx in primarily women and children refugees, have also led to the general dissatisfaction of the 9.2 million people. Human rights criticism continued, fueled by such incidents as the imprisonment of a parliamentarian, and the brief censure of media organizations.


According to the constitution of 1962, Chad was an indivisible, secular, democratic, and social republic with a president and National Assembly. One-party rule was established and presidential elections were held on 15 June 1969, the first by universal suffrage. An official announcement on 16 June stated that President Tombalbaye, being the only candidate, had been reelected for a further seven years by 93% of the voters.

The National Assembly was dissolved after the coup of 13 April 1975 that ousted Tombalbaye. A provisional constitution, which came into force 16 August 1975, was abolished on 23 March 1979, when President Malloum fled. In October 1982, a National Consultative Council was formed with two representatives from each prefecture and two from N'Djamena. This body was to draft a new constitution by 1990, but it was replaced in the Déby coup on 1 December 1990.

The three-month-long national conference in early 1993 established a new transitional government with a 57-member higher transitional council (elected by the 254 conference delegates) and a transitional charter.

Work on a new draft constitution began near the end of 1993, and a provisional document was drafted and made public in 1994. The constitution, approved in a March 1996 referendum, mandates a directly elected president serving a five-year term, a bicameral legislature, and a constitutional court. The 1996 presidential election under this constitution returned Idriss Déby to the presidency, and 1997 legislative elections brought an absolute majority to Déby's MPS party, with three opposition parties sharing the remaining 62 seats. Déby was reelected in May 2001, and his MPS party won an overwhelming majority in the 21 April 2002 elections for the National Assembly. Elections for the National Assembly were scheduled for April 2006. Although the 1996 constitution provides for a bicameral legislative branch, only the National Assembly functions, as the Senate has not yet been created. Senate members are to serve six-year terms, with one-third of representatives renewable every two years. Members of the National Assembly are elected for four-year terms in 25 single-member and 34 multi-member constituencies (155 seats total). In May, 2004, after an uprising in the capital that the president claimed was intended to overthrow him, the National Assembly approved a constitutional amendment that ended the two-term limit on the presidency, allowing Déby to run for a third term in 2006, which he won. Pascal Yoadimnadji was appointed prime minister on 3 February 2005.


Prior to independence, Chad was split politically. The Northerners, predominantly Muslim, were supporters of the Party of African Reunion (Parti de Regroupement Africain). The non-Muslim southern farmers were supporters of the Chad Progressive Party (Parti Progressiste TchadienPPT). In 1958, the Legislative Assembly of Chad was controlled by PPT members, who had a majority of 42 of the 65 seats. In the election of 31 May 1959, the PPT obtained 57 seats in the new Assembly, and François (later Ngarta) Tombalbaye of the PPT became prime minister. In February 1960, four smaller parties joined forces to form the opposition African National Party (Parti National AfricainPNA). In 1962, the PNA was dissolved, and Chad became a one-party state. In 1973, the name of the PPT was changed to the National Movement for Cultural and Social Revolution (Mouvement Nationale pour la Révolution Culturelle et SocialeMNRCS). Following the 1975 coup, the MNRCS was banned, and the National Assembly was dissolved. As a consequence, all formal political activity ceased.

In 1984, Habré established the National Union for Independence and Revolution (Union Nationale pour l'Indépendence et la RévolutionUNIR), with a 14-member Executive Bureau headed by himself and an 80-member Central Committee. After the Déby coup, his Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) took over. Parties were legalized in 1992, and eventually 28 registered with the authorities. These parties have continued to evolve, unite, disband, and reform.

The 1996 constitution provides for many political parties, with approximately 60 involved politically or culturally. In the 2002 elections, seven major parties were represented in the National Assembly. The Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) had 110 assembly seats, the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP); 12, Federation Action for the Republic; (FAR) 9, National Rally for Development and Progress; 5, Union for Renewal and Democracy (URD); 5, National Union for Democracy and Renewal (UNDR); 3, with the remaining 11 seats spread over a variety of other parties.


Chad is divided into 28 departments and 98 sub-prefectures, in addition to the city of N'Djamena. In many areas, the traditional chief still retains power as the head of his people.


Since the 1990 coup, the structure and functioning of the judicial system has been seriously disrupted. Because of the breakdown of law and order, as well as interference by the government and the military, the judiciary was unable to handle criminal cases. Many magistrates went on strike in 1993 to protest difficult working conditions and nonpayment of salaries.

Traditionally, the legal system was based on a combination of French civil law and Chadian customary law. The judicial system consisted of four criminal courts, four magistrate courts, four labor tribunals, 14 district courts (in major cities), 36 justices of the peace (in larger townships), and a court of appeal (the Appellate Court of N'Djamena). A Supreme Court was inaugurated in 1963 and abolished in 1975. A Court of State Security was established in 1976. Courts-martial, instituted early in the Déby regime to try security personnel, no longer operate and the remaining military magistrates sit as civilian judges on the N'Djamena Court of Appeals. In most rural areas where there is no access to these formal judicial institutions, sultans and chiefs preside over customary courts. Their decisions may be appealed to ordinary courts.

Under the transitional charter, the Appellate Court of N'Djamena was charged with responsibility for constitutional review as well as review of decisions of lower courts and criminal convictions involving potential sentences of over 20 years.

The 1996 constitution guarantees an independent judiciary. Though a Supreme Court has been created and a functioning judicial system exists, it is clear that there continues to be significant interference in its independence, as the president names most judicial officials. The Supreme Court consists of one chief justice, appointed by the president, and 15 councilors chosen by both the president and National Assembly, all lifetime appointments. A Constitutional Council made up of nine judges elected to nineyear terms has the power to review legislation, treaties, and international agreements prior to their adoption. In local contexts, customary and traditional law is recognized to the extent it does not interfere with national law or public order.

In 2000, the chief justice of the Supreme Court demoted two Supreme Court justices, reportedly because they made a decision which adversely affected the interests of the chief justice. A Superior Council of Magistrates is to act as a guarantor of judicial independence, and in 2001, sanctioned several justices for malfeasance.


In 2005, Chad's armed forces totaled 30,350 active personnel, with 25,000 in the Army, 350 in the Air Force, and the remainder in the Republican Guard. The gendarmerie and other paramilitary forces totaled about 4,500. The Army's equipment included 60 main battle tanks, over 174 reconnaissance vehicles, 29 armored personnel carriers and 5 pieces of artillery. The Air Force had two combat capable aircraft that were also used as training aircraft. About 950 French troops were based in Chad. The defense budget in 2005 totaled $57.4 million.


Chad was admitted to UN membership on 20 September 1960 and is a member of ECA and several nonregional specialized agencies. It is also a member of the African Development Bank, the ACP Group, the Central African States Development Bank (BDEAC), the Monetary and Economic Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), G-77, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), and the African Union. Chad joined the WTO 19 October 1996. The nation is part of the Franc Zone and the Community of Sahel and Saharan States (CENSAD). Chad is part of the Nonaligned Movement and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Chad, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Niger, and Nigeria are members of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, formed in 1964. Chad is also active in the Interstate Commission for the Fight Against the Drought in the Sahel. In other environmental cooperation efforts, Chad is part of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Ramsar, CITES, the Montréal Protocol, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the UN Conventions on Climate Change and Desertification.


Water-resource limitations are the critical factor influencing the Chadian economy. Much of the country is desert suitable only for very limited agriculture and livestock production, while the remainder is threatened by periodic drought. Petroleum and natron are the principal mineral resources. Key industry is centered on cotton processing. Periodic civil war has compounded Chad's chronic negative trade imbalance. It was estimated that the Chadian GDP grew by approximately 0.6% during 2000 and was forecast to grow considerably after oil from the Chad-Cameroon pipeline was expected to begin flowing in 2004.

Services was Chad's primary sector, accounting for 37.7% of GDP in 2005, but agriculture employs the majority of Chadians. Approximately 80% of the population engages in farming and livestock, accounting for 23.7% of the GDP in 2005. Sorghum, millet, and groundnuts are the principal food crops, while cassava, rice, dates, maize, and wheat augment domestic consumption. While most groundnut production is consumed locally or turned into oil, Chadian groundnuts also make their way to Central African markets. Chad also has a successful sugar production agroindustry. Cotton is a principal export commodity, but the sector suffered considerably from a variety of ills. The 75% state-owned cotton company was reorganized in 1986, but a steady decline in international prices for cotton reduced foreign exchange earnings in the late 1980s. Cotton's share of total exports fell from 80% in 1990 to 40% in 1999.

Livestock production accounted for 12% of exports in 2000. Much of the industry is conducted following seasonal rain patterns and, as a result of the extended drought, is increasingly centered in the south.

In January 1994 France suddenly devalued the CFA franc, causing its value to drop in half overnight. Immediately, prices for almost all imported goods soared, including prices for food and essential drugs, like those to combat malaria. The devaluation, long expected in the investment community, was designed to encourage new investment, particularly in the oil sector, and discourage the use of hard currency reserves to buy products that could be grown domestically. In 1999, an American-led group (Exxon, Shell, and Elf) planned to produce 150,000 to 250,000 barrels of oil per day from fields in the Doba region in the south of Chad, from reserves estimated at one billion barrels. Smaller oil reserves north of Lake Chad were slated to be used by the government for power generation.

The rate of growth of the GDP has been impressive in previous years, jumping from 9.9% in 2001 and 2002, to 11.3% in 2003, and 29.7% in 2004; in 2005 it was expected to fall back to 6.0%. This impressive economic expansion can be attributed to the newly established oil exploitations in southern Chad. The inflation rate also registered a dramatic evolution, dropping from 12.4% in 2001, to -5.3% in 2004. However, a deflated currency poses problems to Chad's export economy and its competitiveness on world markets. In addition, Chad suffers from its landlocked position and high energy costs, and continues to be dependent on foreign aid for most private and public sector investment projects.


The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Chad's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $18.3 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $1,900. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 14%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 5.5%. It was estimated that in 2005 agriculture accounted for 23.7% of GDP, industry 38.6%, and services 37.7%.

Foreign aid receipts amounted to $247 million or about $29 per capita and accounted for approximately 10.6% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Chad totaled $1.350 billion or about $158 per capita based on a GDP of $2.6 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 2.4%. It was estimated that in 2001 about 80% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.


Over 80% of all Chadian workers are involved in subsistence agriculture, animal husbandry, or fishing. There is no data on the size of the nation's workforce or on its unemployment rate.

Although workers (except those in the armed forces) can form or join unions, authorization must be granted by the ministry of the interior. The right of collective bargaining is protected under the law, but the government can intervene under certain circumstances. The right to strike is also protected but in the public sector is limited by a decree that requires minimum services to be maintained. Over 90% of employees in the formal economy were unionized, excluding herders and subsistance cultivators.

Child labor in Chad is a problem. Although minors under the age of 18 are prohibited from working under circumstances that would impair the health, safety, or morals of a child, the means to enforce the law were lacking from the government. About one fifth of all children between the ages of 6 and 18 worked in the informal economy in urban areas. Children were also employed throughout the country in the agricultural and herding sectors, as well as manual laborers, street vendors, and helpers in small shops in the country's urban centers.

The minimum wage of $51 per month in 2005 was insufficient to support a worker and family. Most employment is limited to 39 hours per week, with overtime for additional hours. Agricultural workers are limited to an average of 46 hours per week. All workers are entitled to a consecutive 48 hours of rest each week. Although there are occcupational safety and health standards, these are rarely followed in the private sector and are nonexistent in the civil service.


Only 2.6% of Chad's land is cultivated. Agriculture engaged 80% of the active population in 2005, and accounted for 23.7% of GDP. Prolonged periodic droughts and civil war and political instability have cut agricultural production and necessitated food relief. Because of drought, annual cereal production can widely fluctuate. Chad's cereal yield during 200204 was 713 kg per person, up from 659 kg per person during 199294.

Since the 1960s, cotton crops have accounted for a high percentage of Chad's export earnings. Cotton growing began about 1929 and spread gradually throughout southern Chad. Production was 84,500 tons in 2004, still far below the high of 174,062 tons in 197576. Production is dominated by the parastatal Coton-Tchad, which regulates output, operates the ginneries and cottonseed-oil works, and markets and exports both cotton and cottonseed. Chad's medium staple cotton is sold to 20 different countries; Germany, Portugal, and Japan are the principal customers. Although most cotton is exported, factories in Chad produce cottonseed oil for domestic consumption.

Production of peanuts has rapidly increased since the early 1990s, rising from an annual average of 164,000 tons during 198991 to an estimated 450,000 tons in 2004. Millet is the basic foodstuff (except in the Lake Chad area, where corn is the main cereal). Production of millet totaled 430,000 tons in 2004. Rice production was about 109,000 tons in 2004; corn production amounted to 120,000 tons that year. Other products, with 2004 production figures, include cassava, 325,000 tons; yams, 230,000 tons; and sweet potatoes, 64,000 tons. Sugarcane production on a French managed irrigated estate of about 3,000 hectares (7,400 acres) on the Shari River yielded 366,000 tons in 2004.


About 36% of the total land area of Chad is given over to pastureland. In 2004 there were about 2.57 million sheep, 5.72 million goats, and 6.4 million head of cattle; more than 1.5 million cattle died during the 198485 drought. In 2004 there were about 735,000 camels, 388,000 asses, 273,000 horses, and 5,200,000 chickens. Actual totals may have been considerably higher because herders are reluctant to declare the extent of their herds and flocks, because all full-grown animals are subject to taxation.

Live cattle, sheep, and goats are exported, with considerable smuggling, to Nigeria. Also important are exports of meat, hides, and skins. In 2004, about 125,000 tons of meat were produced. Livestock is Chad's second most important export, after cotton.


Fish, either fresh or dried, forms an important element in the diet of the people living in the major valleys. The catch from the Chari and Logone rivers and the Chad Basin was approximately 70,000 tons in 2003. Production is far below potential.


Chad has wooded areas covering more than 25% of its land area but no real forests. The only exportable forest product is gum arabic, the yield of which has averaged 300 to 400 tons a year. Roundwood removals were estimated at 7 million cu m (247 million cu ft) in 2003, 89% for fuel. Acacia trees were extensively planted in 1978.


The mineral industry was poised to become a significant segment of Chad's economy as the Doba Basin petroleum project got under way. Exportation of crude oil began in 2004. Nonfuel mineral production in 2004 included: gold (150 kg); aggregate, sand and stone (300,000 metric tons); natron or soda ash (12,000 metric tons); and salt (9,000 metric tons) The country's undeveloped mineral resources included bauxite, columbium (niobium)-tantalum, diatomite, graphite, kaolin, quartz, soapstone, tin, thorium, tungsten, and uranium. There were also occurrences reported of chromite, copper, diamond, iron, lead, nickel, titanium, and zinc. The government actively encouraged foreign investment in the development of domestic hydrocarbons, but Chad's landlocked geography and lack of infrastructure and water remained impediments to development.


Although Chad lacks coal, natural gas, and hydroelectric sources, the country does have crude oil reserves that as of 1 January 2004, have been placed at 900 million barrels, with production in 2003 at 36,000 barrels per day. Continental Oil Co., in association with Shell Oil, struck oil in the Kanem area, north of Lake Chad, in 1978, and wells briefly produced 1,500 barrels a day (about 80% of national consumption) before fighting disrupted the operation in 1980. An Exxon-led consortium drilled eight wells in the south during 198586. In 1988, interest in the region renewed, and in November 1996 Exxon and the government of Chad signed an agreement outlining the development of oil reserves in the Doba basin. In July 2003 the first oil began to be pumped following the completion of the Chad-Cameroon pipeline, which was built with the aid of a $93 million loan from the World Bank. A second project to develop oil fields in the Sedigi Basin (with reserves put at 150 million barrels) has been delayed. The problem arose after it was found that the pipeline to carry oil from the Sedigi Basin to a refinery and power plant in the capital of N'Djamena was of such poor quality that it could not be used.

All of Chad's power plants are thermal. The two at N'Djamena provide most of the national output. As of 2002, only around 2% of the households in Chad had access to electricity and the majority of the country's population must rely upon wood for fuel. Production of electricity rose from about 31 million kWh in 1968 to 92 million kWh in 2000, and 101 million kWh in 2002, all generated by fossil fuels. In 2002, consumption of electricity in Chad totaled 94 million kWh. Installed capacity in 2002 was 29,000 kW.


The industrial sector accounted for about 38.6% of GDP in 2005. Because it lacks power and adequate transportation, Chad is industrially one of the least developed countries in Africa. Cotton processing is the largest activity. Cottonseed oil is processed at Sarh and Moundou. Coton-Tchad, the state-owned company that produces and exports cotton, is the country's main manufacturing concern, and many of its subsidiary operations (including oil and soap) were being privatized in 2002.

Other enterprises include several modern slaughterhouses, a flour mill complex, a sugar refinery, and textile plants. There are also rice and peanut oil mills, a brewery, a soft-drink plant, a soap factory, and a cigarette factory. Factories at N'Djamena also produce bicycles and mopeds, radios, and perfume.

The construction sector was growing in 2002, with investment in roads and schools, among other public works projects. There was interest in building a cement factory in the Mayo Kebbi region in 2002, and plans to produce detergent and establish assembly plants for agricultural equipment. If electrical costs could be reduced, light industry could be further developed.

Oil exploration in Chad began in the 1970s in the northern Lake Chad Basin and the Doba Basin in southern Chad. Chad's full hydrocarbon potential has yet to be fully determined. The Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline, with estimated production at 225,000 barrels per day, was completed in 2003. There were plans in 2002 to build a refinery in N'Djamena, to make Chad self-sufficient in oil products. The development of Chad's petroleum sector is aimed in part at raising electricity output, which is crucial to Chadian industry. Only 2% of households in Chad are supplied with electricity.

The share of the industry in the GDP has dramatically increased to 35.6% in 2004, and was largely due to investment in the oil industry; agriculture accounted for 22.6% of the GDP, but was by far the largest employer; services came in first with a 41.7% share of the economy.


N'Djamena has an institute for cotton research, founded in 1939. The University of N'Djamena, founded in 1971, has faculties of sciences and of medicine and health. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 14% of college and university enrollments. There is a national telecommunications school in Sarh. Most research in Chad is dependent on foreign scientists and technicians; however, many foreign personnel were evacuated during the fighting of the early 1980s.


As of 2002, more than 80% of the population was employed in agriculture, either in subsistence farming, herding or fishing. Most local produce is sold directly to consumers or to intermediaries and barter is common. Company agents and intermediaries buy export crops at local markets or directly from the producers for sale to large companies. Distribution is largely unstructured, except for a few international and local companies. Most sell through retail points. A large portion of produce is transported by animals and carts, but trucks operate as well.

The country's domestic economy continues to rely heavily on foreign investment from the European Union for both private and public sector concerns. Business hours are 7:30 am 3:30 pm, Monday through Thursday, and 7:30 am to 1:00 pm, on Friday. Commercial hours are generally from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm and 4 pm to 8 pm. Offices are closed Friday afternoons during Muslim prayer time and on Sundays.


Cotton is Chad's primary export, making the economy's trade balance vulnerable to fluctuations in world cotton prices and the rising competition of synthetic materials. In 2000, exports totaled $172 million, and imports amounted to $223 million. Cotton accounted for 50% of exports that year, with cattle exports contributing 35%. Exports of textiles and fish products accounted for most of the remaining 15%. Leading imports in 1998 were machinery and transportation equipment, industrial goods, petroleum products, foodstuffs, and textiles.

In 2004, exports reached $365 million (FOBfree on board), while imports grew to $501 million (FOB). The bulk of exports went to the United States (67.8%), China (21.5%), Portugal (4.3%), and South Korea (1.4%). Imports mainly came from France (21.9%), Cameroon (16.1%), the United States (10.8%), Portugal (10.4%), Germany (6.4%), and Belgium (4.6%).


Normally Chad has a deficit in trade and services that is offset, or nearly offset, by foreign assistance, largely from France. France contributed over 30% of all international financial assistance to Chad between 1990 and 1996. Due to Chad's receipt of foreign aid, it was able to maintain a small budget surplus in 1998. Chad's current account deficits have ranged between 17% and 21% in recent years, figures deemed acceptable by international financial institutions for developing countries. Chad's levels of external debt have been moderate, and the country has in general met its repayment schedule.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reported that in 2000 the purchasing power parity of Chad's exports was $172 million while imports totaled $223 million resulting in a trade deficit of $51 million.

Current Account -37.7
     Balance on goods -76.8
         Imports -212.1
         Exports 135.3
     Balance on services -144.6
     Balance on income -7.4
     Current transfers 191.0
Capital Account
Financial Account 76.3
     Direct investment abroad -0.6
     Direct investment in Chad 27.1
     Portfolio investment assets
     Portfolio investment liabilities
     Financial derivatives
     Other investment assets 0.6
     Other investment liabilities 49.2
Net Errors and Omissions -33.0
Reserves and Related Items -5.5
() data not available or not significant.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 1994 Chad had exports of goods totaling $135 million and imports totaling $212 million. The services credit totaled $55 million and debit $199 million.

Exports of goods and services reached $2.3 billion in 2004, dramatically increasing from $547 million in 2003. Imports grew from $1.4 billion in 2003, to $1.5 billion in 2004. The impressive performance of the exports sector can be attributed to the newly established oil exploitations in southern Chad. The resource balance was consequently negative in 2003, reaching -$859 million, and positive in 2004, swelling at $759 million. The account balance was negative in both years, however, improving from -$1 billion in 2003, to -$786 million in 2004. Foreign exchange reserves (including gold) grew to $283 million in 2004, covering less than three months of imports.


As of 1999 there were six banks in Chad, including Banque de Developpement Tchadienne (BDT), Banque Tchadienne de Credits et de Depots (BTCD), Banque Meridien BIAO Tchad (BMBT, privately owned), Financial Bank Tchad, Banque Commercial du Chari (BCC), and the Banque Agricole du Soudan au Tchad (BAST). Estimated assets of Chad's banking system were about $100 million in 2002. Two major Chadian banks, BTCD and the BDT, were privatized in 1999. The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $189.2 million. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $202.7 million. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 6.5%.

There were no securities exchanges in Chad, but a financial market was planned between the member countries of the UDEAC (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo/Brazzaville, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea) to open by December 2000.


In 1986, there were three local companies and about a dozen French companies providing insurance in Chad. The domestic insurance companies operating in 1999 included Societe Mutuelle d'Assurances des Cadres (SMAC), Faugere and Jutheau (les Assureurs Conseils Tchadiens), and Star Nationale.


Customs duties are the principal revenue source. Privatization of government-owned enterprises continues under IMF restructuring plans. The government spent an estimated 20% of GDP in 1999, and has made incremental progress with structural reforms since 1995.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Chad's central government took in revenues of approximately $765.2 million and had expenditures of $653.3 million. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately $111.9 million. Total external debt was $1.5 billion.


A graduated income tax is imposed on civil servants and others who are paid fixed salaries or who have sufficient income. A head tax is imposed on all other persons, the amount varying according to regional levels of prosperity. There is also a domestic turnover tax, and a corporate minimum tax. Further revenue is derived from business and professional licensing, from taxes on business transactions, real property, and profits, and from mining royalties.

In 1999, company taxes were 45% of corporate profit and 25% of rental properties income.


Customs duties, which are ad valorem, range from 5% on essential items to 30% for less essential products, in addition to an 18% value-added tax (VAT) applicable to all but the most basic goods. There is an extra tax on luxury products of 20% and automobiles had an excise tax of 51%. There are no quotas and import licenses are no longer required. Prohibited imports include live animals, arms and munitions, pornography, narcotics, illicit drugs, and explosives.


Under the investment code issued in 1987, the government officially encouraged foreign private investment on two conditions: that the enterprise benefit the local population and that local materials be processed as far as possible. The code offers full foreign ownership to companies in Chad, except in national security or strategic industries. Benefits include preferential export duties and taxes, restrictions on the import of similar competitive products, preference in financial assistance from the Development Bank of Chad, and possible exemption from the sales tax and other fees and taxes for 15 years. The present government took over by coup after years of civil war in 1990 (and subsequently has won two elections in which international observers have charged fraud and intimidation) and political turmoil, compounded by Chad's environmental difficulties, has delayed significant foreign investments.

By far the most ambitious and innovative foreign investment project underway is the $3.7 billion Chad-Cameroon Petroleum Development and Pipeline Project, which entails drilling about 300 oil wells in Chad's Doha fields ($1.7 billion) and constructing a $2.2 billion, 1,070-km (670-mile) pipeline to carry the oil across Cameroon and out into the Atlantic to a floating storage and loading facility for shipment to Europe and the United States.

The Chad-Cameroon pipeline is the largest energy infrastructure project in Africa and has taken decades to bring about. Though the first discovery well in the Doha field was drilled in 1974, it was not until 1994 that Houston-based ExxonMobil determined that at least one billion barrels of oil could be extracted, making investment profitable. Four years later a complex agreement had been reached between the oil companies consisting of ExxonMobil (operator with 40% of private equity), ChevronTexaco (25% of private equity), and Petronas of Malaysia (35% of private equity), with Elf and Shell dropping out in 1999, the World Bank and other international financial institutions, and the Chad government.

The World Bank's contribution amounts to only 2.7% (including loans to Chad and Cameroon to finance their government's share in the project), but the sign of its support was essential for the participation of the other investors. The pipeline project has World Bank backing on condition that there not be environmental damage and that the revenue be put into social welfare and development projects.

The government of Chad agreed to give up some of sovereign control by having project management and expenditure overseen by an independent nine-member oversight committee, with four members from outside institutions and five representing Chad's religious, political, and community institutions. Revenues will go first to an escrow account in London, then to two commercial banks in Chad where the oversight committee is to see that 80% goes to priority areas (education, health, housing, and rural infrastructure) and 10% to a savings fund for the future, with the rest distributed according to a formula devised by the committee.

For their part, the oil companies have been obliged to make over 60 changes in the proposed pipeline route to accommodate social and environmental concerns and to offer a "Sears catalogue" of items (bicycles, sewing machines, plows, community wells) as compensation to villagers along the route. The Clinton administration put an Export-Import Bank loan guarantee of $158.1 million behind the pipeline and the Bush administration approved OPIC insurance up to $250 million for Houston-based Pride International, which is drilling oil wells for the project. The pipeline was due to begin operations in late 2004. Chad is expected to derive about $100 million a year in revenue from the sale of the oil from the three fields being developed, with a total of $2.5 billion over the estimated 28-year life of the project. Even before revenues began to flow, however, President Idriss Déby, in early 2003, dismissed the head of the oversight committee because the official opposed with the president's plans to use the revenue on such items as prisons and automobiles.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Chad in 1995 was only $7 million, or 0.6% of GDP, but from 1997 to 2000, the range was $15 million to $16 million. In 2001, FDI rose to $80 million as construction on the Chad-Cameroon pipeline got underway, eclipsing previous levels of foreign investment. Historically, Chad has depended upon FDI for over 50% of the capital in Chadian enterprises, the majority from France. Other sources of foreign investment include the United Kingdom, South Korea (gold mining), the Netherlands (MSI cellular telephone services), Egypt (Orascom cellular telephone services), Sudan (oil production and refining north of Lake Chad), and Libya (hotels and real estate investments).

The oil industry has dramatically increased the levels of capital inflows. Thus, in 2004, it is estimated that foreign direct investments grew to $537 million, or 12.5% of the GDP. US companies dominate investments in the oil sector, but France continues to lead the field in most other sectorscotton, sugar, electricity, water, construction, transportation, and other small industries.


Foremost among governmental objectives are the expansion and improvement of the transportation and telecommunications network, the expansion and diversification of agriculture, and the attainment of food self-sufficiency. These goals were far from being met in 2003, but a steadily increasing trade balance reflects a growing economy. Petroleum reserves promise future rewards.

Net loans and grants from international financial institutions and UN organizations in 1994 totaled $109 million. Chad received a total of $238 million in economic aid in 1995, including $41 million from the World Bank, $13 million in concessional aid from the African Development Bank, and $6 million in concessional support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In 1997, Taiwan committed $125 million, and $30 million was given by the African Development Bank. Chad was $1.1 billion in debt in 2000.

In 2000, Chad negotiated a $48 million (subsequently augmented to $62 million) Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) with the IMF, which was due to expire in December 2003. In 2001, the IMF announced Chad qualified for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Chad began exporting oil in late 2003, and the country aims to use its oil revenue to alleviate poverty. CotonTchad, the cotton parastatal, was being privatized in 2002.

2003 and 2004 saw an explosive growth of the economy as a result of a booming oil sector. By 2005, this growth was expected to slow down however, as a result of diminished oil production levels, and an incapacity of the government to spend excess oil revenues on crucial public projects. Other sectors that are expected to perform well are cattle production and cotton, although predictions are more moderate for the latter. An area that poses major problems is energy productionenergy prices in Chad are among the highest in the world and only a fraction of the population has access to electricity.


Social services were introduced in Chad very slowly and have been largely disrupted by warfare. Salaried workers are entitled to old age, disability, and survivorship benefits. There are no statutory benefits for sickness, but there is a 50% maternity benefit for employed women. Employed persons are covered by a work injury law that is funded by employer contributions. Family allowances are available for working parents, and there is a birth grant awarded for the first three births of the first marriage.

The position of women in Chad is a subordinate one. While property and inheritance laws do not discriminate against women, tradition and local custom favors men. Women generally receive less education than men, and do not have equal job opportunities. Rural women do most of the strenuous agricultural work in the fields, and girls are often married as young as 11 or 12. Female circumcision, also known as female genital mutilation, is widespread. Domestic violence and abuse are common, and women have limited recourse. Child labor continues to be a major problem.

The government's human rights record remains poor. A pattern of arbitrary violence continues, including arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, beatings, and other abuse. Prison conditions are life-threatening. The government continues to hold political prisoners, and restricts freedom of speech and religion.


In 1987 Chad had 4 hospitals, 44 smaller health centers, 1 UNICEF clinic, and 239 other clinicshalf under religious auspices. Many regional hospitals were damaged or destroyed in fighting, and health services barely existed in 1987. Public health care expenditures were estimated at 2.9% of GDP. As of 2004, it was estimated that there were fewer than 3 physicians, 15 nurses, and 2 midwives per 100,000 people.

All medicine, antibiotic, and vaccine imports must be authorized by the Ministry of Health. The most common diseases are schistosomiasis, leprosy, malaria, spinal meningitis, tuberculosis, and yaws, as well as malnutrition. Immunization rates in 1999 were very low for children up to one year of age: diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 21%, and measles, 30%. In 2000, 27% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 29% had adequate sanitation.

Chad had a birth rate of 43 per 1,000 people in 1999. The infant mortality rate in 2005 was 93.13 per 1,000 live births. Maternal mortality has increased to one of the highest rates in Africa. Over 300 women died in childbirth or pregnancy per 100,000 live births. As of 2000, only 4% of married women (ages 15 to 49) used any form of contraception. In Chad, 60% of the women underwent female genital mutilation.

The average life expectancy in 2005 was estimated at 47.18 years. The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 4.80 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 200,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 18,000 deaths from AIDS in 2003.


Forty thousand buildings and homes were destroyed during the civil war. According to the latest available figures, the total housing stock numbered 700,000, with 7.2 people per dwelling. In 2000, about 27% of the population had access to improved water systems and only 29% had access to improved sanitation systems.


The educational system is patterned on France's, and the primary language of instruction is French. Arabic is used in some schools. Private schools of an exclusively religious character (such as the catechism classes of Christian missions and the Muslim schools) receive no assistance from public funds, but the schools that conform to the officially prescribed educational programs are aided by government grants. Education is theoretically compulsory between ages 6 and 12. Primary education lasts for six years followed by either general secondary education, which lasts for another seven years, or technical and vocational secondary education, which last for six. The academic year runs from October to June.

Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 61% of age-eligible students; 72% for boys and 49% for girls. The same year, secondary school enrollment was about 12% of age-eligible students; 17% for boys and 6% for girls. It is estimated that only about 25% of all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 71:1 in 2000. The ratio for secondary school was about 32:1.

The University of N'Djamena (est. 1971) is the only university in the country. The university has four facultiesexact and applied sciences; law, economics, and business administration; letters, languages, and human sciences; and medicine. There is a zoological and veterinary institute at Farcha, a national communications college in Sarh, and a national college of administration in N'Djamena. In 2000, about 6,000 students were enrolled in some type of higher education program. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 25.5%, with 40.6% for men and 12.7% for women.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 2% of GDP.


Many of the libraries in Chad are the small private collections of research institutes in N'Djamena. The public library system includes a network of about 100 reading rooms. Among the largest are the Chadian National Institute for the Humane Sciences, with 3,200 volumes, and the Educational Documentation Center, with 3,300. Other notable libraries include the University of N'Djamena with about 12,000 volumes, the French Cultural Center in N'Djamena, with 12,000 volumes, and the United States Information Agency, also in N'Djamena, with 3,000 volumes.

The National Museum in N'Djamena was founded in 1962 and has an excellent collection on the natural history, archaeology, and ethnography of Chad. The Museum of Abéché, which was founded in 1962 and formally opened in 1984, features an ethnographical collection. Fort-Lamy houses the country's premiere historical and public affairs museum with exhibits chronicling its fight for independence.


Postal and telephone service are under the direction of the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications. There are direct telephone connections between N'Djamena and Paris and several African capitals. In 2003, there were an estimated 2 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were approximately 8 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

The government-operated Radiodiffusion Nationale Tchadienne and Tele-Tchad have broadcasting stations in N'Djamena that broadcast in French, Arabic, and seven African languages. Other radio stations are privately owned. In 2002, there were 2 AM and 4 FM radio stations and 1 television station. In 2003, there were an estimated 233 radios and 2 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were 1.7 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 2 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet.

The government press agency publishes the daily news bulletin Info-Tchad (circulation about 1,500 in 1999). Other publications include the weekly N'Djamena Hehdo (1999 circulation 9,500), and the monthly Tchad Et Culture (3,500).

The Constitution and Transitional Charter ensure freedom of speech and the press, and the government is said to respect these rights. The Higher Council on Communications (mandated by the CNS) promotes free access to the media.


The Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture, and Industry at N'Djamena has branches at Sarh, Moundou, Bol, and Abéché. In rural areas, cooperatives promote the production and marketing of agricultural products. Fishermen and artisans also maintain cooperatives. Self-help tribal societies have grown rapidly, particularly in the larger towns, where members of ethnic groups act together to assist newcomers and to maintain links with those remaining in traditional areas. The Student Association of the University of Chad (AEUT) is one of the largest student organizations affiliated with the National Union of Chadian Students and Pupils (UGEST). Church youth organizations are active, as are chapters of scouting and Girl Guide organizations. Sports organizations are active as well, including chapters of the Special Olympics.

The three primary human rights groups within the country are the Chadian Association for the Promotion of Human Rights, The Association for the Promotion of Fundamental Liberties in Chad, and the Chadian Human Rights League. There are national chapters of the Red Cross Society, Caritas, and UNICEF.


Chad, a developing country, has gone through years of war and famine leaving its tourism industry very limited. Most visitors are attracted to the Zakouma National Park.

Visitors must have valid passports and visas. Visitors must check in with the National Police within 72 hours of arrival and obtain a registration stamp. Vaccination for yellow fever is recommended. There were approximately 20,960 tourist arrivals in Chad in 2003, a decrease from 2002 by 35%. This decline may be attributed to ongoing rebellion and civil unrest. The country had 802 hotel rooms with 1,274 beds in 2002.

In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in N'Djamena at $254. Daily expenses, estimated at $70 in smaller towns, were significantly lower.


Ngarta Tombalbaye (191875) was the first president of the independent Republic of Chad. Gen. Félix Malloum (b.1932) became chief of state after the 1975 coup, but was ousted in 1979. Goukouni Oueddei (b.1944) served (197982) as president and subsequently led a Libyan-backed rival government in northern Chad. Hissène Habré (b.1942), a Muslim military leader, seized the capital in 1982 and became president. Idriss Déby (b.1952) seized power in 1990 after a French-supported invasion from Sudan.


Chad has no territories or colonies.


Azevedo, Mario Joaquim. Chad: A Nation in Search of Its Future. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1998.

. Roots of Violence: A History of War in Chad. Australia: Gordon and Breach, 1998.

Burr, Millard. Africa's Thirty Years War: Libya, Chad, and the Sudan, 19631993. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1999.

Decalo, Samuel. Historical Dictionary of Chad. 3rd ed. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1997.

. Historical Dictionary of Chad. [computer file] Boulder, Colo.: netLibrary, Inc., 2000.

Dun and Bradstreet's Export Guide to Chad. Parsippany, N.J.: Dun and Bradstreet, 1999.

Nolutshungu, Sam C. Limits of Anarchy: Intervention and State Formation in Chad. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1996.

Zeilig, Leo and David Seddon. A Political and Economic Dictionary of Africa. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2005.

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Republic of Chad

Major City:

Other Cities:
Abéché, Bongor, Faya, Moundou, Sarh


This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report dated July 1994. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at for the most recent information available on travel to this country.


CHAD , the largest of the countries to develop from former French Equatorial Africa, has an ancient history that tells of well-developed societies dwelling around Lake Chad as long ago as a thousand years. Arab elements probably migrated from the north, across the Libyan desert, in the eighth century, but it was not until the French arrived in the middle of the 19th century that Europeans settled the region. With what are now Gabon, Central African Republic, and the Republic of the Congo, Chad had French colonial status until 1958. It became independent two years later.

The nation has been battered by several civil wars, invasions from Libya, political instability, and famine for nearly three decades. In November 1990, a variety of anti-government forces calling themselves the Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) launched a military attack on the government of President Hissein Habré. The MPS, led by Colonel Idriss Déby, quickly overwhelmed troops loyal to Habré. On December 2, 1990, Déby and the MPS marched into N'Djamena. Habré and other government officials fled to Cameroon.

Prior to the overthrow of the Habréregime, Chad's sole legal political party was the National Union for Independence and Revolution (UNIR). In May 1991, President Déby stated that he would favor the creation of a multi-party democracy in Chad. After several years of delays, Chad's first multiparty democratic elections were held in 1996, and President Déby was reelected.

Chad (in French, Tchad) offers broad geographic variety: desert, savanna and forest, mountains, rivers and plains, as well as the mystique of its location in the heart of Africa. Its people, as varied and interesting as its topography, include nomads, herdsmen, fishermen and farmers, Muslims, animists, and Christians.



Chad's capital city, N'Djamena, formerly Fort Lamy, is located at the confluence of the Chari and Logone rivers. It lies nearly 1,000 feet above sea level on a 300-mile-wide arid savanna belt that stretches across the country. This strip separates the Sahara Desert in the north from the subtropical areas of the south. N'Djamena is the center of Chadian government, commerce, banking, communications, and foreign trade. The city was largely destroyed during the 1979-82 civil war. Many buildings still standing are bombed-out shells, although rebuilding is underway and much reconstruction has been completed. N'Djamena has a population of approximately 1,044,000.

Physically and architecturally, N'Djamena is two cities in one: French colonial and Chadian. The European portion of town is characterized by wide, tree-lined streets and white cement homes set in ample gardens. Here are found also most of the government buildings, embassies, and larger stores. This section fills in the area along the river from the city center to the airport.

The Chadian section, which is much larger, stretches to the south and east and is characterized by narrow, busy, unpaved streets and one-story mud houses, some with corrugated tin doors and roofs.

The large, sprawling city market is probably one of the most varied and interesting in the African Sahelian zone. Not only does it offer a wide variety of foods and spices from all parts of Chad, but it also houses an extensive, if rudimentary, manufacturing activity. Visitors can see basket weaving, blacksmithing, rug and mat making, pottery decorating, cloth dyeing, and peanut grinding, all within the market enclosure. The colors, sounds, and smells of the market are unforgettable. While the market does not have the plenitude of goods evident in earlier days, it remains the center of N'Djamena's commerce.

One landmark that has been rebuilt is the architecturally striking Cathedral of Notre Dame. Another is the Eboué Monument at Place Eboué, opposite City Hall, honoring Félix Eboué, Governor of Chad from 1938-40 and Governor General of French Equatorial Africa from 1940-44.

Aside from the U.S. Embassy staff and their dependents, there are roughly 180 Americans in Chad. Most of these Americans are from private voluntary organizations, the U.N., missions, or employees of two U.S. oil exploration firms.

Schools for Foreigners

The American International School of N'Djamena (AISN) is a coeducational school offering an American-style curriculum for students from kindergarten through grade 8. Extracurricular activities include art, music, school newspaper, soccer, volleyball, and swimming.

École Montaigne is a private school following a French curriculum. Staffed by French cooperants and other qualified expatriate teachers, it has children from the international community at large as well as French children and some Chadians. With the AISN, it is the only other accredited school in Chad.

Other local primary/elementary schools are not considered suitable because of massive overcrowding in most classes and lack of materials and qualified instructors.

After passing the government exams in grade six, Chadian primary pupils go on to "college" (junior high school) or "lyceé" (junior and senior high school). The best of these is College Sacre Coeur, a public school closely supervised by the teaching order of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. This carries students to a grade 10 equivalent; following graduation, students attend one of three lycees (high schools).


Spectator sports in N'Djamena are limited to occasional local soccer matches, horse races, volleyball games, softball games, and tennis matches. The extreme heat and absence of suitable facilities makes participation in sports rather difficult in the hot season. A swimming pool at the U.S. Chancery is sometimes open to visitors.

The International Club of N'Djamena offers four well-kept clay tennis courts, one of which is adequately lighted for evening play. Other activities offered include Ping-Pong, karate, volleyball, riding stables, a swimming pool, and an outdoor bar with tables and chairs.

A private horse club, the Equestrians of Chagoua provides horses for riding enthusiasts. The AERO Club provides flying lessons and dining facilities.

Abundant game and wide open spaces once made Chad attractive to European hunters as a safari site. Populations of larger game animals have been greatly reduced, though duck hunting remains good. Douguia is a resort north of N'Djamena on the Chari River which still has something to offer. Driving time in the dry season is about two hours one way from N'Djamena. A hotel and a restaurant are located at the resort. You can try your luck at fishing or water skiing or just take a walk through the village. By traveling roughly 20 miles (30 kilometers) further to Lake Chad, you can go for a tour in a motorboat.

The Nadjer of Khamiss Rock formations, or Elephant Rocks, with small caves are located near the village of Karal, about three hours north of N'Djamena, and are worth a trip.

N'Djamena's fascinating, sprawling open market is well worth a visit. Spices, a wide variety of foods from all parts of Chad, carpets, clothing, brightly patterned African materials, kitchenware, and other items are available.

Some African art and handiwork can be purchased at the Centre Artisanal, at the Catholic Mission, and close to major hotels. Also, vendors are located in front of the food stores, the Post Office, and other major buildings. Bargaining is a way of life, and consequently, the first price quoted is highly inflated. Visitors can buy ready-made jewelry in gold, silver, filigree, or ivory, or have them made to order in several bijouteries (jewelry stores) around town. Some jewelry is imported from Saudi Arabia.

A number of short excursions can be taken from N'Djamena. They do not offer much of a change of landscape or climate, but are interesting. Among them are:

  • Kale Maloue/Maroua, a small park inhabited by deer, elephants, monkeys, wild pigs, and a variety of birds. It is approximately eight miles from Kousseri, Cameroon, across from N'Djamena on the Logone River. Guided tours are available during the dry season.
  • Waza, a large game park in North Cameroon with elephants, giraffes, lions, and a great variety of antelopes, gazelles, and birds. After crossing the Chari River by ferry or bridge, the park can be reached over a reasonably good road in about two and one-half hours. A small, but adequate hotel and restaurant, consisting of a series of air-conditioned boucarrous (round adobe cottages with thatched roofs) is available.
  • Logone Birni, the ancient capital of the Sao sultanate, and an hour's trip to the south on the Cameroonian side of the Logone River. Some mud fortifications are still intact here.
  • Logone Gana, sister city of Logone Birni, on the Chadian side of the river. This is an ancient, but thriving, town of fishermen about a one-and-a-half-hour drive to the south.
  • Goulfey, a Kotoko village of fishermen and farmers down-river toward Lake Chad, and best reached by boat. Some of the mud walls and houses are more than 400 years old.
  • Maroua, a pleasant town with two excellent hotels is located in northern Cameroon, about four hours from N'Djamena. It has a trading center noted for hand-embroidered tablecloths and items of clothing.
  • Ourdjila, a mountaintop village an hour south of Maroua, also in northern Cameroon. Tourists visit the chief's sare and the quarters of his 40 wives.
  • Rhumsiki, where spectacular rock formations can be seen in the hills along the Cameroonian-Nigerian border. There is a small hotel here.


N'Djamena has two popular movie theaters, the Normandie and the VOG. Both theaters occasionally show fairly good but older movies in French, along with Kung-Fu and Hindi epics. Theaters are outdoors, so insect repellant is recommended.

N'Djamena has several amateur theatrical groups: Chadian Anglo-phone Theatrical Society (C.A.T.S.) began performing in 1985 with three plays. Most of the members are Americans and Canadians. Les GANTS (Groupe Amateur N'Djamena Theatre et Spectacles) perform in French at the French Cultural Center several times a year. Plays and cabaret shows are offered. Its performances are predominantly by and for expatriates. Baba Moustapha Theatre Vivant gives several performances in French annually, often by Chadian authors. Smaller groups also give plays in French and occasionally in local languages.

The Chadian National Ballet performs dances representative of Chad's different regions. In addition, several smaller dance bands play; the best known are "Chari Jazz" and "Africa Melody".

Le Centre Cultural Francais, supported by the French Embassy, offers annual memberships at very reasonable rates. It has a good library (fiction, nonfiction, reference) in French, offers monthly educational expositions regarding aspects of life in Chad, has a good stage for occasional concerts or plays or other visiting performers, a video club, a bridge club, chess, game nights, and movie nights for children and adults.

N ' Djamena has several good French-style restaurants, a restaurant specializing in Oriental cuisine, and several small places that serve good Chadian food. Also, two discotheque night clubs offer a variety of African, French, disco, and rock music.

Photography is not allowed without a permit.

A good deal of casual entertaining is done among Americans in this growing community. Small dinner parties are common. Other activities include luncheons, dinners, cocktail parties, sports, and watching video films. Parties are sponsored for children and/or adults for the Fourth of July, Halloween, Christmas, Easter, and various other occasions. Chad's expatriate community also holds a Thanksgiving Day service.

N'Djamena is an informal city where friendships are easily formed. Official and social contacts, participation in sports, religious activities, and other social functions all contribute. Professional contacts frequently lead to social invitations for cocktails or dinners. Any contact outside the American community usually requires a working knowledge of French.


ABÉCHÉ , located 350 miles northeast of the capital, is large and desert-like. There are several mosques and old markets. Abéchéwas once the capital of the Ouaddai empire. The palace and the sultan's tombs are still standing. Abéché is surrounded by a savanna-type terrain that is conducive to cattle-raising. However, the development of a substantial cattle industry has been hampered by Abéché's distance from suitable markets. Abéché's craftsmen are known for their famous camel-hair blankets. The town has a secondary school, the Lycée Franco-Arabe, as well as a hospital and small airport. The population in 2000 was roughly 95,800.

BONGOR is located at the far southwestern border of Chad. It is situated in a cotton-growing region where recent attempts have been made to produce rice in the Logone floodplain. During the dry season, Bongor's wells and pools attract nomads from north of Lake Chad. There is an airport, and other community services are available. The city has an estimated population of over 195,000.

FAYA , formerly known as Largeau, is a major oasis town in the Borkou region of northern Chad. It is located roughly 490 miles northeast of N'Djamena. Originally called Faya, the town was renamed Largeau in 1913 in honor of a French army officer who captured the Borkou region. The original name was restored in the 1970s when Faya became a center for date palm production. The town has a small electric plant and a hospital.

MOUNDOU is a major city located on the Logone River in southeastern Chad. The city's warm, seasonally wet climate makes it one of Chad's major cotton-producing centers. Moundou is also the site of one of Chad's largest commercial enterprises, a brewery established in 1964. The city has a hospital, local air service, and a secondary-school branch. Moundou's estimated population in 2000 was 117,500.

SARH is located in the southeastern region of Chad. It takes its name from the ethnic group, the Sara. The city has a bustling marketplace offering cotton, fish, and textile products.

Sarh has an airport, schools, and a hospital. On the Chari River, the climate of Sarh is wet and warm. The population was approximately 129,600 in 2000.


Geography and Climate

Covering an area of 496,000 square miles, landlocked Chad is twice as large as Texas. With an estimated population of nearly five million in such a large area, it has one of the world's lowest population densities. The country, situated in the heart of the widest part of Africa, is over 900 miles long, and is 450 miles wide at the latitude of N'Djamena.

Chad has roughly two climatic zones separated by a wide transitional belt; wooded, humid river valleys in the south, and the desert climate of the barren Sahara in the north. N ' Djamena lies in a sub-Saharan savanna region of grasslands and scrublands, with dry and rainy seasons, between the forest and the desert. Chad's topography is generally flat, except for a range of hills along the eastern border and relatively high, barren mountains in the far northwest.

Most of the country's drainage system flows into Lake Chad, which lacks an outlet. Geologists say that the lake, the world's 12th largest when full, once covered a substantial portion of what is now the Sahara, and that the climate was then one of high humidity and lush tropical growth. Although the lake's salinity is increasing, it still contains large numbers of freshwater fish. As a result of a Sahelian drought beginning in 1971, the water level declined further until the lake was split into two shallow basins in 1973. Another severe drought, which assaulted much of central Africa in 1984, caused Lake Chad to shrink to one-third of its normal size, but heavy rainfall the following year contributed to re-establishing the water level.

N'Djamena has three seasons. The July to October rainy season is characterized by some humidity, periodic heavy rains, tall green grass, and by a great variety and number of insects which arrive in September and do not depart until early November. Although rains are heavy, they do not fall every day, and most storms do not last more than an hour. Rains are usually preceded by high winds with much dust and sand. At either end of the rainy season, July and October, maximum temperatures are about 98°F, but drop to 89°F in mid-season. Minimums are 72°F to 74°F throughout this period. From mid-July until mid-October or early November, rains may close roads outside of town and make unpaved city streets all but impassable to anything other than four-wheel-drive vehicles.

From November to February, the weather is dry and pleasant, with daytime temperatures seldom over 90°F. Nighttime temperatures often drop to 60°F or below, and blankets are needed. The pleasantness of this season is marred only by occasional harmattans, dust storms off the Sahara that settle over the city like a London fog.

During the hot season, from the end of February to early June, average noon temperatures reach 110°F to 120°F in the shade. Direct sunlight is extremely strong, plants die, and the earth dries up. Nighttime temperatures seldom drop below 90°F, or possibly 80°F during early morning.


Chad's population is divided among a large number of tribes and racial types. The country's total population in 2000 was estimateda at 7,760,000. The north and center are inhabited primarily by Muslims, many of them nomadic or semi-nomadic. The more densely populated south and southwest are inhabited by sedentary farmers, animists, and Christian farmers. Arabic is the language of the north and Sara is the most common tongue in the south. Eight other indigenous languages are spoken in Chad. Rudimentary French is fairly well understood in the towns, and remains the official language of Chad.

Islam is the predominant religion. Strife and tension between Arab north and non-Moslem south, going back to the time when slavery existed in this part of Africa, has left a legacy of problems.

Outside the country's main cities and towns, the Chadians live principally en brousse (in the bush). Depending on their location, they pursue agricultural village life, herding, or a nomadic existence. Millet, sorghum, beef, mutton, and fish constitute the main diet. Great variety in clothing can be seen, and Chad's markets are particularly colorful. As throughout Africa, families are usually large. The Chadians also observe the extended-family concept and refer to the most distant cousin as "brother" or "sister." Often, only one or two breadwinners in an extended family will be supporting a large number of people.


In 1988, former President Habré commissioned a new constitution. This constitution called for a strong presidency and an elected National Assembly. It was adopted by referendum in December 1989. On July 8, 1990, a 123-member unicameral National Assembly was elected to a five-year term.

On December 3, 1990, one day after the overthrow of President Habré, Colonel Déby suspended the 1989 constitution and dissolved the National Assembly. In its place, Déby proclaimed a National Charter on February 28, 1991, that confirmed his status as president and established an advisory Council of the Republic. After lengthy delays, a new constitution was adopted in 1996, and Chad held its first democratic multiparty elections since becoming an independent nation. The last presidential election was held on May 20, 2001, and the next is to be held in 2006. General Déby was reelected president in 2001 with 63% of the vote.

The president is elected by popular vote to serve a five-year term; if no candidate receives at least 50% of the total vote, the two candidates receiving the most votes must stand for a second round of voting. The prime minister is appointed by the president.

The legislative branch consists of a unicameral National Assembly with 125 seats. Members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms.

The Chadian flag consists of vertical bands of dark blue, yellow, and red.

Arts, Science, Education

The educational system was severely affected by the 1979-82 civil war. Elementary and secondary schools throughout the country are still overcrowded, understaffed, and poorly equipped. The one institution of higher learning has limited facilities and mostly part-time professors.

An examination given at the end of the equivalent of grade 10 determines entrance into specialized schools: the École Nationale des Travaux Publics (public works), the École Nationale des Infirmiers, and Sages Femmes et Assistantes Sociales (nurses, midwives, and social workers), both in N'Djamena, and the École Nationale des Telecommunications in Sarh. That examination also allows entrance to one of Chad's five normal schools, which train elementary school teachers in Abéché, N'Djamena, Moundou, Sarh, and Bongor.

Students completing high school (13 years), take the baccalaureate examination, a national test similar to the ones given in France and other francophone countries. Those who pass (known as "bacheliers") are eligible for admission to the University of Chad, which offers courses in humanities, arts, sciences, social sciences, and law. Bacheliers may also take very competitive entrance examinations for admission to the École Nationale d'Administration or the École Normale Superieure, which train high school teachers. All three institutions are in N'Djamena.

"Les Centres Artisanals" were created to help Chad rebuild its tourist industry and preserve native crafts-manship. Craftsmen produce animal sculptures, pots, and jewelry made from brass, silver, leather, and wood.

Commerce and Industry

Confronted with a long drought, Libyan aggression, and civil strife, Chad is one of the world's poorest nations. The country has fewer than 200 miles (300 kilometers) of paved roads, no rail system, and only two airfields capable of handling modern commercial jet aircraft. The 1985 opening of a bridge across the Logone River provided the Chadian capital with its first land link to neighboring Cameroon.

A major effort is underway to improve Chad's road system. Several donors, including the World Bank, France, Italy, and the U.S. are engaged in road repair and improvement projects. According to World Bank estimates at least 300 million dollars was needed to fund urgent road repairs in the 1990s, involving over 1,100 miles of roadway.

Chad's commercial truck fleet is woefully inadequate, consisting of approximately 400 vehicles. The fleet transports its cotton crop to the port of Douala or the railhead at N'Gaoundere (both in Cameroon), and provides for the internal movement of goods and passengers. Additional trucks belonging to Nigerian and Cameroonian transporters are allowed to operate in Chad after paying a fee to the Chadian Transporters Cooperative (CTT).

Chad's industrial sector consists mainly of seven companies, five of which are joint ventures between the Government of Chad and private investors. COTONTCHAD, the national cotton company; SONASUT, the national sugar company; Societe Textile du Chad (STT), a textile company; Manufacture des Cigarettes du Tchad (MCT), a tobacco firm; and Societe Industrielle de Materiel Agricole (SIMAT), a agricultural equipment firm, are joint ventures. A brewery, Brasseries du Logone (BDL), and a soft drink firm, Boissons Gazeuses du Tchad (BGT), are under private ownership.

Chad's principal traditional exports are cotton, cattle, textiles, and fish. The country imports petroleum products, foodstuffs, light machinery and transport equipment, and a limited number of consumer goods.

Chad relies heavily on massive amounts of foreign aid for food and other necessities. Although some irrigation systems have been constructed in Chad, most agricultural production continues to be rain-fed.

The industrial sector is making moderate gains in production. However, it is still extremely underdeveloped.

Local and expatriate merchants are again investing in the retail and service sectors. Many war-damaged buildings have been rebuilt in N'Djamena's main commercial areas. Although the modern sector has not fully recovered from the war period, more is now Chadian-owned rather than French-owned as was the earlier case.

The Chadian economy depends upon the agricultural sector, which accounts for 40% of the estimated Gross National Product and almost 100 percent of export earnings. Eighty-five percent of the labor force is engaged in agricultural production. The most productive farmland is in the five southernmost prefectures. Cotton is the principal cash crop and accounted for 40 percent of Chad's export earnings in 1999. However, the world market price for cotton has fallen sharply in recent years. As a result, export earnings have fallen drastically to less than one-third of their previous level. Animal husbandry is the traditional domain of the nomads who populate northern Chad, and cattle exportation is Chad's second largest source of export earnings.

Most of Chad's cotton exports flow to Germany, Portugal, Spain, and France. Other Chadian products such as cattle, hides, and small quantities of beer are exported to the neighboring states of Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, Zaire, and the Central African Republic. Nigerian and Cameroonian fuel is Chad's largest import. Building materials, light machinery, spare parts, and foodstuffs are also imported from Cameroon and Nigeria.

Partnerships in COTONTCHAD, SONASUT, and STT make France the largest foreign investor in Chad. Three oil companiesMobil, Shell, and Totaloperate a joint facility in N'Djamena for the storage and distribution of refined petroleum products. The Esso consortium (Exxon, Chevron, and Shell) and its subcon-tractors are currently engaged in exploration activity in southern Chad. Future plans call for the construction of a mini-refinery in N'Djamena that will use Chadian petroleum to satisfy much of the country's domestic needs.

An oil extraction project underway in southern Chad is hoped to reduce energy costs and attract additional trade and investment to the country. In October 2000, the Doba Basin Oil Project began its construction phase. Between 2000 and 2003, an American-led consortium will invest $3.7 billion into the project. The consortium plans to produce between 150,000 to 250,000 barrels of oil a day from three fields in southern Chad by 2003-2004. This will reduce Chad's dependence upon foreign oil.

The Chad Chamber of Commerce can be reached at P.O. Box 458, N'Djamena.


N'Djamena's only scheduled airline services are by Air Afrique, UTA, Sudanese Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, and Air Tchad.

Three flights per week come from Paris via Air Afrique and Air France. Air Afrique flies between Paris and N'Djamena twice a week, and Air France flies once a week.

During the dry season, trucks and "bush taxis" ply Chad's dirt roads hauling goods and people. In the rainy season, most roads out of town are impassable. The country has no rail service, and the Trans-Cameroonian railroad from Douala does not reach Chad. The closest rail-heads to N'Djamena are Maiduguri, Nigeria, and N ' Gaoundere, Cameroon.

Some commercial river traffic exists on the Chari River when the water is high enough to float a barge. Bridges across the Chari and Logone rivers now provide N'Djamena with a land link to neighboring Cameroon.

Taxis in N'Djamena are plentiful, but fares must be negotiated in advance. The aggressive drivers try to fit as many passengers as possible into a single taxi. Private autos, motorbikes, bicycles, two-wheel push carts, donkeys, and walking are the main forms of transport for local residents. Travel between towns is usually done by catching a ride on a passing truck, "bush taxi," bus, or aircraft.

The basic need for private transportation is in the city. There are few places to drive outside of town. For those interested in exploring, an off-the-road vehicle, such as a Chevrolet Blazer, Ford Bronco, or Jeep Wagoneer is a necessity for travel outside of N'Djamena. City driving requires only a simple and sturdy car. Small models, especially French Peugeot 504s and Japanese models predominate. Color restrictions for vehicles do not exist, but light colors that reflect heat should be selected. Driving is on the right.

If an American automobile is shipped to N'Djamena, it should be equipped with all available hot-weather and heavy-duty options. French-type yellow headlights are required. Air conditioning is recommended, but no local repair or recharging facilities exist. Since unleaded gas is not sold, the deactivation of catalytic emission control systems becomes necessary.

Cars must carry liability insurance that is available only from "La Star Nationale" in N'Djamena, but at a reasonable cost. A certificate from previous insurance stating no liability automobile claims within a specified period may help one secure a lower rate. Some persons find it worthwhile to insure against loss to their own vehicle; this is available from some firms in the U.S.

Gasoline stations outside the capital are few and far between. Occasionally, some sections of Chad are without auto fuel. Two jerry cans, one for fuel and one for water, should be carried on any trip outside of town.

A Chadian drivers license will be issued to anyone holding a valid U.S. drivers license. Some people drive in Chad with an international drivers permit. International permits can be obtained locally to use in neighboring countries, but are expensive. They should be acquired prior to arrival from the American Automobile Association, or through a travel agency.

Although the main streets of N'Djamena are paved, potholes are common. Secondary dirt surfaces are smoothed out once a year by a road grader after the rainy season. They deteriorate rapidly and become quagmires during the next rainy period.


Local and international telephone service has improved somewhat since late 1987. Most expatriate homes are equipped with a telephone. Telex facilities are available at Office des Postes et Télécommunications, N'Djamena and other main post offices in Moundou, Abéché, and Sarh.

Telegraph service is available at the Poste, Telegraphe, et Telephone (P.T.T.) office. International airmail is generally fair for letters, taking about 10 days from Washington, D.C. to N'Djamena. During the holiday season, service is slow. Packages sent by international mail must go through Chadian customs; loss or pilferage is highly probable.

One local radio station, Radiodiffusion Nationale Tchadienne (RNT) broadcasts the news in French three times daily. RNT also broadcasts news and other programs in Chadian, Arabic, and several local languages. Radio stations are also located in Abéché, Moundou, and Sarh. A shortwave radio is required to receive in English from Voice of America (VOA), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) and other distant stations.

There is one television station, Tele-Tchad, which transmits from N'Djamena. Coverage is limited, with only a few hours of broadcasting daily in French and Arabic. A multi-system television is necessary in order to receive Chadian and Came-roonian television programs. Came-roonian programming is much more extensive.

Info-Tchad, a daily news bulletin in French, primarily covers Chadian and African events. It is possible to purchase some French newspapers in local bookstores or at some hotels. Al Watan, a government publication featuring political and socioeconomic information about Chad, is available in French and Arabic. Many resident Americans subscribe to the International Herald Tribune from Paris and the European airmail editions of Time or Newsweek. All are expensive.


A general hospital in N'Djamena is staffed by Chadian and foreign doctors. However, the standard of care in the hospital is low: poor funding, training, and lack of equipment and facilities contribute to levels of care well below Western standards. An emergency office located next to the hospital is staffed 24 hours daily by doctors. A list of doctors in N'Djamena includes those practicing in general medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, ophthalmology, and dentistry. Also, a Peace Corps doctor stationed in Niamey, Niger makes quarterly visits and will see patients by appointment when in N'Djamena. A French dentist also has an office in the city. Local pharmacies stock mainly French medicines at high prices, and the selection is limited. Those planning to stay in N'Djamena should have an ample supply of household remedies and first-aid items.

Chad is a reasonably healthy place to live in comparison with coastal African countries and, if a few basic precautions are taken, it is not difficult to stay well. Up-to-date immunizations, cleanliness, insect control, prompt attention to scrapes and cuts, balanced diet, increased consumption of liquids, adequate rest, and avoidance of overexertion in the extreme heat are wise precautions.

Apart from sporadic outbreaks of cholera, only two diseases have occurred in epidemic proportions in the last few yearsmeasles and meningitis. Cholera, while always serious, is less of a threat to those living near adequate medical facilities.

No sewage treatment plant exists, but houses occupied by Europeans and Americans have septic tanks. Garbage can be deposited in large metal containers positioned throughout the city. These containers are sometimes missing or not very visible. Regrettably, much of the population finds it easier to use the ditches along the side of the street.

N'Djamena draws its water supply from three enormous wells that have never failed the city, even during the drought, although the pressure is sometimes very low. Water is not potable without boiling and filtering. This includes water used for ice cubes and the preparation of food. Bottled water may be purchased locally, but is rather expensive.

Animals are slaughtered under primitive, although supervised, conditions. Meat is sold at the local central market, where hygiene is poor. Therefore, all meat should be cooked thoroughly. Raw fruits and vegetables, especially cabbage and lettuce, are particularly difficult to free from contamination. Fruits and vegetables should be soaked in a bleach solution for roughly twenty minutes before eating. Avoid salads in restaurants.

Infections of the gastro-intestinal tract are the most common ailments found here. Eye diseases, leprosy, malaria, tuberculosis, venereal diseases, dysentery, tropical ulcers, pneumonia, bilharzia, influenza, measles, cholera, polio, hepatitis, and fungal infection are suffered in varying degrees by the local populace. Aside from a few cases of stomach ailments, Americans here generally have been spared these diseases because of adequate hygiene measures. Occasional light attacks of malaria and diarrhea, head colds, and sore throats (caused by dustborne germs and aggravated by the extreme dryness) may occur.

Malaria is another prevalent disease that should not affect foreigners if suppressants are taken regularly. Prophylaxis should be started two weeks before arrival in Chad and continue for four weeks after departure.

Gamma globulin shots are given at four to five-month intervals to guard against hepatitis.

Clothing and Services

Because of the strength of the equatorial sun and the local laundry methods, the life span of clothing is short in Chad. Washable fabrics are essential, as no dry cleaning is available. Enough lightweight clothing to last the length of a stay should be in every wardrobe. Cottons and cotton blends are recommended for coolness. Both men and women should bring lightweight sweaters for the cooler, dry season and umbrellas for the rainy season. Hats are also useful, especially if one is sensitive to the sun. Bring a good supply of socks, underwear, shoes, and sandals. Good shoes are hard to find in N'Djamena and the gravelly, dusty streets can cause rapid deterioration.

For men, safari suits, short-sleeved sport shirts and slacks, and similar dress is suitable for both the office and social events. However, business suits are needed in some instances. Women wear smart, casual clothes. Stockings are seldom worn.

Children's clothing should also be washable and lightweight but, occasionally, warmer clothing is useful, depending on travel. Some lightweight sweaters should be on hand for the cooler, dry season. Clothing styles for children are generally very casual. However, older children should have dressier outfits for school and special occasions.

Few items are available locally, and it is necessary to keep a good supply of household and toilet articles, home medicines, writing materials and greeting cards, insect repellent, and the like. An adequate choice of basic drugs imported from Europe can be found in several pharmacies around town. Also, a small "perfumerie" in N'Djamena sells expensive perfumes and cosmetics. It is recommended that one have a flashlight and candles in case of power failure.

Basic hand-tailored clothing such as safari suits, shirts, and African dresses, are available in N'Djamena. Dry cleaning and commercial laundry services are not available. Three hairdressers are located in N'Djamena. Services offered include men's and women's haircuts, shampoo, set, and manicure. Rudimentary shoe repair is also available.

Local beef, pork, and mutton are relatively good, somewhat expensive, and available in ample supply. Some meats are currently imported into N'Djamena. Only French and European-style cuts are offered. Local chickens tend to be small and somewhat tough if bought at the market. A farm operating from a small village near N'Djamena offers better quality poultry. Large Nile perch, known locally as "capitaine," and other high-quality freshwater fish from the Chari River are available in season but are somewhat expensive. Two of the food stores sell imported pates, salami, sausages, frozen fish, and shellfish, and a good selection of imported French cheeses, butter, ice cream, and a few other frozen foods. All are expensive. Eggs can be bought in some of the food stores.

The food stores in N'Djamena (two general food stores and two mini supermarkets) offer an adequate range of merchandise imported from Europe (mostly France), Cameroon, and Nigeria. In addition to meats and frozen foods, one can find milk, yogurt, canned fruit drinks, canned vegetables, jams, pasta, coffee, tea, cookies, candies, chocolate, potato chips, and other items. All are expensive.

The "supermarkets" and one of the general stores offer a small selection of wine and liquor, as do several specialty shops. Gala beer, brewed in southern Chad, is outstanding. It is sold by the case (12 one-liter bottles) at several places in N'Djamena that also sell a selection of soft drinks: bottled Coke, Sprite, Fanta Orange, soda water, and tonic.

A selection of locally grown vegetables, such as lettuce, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, carrots, green beans, squash, zucchini, onions, and radishes, is available. Pineapples, melons, grapefruit, oranges, man-goes, papayas, avocados, lemons, limes, and bananas are sold in season. The "supermarkets" offer a very limited quantity of expensive imported vegetables (lettuce, artichokes, tomatoes) and fruits (apples, tangerines, pears, strawberries, and grapes).

Bread, including French "baguettes" is sold fresh several times during the day in little kiosks or stalls at street corners all over N'Djamena. A pastry shop offers crescent rolls, apple turnovers, raisin buns, and French-style pies and cakes. Some American and foreign brands of cigarettes are available from street vendors.

Domestic Help

Good servants, particularly cooks, are hard to find. Usually they are willing but untrained, and must be carefully supervised to insure that hygienic measures are followed; they are not accustomed to American standards of cleanliness. Most domestics are honest but, naturally, should not be unduly tempted.

Houseboys and laundry boys are available for hire. Nannies can be found. Gardeners can be hired part-time. A family will probably need a cook and a houseboy.

Servants may work eight hours daily, six days a week. Food and lodging are not provided, but most expatriate houses have shower and toilet facilities for employees. Generally, servants speak basic French, although a few English-speaking Nigerians may be found. Wages are paid bimonthly. The employer must buy accident insurance and contribute to a social security-type fund; conditions of domestic employment are regulated by a labor code. All servants should be given a medical examination upon first employment and at regular intervals thereafter.


Jan.1 New Year's Day

Mar/Apr. Easter*

Mar/Apr. Easter Monday*

Apr. 13 National Day

May 1 Labor Day

May 25 Africa Day

Aug.11 Independence Day

Nov. 1 All Saints' Day

Nov. 28 Proclamation of the Republic

Dec. 25 Christmas Day

Id al-Adah*


Id al-Fitr*

Mawlid an Nabi*



The only air connection to Chad from the United States is via Paris on Air Afrique.

A valid passport and visa are required, as is evidence of a yellow fever vaccination. Visitors must check in with the National Police and obtain a registration stamp within 72 hours of arrival. Further entry information may be obtained from the Embassy of the Republic of Chad, 2002 R St. N.W., Washington D.C. 20009, telephone (202) 462-4009. Overseas, inquiries should be made at the nearest Chadian embassy or consulate.

U.S. citizens living in or visiting Chad are urged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Chad immediately upon arrival. The Embassy can provide updated information on travel and security in Chad, and strongly recommends that travelers contact the Embassy prior to travel outside N'Djamena. The U.S. Embassy is located in N'Djamena on Avenue Felix Ebque; mailing address is B.P. 413; telephone (235) 51-62-11, 51-70-09, 51-77-59,51-90-52, 51-92-18and 51-92-33, fax (235) 51-56-54.

Pets may be brought into Chad if accompanied by a veterinarian's health certificate and proof of anti-rabies vaccination dated at least one month before arrival. Quarantine is not imposed. Bring adequate supplies of such things as kitty litter, flea collars, treats, etc., for the animal's health and contentment.

Firearms can be legally imported after they have been registered and a permis de port d'armes has been issued. Hunting licenses may be obtained for small or big game hunting. The fees vary depending on the type and size of the animal.

A Catholic Mass is held every Sunday morning at the Cathedral. Saturday evening Mass is held there every two weeks. The Catholic Mission in the Kabalai neighborhood celebrates Mass Saturday evenings in the Mission House and Sunday mornings in the large church. In the Chagoua neighborhood, an outdoor service is celebrated on Sunday mornings. Services are in French, but a Mass in English is said once each month at the Sacred Heart School.

The Assemblee Chretienne and the Foyer Fraternal both offer Protestant services on Sunday mornings in French. The Mennonite Central Committee offers Bible study to the English-speaking one evening a week. Eglise Evangelique has services on Sunday in local dialects, depending on the week.

Members of the Baha'i community hold weekly prayer meetings in French in the Baha'i Center. Muslim services are held in the Grand Mosque and other local mosques. There are no Jewish religious facilities.

The time in Chad is Greenwich Mean Time plus one.

The official currency unit is the Communauté Financiére Africaine franc, called and written CFA franc. It is issued by the Banque des États de l'Afrique Centrale, and used interchangeably by the former French Equatorial African countries, as well as by Cameroon. Former French West African countries (except Guinea) use the franc CFA of a different issue, but of the same value.

Chad uses the metric system of weights and measures.


The following titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country:

Azevedo, Mario, ed. Cameroon & Chad in Historical & Contemporary Settings. African Studies, vol. 10. Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1989.

Chad. Let's Visit Places & Peoples of the World Series. New York: Chelsea House, 1989.

Collelo, Thomas, ed. Chad: A Country Study. 2nd ed. Area Handbook Series. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1990.

Decalo, Samuel. Historical Dictionary of Chad. 2nd ed. African Historical Dictionary Series, no. 13. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1987.

Kelley, Michael P. State in Disarray: Conditions of Chad's Survival. Special Studies on Africa. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1986.

Wright, John L. Libya, Chad & the Central Sahara. Savage, MD: Barnes & Noble Bks.-Imports, 1989.

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Republic of Chad
République du Tchad



The former French colony of Chad, a landlocked country located in northern Central Africa, is more than 3 times the size of California. The country has an area of 1,284,000 square kilometers (495,755 square miles), with a land boundary length of 5,968 kilometers (3,708 miles). Neighboring countries are Niger, Nigeria, and Cameroon to the west; Libya to the north; Sudan to the east; and the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) to the south. Lake Chad in the southwestern part of the country is the largest body of water in the Sahel region. Chad also has the Tibesti mountain range in the far north, some smaller mountains in central Chad, and a few hills near the southern and western borders. Most of the country is desert or savanna with limited rainfall, although there are moderately temperate areas in the south. Chad's capital, N'Djamena, is in the southwestern part of the country.


In July 2001, the population of Chad was estimated at 8,707,078, an annual growth rate estimated of 3.29 percent. The birth rate is estimated at 48.28 per 1,000 people and the death rate at 15.4 per 1,000 people. Most of the population, half of which is under the age of 15, lives in several southern provinces where high rainfall makes farming and animal husbandry easier. About 1 percent lives in the arid upper half of the country extending into the Sahara desert. Population density varies between 0.15 persons per square kilometer (0.39 per square mile) in the northern province and 61.7 persons per square kilometer (154 per square mile) in the Logone Occidental province.


Chad's economy is primarily agricultural. Most of the population engages in subsistence farming and animal husbandry, producing food mainly for their own consumption. Chad depends on 3 commoditiescotton, cattle, and gum arabic (a gum from different African trees, used as an emulsifier in pills and candies)for its export revenues. During the past 30 years, Chad's economy has been seriously damaged by chronic political instability. Its development has also been hindered by high energy and transport costs due in part to its geographic position. The beginning of a major oil project in southern Chad in 2000 offers an opportunity for Chad to diversify its economy and stimulate further growth.

The country's export commodities are subject to fluctuations in production and price levels. Cotton and cattle have been Chad's main exports before independence in 1960, but during the 1990s gum arabic emerged as a third major export commodity, making Chad the world's second biggest exporter after Sudan. Chad's economy has been vulnerable to swings in cotton prices, and when these fell during the 1980s, the economy suffered. Prices recovered during the 1990s, but production levels continue to vary according to the annual rainfall.

Armed conflicts and continuing tensions between ethnic, religious, and regional groups have severely damaged the economy. After independence in 1960, Chad was governed by the authoritarian leader, Francois Tombalbaye, until he was assassinated in 1975. Tombalbaye's death was followed by a decade of turbulence as several armed groups from different regions vied for control. The situation reached a climax in 1979 when a truce broke down between 2 principal armies stationed in N'Djamena, leading to further conflict and increased tensions between Muslim and Christian southerners. By the early 1980s, Hissein Habre, a ruthless northern dictator, managed to consolidate his power. He ruled until 1990, when he was ousted by Idriss Deby, a former deputy. These years of violence and political instability have damaged Chad's infrastructure and seriously impeded its economic development.

Economic progress has also been hindered by several other constraints. Chad is seriously handicapped by its landlocked position; exports and imports must pass through Cameroon where widespread corruption inflates transport costs. Energy prices in Chad are among the highest in the world, and variable rainfall causes frequent deficits in food production. Heavy taxes, corruption, and the lack of an independent judiciary have discouraged foreign investment. These issues continue to limit commercial opportunities in Chad.

Like other poor countries with limited resources, Chad must import many goods and is dependent on foreign aid. Although the country's overall burden of debt is low by the standards of developing nations, the government relies on foreign donors to finance most investment projects. The European Union (EU), notably France, provides the largest share of foreign aid aimed toward health, education, and transport. Multilateral lending agencies, the United Nations (UN), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank also supply assistance to encourage improvements in government management and social services. Chad has a small industrial sector that produces paint, fruit juices, roofing, and a few other products mainly for domestic consumption, and depends on foreign suppliers for fuel and consumer goods .

As in many other developing countries, Chad's economy includes a thriving informal sector . Many entrepreneurs conduct commercial activity without official structure or permits and do not use organized accounting. Informal commerce ranges from individual vendors peddling their wares on the streets of N'Djamena to major business entrepreneurs transporting thousands of tons of gum arabic. Many businesses neglect to register their companies to avoid the high taxes imposed on formal businesses. The informal sector is hard to measure, but many observers estimate that most of Chad's economic activity is conducted by informal businesses.

During the late 1990s, Chad collaborated with the World Bank and the IMF to implement structural adjustment programs aimed at liberalizing the economy and improving government management. These programs have had some success. By 2000, most of Chad's state enterprises had been privatized and opened up to competition. In the rural water supply sector the former state-owned monopoly was converted into a private company and the water supply business opened to other competitors. The government has also managed to limit spending and meet some of its budgetary targets.

Chad's economy will receive a huge boost from the Chad-Cameroon Development project. A consortium (businesses working together) led by Exxon will invest US$3.7 billion in building production facilities, a pipeline, and associated infrastructure to export over 1 billion barrels of crude oil reserves in southern Chad. The World Bank has played a role in providing financing for the governments of Chad and Cameroon to invest in this project. In return for this financing, the World Bank has obtained agreements from the 2 governments that they will closely monitor environmental conditions and revenue management, issues of serious concern in the region. When oil starts flowing in 2004, the project is expected to double Chad's government revenue. More importantly, this project may stimulate investment in food processing and other promising sectors as local businesses satisfy demands created by the project.


Chad's government continues to be dominated by a powerful president and his Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) party. After decades of civil war and regional clashes, Chad made some progress in increasing political freedoms and establishing democratic institutions during the 1990s. Nevertheless, elections have been marred by irregularities, and power remains concentrated in the president and his ruling Zaghawa clan. Chronic corruption and human rights abuses have contributed to a resurgence of armed conflict in the far north. These problems have seriously dampened Chad's economic climate and have forced the government to divert scarce resources into military expenditure.

To explain local politics, Chadian political observers have coined an often-quoted dictum: "A man's strength lies in his cooking pot." In such a poor country, vulnerable to famine, politicians ally themselves to the party that can best fill their "cooking pot." The ruling MPS has thus used its control over highly coveted civil service jobs to co-opt many rival parties and develop a nationwide membership. Some opposition parties support a more decentralized federal structure, but most parties rely on regional and ethnic loyalties and do not espouse ideology.

Chad is gradually trying to overcome a legacy of socialism inherited from France. Until recently, state companies enjoyed monopolies over major sectors, and lack of competition encouraged mismanagement and corruption in these companies. The government has privatized Chad's 2 largest banks, its rural water supply company, and its meat packing plant, as well as many other companies. State enterprises continue to control the cotton, electricity, and telecommunications companies, but these companies are due for privatization. The IMF and the World Bank have been helping the government to reduce its direct involvement in the economy.

High taxes and customs duties are another handicap to private business. Because there are so few formal businesses from which tax can be raised, the government must tax these firms heavily to acquire a modest amount of revenue. Corruption is also a major problem in tax collection and customs agencies. The government has, however, made efforts to reduce certain taxes and harmonize its tax and customs system with those of other countries in the Central African Economic Community (CEMAC).

Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Chad 0 242 1 0.0 0 0.0 N/A 0.00 1
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Nigeria 24 223 66 N/A 0 N/A 5.7 0.00 100
Central African Republic 2 83 5 N/A 0 0.1 N/A 0.00 1
a Data are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999and are per 1,000 people.
b Data are from the Internet Software Consortium ( and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE : World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.


Chad's infrastructure is exceptionally poor even by standards in other developing countries. Decades of civil war have taken their toll, and improvements have proceeded slowly. The road system is unpaved and vulnerable to erosion. Mismanagement of government-run power and communications monopolies slowed the development of infrastructure in these essential sectors. Chad's people have limited access to power, electricity, telecommunications, water, and other modern services fundamental in developed societies. Nevertheless, some improvements are expected as the government liberalizes energy and telecommunications sectors and gradually improves the transport infrastructure.

Transport costs are high, and most of Chad's roads are unpaved dirt or laterite (red soil found in humid tropical and subtropical areas) that can become impassable during the rainy season and make some regions inaccessible. According to the U.S. State Department's 2001 Country Commercial Guide for Chad, less than 10 percent of 6,200 kilometers (3,853 miles) of roads in Chad were paved in 2000. Road conditions can vary widely according to the seasons.

Electricity and water services are confined to the capital, N'Djamena, and a few regional capitals. Even in these limited areas, electricity is extremely expensive and services are often cut off. Urban electricity and water supplies have long been provided by a state company, Société Tchadien d'Eau et d'Electricité (STEE), that has suffered from chronic corruption and mismanagement. As this company is privatized, there is hope that utility services will improve and prices will be lowered. In rural areas, most people rely on traditional wells with little or no protection against surface water contamination. Because of the absence of latrines and other human waste disposal systems in rural areas, there is a high incidence of water-borne diseases.

Chad ranks with those countries in the world that have the lowest density of telephones, televisions, and Internet users. According to the World Development Indicators for 2000, Chad has 1 television set per 1,000 people. Advertisements from the telephone company, Soteltchad, at the end of 2000 estimated that Chad had 10,260 telephones and 1,020 Internet subscribers. The country has 1 television station that is run by the state and a governmentally-run radio station which broadcasts from several regional capitals. Both the television and radio stations provide information from the government's perspective. Although there are several newspapers circulating in the city of N'Djamena that offer differing political views, the news does not reach Chad's mostly rural and illiterate population.


Agriculture is the backbone of Chad's economy. In 1998, the World Factbook estimated that agriculture, fishing, and herding accounted for nearly 40 percent of the GDP and occupied 80 percent of the workforce. Agriculture continues to dominate Chad's economy, accounting for 44 percent of the GDP, but this figure alone does not convey the importance of agriculture and animal husbandry to the society. An estimated 85 percent of Chad's population relies primarily on these activities for its livelihood. In the agricultural sector, cotton accounts for half of Chad's export earnings and cattle provide most of the remainder. In addition, Chadians produce several crops and animals for their own consumption.

Chad has developed a small industrial sector that produces electricity, beverages, soap, oil, paint, and construction materials. Most of these goods are consumed domestically, while further industrial ventures have been impeded by high production costs and Chad's limited market. Industry accounted for 14 percent of GDP in 1998, according to the World Factbook. The petroleum sector is expected to grow dramatically in coming years as proven oil reserves of over 1 billion barrels are exploited in southern Chad.

The service sector is limited in size and in different services, although it accounted for 46 percent of GDP in 1998. According to the U.S. State Department's Country Commercial Guide, the banking sector had an estimated US$100 million in total deposits in 2000. The cost of credit is high, reflecting the risk to bankers. Medical services are rudimentary, limited by scarcities of human and material resources.


Agriculture and animal husbandry employs 85 percent of the country's workforce but only contributes 44 percent to the GDP. While cotton, cattle, and gum arabic provide most of Chad's export revenue, farmers also produce several subsistence crops for domestic consumption.

Farming methods are traditionally simple, and irrigation and mechanical equipment are rarely used. Farmers work their fields by hand or use cattle to till the soil. Competition for land between farmers and cattle-herders has caused conflicts in rural areas.

Cotton employs an estimated 2.5 million Chadians and provides half of Chad's export revenue. Over the past decade, production of raw cotton has varied between 94,000 tons and 260,000 tons. Production levels depend primarily on variations in annual rainfall, and the cotton sector has been affected by fluctuations in world prices. During the 1980s, low cotton prices caused the state cotton company, Cotontchad, to lose money for several years until it modernized its ginning factories and prices recovered. In addition to ginned cotton, Cotontchad produces oil and soap from cottonseed.

Chad's second leading export is cattle, most of which travel overland to Nigeria. Cattle-herders lead a semi-nomadic lifestyle, migrating north during the rainy season and traveling south in search of green pastures during the dry season. These migrations often bring them into conflict with farmers when cattle damage crops. Cattle-herders travel in small groups but are well armed to defend against hostile farmers. Camels, donkeys, goats, and sheep are also farmed, primarily for domestic use or consumption. These animals also represent savings and a measure of wealth in rural areas where money is scarce.

The country's main subsistence crops include grains, oilseeds, tubers, and several leafy vegetables (legumes). Millet and sorghum are the major staples of the local diet. These grains are also widely used to produce bili-bili and arghi, 2 popular alcoholic beverages. Chad produces between 600,000 and 1,100,000 tons of grain per year, most of which is consumed locally. Peanuts, groundnuts, and sesame are Chad's principal oil seeds and are also primarily for local consumption. Farmers grow several tubers, including manioc and sweet potatoes.

In the 1990s, gum arabic production soared, and Chad solidified its position as the world's second largest producer of this commodity. Chadian gum arabic production rose from fewer than 6,000 tons in the early 1990s to approximately 18,000 tons in 2000. Gum arabic is exported to Europe, the United States, and other industrialized nations, where it is used in soft drinks, pharmaceuticals, and many other products. Chadian gum is tapped by small-scale harvesters from wild acacia trees throughout the semi-arid Sahel region.


Chad has a small industrial base that mainly supplies its domestic market and contributed 14 percent of GDP in 1998. Industries manufacture construction materials, beverages, and a few other products for the local market. A textile mill produced fabric for several decades but was unable to compete with foreign imports. A consortium of oil companies is investing in a major oil project in southern Chad, which is expected to provide a boost to the economy. The high costs of energy and transport have impeded new industrial ventures, yet if these constraints can be eased and improved access found to Nigeria's market, the potential exists to process more raw commodities.


Based in Moundou, Chad's most important industrial company, Cotontchad, gins cotton and manufactures soap and oil from cottonseed. Cotontchad also has ginning operations in several large southern towns. In addition to Cotontchad, Moundou has a cigarette company and a firm that assembles agricultural equipment. In N'Djamena, several companies produce paint, metal roofing, fruit drinks, mineral water and cookies. Chad's third largest city, Sahr, hosts a sugar production factory and an idle textile mill.


Chad's petroleum industry will be extremely important in the short-term future. There are plans to exploit 2 known petroleum deposits: a small reserve of high-grade oil north of Lake Chad and a much larger deposit of heavy crude oil in the Doba Basin of southern Chad. A consortium led by Exxon will employ up to 4000 workers and invest US$3.7 billion to exploit over 1 billion barrels in the Doba basin. Further exploration is planned to determine whether more reserves can be exploited.


A South Korean company, AFKO, recently began building a factory to extract gold reserves near the southern town of Pala. Chad is known to hold deposits of bauxite, iron ore, uranium, tin, and tungsten, but further research is necessary to determine whether these resources can be extracted.


Chad's service sector is limited, although it contributes an estimated 49 percent of the GDP, up from 46 percent in 1998. Privatization and improved management practices have strengthened financial services, but they remain limited in size and in the services they offer. Retail sales are conducted primarily in the informal sector. Chad holds some potential for tourism, but instability and lack of infrastructure have prevented the development of this sector. Some firms in the capital, N'Djamena, have seen a proliferation of computer service firms, offer insurance, accounting, and computer services. Several international firms offer accounting services, tax advice, and business consultancy services, but the market for these services remains limited as long as most Chadian entrepreneurs remain in the informal sector.


Chad's banking sector is small by international standards. With US$100 million in deposits and limited capital investment, Chadian banks have little money to lend. Much of their capital finances the cotton-buying season for Cotontchad. For other businesses, credit is expensive and difficult to obtain. Short-term credit can cost 18 to 26 percent and long-term credit is rarely available.


The retail business is conducted primarily in the informal sector. Thousands of vendors wander in Chad's urban streets searching for buyers for their wares. In addition, thousands of small stores and roadside stands sell limited varieties of household goods. In rural and urban areas, many vendors gather in a network of small markets where perishable goods are sold.


Transport of goods is managed by many informal sector operators. Small vehicles and large semis carry passengers and merchandise between N'Djamena and different regional centers. Most vehicles are old and break down often.


Chad's principal trading partners are the EU countries and neighboring CEMAC countries. France has been Chad's largest trading partner, accounting for 41 percent of imports. Nigeria and Cameroon are probably Chad's next biggest trading partners, although much of this trade goes unrecorded by customs officials. The 2 countries export many consumer products to Chad. Cotton exports usually go to Portugal and other EU countries, while most beef exports go to Nigeria. Gum arabic has traditionally been exported to France and other EU countries, but increasing volumes now go to the United States.

For decades, Chad has run large trade deficits , importing far more than it exports. In 1999, exports were estimated at US$288 million against imports of US$359

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Chad
Exports Imports
1975 .048 .133
1980 .071 .074
1985 .062 .166
1990 .188 .286
1995 .277 .250
1998 N/A N/A
SOURCE : International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.
Exchange rates: Chad
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (CFA Fr) per US$1
Jan 2001 699.21
2000 711.98
1999 615.70
1998 589.95
1997 583.67
1996 511.55
Note: From January 1, 1999, the CFA Fr is pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 CFA Fr per euro.
SOURCE : CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

million. By 2000, the World Factbook estimated that exports had reached US$172 million and imports, US$223 million. When money flows out of Chad to purchase these exports, foreign donors compensate for this flow by sending money back into Chad for investment in development programs. In 1997, Taiwan promised US$125 million and the African Development Bank, US$30 million.


As a member of the Central African Franc Zone, Chad underwent a 50 percent devaluation of its currency in early 1994. Unlike other CFAF countries, however, Chad benefited little from this devaluation, which raised inflation for two years but failed to stimulate export volumes. Chad has otherwise benefited from a stable currency.

In Chad's domestic markets, inflation and deflation are seasonal occurrences. Food prices fall during the harvest season and usually rise by at least 100 percent during the rainy season. Chad's markets are volatile, and prices vary from day to day and week to week. At the end of each month when civil servants are paid, prices for prized consumable goods such as fish and chicken rise for a short while as suppliers take advantage of a brief rise in demand.


In the United Nations Development Program 's World Development reports, Chad's Human Development Indicator has increased from 0.29 in 1990 to 0.393 in 1999, placing it among the 10 poorest countries in the world. In the benchmarks used to measure poverty (literacy rates, access to health care, access to clean water, etc.) Chad has ranked among the poorest countries in Africa.

Chad's population can be divided into rural and urban classes. In rural areas, farmers and animal herders construct their own housing and produce most of their own food but earn little monetary income. In urban areas,

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Chad 252 176 235 228 230
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Nigeria 301 314 230 258 256
Central African Republic 454 417 410 363 341
SOURCE : United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

small business people practice an array of trades. The civil service constitutes Chad's upper class, though its employees are poorly paid by international standards. A small class of diplomats, international aid workers, high-ranking government officials, and a few private sector managers occupy topmost wage scale.

Urban and rural classes are closely linked by Chad's extended family traditions. Poor rural farmers will often send children to live with comparatively wealthy urban relatives to study in urban schools. And wealthy urbanites often send money in return for foodstuffs as a means of helping out less fortunate rural relatives. Given the lack of social security programs, the poor, the elderly, and the handicapped usually depend on members of their extended family for support.


Working conditions, too, differ between rural and urban areas. Farmers rely on family members, including small children, to help labor in the fields and harvest the crops. Animal herders have a different lifestyle, migrating seasonally between northern and southern pastures. Monetary wages are low for unskilled workers, averaging less than a dollar per day. More educated workers can earn substantially more, but the scarcity of jobs tends to drive down wage rates. Chad's labor code is adapted from French laws that are protective of workers, but workers in the informal sector are not covered by these rules. Several unions have been formed to represent different workers, but their influence is limited.


1891. France begins colonizing Chad.

1900. Decisive battle between France's Major Lamy and Chad's Rabah marks the French victory over the Chadian leader. Both Lamy and Rabah die during the battle.

1960. Chad gains its independence from France. Francois Tombalbaye becomes Chad's first president.

1975. Tombalbaye is assassinated.

1979. Civil war erupts in N'Djamena.

1982. Hissein Habre consolidates power in N'Djamena.

1990. Idriss Deby takes power by military force.

1996. Constitution is voted on by referendum. Presidential elections are held.

2000. The Chad-Cameroon oil production and pipeline project begins.


Provided Chad's civil unrest is resolved, Chad's economy could improve. The boost expected by the oil production project in the southern Doba Basin region will help in the service sector as well, creating transportation jobs in particular. The construction phase began in October 2000 and is due to finish by 2004. Once production begins, this Exxon-led project will double current government revenue. The increased revenue will allow Chad to invest in social programs and reduce its dependency on foreign donors. Chad should experience improvement in other parts of the economy as well, especially in the cotton industry, which is scheduled to be privatized over the next several years. Despite the improved economic prospects for Chad, political stability remains the most important factor for economic progress in the country.


Chad has no territories or colonies.


Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Report: Cameroon, Central African Republic and Chad, 2nd Quarter, 1999. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 1999.

"Chad at a Glance." World Bank Group. <>. Accessed January 2000.

"Chad Country Brief." World Bank Group. <>. Accessed January 2000.

"Chad Data Profile." World Bank Group. <>. Accessed January 2000.

Embassy of Chad in the United States. <>. Accessed October 2001.

International Monetary Fund. <>. Accessed January 2000. "Tchad." Marché Tropicaux Special Edition. May 28, 1999.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2001. <>. Accessed October 2001.

U.S. Department of State. FY 2001 Country Commercial Guide: Chad. <>. Accessed December 2000.

Alexander Gazis




Central African franc (CFA Fr). 100 CFA Fr equals 1 French franc. There are coins of 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 500 CFA Fr. In the local marketplace, money is expressed in terms of "riyal," a unit equal to 5 CFA Fr. Thus 500 CFA Fr equals 100 riyal.


Cotton, cattle, textiles, gum arabic.


Machinery and transportation equipment, industrial goods, petroleum products, foodstuffs, textiles.


US$8.1 billion (purchasing power parity, 2000 est.).


Exports: US$172 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.). Imports: US$223 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.).

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Basic Data
Official Country Name: Republic of Chad
Region: Africa
Population: 8,424,504
Language(s): French, Arabic, Sara, Sango
Literacy Rate: 48.1%
Number of Primary Schools: 2,660
Compulsory Schooling: 6 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 1.7%
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 591,493
  Secondary: 99,789
  Higher: 3,446
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 57%
  Secondary: 9%
  Higher: 1%
Teachers: Primary: 9,395
  Secondary: 2,792
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 67:1
  Secondary: 37:1
Female Enrollment Rate: Primary: 39%
  Secondary: 4%
  Higher: 0.2%

History & Background

The Republic of Chad is a land-locked country located in central Africa. It is bordered by Libya on the North; Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon on the West; the Central African Republic on the South; and the Sudan on the East. Chad has an area of 495,624 square miles and a population of more than 8 million (2000 estimate). Both French and Chadian Arabic are the official languages. Chad is made up of more than 200 different tribes and more than 12 major ethnic groups, with the Saras (28 percent) and the Sudanic Arabs (12 percent) representing the two largest ones. The country is 50 percent Muslim, 25 percent Christian, and 25 percent Animist. For political and educational purposes, Chad is really two different countries melded into one. Linguistic, geographic, religious, and economic criteria sharply differentiate the two halves. Northern Chad is a barren land with desert-like features; it is inhabited by nomadic tribes who are, for the most part, Muslim. Southern Chad, on the other hand, is a fertile, rain-drenched valley where Christian farmers live a sedentary life.

Chad became a French protectorate in 1900, a colony in 1920, and one of the four constituent territories of French Equatorial Africa in 1946. It gained full independence in 1960 when it became an autonomous republic within the French Community of Nations. Civil war soon erupted between the Muslim north and the largely Christian-animist south. For almost 20 years, Libyan-backed troops vied for power with indigenous political factions supported by France and the United States. The 1990s ushered in some measure of political stability when self-proclaimed president Idriss Déby assumed power and the International Court of Justice finally recognized the longstanding Chadian claim to the Aozou territory, a mineral-rich strip of land occupied by Libyan soldiers. However, peace was slow in coming, as opposing factions continued to wage civil war throughout Chad, and human rights organizations accused the Chadian army of committing atrocities in the south. Déby was elected president in 1996, and parliamentary elections were held in 1997. Civil unrest continued sporadically as opposition groups pledged to overthrow Déby's government by force. A new pipeline was being built by a French-American and Dutch consortium to tap newly discovered oil reserves and bring, by 2001, much-needed revenues to this war-torn and impoverished nation. In 1998, European Union finance ministers agreed to allow France to continue to guarantee the CFA Franc (the Communauté Financière Africaine franc)the currency used in Chad and in 14 other African nations.

Constitutional & Legal Foundations

A new constitution, adopted by referendum on March 31, 1997, guarantees a free and compulsory education for all Chadian citizens between the ages of 6 through 14. Civil war, however, has long prevented the full implementation of that goal, and school enrollments at all levels remain low.

Educational SystemOverview

The educational system has been essentially held back, and in parts, destroyed, by the incessant civil war that annihilated the country's civil service infrastructure between 1960 and 1985. The challenges facing the rebuilding and the reform of the educational system are all the more daunting because Chad is one of the poorest nations in Central Africa, with almost no paved roads or modern railroads. Burdened with unrest, terrorism, and a chronic lack of necessary funds, since nearly all resources were summarily allocated for the war effort, Chad has had to struggle since the mid-1980s to salvage its educational system. The available services in existence in 1960 did not constitute a solid basis upon which a new structure could be elaborated. After its independence, Chad lagged behind other francophone nations in central Africa. While Chad was one of its colonies, the French had decided not to build secondary schools and only instituted a rudimentary structure that relied heavily on Catholic and Protestant missionary efforts. After 1960, Chad attempted to build a credible educational system, only to see those efforts undermined by civil war, overcrowding, and a lack of qualified teachers and proper funding. Despite such unfavorable circumstances, several attempts at reform were made; one attempt was operation "Mandoul," launched in 1962, which tried to reform primary and secondary curriculum by making it more practical. Farming and basic skills were integrated in the programs of a few experimental schools between 1962 and 1968. The experiment was limited in scope and, ultimately, proved to be a failure. The other reform attempt was in 1973. An effort was made to change the old colonial pedagogical structure left behind by the French. A new, gradually selective system would enable students to enter professional occupations if they proved to be unable to continue along the more academically oriented track of primary and secondary schools. Again, however, these efforts did not result in any lasting or concrete changes.

By 1980, an ever-spreading civil war had stopped most reform attempts and effectively closed down the majority of Chadian schools. When they reopened in 1982, they faced the arduous task of trying to rebuild, once again, on the ruins of inadequate programs and assets. It took 10 years to erect buildings and train a minimum number of teachers. By 1990, Chad was consolidating its primary and secondary school systems, while still facing a shortage of funds and qualified personnel.

Preprimary & Primary Education

Preschool is not yet a widely accepted concept in Chad, as most children tend to remain at home with their mothers until they enter kindergarten. Preschools exist only in large cities. They offer a basic curriculum centering on socialization skills, and their enrollment is limited.

Primary schools offer a six-year curriculum. Children enter at the age of six in larger cities, and around age seven in rural areas. In 2000, there were 913,541 children enrolled in 3,644 primary schools, taught by 11,641 teachers. Chad has a three-tier primary school system, which includes public, private, and community-centered schools. (The latter have been developed mostly in rural areas.) In 2000, there were 2,077 elementary public schools employing 8,318 teachers; 1,302 communitycentered schools with 1,827 teachers; and 265 private schools with 1,496 teachers. The public and communitycentered schools have a 1:68 teacher-student ratio.

Teachers are divided into several categories: instituteurs and bacheliers contractuels (full-time teachers), moniteurs (teaching assistants), and suppléants (substitutes and adjuncts). Despite vigorous efforts aimed at training new faculty, it is estimated that 30 percent of primary school teachers hold no professional qualifications. The teacher-student ratio is 1:65 in rural areas and can be as high as 1:100 in large agglomerations such as Moundou, Sarh, Bongor, Abéché, Dobra, and N'Djamena, the capital. The Chadian government has launched efforts to promote the teaching of the standard curriculum in many of the local tribal languages. However, many parents, working through the influential parents' associations, tend to resist this, as they insist that their children be taught in French, especially in southern Chad. At the end of the six-year curriculum, a national exam, the CEP, or Certificat d'Etudes Primaires (primary skills certification), is administered to all children. Those who successfully pass are admitted to secondary schools, while the others are directed to vocational and technical schools. They can enter a six-year program leading to the CAP, or Certificat d'Aptitude Professionelle (professional skills certification), in a variety of manual and technical fields. In 2000, the passing rate for the CEP was 59.84 percent. Those who were held back one more year accounted for 27.69 percent, while 12.47 percent abandoned their schooling at that point.

Secondary Education

Designed largely after the French system, secondary education in Chad lasts seven years, and its curriculum is divided into two parts. The first one is a four-year curriculum leading to a national exam called the Brevet
d'Etudes du Premier Cycle,
(Junior High School Diploma) or BEPC. Only the students who pass this exam are allowed to continue to the next level. The second part lasts three years, during which students can choose among four different sections that already define their future professional orientations: humanities, economics, math, or natural sciences. These three years are usually spent in a lycée (an academic-track high school), and they end with another national exam, the selective Baccalauréat, which is a prerequisite for admission to the university. At the secondary level, students are offered instruction in either French or Arabic, the emphasis depending on the geographical location of the school. The state-run Lycée National d'Abéché, in the Ouaddai prefecture, offers a completely bilingual program. Its graduates are often employed by state and governmental agencies. In 2000, there were 112,904 students in secondary education, taught by 3,238 teachers in 533 public schools and 809 private institutions. There were 83,980 students in the first part of the curriculum, and 26,565 in the second cycle (post BEPC).

Vocational Education: Chad has a two-tier system of vocational and technical education. Students who have completed the first year of the first cycle of the secondary school system (one year after the CEP), can enter a three-year curriculum in a collège technique leading to a Certificat d'Aptitude Professionelle. Those who have successfully passed the BEPC can enroll in a three-year program taught in a lycée technique, leading to the degree of Baccalauréat de Technicien. In 2000, there were 1,268 students enrolled in technical and vocational schools.

Higher Education

The only university in Chad is the Université de N'Djaména, located in the capital and founded in 1971 under the name of "Université du Tchad." Its academic year runs from October to June, and the two languages of instruction are French and Arabic. The university is divided into four schools: the Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines (School of Humanities and Social Sciences); the Faculté des Sciences Exactes et Appliquées (School of Exact and Applied Sciences); the Faculté de Droit et Sciences Economiques (School of Law and Economics); and the Faculté de Médecine (Medical School). The School of Medicine is the most recent addition to the Université de N'Djaména. It opened in 1990 and had a six-year curriculum (as with the French medical model, medical studies in Chad include both premed and medical education in one continuing program) and graduated its charter class in 1997. In 2000, the medical school had a total enrollment of 251 students. In 2001, the Université de N'Djaména had 5,230 students and a faculty of 122, including only 5 women. The university offers a three-year curriculum. After the successful completion of the first two years, students are awarded the DEUG Diplôme Universitaire d'Etudes Générales (General Education University Certificate), and after one additional year the Licence (B.A., or B.S.). Since 1998, the Université de N'Djaména offers programs leading to the Master's degree in jurisprudence, economics, biology, history, geography, and Arabic literature. The language of instruction in graduate and medical education is French, with a minority of programs offering dual instruction in Arabic (literature and history).

In the 1960s, the French government offered a large number of graduate scholarships to Chadian students, but this trend tapered off by the early 1980s. In the late 1970s, the Soviet government also began to offer scholarships for graduate education, but these almost disappeared after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Today, the majority of Chadian students continue their graduate education on the African continent, receiving scholarships from francophone countries such as Morocco and Tunisia, or Arab countries such as Egypt and Iraq. To Chadian students of the new millennium, the United States and Canada represent a popular and much-sought after destination, though a fair amount of students grow disillusioned at the materialism and racial tensions they encounter on the North American continent.

There are also other schools and institutes within the Chadian system of higher education:

  • The Ecole Normale Supérieure (The National Normal School). Located in N'Djamena, it trains secondary school teachers.
  • The Ecoles Normales (Normal Schools). These are located in N'Djamena, Moundou, Sahr, Abéché, and Bangor to train primary school teachers.
  • The Ecole Nationale d'Administration et de Magistrature (The National Training Institute for Civil Servants) (ENAM). It is located in N'Djamena and was founded in 1965.
  • The Ecole Nationale des Télécommunications. Located in Sahr, it trains telecommunication technicians.
  • The Institut de Recherches du Coton et des Textiles Exotiques (IRCT). A research institute located in N'Djamena, it was founded in 1939.
  • The Laboratoire de Recherches Vétérinaires et Zootechniques de Farcha (Veterinary and Zoological Research Institute). Founded in 1952, it researches and produces vaccines.
  • The Institut National des Sciences Humaines. Founded in 1961 in D'Djamena, it conducts research in paleontology, ethno-sociology, and oral traditions.

Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

The Ministry for primary, secondary, and adult education in N'Djamena, the Ministère de l'Enseignement de Base, oversees all education in Chad, except higher education and scientific research. For primary, secondary, and vocational education, the country is divided into 14 préfectures (regional administrative areas.) Each area is granted a certain amount of administrative independence and is responsible for school inspections. Parents' associations and various community and civic organizations also participate in this process. Curriculum and methodology are the responsibility of the Institut Supérieur des Sciences de l'Education (ISSED). The Université de N'Djaména is controlled by a rector, a vice-rector, and four deans.

Since 1992, the government has redistributed the financial burden of a free primary and secondary education among different constituencies. The government of Chad supplies 35 percent of the educational budget, foreign aid accounts for 60 percent, and 5 percent comes from parents' associations. By 1992, the government allocation of money for education represented 14 percent of the national budget; it rose to 17 percent in 1997, and 18 percent in 2001.


The history of the educational system of Chad has been negatively impacted by the civil wars that have divided and impoverished the country for 20 years, following its independence from France. Since 1996, some degree of political and social stability has taken hold, and it has had a positive influence on education. There have been improvements, and the literacy rate has increased from 15 percent in 1960, to 20 percent in 1985, to 48 percent in 1996. The Université de N'Djaména has experienced continuous growth, with a budget for fiscal 2000 of 970 million CFA Francs. The educational budget should represent at least 20 percent of the national expenditures to fund education adequately at all levels.

In 2001 the percentage of children in full-time education was improving for boys (84.56 percent), but still remained very low for Chadian girls (50.02 percent). The economy of Chad has an immediate impact on its educational system and, in 1995, an inflation rate of 41 percent and a 50 percent devaluation of the currency had devastating effects on existing and developing programs. Civil unrest continued in Northern Chad and the U.S. Peace Corps decided to withdraw in 1998 since it could no longer guarantee the safety of its volunteers. Once political stability has been restored, the resources, which for so long have been appropriated by the military, can be reallocated to education. The training of a greater number of qualified teachers and adequate funding for school equipment remain a challenging task for Chadian education.

The World Bank is currently funding a new project for primary education: the addition of 1,000 qualified teachers each year until 2015. The successful implementation of this plan would enable Chad to build a pedagogical foundation on which its educational future could be firmly established.


Ali, Mahamat Seïd, ed. Données Statistiques sur l'Education. N'Djaména: Services de Planification et de Statistiques Unifiés, 2000.

Annuaire Statistique de L'Enseignement Elémentaire. N'Djaména: Direction de la Planification, des Examens et Concours, Division des Statistiques, 1992.

Doréba, Téguidé Sig., Dijimtola Nelli, and Adoum Khamis. Une Education Nationale pour l'An 2000! L'Indispensable Sursaut. N'Djaména: CEFOD, 1995.

Esquieu, Paul, and Serge Peano. L'Enseignement Privé et Spontané dans le Système Educatif Tchadien. Paris: Institut International de Planification de l'Education (UNESCO), 1994.

Mbaïosso, Adoum. L'Education au Tchad: Bilan, Problèmes et Perspectives. Paris: Karthala, 1990.

Nomaye, Madana. L'Education de Base au Tchad: Situation, Enjeux et Perspectives. Paris: Harmattan, 1998.

Rapport National sur le Développement de L'Education. N'Djaména: Ministère de l'Education Nationale (Commission Nationale Tchadienne pour l'UNESCO), 1996.

Eric H. du Plessis

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Basic Data

Official Country Name: Republic of Chad
Region (Map name): Africa
Population: 8,424,504
Language(s): French, Arabic, Sara, Sango
Literacy rate: 48.1%

Background & General Characteristics

Chad is a large, politically unstable, militarized, multiparty democracy located in central Africa, south of Libya, west of the Sudan, north of the Central African Republic and Cameroon, and east of Nigeria and Niger. Its capital is N'Djamena. Chad's 8.5 million people live in one of the poorest countries in the world, despite the fact that many lucrative natural resources, including oil, gold, and uranium, are to be found which could be developed to yield significantly greater prosperity and social benefits for Chad's population. Thirty years of civil war and internal conflict have impoverished the people of Chad and made even rudimentary economic and social development extremely difficult.

Only in the early twenty-first century was a 650-mile oil pipeline project started in Chad and neighboring Cameroon in order to bring oil up from the expectedly numerous deposits lying below the surface of these two countries. The Exxon-Shell pipeline project, officially known as the Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline, will take 25 to 30 years to complete and involves drilling nearly 600 oil wells. The pipeline project is likely to bring an influx of multinationals and to increase the potential for government corruption and scandals as the oil industry is developed. It also has been remarked that the increasing oil wealth should be closely watched so as to avoid government corruption, particularly since radical Islam is on the rise in Chad and could easily become a stronger political force given oil profits or corrupt officials misusing oil monies.

The World Bank in mid-2002 was deliberating adding its financial support to the oil pipeline project and was scheduled to take a vote on this in October 2002. Much concern has been expressed by environmentalists and human rights activists that the project not follow the same path as oil development in Nigeria, which has devastated the originally pristine natural environment and destroyed the health and welfare of thousands, if not millions, of indigenous peoples living in the oil industry's way. On the positive side, the World Bank appointed an International Advisory Group (IAG) to examine the implications of the Cameroon-Chad pipeline project for the region's poor and to monitor government use of oil revenues. The IAG apparently was welcomed by at least some of Chad's journalists, who believed an independent monitoring body would better protect the country from government corruption.

The main languages used in Chad are Arabic in the north and French in the south. In terms of religious affiliation and ethnicity, the northerners are mainly light-skinned Arab Muslims and the southerners dark-skinned Christians, similar to the situation in neighboring Sudan. Decades of political violence linked to religious and ethnic differences and exploited by those hungry to take or remain in power, combined with severe drought conditions, have prevented Chad, primarily a desert nation, from developing a workable infrastructure, social services, and political stability. In consequence, the expected lifespan in Chad is quite short: 45 years for men and 50 years for women.

As of 2002 the president of Chad was Idriss Déby, who took power initially in 1990, promising "no journalist will be prosecuted and from now on newspapers are free." However, as Reporters without Borders pointed out in their annual report for 2002, this desirable state of affairs had not yet materialized, nearly a dozen years later. Idriss' initial rise to the presidency was backed by Libya. After eight years of enduring a difficult political situation in which the north of the country was governed by one ruler and government and the south of Chad by another regime, Chad held its first multiparty elections. Though falling considerably short of international standards for free and fair electoral practices, the 1996 election confirmed Idriss as president, as he received about two-thirds of the vote on the first ballot. Violent unrest erupted throughout the country following the contested election for several weeks, several state electoral commission members resigned from their posts to protest the apparently fraudulent election, and the opposition candidates who ran against Déby threatened lawsuits due to the high levels of fraud that marked the election.

Since the 1996 election, continued armed rebellions have plagued the country, especially in the north. Riots in southern Chad in October 1997 left 80 unarmed civilians dead, massacred by government security forces from primarily the president's own ethnic group. In March 1998, apparently 100 additional unarmed civilians were killed.

The most popular, prevalent form of media is radio, owing to the high levels of illiteracy and poverty in the country. The government, opposition parties, and other private parties such as the Catholic Church and nongovernmental human rights groups all publish newspapers.

The government directly controls two newspapers, Info Tchad and Victoire and shapes the weekly paper, Le Progres. Numerous private newspapers publish in the capital, including N'Djamena Hebdo, an independent weekly, L'Observateur, an independent bi-monthly, and two other key independent papers, Le Temps and Le Contact.

Very little freedom of expression or of the press exists in Chad. As Amnesty International's 2002 annual report put it, "Freedom of expression continued to be threatened and human rights defenders worked in a climate of intimidation and danger." Criticizing the president or other government officials, reporting on the northern rebellion, or casting government officials in an unfavorable light are sufficient causes for landing journalists and parliamentariansand occasionally even private citizensin jail. For example, one Member of Parliament, Yorongar Ngarleyji, was imprisoned for several months after criticizing the oil pipeline project.

Economic Framework

Chad has only recently begun to develop its oil resources. Its main exports are much less technologically complex: cotton, livestock, and textiles. Annual per capita income is quite lowonly about US$200. The population in the north of Chad consists primarily of nomadic pastoralists, herding livestock to make their living. The southerners, on the other hand, depend more heavily on settled agriculture and urban trade, since Chad's major cities, including the capital, are located in the southern half of the country.

The private press suffers to some extent from the imposition of high government licensing fees. Nonetheless, a number of private newspapers are published, and many do not hesitate to openly criticize government officials, policies, and practices.

In 1994 a fund was legally established to assist the privately owned presses. However, none has ever been granting funding from this purse. Government-run media also are subject to financial problems, since funding is less than plentiful to replace outmoded, broken equipment. Consequently, broadcasting via the Radiodiffusion nationale tchadienne (RNT), the government-owned radio station, can only be effectively accomplished in major urban areas.

Press Laws

The 1996 multiparty Constitution officially guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press. However, in practice the government severely restricts press freedom and to a somewhat lesser degree, freedom of speech.

The government communication regulatory authority, the High Council of Communications (HCC), ruled in April 2001 that political debates during the election campaign would be banned from broadcasts on private radio stations, that no one would be permitted to comment on news bulletins, and that radio stations found to be in non-compliance with the stipulations would be banned from all broadcasting for the period of the entire election campaign. Overall, the HCC is designed to operate as an intermediary to encourage free access to the media, but it has no real enforcement power.


As observed above, considerable censorship exists in Chadboth self-censorship practiced by editors, journalists, and broadcasters, and active censorship by the government, anxious to preserve its position and to not risk losing control again of the country in a coup or riot situation.

In 2001 Michael Didama, the acting editor of the privately owned newspaper, Le Temps, appeared to be hit especially hard by government censorship and repression of the media. Apparently having alleged in 2000 the involvement of the president's own nephew and other relatives of the president in various coup attempts, Didama was arrested and given a six-month suspended sentence early in 2001 for having allegedly committed the crime of defamation. Harrassment of employees at Le Temps also reportedly occurred, with members of the government armed forces entering the newspaper offices after an article appeared that reported the number of deaths suffered in the north of Chad in the ongoing armed rebellion.

Other journalists and members of the media likewise suffered from government mistreatment, abuse, jail sentences, and fines in 2001, particularly around the elections. Even the state-owned media were not immune from attacks by the government, which exercised censorship both officially and unofficially. The official media also tended to report much more about the government, especially in a favorable light, than about the political opposition.

State-Press Relations

Particularly during the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2001, relations between the government and the press were strained. When FM Liberté, a privately owned radio station, objected to the government ruling on press limitations during the 2001 election campaign, the station was threatened in May 2001 with closure by the HCC if it continued to broadcast programs on the campaign. A compromise agreement ultimately was reached, with the station permitted to cover the campaign except for its program entitled, "Le club de la presse."

Attitude toward Foreign Media

During the election campaign in 2001, two election observers from the Ivory Coast and Roger-François Hubert, a reporter working for an Ivoiran daily, Le Belier, were expelled from Chad after government officials accused them of not having proper legal clearance.

News Agencies

The government operates one news agency in the country.

Broadcast Media

Only one television broadcasting service exists in Chad, government-owned Teletschad. Regarding radio, the government-owned Radiodiffusion Nationale Tchadienne, based in the capital, broadcasts nationally. As already noted, FM Liberté is a private station owned by a group of human rights organizations. La Voix du Paysan is the Catholic Church-owned radio station.

Private satellite TV channels and cable channels, while permitted by the government, reach only a small percentage of Chad's population due to low income levels and the high costs of owning a television set and accessing special broadcasting services. One new private television station was registered in Chad in 2001. A privately owned cable television station distributes foreign broadcasting to audiences in Chad, with programming in French and in Arabic, but few can afford the cost of the cable service. A South African cable company also operates a television station in the country via subscription.

Electronic News Media

Just one Internet access service provider exists in Chad, and it is owned by the government telecommunications monopoly. Although the government does not restrict public access to the Internet, the relatively affordable prices offered by the government Internet monopoly and the decent quality of service function as effective deterrents to the establishment of other competitive, privately run, Internet services within the country.

Education & TRAINING

During the presidential and parliamentary election campaign season in May 2001, the state media ridiculed the independent press, claiming journalists in the private media were poorly trained and unprofessional.


Because Chad has undergone so many decades of internal conflict that have not yet been resolved and do not yet appear to be coming to a close anytime soon, it is unlikely that the country will develop a free and independent media in the near future. Continued government repression is expected to limit the capacity of journalists and broadcasters to freely publish and transmit a wide range of viewpoints. However, with the impending development of the oil industry through the Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline project, the World Bank is likely to send international monitors to observe the development of the industry, the use of oil profits, and the involvement of Chadian government officials in the development process. This may bode well for the future of free expression and freedom of the press in the country, since it will be harder for the government both to unduly influence or to repress private parties, be they oil companies or the private press, or to mishandle oil profits if the country and its leaders are being watched more closely by responsible observers from the outside.

Nonetheless, it is difficult to imagine the free development of the oil industry without excessive government intervention, considering the scenario of Nigeria and other African states where lucrative natural resources have been discovered and developed. This is especially the case in the context of the ongoing civil violence in the north of Chad. Certainly, foreign investment is unlikely to be attracted to Chad or to thrive if the country is rampant with continuous violent ethnic and religious conflict, nor are investors likely to ignore the problems of civil unrest without attempting to instill a measure of control themselves on the situation, as has so sadly and disastrously happened in many of the oil-rich regions of Nigeria. For the benefit of human rights and the future of the Chadian people, it is imperative that journalists and the media, whether state-owned or private, be given the means to flourish as freely as possible, in order to act as watchdogs on the future development of their country and to ensure that neither government leaders nor multinationals nor the international community interfere with their own welfare in ways that go unchallenged.

Significant Dates

April 2001: The HCC, a regulatory commission established by the government, rules that political debates during the election campaign will be banned and no commentary on news bulletins will be permitted, and radio stations that fail to comply will be temporarily shut down.


Amnesty International. "Chad." Amnesty International Report 2002. London: Amnesty International, May 28, 2002. Available at!Open.

BBC Monitoring. "Country profile: Chad." Reading, UK: British Broadcasting Corporation, June 29, 2002. Available at

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State. "Chad." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2001. Washington, DC: Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State, March 4, 2002. Available at

Committee to Protect Journalists. "Chad." Attacks on the Press in 2001: Africa 2001. New York, NY: CPJ, 2002. Available at

Friends of the Earth. "Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline." Accessed 6 August 2002 at

Reporters without Borders. "Chad." Africa annual report 2002. Paris, France: Reporters sans frontiers, April 20, 2002. Available at

Barbara A. Lakeberg-Dridi, Ph.D.

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Chad (chăd, chäd), officially Republic of Chad, republic (2005 est. pop. 9,826,000), 495,752 sq mi (1,284,000 sq km), N central Africa. Chad is bordered by the Central African Republic on the south, Sudan on the east, Libya on the north, and Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria on the west. Ndjamena is the capital and largest city.

Land and People

The terrain in the south is wooded savanna; it becomes brush country near Lake Chad. The only important rivers are the Chari and the Logone, both of which flow into Lake Chad and are used for irrigation and seasonal navigation. Northern Chad is part of the Sahara Desert; areas of the mountainous Tibesti region there are 11,000 ft (3,353 m) high. The country has no railroads and few all-weather roads.

Chad comprises some 200 ethnicities, which fall into two distinct, and often hostile, population groupings. In the south, where the bulk of the population is concentrated, live sedentary agricultural peoples, including the Sara, Massa, Ngambaye, and Moundang; most are Christians, but some follow traditional religions. In the north are seminomadic and nomadic Muslim peoples, including Arabs, Tuareg, Hadjerai, Fulbe, and Toubou. French and Arabic are the official languages, but more than 100 languages and dialects are spoken throughout the country.


Chad's landlocked position, poor transportation network, inadequate natural resources, and ongoing political turmoil have severely hampered economic development. The economy is based primarily on sedentary subsistence agriculture and nomadic pastoralism, employing 80% of the workforce but contributing only about 32% of the GDP. The best farming zone is in the south, where rainfall is sufficient for the cultivation of cotton and peanuts (the country's leading cash crops) for export and some subsistence crops, including sorghum, millet, rice, potatoes, and manioc. Cattle, sheep, goats, and camels are raised, and there is fishing in Lake Chad. During drought periods, Chad requires food aid to meet necessary levels.

Natron and uranium are the country's chief minerals, and petroleum is produced in the southern Doba basin, which is connected by pipeline with the Cameroonian port of Kribi. Industry is limited to food processing and the production of textiles and light consumer goods. Imports—largely machinery, transportation equipment, industrial goods, foodstuffs, and textiles—generally outweigh exports, mainly cotton, cattle, gum arabic, and oil. Chad's chief trading partners are the United States, France, Cameroon, and China.


Chad is governed under the constitution of 1996 as amended. The executive branch is headed by a president, who is elected by popular vote for a five-year term; there are no term limits. The prime minister is appointed by the president. Members of the 188-seat National Assembly are popularly elected for four-year terms. Administratively, Chad is divided into 22 regions.


Traditionally, the region around Lake Chad was a focal point for trans-Saharan trade routes. Arab traders penetrated the area in the 7th cent. AD Shortly thereafter, nomads from North Africa, probably related to the Toubou, entered the region; they eventually established the state of Kanem, which reached its zenith in the 13th cent. Its kings converted to Islam, the religion also practiced by the successor state of Bornu. The Wadai and Bagirmi empires arose in the 16th cent.; they warred with Bornu and in the 18th cent. surpassed it in power. By the early 1890s all of these states, weakened by internal dissension, fell under the control of the Sudanese conqueror Rabah el Zobaír (Rabih al-Zubayr).

French expeditions advanced into the region in 1890, and French sovereignty over Chad was recognized by agreements among the European powers. In 1900, French forces defeated Rabah's army, and by 1913 the conquest of Chad was completed; it was organized as a French colony in French Equatorial Africa and remained under military rule. Chad was later linked administratively with Ubangi-Shari (now the Central African Republic), but in 1920 it again became a separate colony. It was granted its own territorial legislature in 1946. In the French constitutional referendum of 1958, Chad chose autonomy within the French Community. Full independence was attained on Aug. 11, 1960, with Ngarta Tombalbaye as the first president.

Tombalbaye steadily strengthened his control over the country, and by 1965 it had become a one-party state. Chad suffered severely from the W African drought of the late 1960s and 1970s. Discontent among northern Muslim tribes with the increasing power of Tombalbaye's southern-dominated government evolved into a full-scale guerrilla war in 1966. French troops helped battle the revolt, which ended in 1973. However, the main Muslim guerrilla group, the Chad National Liberation Front (FROLINAT), figured prominently in fighting between Chad and Libya throughout the 1970s and 80s. During this period, Libya occupied various parts of Chad and supplied FROLINAT (which initially did not oppose Libyan expansionism) with arms.

Tombalbaye was killed in a coup in 1975. In 1979 a coalition government headed by Goukouni Oueddei, a former rebel from the north, assumed power, ending control of the government by southern Chadians, but he was overthrown in 1982 by the forces of former prime minister Hissène Habré. In 1987, the combined forces of FROLINAT and the Chadian government (with French and U.S. military aid) drove Libya from the entire northern region with the exception of the Aozou Strip and parts of Tibesti; in 1994 the International Court of Justice rejected Libya's claims and returned the area to Chad.

In 1990, Idriss Déby, leader of the Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS), overthrew the Habré government and promised democratic reforms and a new constitution; Habré fled to Senegal. A national democracy conference in 1993 established a transitional government with Déby as interim president and called for free elections within a year. Armed rebel groups continued to challenge the government, which, for its part, repeatedly postponed the elections. Multiparty presidential elections were finally held in 1996; Déby was returned to office, and the MPS also triumphed in the 1997 legislative elections.

The late 1990s saw renewed fighting in the north and other parts of the country. The president was again returned to office in 2001 in a disputed election, and the following year the MPS again won the legislative elections. A peace accord was signed with rebels in the north in May, 2002, but fighting erupted there again in Jan., 2003. The same month the government signed a peace agreement with rebels in E Chad, and in the following December a new peace agreement was signed with the northern rebels.

Fighting between local rebels and government troops and militias in Darfur, Sudan, which began in early 2003, has driven tens of thousands of refugees into E Chad. There also have been clashes between Chad's army and the Sudanese militias, and Chad has accused Sudan of backing former Chadian rebels to fight against Sudanese rebels. Chad also has received refugees from the Central African Republic, 30,000 of whom fled a coup there in 2003 and smaller numbers that were displaced by banditry in 2005.

In May, 2004, Chad's national assembly approved a constitutional amendment that ended the two-term limit on the presidency, allowing Déby to run for a third term in 2006. The amendment was approved in a referendum in June, 2005. Desertions (Sept., 2005) from the Chadian army increased the number of rebels based in Darfur, and in December there was fighting between the rebels and the army in E Chad. Chad again accused Sudan of backing the rebels and called for international intervention in Darfur.

In Dec., 2005, the national assembly voted to allow the government to use oil revenues that were to be set aside, under an agreement with the World Bank, for poverty reduction projects and future uses. Chad said the change was necessary because of national financial difficulties, caused in part by the rebellion in the east. In response, the World Bank halted loans to Chad and froze a Chadian oil escrow account, but an interim agreement, reached (Apr., 2006) after Chad threatened to halt oil production, allowed Chad access to the escrow account. A new agreement on poverty reduction projects was signed with the World Bank in July, but two years later (Sept., 2008) the World Bank canceled an oil pipeline deal with Chad because the government had failed to live up to the agreement. Oil revenues also were a source of friction with foreign consortium producing the petroleum. In Aug., 2006, Chad threatened two foreign companies with expulsion until they agreed to pay a renegotiated tax bill, and the president called for Chad to be a partner in the consortium.

Meanwhile, the assembly voted in Jan., 2006, to postpone its elections for a year, until 2007, citing financial problems as the reason. Some observers, however, believed that the real reason for the postponement was to assure Déby of support in the national assembly. An agreement (Feb., 2006) between Chad and Sudan that was intended to end cross-border incursions had little immediate effect on the fighting in the region. In Mar., 2006, government forces foiled a coup plot against Déby, whose position seemed increasingly uncertain. The following month Chadian rebels mounted a drive that reached into the capital before it was defeated.

Déby was reelected in May, but the opposition boycotted the vote and denounced the election and the official turnout figure of 61% as frauds. The security situation remained unstable, with continuing militia incursions from Sudan into Chad and attacks by Chadian rebels in Chad, Sudan, and the Central African Republic. In November, in the southeast, Chad also endured attacks by Arabs on non-Arab Chadians. That same month the government agreed to the stationing of a proposed UN peacekeeping force on its side of the Sudan border, but three months later the government said it would not allow any military peacekeepers to be stationed in its territory.

The signing, in Dec., 2006, of a peace agreement with one group of rebels did not fundamentally alter Chad's deteriorated security situation. Fighting with the rebels continued sporadically into 2007. A clash with rebels in Apr., 2007, led to fighting between Chadian and Sudanese troops after Chadian forces crossed the border in pursuit of the rebels. The following month, however, both nations signed an agreement intended to bring peace to their border region. An accord between the government and opposition parties, signed in Aug., 2007, postponed the next round of national assembly elections until 2009 to create electoral lists and voter ID cards that would prevent fraud. Elections were not held, however, until 2011.

In September the UN Security Council authorized the sending of peacekeepers to Chad to protect refugees there, and the following month the government and the main rebel forces signed a peace accord. New fighting erupted in November, however, and in December Sudan accused Chad of mounting attacks in W Darfur in conjunction with rebels there. In Feb., 2008, the rebels advanced into the capital before being forced to retreat; government and rebel forces continued to battle in E Chad in subsequent months. Later in February the 3,700-member European peacekeeping force (EUFOR) began deploying in Chad to protect Sudanese and Chadian refugees. In Mar., 2008, the peacekeeping force came under UN command, and began the process of broadening its composition and increasing its size to more than 5,000.

Also in Mar., 2008, Sudan and Chad again signed another accord intended to pacify the area along their common border, but Sudan broke off relations for six months beginning in May, accusing Chad of supporting an assault by Darfurian rebels against Sudan's capital, and relations between the two nations remained tense. In May, 2009, Chad and Sudan signed a reconciliation agreement, but that same month Chad accused Sudan of supporting a rebel attack against the government, and then sent forces into Darfur in attacks on Chadian rebel camps. There were new talks between the presidents of Chad and Sudan in Feb., 2010. In the long-delayed national assembly elections, which were finally held in Feb., 2011, Déby's party and its allies won a majority of the seats. The main opposition parties accused the government of fraud, and refused to participate in the April presidential election, which Déby won by a landslide.

In 2013 the Central African Republic's (CAR) former president François Bozizé accused Chadian forces of aiding in his ouster, which Chad denied. Chad subsequently contributed some 850 troops to African Union peacekeeping forces in the CAR, and helped force out (2014) the rebel leader who had succeeded Bozizé. It withdrew its forces in March as ethnic violence increased in the CAR and after Chadians were accused of aiding the predominantly Muslim rebels and killing innocent civilians.

In Jan., 2015, the Chadian government approved military assistance to Cameroon and Nigeria, to combat Boko Haram's forces. The forces became part of an African Union–authorized contingent involving troops from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria. Chadian troops began operations in Nigeria the following month, and Boko Haram then mounted its first attacks against Chad.


See H. D. Nelson, ed., Area Handbook for Chad (1972); J. A. Works, Pilgrims in a Strange Land: Hausa Communities in Chad (1976); M. P. Kelley, State in Disarray: Conditions of Chad's Survival (1986); T. Collelo, Chad: A Country Study (2d ed. 1990); S. C. Nolutshungu, Limits of Anarchy: Intervention and State Formation in Chad (1996); M. J. Azevedo and E. A. Nnadozie, Chad: A Nation in Search of its Future (1997); S. Decalo, Historical Dictionary of Chad (3d ed. 1997); M. J. Azevedo, Roots of Violence: A History of War in Chad (1998); J. M. Burr, Africa's Thirty Years' War: Chad, Libya, and the Sudan, 1963–1993 (1999).

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Official name : Republic of Chad

Area: 1,284,000 square kilometers (495,755 square miles)

Highest point on mainland: Emi Koussi (3,415 meters/11,204 feet)

Lowest point on land: Bodélé Depression (160 meters/525 feet)

Hemispheres: Northern and Eastern

Time zone: 1 p.m. = noon GMT

Longest distances: 1,765 kilometers (1,097 miles) from north to south; 1,030 kilometers (640 miles) from east to west

Land boundaries: 5,968 kilometers (3,708 miles) total boundary length; Libya, 1,055 kilometers (655 miles); Sudan, 1,360 kilometers (845 miles); Central African Republic, 1,195 kilometers (743 miles); Cameroon, 1,094 kilometers (680 miles); Nigeria, 87 kilometers (54 miles); Niger, 1,175 kilometers (730 miles)

Coastline: None

Territorial sea limits: None


Chad is a landlocked country located in northern Central Africa, south of Libya. It extends north to south for more than 1,609 kilometers (1,000 miles) from the Tropic of Cancer, within the Sahara Desert. It is bordered by Libya to the north; Niger, Nigeria, and Cameroon to the west; and Sudan and the Central African Republic to the east. With an area of 1,284,000 square kilometers (495,755 square miles), Chad is slightly more than three times the size of the state of California. The country is divided into fourteen prefectures (districts).


Chad claims no territories or dependencies.


From north to south, Chad has three climate zones. In the north, the Sahara Desert swings between extreme temperatures from day to night. In the central Sahel region, where the capital city of N'Djamena is located, the average daily temperatures range from 28°C to 42°C (73°F to 108°F) in April and from 14°C to 33°C (57°F to 91°F) in December. In the southern Sudan region, temperatures are more moderate. The most extreme temperatures in the country range from -12°C (10°F) to 50°C (122°F).

Like the temperatures, rainfall varies considerably from north to south. In the Sahara Desert, annual rainfall averages only 2.5 centimeters (1 inch). In the Sahel, however, average annual rainfall is about 76 centimeters (30 inches). In the Sudan region, average rainfall can be as high as 122 centimeters (48 inches).

Because of sparse rainfall and northern harmattan (hot, dry) winds, the country suffers from periodic droughts (periods with almost no rainfall). Locust plagues (large swarms of grasshoppers which destroy vegetation) are also a problem.


From the swamp-like regions surrounding Lake Chad and the Chari River system in western Chad, the central portion of the country dips into the shallow bowl of the Bodélé Depression. This basin extends for more than 804 kilometers (500 miles) to the plateaus, mountain ranges, and extinct volcanoes associated with the Tibesti Massif in northern Chad, a major landmark of the Sahara Desert.

Southeast of Lake Chad, an area of relatively flat, sedimentary land extends for several hundred miles before rising gently to the rolling plateaus and scattered low mountains of the eastern and southern border areas.


Chad is a landlocked country.


Lake Chad is the country's largest lake, shared by the bordering country of Cameroon. The size of the lake varies from season to season, depending on rainfall, from 10,360 to 25,900 square kilometers (4,000 to 10,000 square miles). It is divided into north and south basins with maximum depths of only about 7.6 meters (25 feet). Its chief tributary, the Chari River, extends southeastward to the Central African Republic. Lake Chad is the largest inland body of water on the Sahel.

A number of very shallow lakes are scattered across the flat plains surrounding Lake Chad. Lake Fitri to the southeast holds water year-round and is a major supplier of fish in the area. Most of the others, however, are temporary lakes that fill with rain or flood waters from the river system. By the end of the annual dry season, their waters have usually evaporated. One of the largest, the Bahr el Ghazal, receives some overflow from Lake Chad during its flood stage. The Lake Chad basin region contains great rolling dunes separated by very deep depressions. In some of these are found oases with groves of date palms.


The longest river in Chad is the Chari River (also called the Shari). At 1,200 kilometers (720 miles) long, it is also the longest river of interior drainage in Africa. It forms at the junction of the Gubingui and Bamingui Rivers, located at the border with the Central African Republic, and the Chari River then flows northwest into Lake Chad. The Logone River is its chief tributary. The Chari and Logone join near the city of N'Djamena.

Seasonal flooding of the rivers creates swamp-like wetlands in the surrounding areas. These wetlands are often used for irrigation.

There are no permanent streams in northern or central Chad. Summer rainfall collected by the various shallow wadis (seasonally dry streambeds) flows toward inland basins, but most of these streams disappear soon after the end of the brief rainy season.


Desert covers roughly one-half of the country, beginning with the Saharan Aozou strip along the northern border with Libya and extending into the central and southern Sahel and Sudan regions, which include the Lake Chad basin.

The Sahara Desert, which covers an area of 9,065,000 square kilometers (3,500,000 square miles) is the largest desert in the world. It covers the entire region of North Africa, from the Atlantic coast on the west to the Red Sea on the east. It borders the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlas Mountains in the north and extends into the southern region known as the Sahel.

Sahel is an Arabic word that means "shore." It refers to the 5,000-kilometer-long (3,125-mile-long) stretch of savannah that forms the shore, or edge, of the Sahara Desert. The Sahel spreads west to Mauritania and Senegal and east to Somalia.

Just beyond the Sahel is a region known as the Sudan Desert, south of the Sahara but still north of the equator. It extends from the Atlantic coast of the continent to the mountains of Ethiopia.


The southern Sudanic climate supports wide areas of savannah grasslands or prairies. Though only 3 percent of the land in Chad is considered arable, 36 percent supports permanent pastures. The Sahel region is covered with a carpet of brilliant green grass following the first rains of the season. These grasses, with thorn trees interspersed throughout, often exist for several months of the year before disappearing in the dry season. Palms and acacia trees also grow in this region.

Isolated hills found in the southwest region of the country do not generally exceed elevations of 457 meters (1,500 feet). These rocky outcroppings, which resemble piles of boulders, rise unexpectedly over the flat and gently rolling landscape, but they support only sparse vegetation.

The low-lying area of the Bodélé Depression is within the Sahel region. This area dips to 160 meters (525 feet) above sea level, the lowest point in the country. The basin was probably a part of Lake Chad in prehistoric times.


The highest mountains in Chad are found in the Tibesti Massif, located at the northern border of the country. This volcanic mountain range covers an area that is about 563 kilometers (350 miles) long. It is the highest mountain range in the Sahara Desert and includes seven main volcanoes. Of these, Emi Koussi is the highest peak in Chad.

Emi Koussi rises to an altitude of 3,415 meters (11,204 feet). Now an extinct volcano, it has a crater that is 19 kilometers (12 miles) wide and 1,219 meters (4,000 feet) deep.


There are no significant canyons or caves in Chad.


From the central bowl to southern Chad, the land slopes upward almost imperceptibly to rolling plateaus, which for the most part are less than 610 meters (2,000 feet) above sea level. The plateaus are marked here and there by mountains, such as the Guera Massif near Mongo, which has at least one peak above 1,493 meters (4,900 feet).


In 2000, the petroleum producers ExxonMobil and Chevron of the United States and Petronas of Malaysia began to develop the oil resources of southern Chad. The pipeline under construction will stretch 1,070 kilometers (670 miles) from the fields in Chad to a port on the Cameroon coast. It is scheduled to become operational in 2003.



Birmingham, David, and Phyllis Martin, eds. History of Central Africa. London: Longman, 1983.

Collelo, Thomas. Chad: A Country Study. Washington, DC: General Printing Office, 1990.

Decalo, Samuel. Historical Dictionary of Chad. 2nd ed. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1987.

Web Sites

National Geographic. (accessed June 17, 2003).

Volcano World - The University of North Dakota. (accessed June 17, 2003).

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Culture Name



Identification. Chad is a vast, ethnically diverse African country. It gained independence from France in 1960 after a sixty-year colonial period rule that did not create a meaningful national unity. Within the country's borders one may distinguish several national cultures that are based on the ethnoregional and religious affiliations of the population groups. Many of the cultures can be traced back to a complex precolonial history of competing indigenous states and sultanates.

The name Chad is derived the from designation of the great Lake Chad (originally called Kuri) by the sixteenth century author and imam Ibn Fortu. Chad is somewhat similar to Sudan in that it has a northern part inhabited by an Islamic (and partly Arabic-speaking) population of pastoralist semidesert peoples, and a southern part of Christians and traditional religious people, engaged in mixed agriculture, crafts, and trade. These two parts each comprise about half of the population. Postcolonial Chad has, like Sudan, been marked by deep regional-ethnic divisions and a violent history of struggle for power among the various elites that have alternative visions of the state and their place within it. Armed rebellions and years of protracted and destructive civil war, in which the role of Libya was at times notable, have characterized Chad's recent history. Starting in 1993, the armed conflicts subsided and some sort of democratization process was instigated.

Location and Geography. Chad is a resource-poor, landlocked country, bordered by the Sudan, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger, and Libya. It has an area of 495,752 square miles (1,284,000 square kilometers), most of it desert, semidesert, or savannah. In the extreme south there are lush forests and agricultural areas. The country is divided into three climatic-ecological zones from north to south: the Saharan zone (dry and hot, with livestock raising, minor cultivation, and some trade), the Sahelian zone (more rainfall, livestock raising, and cereal cultivation), and the southern semitropical zone (with good rainfall of up to 48 inches (1,200 millimeters) per year, large-scale cultivation, cash-crop production, trade, and crafts). The country is drought-prone and suffers from periodic famine. Chad is basically a large plain, with some mountain ranges, including the Guéra massif in the center and the Ouaddaï or Ennedi massif in the east; in the north in the middle of the desert lies the spectacular Tibesti range, where cultivation is possible due to higher rainfall. In the southwest, on the border with Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria, is Lake Chad, a shrinking water mass lying at an altitude of about 790 feet (240 meters). The two main riversthe Logoni and the Chari are in southwest Chad and run into Lake Chad. They are navigable for most of the year and are also used extensively for fishing.

Demography. Chad's population is some 7 million (1999), giving a population density of 14.2 people per square mile (5.5 per square kilometer). The fertile southern third of the country has a density of 77.7 per square mile (30 per square kilometer). There are an estimated 180 ethnic groups in Chad (although their boundaries are often hard to establish). The largest are the Sara (approx. 32 percent of the total population), the Arabs (22 percent), the Maba, the Tubu, and the Mbum. Many of the ethnic groups are also found in neighboring countries such as Cameroon, Niger, the Sudan, and Nigeria, having been separated by the colonial and postcolonial boundaries. Most Chadians live in rural areas. Urban centers include the capital N'Djamena (approx. 800,000 people, most of them now Arabs or Arabic-speaking), Sarh (120,000), Moundou (110,000), Bongor, Abéché, and Doba. Life expectancy is approximately forty-eight years, while the annual population growth rate is 2.5 percent. About 90 percent of the population lives in the southern 15 percent of Chadian territory.

Linguistic Affiliation. There are more than 100 languages spoken in Chad, virtually all belonging to two great languages families: Nilo-Saharan and Afro-Asiatic. The precise extent and variety of the linguistic situation are not known, because of a notable lack of research. Language does not overlap with "ethnic group" identity, as some languages are spoken by groups identifying themselves with different ethnic/regional labels. Arabic, Sara, and French are widely spoken, the latter used in education and the administration, especially in the south. The use of Arabic, traditionally an important commercial language, is expanding across the country.

Symbolism. The main symbol of Chad is the national flag, consisting of three vertical fields of blue, yellow, and orange-red, without any figurative decoration. Additional national symbols are not known, although various parties and rebel fronts have used their own flags.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. Chad did not exist as a political unit before the French conquest of 1900, but was an area of important indigenous state formation and had seen Arab immigration (of groups collectively called Djoheina and Hassaouna) and Islamization since the fourteenth century. There was a conglomerate of kingdoms (such as Bagirmi and the pre-Islamic state of Kanem-Bornu), chiefdoms and sultanates (such as Ouaddaï and Tama) of varying size and ethnic composition; amongst these states, war and raiding were frequent. The descendants of these states in the north and east are today's seminomadic pastoralist peoples and cultivators in the northern and central parts of the country.

Southern Chad is inhabited by a variety of ethnic groups that, although culturally related, traditionally had no strong centralized polities. The largest group among them are the Sara, although they themselves form a combination of twelve "tribal" groups that never showed any strong unity. Other groups are the Mundang, the Massa, and the Mbum. The southerners were the victim of a tradition of slave raiding by such northern groups as the Barma, Fulani, Bagirmi, Tubu, and Maba; this has left deep scars in the fabric of Chadian society. It was because of the promise to end slave raiding (and the killing of the notorious warlord and slave raider Rabih az-Zubayr, who was of Sudanese origin) that the Sara peoples welcomed the French colonists in 1900.

Under French colonial rule, the southern part of the country received most of the attention in the domains of economic and educational investment, and many people there converted to Christianity. The Islamized north, seen as a vast expense of inhospitable desert with little productive resources except livestock, dates, and some cereals, was mistrusted and relatively neglected, and people there kept more to their "traditional" ways in a cultural and educational sense. In the first decade of Chadian independence the northerners also remained relatively excluded from national politics; Northerners have had the upper hand in Chadian politics since 1979. It must be kept in mind that, before colonization, the "north-south" divide, so often referred to now, was nonexistent in Chad.

In 1960, when independence was granted by France, Chad had no "national identity" recognizable to the population at large. Ethnoregional traditions formed the framework for group identification, with the "nation" only as an abstract concept. Southerners (who were the first to clamor for independence) formed the state elite, but did not succeed in building a representative or democratic political system. Rebellion in northern regions emerged, notably that of the FROLINAT (National Liberation Front) movement in 1966. The civil wars of the 1970s and 1980s, though resulting from exclusionist state policies, authoritarianism, and divergent views on the role of the state, fueled group tensions. But despite these divisive conflicts and the opposition between the north and the south, there seems to be no great desire on either side to split up the country and go it alone, except perhaps in a federal arrangement.

There is the constant danger that the perceived ethnoreligious and territorial divide between the Arabized "Islamic north" and the "Christian south" will solidify into a polarization between the two (although the post-1960 civil wars were not fought on the basis of religion). This would fuel rivalry even more and inhibit the emergence of a democratic system based on equity and resource sharing. There is a basic, perhaps unsolvable, contradiction between the identity and aspirations of the south and those of the north, although both regions have their internal divisions as well.

In the late 1960s, when the southerner N'Garta (François) Tombalbaye was president, there was an effort by his government to create cultural "unity" between the various groups of the south vis-á-vis the north. This was done by making it obligatory for all people holding public office (at some point even Muslims) to undergo an initiation ritual based on the Sara ethnic tradition. This "cultural revolution," however, became a violent and intimidating exercise that completely failed and even antagonized many southerners. In the years of the regime of Hissen Habré (19821990), there was suppression and terror in the south, perpetrated by northern-dominated government forces. This created the fear that southern rights and identity would be trampled. There is often talk of a "superiority complex" of northern people vis-á-vis the south.

One of the domains where the north-south tension is now becoming apparent is education, where the government (emanating from the northern and eastern Islamic groups) is urged to further Islamic orientation. While Chad is still a "secular state," the rivalry between the faiths and the strengthening of Islam in public life may become another threat to long-term stability.

National Identity. Chad's national identity is precarious, and first and foremost derived from the inherited postcolonial administrative state structure. Constitutionally, Chad is unitary and secular, but in recent years a struggle has occurred to redefine the identity of the nation. In the wake of the civil war that ended in 1990, contrasting views on what kind of nation Chad can, or should be, are emerging. Core issues are the roles of ethnic traditions, religious identity, and balanced ethnoregional representation in the state apparatus. The issue of how this would have to be reflected in the nation's legal system has not even been posed. Language policy also reveals the problems: French and Arabic were chosen as the official languages of the state both long established in Chad but neither of them indigenous.

Ethnic Relations. A relatively understudied subject, traditional Chadian societyin all its ethnic and religious variety and complexityis not well-known to the outside world. Little recent field research has been done in either the countryside or the urban areas on the various societies and diverse ethnocultural traditions. One could say that group relations have suffered from the burden of longtime slave raiding (formally ended only in 1926) and communal political violence. Peoples with no particular affinity toward each other are bound together in a state that was largely externally created and not the outcome of local political processes. There is therefore a continuous challenge to create patterns of cooperation and a durable society in the midst of regional and ethnic (and increasingly religious) antagonism. Violent insurgency and rebellion were until recently the prime means used to establish political power of one group over the others. The question is whether a resilient state can come out of this process. In this respect, the long-term problems of Chad may be as serious as those of Sudan, because some groups do not feel deeply committed to the nation as a whole nor to other Chadians as partners in the venture of developing an inclusive polity. The Sara, initially dominant, are now a disenchanted group because they see their rights and identity being threatened.

It is likely that ethnic relations in Chad will benefit from a decentralization of the political structure that retains unity in diversity. When the rights and regional interests of the various ethnic groups are respected, few groups will desire to dissolve the state except some diehards of the north.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

The rate of urbanization in Chad is low, with most of the people still living as cultivators and pastoralists in dispersed hamlets, cattle camps, villages, and oases. Old capitals of the sultanates and kingdoms (for example, Njimi, capital of the Kanem kingdom, Wara of the Ouaddaïsultanate, and Niere of the Tama sultanate) have dwindled in size and few historical structures remain except for some palaces and mosques. There is a significant variety of building styles, use of space, mobility patterns, and material culture across the ethnic groups and climatic conditions. In the countryside, the traditional house- and hut-building styles are maintained, although the construction of corrugated iron and concrete buildings has rapidly expanded. In the sparsely populated north, with its vast expenses of desert plains, distances are great between pasture areas and human settlements. Several nomadic groups live in tents and shelter structures. The sedentary cultivators in the south live in villages and have a much higher population density. Abéchéis perhaps the most characteristic town of Chad, with its clay buildings, monuments, and small winding streets.

The capital N'Djamena is a new town, founded by the French in 1900 as Fort-Lamy. It suffered huge damage in the 19801982 war instigated by Hissen Habré. Because of continuous immigration and the influx of refugees from the civil war period, the city has grown rapidly without a proper expansion of services and infrastructure.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Patterns of food production and consumption are rather diverse across the various ethnic groups. There is no shared "national food culture," although the one dish fairly common throughout the country is a kind of set grain porridge, made of sorghum or millet flour, served with sauces that contain meat, dried fish, tomatoes, onions, and good spices. Some north-south divide is apparent in food traditions. In the south (in contrast to the north) there is no fish in the diet, and there is less consumption of milk products from livestock herds. The diet of southern peoples also shows more variety in the forest products, tubers, spices, and fruits that are consumed. Staple foods, apart from sorghum and millet, are maize, manioc, potatoes, rice, sesame, and some bean species.

Basic Economy. Chad is one of the poorest countries on the African continent. The great distances and poor infrastructure have hampered the development of a national market and a nationwide, shared food economy. Local communities outside the cities are largely self-sufficient in food production. Commercial food production is concentrated in the South. Chad has a thoroughly agrarian economy, with about 40 percent of the workforce engaged in livestock herding, 40 percent in agricultural production (including cotton farming), and the rest in manufacturing, services, and the military. Most of the economy is geared to subsistence cultivation (including sorghum, millet, groundnuts, vegetables, and fruits) and livestock raising. About 40 percent of the gross domestic product is generated from agriculture, and approximately 18 percent from the livestock economy (which includes cattle, goats, sheep, and camels).

Because of political problems, violent conflict, an almost nonexistent infrastructure, and the lack of a national government, there was hardly any attention given to development-oriented, long-term economic strategy during the last three decades of the twentieth century. The potential of the country, however, is great: there are good chances for the development of cattle herding (on the large central grass plains), mineral deposits, commercial farming, and oil production. Chad is still strongly dependent on foreign aid, especially from France, which supplies on average about 30 percent of the national budget.

Land Tenure and Property. Most of the land is held in communal tenure, especially in the pastoral north, although the state has the final claim on all land in Chad. A claim on land was traditionally established by the person who started developing and cultivating it. Customary law according to local tradition is important everywhere in settling land claims and disputes and allocating access to resources, such as fishing places, pasture, date groves, and water holes. In the cotton-producing south, a class of entrepreneurs has concentrated much land in its own hands. Property law in Chad is underdeveloped, and the judicial system does not apply everywhere because of a lack of courts and manpower. In the areas of the old kingdoms and sultanates, much landed property is still owned by old aristocratic families. In the cities there is a private property market. Big traders and well-placed government people have acquired substantial pieces of property over the years.

Commercial Activities. Chad has a narrow commercial base. Since independence, both Chad's internal and external markets remain undeveloped; the nation never succeeded in developing a successful commercial export economy. Persistent structural deficits of up to 30 percent of the national budget have been common. Following the period of turmoil and civil conflict, an increase in commerce with Sudan, Cameroon, and other neighboring countries has become essential for Chad to further develop its economy. Cameroon will most likely be the link to the sea for future Chadian exports (notably oil). There are plans for a pineline and a railroad from Chad to the Cameroon coast.

With its varied landscapes, ruins of ancient capitals, and spectacular scenery in the central and northern parts of the country (such as the Tibesti Mountains), Chad has significant tourism potential. The number of annual visitors, however, is minuscule (seven to eight thousand), resulting in little impact on the national economy.

Major Industries. Industries in Chad are very limited in number and size, and are all located in or close to N'Djamena. The largest one is cotton production. There is also a large oil refinery. Minor industries include the production of beer, cigarettes, textiles, and natron (a mineral), as well as the processing of sugarcane and meat. New industries could develop around the exploitation of resources such as gold, uranium, kaolin, bauxite, or tungsten, although exploration has not been sufficiently carried out because of the past civil wars.

In the 1970s, oil was struck in Kanem, near Lake Chad. Production started in 1977, allowing Chad to develop a rate of fuel self-sufficiency of 75 percent. In the 1980s and 1990s new finds were made in the south, such as near Doba. Oil exploitation in the south started only in 1998 but is eventually expected to have a major impact on Chad's economy, assuming that the country as a whole benefits from the proceeds. There is tension emerging about the appropriation of oil proceeds between the northern-dominated elites and the southern peoples on whose land the oil was found.

Trade. Historically, Chad was at the crossroads of major long-distance trade routes such as the Trans-Sahara caravan route to the Libyan and Egyptian coast, to the west, and to the east (into Sudan). Goods traded included slaves, gold, cattle, ivory, arms, and textiles. The kingdoms of the Middle Ages partly emerged on the basis of their establishing control over the southern end of this trade line. Under French rule, much trade was redirected through the south, into Cameroon.

In the twentieth century, Chad's trade position steadily declined, the only major trade items being cotton and livestock. Food imports are very limited, except in times of drought. Raw cotton generates over 65 percent of export revenues, while livestock exports account for another 20 percent of revenue. Minor additional exports are dates, rice, meat, gum arabic, and natron.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. In modern Chad, social stratification is seen in the emergent class of big traders, landowners and government people (who invest in property, industry, and livestock keeping); the large majority of common peasants and pastoralists, fighting for survival with little means; and a small but vocal urban working class of some sixty thousand. There is no clear-cut division of elites according to regional provenance; for example, the elite does not consist only of northerners. Since the 1970s, membership in a successful armed movement could serve as a way to social advancement, since the resources of the state were then within reach.

Many societies in Chad traditionally have different low-prestige occupational castes, such as hunters, potters, tanners, and blacksmiths (haddad ). There are also groups of slave descendants that live in pockets of the north, such as the Kadjidi near Lake Chad, and the Kamadja, who form relatively self-contained communities and do not inter-marry with their Tubu masters/employers. A similar group in the south are the Yalna in the Salamat region. Modern education, social change, and the mobilizing effect of the armed movements have partially invalidated traditional prejudices and divisions relating to caste membership.

Symbols of Social Stratification. Stratification is evident in wealth differences, dress style, leisure activities, and location and style of residences.

Political Life

Government. Since independence Chad has had a variety of governments, none of them successful in establishing an inclusive system of governance for the various population groups. In 1960 Chad started out as a multiparty parliamentary republic. Two years later, the then-president N'Garta (François) Tombalbaye, a southerner, dismantled this system to install a one-party state (in line with the political trend in postcolonial Africa at the time). His authoritarian and repressive policies, combined with a compulsory cultural revolution, provoked dissatisfaction in the south and revolts in the north, including one by the National Liberation Front (FROLINAT), founded in 1966. In a 1975 coup, Tombalbaye was killed and General Félix Malloum took over. He did not stem the tide of revolt, and was forced out of office in 1979 by FROLINAT, led by Goukouni Oueddei and Hissen Habré. In 1982, after three years of social unrest and armed struggle led by local warlords, President Oueddei was replaced as head of the government by his former comrade Habré, who was supported by France because of his campaign to kick the Libyans (who were supporting Oueddei) out of Chad. A period of repression and abuse followed, however, with many casualties in the south. Northern groups also came to resent Habré's heavy-handed, authoritarian approach; they supported the guerrilla war started by his former ally (and rival) Idriss Déby in April 1989 that culminated in the defeat of Habré's government forces twenty-one months later.

Under the Déby regime, which took over in 1990, an effort was made to set up a new type of republican government, with all the trappings of a democratic system. A two-chamber parliament consisting of the National Assembly and the Senate was set up. A High Court and a Constitutional Court were also installed. More political parties were allowed (although recruitment on a religious or ethnic basis was prohibited), freedom of the press and of organization was accorded, and multiparty elections were promised. At the same time, there was never any doubt that Déby would maintain a tight hold on the reigns of power. Suppression of occasional insurgencies and massacres by government forces of members of suspected opposition groups have marred the transition to a secure democratic political system. Nevertheless, the groundwork for democratic institutions was laid, and there is still a possibility that a better system of inclusive governance may entrench itself.

Leadership and Political Officials. A new National Assembly was elected in 1997, in relatively free multiparty elections. Among 49 parties, Déby's MPS party (Patriotric Salvation Movement) won, gaining 63 of the 123 seats. The major opposition party is the Union for Renewal and Democracy (URD), led by the senior southern politician W.A. Kamougué. Another opposition party is the National Union for Development and Democracy (UNDR). Some armed movements (like FNTR and MDD) are still active, showing that the use of force to press political claims remains an option in Chadian life.

The maintenance of political power is a balancing act, based on neo-patrimonial principles of cooperation and the monitoring of personal loyalties and in which the meting out of positions and privileges, in an often informal manner, is crucial.

Social Problems and Control. Chad's many social problems include widespread poverty and displacement of people, ethnic and social group tensions, poor education and health care, and the orphans and broken families that have resulted from the devastating civil conflicts. There is still a sense of insecurity in many areas, reinforced by the spread of small weapons. Common criminal behavior includes banditry and road robbery, and in the cities, theft and burglary; many young men from the rural areas who were active in the armed rebel groups have had trouble in adapting to civilian life and have therefore turned to such crimes. There is also a substantial informal (non-taxpaying) economy on which the government has no hold (but from which it also profits). Corruption is still widespread. One underestimated problem aggravated by the civil wars and the resulting social and economic crises is environmental damage, most notably the rapid decline of the country's trees, forests, and wildlife.

Military Activity. In Chad's political system, the military and the use of armed force in general have played a crucial role in establishing power. Violence was the chief political means with which claims to hegemony in Chadian politics were established. (The only president ever voted into office since 1960 was the first one, Tombalbaye.) The current president, Déby, though elected in 1995, came to power in 1990 by the force of arms, and support of the reformed national army (ANT) is important in ultimately securing his power base. There are currently various small-scale rebel groups, but they do not pose a serious threat to the national government and its army. One of the challenges for the Déby government is to broaden the recruitment base of the army and make it more representative of the country's various population groups. Chad has never had a real national army that was independent of political struggles and insurgent movements.

The national army under President Déby (ANT) numbers about thirty thousand men. There is also a 5,500-strong Republican Guard who are the elite troops of the Déby regime and are under his personal command. France maintains a small military presence as well.

Tibesti in the north (the former stronghold of Oueddei) is still an insecure area, not fully under government control. It is also made unsafe because of a large number of land mines left by the Libyans when they occupied the Aozou Strip from 1973 to 1994.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

These are conspicuous in their absence. A government without funds and social programs has forced citizens to rely on their own resources, though some are occasionally assisted by foreign (many French) nongovernmental organizations, such as Doctors without Borders and various missionary organizations. Islamic and Christian as well as some ethnic associations of self-help also exist.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

One important group is the Chadian Labour Union (Union Syndicale du Tchad), which is independent and has organized various crucial strikes of political significance. In addition, two Chadian human rights organizations play a substantial public role by monitoring the abuse of both government forces and rebel movements, and by maintaining diplomatic contact with Western donor countries.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. Men predominate in government, the military, and public life. Political life (including insurgency) is almost exclusively the domain of men. The pastoral economy and commercial farming are dominated by men as well. Women do the main work in the rural subsistence economy across the country, handling family responsibilities and household tasks, including child care. They also care for small livestock, tend family gardens, and are involved in the small-scale trade of agricultural surpluses. There is also an emerging small group of female traders in the urban centers. Women are not, however, significantly organized in public associations.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. Men's status is seen to be higher than that of women, but this is related to conceptions about religious roles and public functions, not necessarily to ideas of inherent inferiority. There are some differences across the country's regional or ethnic groups as to the status and roles of men and women in social and religious duties, but in practice, women are economically active and freely move about in most spheres of life, although the northern Islamic groups are more conservative than the southerners and city people. There is, however, no Islamist discourse that limits the social role of women or forces them to go veiled. The new 1996 constitution accords many more rights to women, though practice lags behind.

Marriage, Family and Kinship

Marriage. Polygyny (the taking of more than one wife) is known among both the southern peoples such as the Sara and the northern Islamic groups. Bride-wealth payment is also common among most Chadian groups.

Domestic Unit. Nuclear families independently living their own lives are rare except in the towns. The effective social unit for most Chadians is an extended family or joint family of married brothers.

Inheritance. Patrilineal systems of inheritance predominate in the country, modified by modern, French-inspired law as well as by Shari'a (Islamic law) in the regions where Islam is important.

Kin Groups. The framework of clans is of great importance to most Chadians, be they northerners or southerners, though clans are of declining relevance in the towns. Kinship determines people's social and cultural allegiances. Political affiliation tends to follow ethnoregional lines. This was reinforced in the course of the past civil wars. Lineage and clan membership is important among the pastoralists, such as the Tubu; and in southern village societies, such as the Nar and the Tupuri. Such membership, however, does not subvert the importance of individual agency, much cherished among Chadians.


Child Rearing and Education. The rearing of young children is done by the mother and by relatives; at a later stage there is more involvement by the father. Of greatest importance for all Chadians is the socializing role of the family and the ethnocultural group later in life through, for example, initiation, the taking on of religious and ritual duties, mutual help, and social support. Children necessarily remain dependent on their families until their early twenties.

About 60 percent of Chadian children attend primary school, but the literacy rate in Chad is estimated at only 20 percent, a comparatively low rate within Africa. Further formal education is pursued by a minority, and most children are educated by their families, taking on domestic and economic tasks in their early teens.

After decades of neglect because of civil conflict, isolation, and neglect, education, particularly Islamic education, is expanding among the peoples of the north, although its quality leaves much to be desired. Koranic schools in the north and east have existed for a long time but they have a very limited curriculum.

Higher Education. Higher education is seriously underdeveloped in Chad, except for the small and underfunded University of Chad, founded in 1971, and some technical-administrative colleges, such as the Ecole Nationale de Télécommunication in Sarh and the Ecole Nationale d'Administration in N'Djamena. The university was often closed due to civil war and the resulting damage to its facilities. Chad's economic and demographic base is too narrow to sustain a good higher education system. Many young people go to France or other French-speaking West African countries for further education.


Chadians, being of quite different religious and cultural backgrounds, do not observe a common standard of etiquette except that respect for community elders, moderation, and reserve in public life is universally appreciated. Some groups are very sensitive to verbal abuse and insult, which can lead to serious personal conflict. Traditional community standards and values are in decline, since in the past decades social life has been subverted by civil war and communal conflicts, which in turn allowed violent behavior to be an acceptable mode of expression for many young people.


Religious Beliefs. Two religions predominate in Chad: Christianity and Islam. About half of the population, and particularly in the northern and eastern parts of the nation, follow Islam, while some 30 percent are Christians, who are concentrated in the south and among formally educated people. A further 20 percent, mainly in the south, adhere to traditional religions, most of them not well known. Across the spectrum, traditional local beliefs and cults are important, often in conjunction with one's allegiance to the Islamic or Christian faith. Ancestor veneration, belief in certain spirits, use of oracles and divination, and ideas of fertility and cosmic harmony are central. The discourse of "witchcraft" is not prevalent in Chad as compared to, for instance, central and southern Africa.

Despite the southern peoples' association of Islam with slave raiding and violence, communal-religious relations between Christians and Muslims has historically been characterized by mutual tolerance and cooperation. Indeed, in Chad's civil wars, religious antagonisms never played an important role. Islam in Chad also has a very diverse character. There is no strong basis for Islamist "fundamentalist" movements in Chad, although some groups of this nature exist. Missionary groups of both Islam and Christianity are active in Chad. Conversion is an ongoing process, but the use of pressure or force is rejected. The public role of traditional religions is very limited, that of Christianity and especially of Islam is much more visible.

Religious Practitioners. The Imam of N'Djamena is the spiritual leader of Chad's Muslims. The Catholic archbishop, also residing in the capital, heads the country's 550,000 Catholic believers. Islamic Sufi orders such as the Tijjaniya and the Sanusiyya are popular in northern and central Chad. Traditional religions in the south have their own ritual leaders and practitioners.

Rituals and Holy Places. Apart from the rites and ceremonies central in Islam and Christianity, there are important initiation and healing rituals among many ethnic groups that define their cultural tradition and personal identity. These have strong localized character. Islam and Christianity in Chad have no specific holy places (such as graves of saints or pilgrimage centers) that attract a nationwide or cross-border audience, but the number of mosques and churches is on the rise.

Death and the Afterlife. Adherents of both Christianity and Islam believe in an afterlife in Heaven or Hell, with the deceased to be resurrected when God so decides. Traditional religions also cherish the idea of a life after death, as evident from the beliefs in the continued presence of ancestors, and the presence of the dead in dreams and in spirit form. The diversity and complexity of the southern traditional religions in this respect is far from explored.

Medicine and Health Care

Due to an underdeveloped and neglected state health-care system and the absence of alternatives in the private sphere, Chadians are mostly dependent on basic primary health care and polyclinical aid and, especially, on traditional medicine. In the larger towns, such as N'Djamena, Sarh, Moundou, and Abéché, there are hospitals, but with very poor facilities. There is one doctor per 38,000, a very low ratio. Prevalent tropical diseases are malaria, schistosomiasis, and river blindness, especially in the south. The north often has suffered from drought and famine.

Secular Celebrations

The annual national holiday is Independence Day on 11 August. Major Christian and Muslim holidays are recognized by the state as public holidays.

The Arts and Humanities

Support for the Arts. There is no government support for the arts, except if one considers the maintenance of the small Musée National as such. Some individual artists have galleries in N'Djamena.

Literature. The various ethnic cultures have their own traditions of oral literature, including narratives, epics, and ritual drama. Literary creativity of Chadians is notable in the diaspora community in France, but less so in Chad itself, where market demand and the conditions for a literary culture are very limited. Languages of literary expression (in poetry, novels, memoirs, and theatre) are French and, to a lesser extent, Arabic.

Graphic Arts. Various ethnic groups in the country have their distinct artistic traditions related to the decoration of houses, clothing, leatherwork, and artifacts. Modern graphic artists are few and are located in the capital of N'Djamena.

Performance Arts. Performance arts in theaters are virtually nonexistent; traditional religious and other rituals, however, are alive and well in both the south and the north, as part of the everyday cultural life of the Chadians. Not much is known about the remaining traditional material cultures of the various ethnic groups.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences

The sciences have only a token presence in Chad. Lack of funding and institutions and the stagnating effect of the civil wars have long inhibited any development of the scientific research and teaching. The University of Chad has only about seventeen hundred students and has to make do with a library of fourteen thousand books for all fields. The Chadian National Institute for the Humane Sciences has only six researchers and a library of one thousand books. Finally, there is a Veterinary Research Center and a Cotton Research Center.


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The people of Chad are called Chadians. The majority trace their origins to African groups, but the population has been influenced over the years through successive invasions from the Arabic north. The population can be broadly divided between those who follow the Islamic faith in the north and the people of the south.

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Chad in full Mr Chad. The figure of a human head looking over a wall, with a caption protesting against some omission or shortage, and usually beginning ‘Wot, no —?’ The term is recorded from 1945.

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chad The pieces of material that are removed when holes are punched in a data medium, such as those produced from the tractor holes in continuous form paper.

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Chadad, add, Allahabad, bad, Baghdad, bedad, begad, cad, Chad, clad, dad, egad, fad, forbade, gad, glad, grad, had, jihad, lad, mad, pad, plaid, rad, Riyadh, sad, scad, shad, Strad, tad, trad •chiliad • oread •dryad, dyad, naiad, triad •Sinbad • Ahmadabad • Jalalabad •Faisalabad • Islamabad • Hyderabad •grandad • Soledad • Trinidad •doodad • Galahad • Akkad • ecad •cycad, nicad •ironclad • nomad • maenad •monad, trichomonad •gonad • scratch pad • sketch pad •keypad • helipad • launch pad •notepad • footpad • touch pad • farad •tetrad • Stalingrad • Leningrad •Conrad • Titograd • undergrad •Volgograd • Petrograd • hexad •Mossad • Upanishad • pentad •heptad • octad

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