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COUNTRY PROFILES


PROFILE

Country Profile

Area: 1,284,000 sq km (496,000 sq miles)
Population: 11.07 million (2008 World Bank est.)
Capital City: N'Djamena (population 700,000 est)
People and languages: The population of Chad is made up of 200 ethnic groups. The official languages are French and Arabic but local languages are widely used (Sara in the south, Arabic, Ouadi and Toubon in the north).
Religions: Islam (which predominates in the north), Christianity (which predominates in the south) and indigenous beliefs are all practised.
Currency: CFA Franc (Fixed to Euro)
Major Political Parties: Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS), Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), Action for a Federal Republic (FAR), National Rally for Democracy and Progress (VIVA-RNDP), National Union for Development and Renewal (UNDR), Party for Liberty and Development (PLD) and Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD).
Head of State: President Idriss Deby
Prime Minister: Youssouf Saleh Abbas
Membership of international groups/organisations: African Union (AU), Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States (CEMAC), African Development Bank (AFDB), International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF), Community of Saharan and Sahelian States (CENSAD /COMESSA).

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ECONOMY

Basic Economic Facts

GDP: US$8.3 billion (2008 est.)
Annual Growth: -0.2% (2008 est.)
Inflation: 10% (2009 est.)
Major economic sectors: Oil, Cotton, Agriculture
Major trade partners: European Union, Nigeria, United States
Exchange rate: 1 Euro = CFA 655.957 (fixed).
Instability in the political and security situation continues to hamper Chad’s economic growth, with ongoing armed rebellion and an absence of state authority in many parts of the country. As such, Chad does not present an attractive environment for potential investors.

Chad’s main industries are oil, cotton and agriculture.

Oil exploration in southern Chad dates from the early 1970s. In the early 1990s it became clear that there were substantial oil deposits in the Doba region and production came on stream in 2003. Reserves in the wider Doba area are estimated at 900m barrels. The predominance of the oil sector means that the Chadian economy remains vulnerable to drops in oil production and drops in crude oil market prices. Production from the main oil fields in Miandoum, Bolobo and Komé is expected to drop by roughly 4% per year, but new oilfields are being explored and developed.

A significant obstacle to the development of the Chadian oil industry is the lack of direct access to a port. On 9 September 2008 the World Bank announced that it was unable to continue backing a project to build an oil pipeline between Doba in Chad and Kribi in Cameroon due to the Government of Chad’s failure to allocate oil revenues for projects in education, health, infrastructure, rural development and improving governance. The World Bank partially reopened its office in N’Djamena in January 2009.
Improvements to infrastructure, business environment and strengthening of national institutions are needed to promote development of the non-oil sector and achieve goals for growth and for poverty eradication.

The Cotton sector, the traditional backbone of the economy before oil, still employs up to 300,000 Chadians. But the parastatal company responsible for developing and marketing the crop has significant deficits and management problems.

Much Chadian Government spending is not recorded, though defence spending is known to be particularly high due to the ongoing insecurity.

Monetary policy is presided over by the Central African bank, (Banque Etats De L'afrique Centrale – BEAC), which controls the Central African Franc. BEAC prioritises the control of inflation and the maintenance of the CFA franc’s peg to the euro.

World Bank (http://web.worldbank.org)
IMF Country Reports - Chad (http://www.imf.org/external/country/TCD/index.htm)

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HISTORY

Chad, formerly part of France's Central African colonial administration, became independent on 11 August 1960, although a large part of the north of the country remained under French military administration until 1964. Francois Tombalbaye, the leader of the PPT party, became President. He declared single party rule in 1963. In 1965 the National Front for the Liberation of Chad (FRONILAT), started a rebellion in the north and the east of the country claiming that the government was run solely in the interests of southerners. This set a persistent pattern in the country's politics of armed rebellions based on claims of ethno-regional bias in central government. At no time has the government in N'Djamena proven able to control the whole of the country's territory, in the face of a constant proliferation of armed insurgencies. In 1975 Tombalbaye was killed in an army coup led by General Felix Malloum, who assumed the Presidency. During the late 1970s and 1980s, Chad sought assistance from France to counter the FRONILAT insurgency, part of which was backed by Libya, who had effectively annexed the Aouzou strip in the far north of the country.

In 1978 Malloum attempted to diffuse the rebellion in the north by inviting the leader of an anti-Libyan FRONILAT faction, Hissene Habre, into the government. A three-year period of chronic instability ensued, as the different armed factions making up the government constantly clashed. Military interventions, first by Libya and then by a peacekeeping mission from the Organisation for African Unity, were incapable of bringing stability. In June 1982 Habre's armed group took over N'djamena, effectively settling the prolonged battle for the control of the capital and for the Presidency. However, the armed dispute with Libya over the sovereignty of the Aouzou strip continued.

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INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

After two and a half decades of tension related to the border dispute and to Libyan support for Chadian dissidents, relations with the Libyan regime have improved since the late 1990s. Chad was a founding member of the Libyan backed organisation COMESSA (now called CENSAD) formed in 1997. Chad's relations with its neighbour to the South, the Central African Republic, have improved since General (now President) Bozize took power in Bangui in 2003, using Chad as a rear base.

Relations with Sudan are complex. Frequent agreements not to support rebels in each others’ countries have not held. The result is ongoing rebel activity on both sides of the border. Around 250,000 refugees from Darfur and a further 185,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) are now present in Chad, according to UNHCR. It is widely believed that Deby is under pressure from his own Zagahwa ethnic group to support the largely Zagahwa rebellion in Darfur.

Chad has generally looked to France as its main ally in international affairs. France maintains a military base near N'djamena, which hosts the "Epervier" operation established in 1986 to attempt to control northern Chad and counter Libyan incursions. While relations were strained at times in the 1990s, France and the Chadian government now maintain close links. Chad is a member of the Franc Zone and a founding member of the French backed regional body CEMAC. In 2003 and 2004 the Chadian army participated in American led operations against insurgents from Algeria who had entered Chad from Niger, as part of the "Pan-Sahel Initiative".

On 28 January 2008, the European Union authorised a military force named EUFOR to deploy to eastern Chad. EUFOR was designed to contribute to the protection of civilians in danger, facilitate delivery of humanitarian aid and provide protection for the accompanying United Nations police-training mission. On 15 March 2009, EUFOR handed over to an integrated UN mission named MINURCAT, which holds similar objectives.

Investir en zone franc (http://www.izf.net/izf/index.htm)
African Union (http://www.africa-union.org)

Chad's Relations with the UK

The UK is represented in Chad via its High Commission in Yaounde, Cameroon. The Chadian embassy in Brussels, Belgium, is accredited to the UK. The UK has no major commercial links with Chad.

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GEOGRAPHY

Chad is surrounded on three sides by mountain ranges. Apart from the fertile lowlands in the south, the country is arid in the centre and largely desert in the mountainous north. The population is concentrated in the south. Chad has borders with Libya, Niger, Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Sudan.

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TRADE AND INVESTMENT

UK exports in goods to Chad were worth roughly £8.0 million in the first half of 2009 and Chadian exports to the UK over the same period were worth £0.55 million.

UK Trade & Investment Country Profile: Chad (http://www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk/ukti/chad)

DEVELOPMENT AND DEVELOPMENT AID

Chad is an extremely poor, landlocked country, facing serious problems of desertification, droughts and hunger. Conflict has added to the problem, creating 185,000 IDPs. Socio-economic indicators are extremely poor and Chad is ranked 170 out of 177 countries in the UNDP's 2008 Human Development Index. The UK does not have a bilateral assistance programme, but provides humanitarian aid via NGOs and UN agencies. The IMF concluded an article IV consultation with Chad in February 2009.

United Nations Development Programme (http://www.undp.org/)

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POLITICS

Political negotiations over constitutional arrangements were cut short in 1989 when one of Habre's former security chiefs Idriss Deby launched a rebellion from the Darfur region of Sudan. He overthrew Habre in November 1990. A national conference was eventually convened in January 1993, but a new constitution was not approved until 1996. It was followed in the same year by presidential and multi-party legislative elections. Deby was confirmed as President, amid opposition claims of fraud.

Further presidential and legislative elections took place in 2001 and 2002 respectively (both for 5-year terms). Amid many claims of fraud, Deby was re-elected and his party (the MPS) and its allies strengthened their position in parliament. In June 2005 an amendment was successfully passed by referendum to repeal the constitutional provision limiting the presidential mandate to two terms. Idriss Deby successfully stood for a third term as president in elections on 3 May 2006. The elections were boycotted by the main opposition parties. The 13 August Accord, signed in 2007 and facilitated by the European Union, is an agreement between the Chadian Government and the political opposition which aims to build trust and establish a roadmap for democratic elections in 2010.

Meanwhile, armed rebellion continues. Rebel groups, primarily based in neighbouring Sudan have repeatedly staged attacks against the government of Chad, most notably in April 2006 and February 2008 where they succeeded in reaching the capital, N’Djamena. In January 2009 many of the disparate rebel groups came together to form the umbrella organisation, The Union of Resistance Forces (UFR), led by Timane Erdimi. The UFR attacked again in May 2009, but these attacks were confined to East of Chad and the Chadian government is widely reported as having gained a firm victory.

BBC News: Africa (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/default.stm)

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HUMAN RIGHTS

Chad has a poor human rights record, although the situation has improved since the end of Hissein Habre's regime. In November 2004, a de-facto moratorium on judicial executions was ended. Four individuals were subsequently executed for murder, despite the fact the appeal procedure had not been completed. The use of judicial measures against the press is another area of concern. Harassment of the media continues, according to reports from human rights groups. There have also been reports of human rights abuse on all sides in the conflict in the east, including the recruitment of child soldiers. Following the events of February 2008 many human rights were immediately curtailed. Reports from international organisations expressed concern about the apparent abduction and detention of several opposition leaders, and arbitrary killings by Chadian security forces.

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (http://www.unhchr.ch/)

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Last Updated: December 2009

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