Since gaining independence from France in 1960, Chad, a landlocked country in central Africa, has been plagued by instability and conflict arising from tensions between different religious and ethnic factions.
President Idriss Deby Itno and his party, the Patriotic Salvation Movement, have dominated Chadian politics since ascending to power in 1990. Deby won the 1996 elections—the first multi-party elections held in Chad—as well as the 2001, 2006, and 2011 elections. The electoral processes during these elections have, however, been controversial. President Deby’s party won the legislative elections of February 2011, with 118 of the 188 seats in the National Assembly (however these results were contested amidst accusations of fraud). The term of the current legislature, which expired on March 20, 2015, was extended until the holding of new parliamentary elections whose date is not yet known.
The coalition of opposition parties has demanded the use of a biometric census in the next legislative and presidential elections, which are expected in 2016. The Independent National Electoral Commission announced the timetable scheduling the presidential election on April 10, 2016 and the second round on May 9, 2016. Meanwhile, President Idriss Deby Itno has been appointed Chair of the African Union Assembly (from January 2016 to January 2017) during the Heads of States Summit in Addis Ababa which took place January 30 and 31, 2016.
Chad joined the list of oil-producing countries in 2003, and its economy has become heavily dependent on oil. Prior to the oil era, the Chadian economy was predominately agrarian, with per capita gross domestic product (GDP) estimated at around $220 in 2001-2002—less than half of the average in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2014, per capita GDP rose to approximately $1,024.
However the collapse in oil prices, rainfall deficits, and the deterioration of the security situation have severely affected the real sector of the Chadian economy in 2015. Despite an exceptional growth rate of 33.8% in the oil sector, Chad’s GDP growth rate is estimated to slow from 6.9% in 2014 to 2.6% in 2015, and the non-oil sector has contracted by 2.2%. The growth of the oil sector was driven by production plans that have so far remained largely unaffected by the steep decline in oil prices.
Agricultural output was affected by lower precipitations, and the construction and service sectors have been severely impacted by the deterioration of security conditions, the sharp public spending adjustment, and the government’s accumulation of arrears to domestic suppliers. Despite continued public sector efforts to promote mechanization, responsible water management, and wider distribution of inputs and pesticides, Chad’s agricultural output largely remains dependent on weather conditions, and dropped by 12% in 2015.
At the end of November 2015, the average annual inflation rate reached 4.2%, up from just under 1% during the same period in the previous year. Rising inflation was driven by the agriculture production drop, the depreciation of the Central African CFA Franc against the US dollar, and increased transaction costs of regional trade caused by the conflict.
Finally, total public revenues fell by 37% in 2015 compared to 2014. The impact of exogenous shocks on public revenues have led to an unprecedented fiscal adjustment in 2015.
In January 2015, Chadian troops entered Cameroon and Nigeria to combat Boko Haram, the latter threatening to cut most of its export and import trade routes. Parliament subsequently approved legislation authorizing this military intervention in Cameroon. More than 3,400 refugees crossed Lake Chad following Boko Haram’s occupation of the city of Baga in early January, adding to the half a million refugees and internally displaced already registered in the country due to the conflicts in Sudan and the Central African Republic. While the Chadian army seems to have achieved some military success, it is extremely difficult to assess how long this campaign will last given the entrenchment of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria.
June 15, 2015 marked the first simultaneous terrorist attacks in three locations within N’Djamena. The police academy and headquarters were both rocked by coordinated explosions attributed to Boko Haram. After suffering two suicide bombings in a month, the government enacted several precautionary safety measures to prevent further terrorist attacks in the country including a ban on wearing the burqa or any outfit that covers a person’s face. The Chadian Parliament has unanimously approved a rigorous anti-terrorism bill that reintroduces the death penalty just six months after its abolition.
Chad is ranked 185 out of 188 countries according to the 2015 United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Human Development Index (HDI). Many Chadians still face severe deprivation and most of the Millennium Development Goals have not been met by 2015. Between 2003 and 2011, Chad achieved moderate but significant progress in overall poverty reduction, with the national poverty rate falling from 55% to 47% during the period. Progress on non-monetary poverty present a mixed picture, with gains in some areas offset by losses in others. According to the recent joint Demographic and Household Survey (DHS) and Multi-Indicators Clusters Surveys (MICS) undertaken in early 2015, infant mortality has decreased from 91% in the period 2005-2009 to 72% during 2010-2014 period. Child mortality has decreased from 79% to 65% over the same periods, while maternal mortality fell from 1099 per 100,000 births to 860 per 100,000 births.
Last Updated: Feb 05, 2016