Country Profile - Chad
Country Profile of Chad
President: Idriss Deby
Prime Minister: Kalzeube Pahimi Deubet
Land area: 1 284 000 kilometers squared
Population: 11 412 107; growth-rate 1.92%; birth-rate 37.29/1000; life-expectancy 49.44
Monetary unit: CFA Franc
Languages: French, Arabic, Sara, more than 120 languages and dialects.
Ethnicity: Sara 27.7%; Arab 12.3%; Mayo-Kebbi 11.5%; Kanem-Bornou 9%; Ouaddai 8.7%; Hadjarai 6.7%; Tandjile 6.5%; Gorane 6.3%; Fitri-batha 4.7%; other 6.4%; unknown 0.3%
Literacy rate: 35.4%
Economic summary: GDP/PPP $28 billion; real-growth 3.9%; Inflation 4.5%; Imports $2.701 billion; Exports $3.865 billion.
Agriculture: cotton, coffee, tobacco, manioc (tapioca), yams, millet, corn, bananas; timber
Chad is a landlocked country in north-central Africa; its neighbours are Niger, Libya, the Sudan, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, and Nigeria. Lake Chad, from which the country gets its name, lies on the western border with Niger and Nigeria. In the north is a desert that runs into the Sahara.
Chad is one of several potential sites for the cradle of humankind in Africa .Following the discovery of seven-million-year-old human-like skull, now known as the Toumaï ('Hope of life')the region was not as arid as it is today – cave paintings depict elephants, rhinoceroses, giraffes, cattle, and camels. People lived and farmed around the shores of lakes in the north central basin of the Sahara. The indigenous Sao people who lived along the Chari River during the first millennia CE were absorbed by the Kanem-Bornu and Baguirmi kingdoms and the region became a crossroads for the trans-Saharan trade routes.
Following the collapse of the central kingdoms, the region became something of a backwater – ruled by local tribes and regularly raided by Arab slavers. Conquered by the French during the last decade of the 19th century, the territory was declared pacified in 1911. The French initially placed control of the region under a governor-general in Brazzaville (Congo), but in 1910 Chad was joined to the larger federation of Afrique Équatoriale Française(AEF). It was not until 1914 that the north of Chad was finally occupied by the French. The AEF was dissolved in 1959, and independence followed on 11 August 1960 with Francois Tombalbaye as Chad's first president.
It was not long, unfortunately, before civil war erupted between the Muslim north and Christian/animist south. Tombalbaye rule became more brutal and in 1975 General Felix Malloum took power in a coup. He was replaced by Goukouni Oueddei after another coup in 1979. The government eventually drafted a democratic constitution and held flawed presidential elections in 1996 and 2001. In 1998, a rebellion broke out in northern Chad, which has sporadically flared up despite several peace agreements between the government and the rebels.
In 2005, new rebel groups emerged in western Sudan and made probing attacks into eastern Chad despite signing peace agreements in December 2006 and October 2007. Power remains in the hands of an ethnic minority. In June 2005, President Idriss Deby held a referendum successfully removing constitutional term limits and won another controversial election in 2006. Sporadic rebel campaigns continued throughout 2006 and 2007. The capital experienced a significant rebel threat in early 2008, but has had no significant rebel threats since then, in part due to Chad's 2010 rapprochement with Sudan, which previously used Chadian rebels as proxies. Deby in 2011 was re-elected to his fourth term in an election that international observers described as proceeding without incident. Power remains in the hands of an ethnic minority.
Chad is a religiously diverse country, 53.1% of Chadians are Muslim, 20.1% Roman Catholic, 14.2% Protestant, 7.3% animist, and 3.1% atheist. Education in Chad is challenging due to the nation's dispersed population and a certain degree of reluctance on the part of parents to send their children to school. Although attendance is compulsory, only 68% of boys continue past primary school, and more than half of the population is illiterate.
The healthcare sector in Chad is still very precarious because of the lack of qualified personnel. Access to healthcare remains problematic. Some districts have almost no properly functioning socio-medical structure.
At least 80% of Chad's population relies on subsistence farming and livestock for its livelihood. Chad's economy has long been handicapped by its landlocked position, high energy costs, and a history of instability. Chad relies on foreign assistance and foreign capital for most public and private sector investment projects. Remittances are also an important source of income.
Each year a tropical weather system known as the inter-tropical front crosses Chad from south to north, bringing a wet season that lasts from May to October.
In Sept. 1997, President Mohamed Taki's forces attempted to retake Anjouan but failed. In 1999, Col. Azali Assoumani led a coup, overthrowing interim president Tadjidine. He promised interim military rule would end in a year, a pledge the Organization of African Unity would continue to remind him of. After years of aborted peace talks, a new constitution was approved in March 2002, and the three islands were reunited. Each island elected its own president, and in May a federal president was elected from Grande Comoro, former military coup leader Azali. In Feb. 2003, a coup against Azali was thwarted.
A power-sharing agreement signed in December 2003 gave the individual islands semiautonomous status and led to elections for a national assembly in 2004. In 2006, Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, an Islamic religious leader, was elected federal president.
The African Union sent troops to Anjouan in May 2007 ahead of June's elections, which were held despite an order against them by the central government. Mohamed Bacar won the election and declared him-self president, a move called illegal by the central government. The AU called for new elections in October and froze the assets of Bacar and other government officials. In March 2008, troops from the African Union and the Comoran army invaded Anjouan and deposed Bacar.
The country's second round of presidential elections in December 2010 saw Ikililou Dhoinine win with 61.1% of the vote, with turnout at 52.8%. He took office in May 2011.