Country FilesCentralCountry Profile 2012: CHAD


Posted on Monday, 10 September 2012 23:00

Country Profile 2012: CHAD

This country profile was published in November 2011 in our annual 'Africa in 2012' issue. The next edition, 'Africa in 2013' will be on sale in November 2012. 








Oil Heals Most Wounds

Strongman Idriss Déby Itno was re-elected for a fourth term in the first round of presidential elections on 24 April. He gained 83.6 percent of the vote in polls that were boycotted by the main opposition leaders. The elections confirmed the results of the February 2011 legislative polls, the first since 2002, in which the ruling party took a majority of seats, but which had involved the major opposition parties. They severely criticised the government's lack of action in fulfilling the terms of the political accord signed on 13 August 2007 that called for the demilitarisation of governance and improved electoral management.

The holding of presidential and parliamentary elections gives President Déby strong control over the country's future but has again led to the opposition's disengagement from day-to-day politics. Opposition leaders including Saleh Kebzabo and the late Kamougué Wadal Abdelkader had pressured the government to postpone the presidential elections, which were originally planned for 3 April, but were not able to reach an agreement on reviewing the electoral register.

Oil gives President Déby the funds to start new infrastructure and the latitude to avoid ceding to the opposition's demands for reform

The death of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has complicated regional geopolitics. The National Transitional Council in Libya accused the Chadian government of being one of the former Libyan leader's most devoted supporters. The Libyan crisis has contributed to the aggravation of the crisis in Darfur, as the Sudanese rebels of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), led by Déby's cousin Khalil Ibrahim, have returned to Sudan with an important quantity of arms after fleeing Libya.

In September, after JEM forces returned, the Chadian government reassured its Sudanese counterpart that it was still committed to border security. In July, the French foreign ministry said that the 1,000 soldiers in Opération Epervier (code name for the French military presence in Chad) were no longer justified as the Chadian government seemed to have dealt with the rebel threat on its side of the border.

In 2012, unplanned spending is likely to represent a large portion of public resources, as was the case in 2005 and 2010, slowing the development of large state-backed infrastructure projects. With a budget of more than 1.5trn CFA francs ($3.1bn), thanks principally to oil revenue, the government has the funds to undertake new projects. In late September, the 20,000 bpd capacity refinery in N'Djamena financed by the China National Petroleum Corporation shut down its operations just three months after its inauguration.

The refinery is owned by CNPC and the parastatal Société des Hydrocarbures du Tchad, but the Chadian government sets fuel prices. In October the government was forced to raise prices at the pump from 330 CFA francs to 490 CFA francs per litre in order to make the operation profitable, provoking the ire of consumers.

About 80 percent of Chad's population lives in rural areas, and President Déby's administration has decided to devote the next three years to rural development. It has ordered 1,000 tractors to be distributed to farmers, although there is not much intensive agriculture in the country. The parastatal cotton company Coton Tchad has asked for a restructuring, the better to serve its 2.5 million cotton growers. The government has awarded other major development projects to Chinese contractors.

In March 2011, it signed a $7.5bn deal with the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation to build a 1,344km railway that will improve transport links with Sudan and Cameroon. Work is due to begin in early 2012 and will be financed by the country's oil exports. It was followed by an agreement in April with China CAMC Engineering Corporation to build a new $1bn international airport outside N'Djamena that should be completed by 2015. 

More on Chad:

Darfur: Death sentence for SLM fighters
When Chadians and Nigeriens flee Nigeria
Africa slow progress in human development


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Top Chadian Companies

Taken from the Topp 500 Companies

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Top Chadian Banks

Taken from the Top 200 Banks

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