According to the UN Development Report, Chad is one of
the world's least developed countries. This is due to a
combination of the colonial heritage, few investments, poor
political governance and the country's natural foundations
countryaah, Chad was a small priority colony under French rule.
France developed no industry and little infrastructure, and
few roads, schools and hospitals were built. Since 1960, the
country has been characterized by repeated civil wars and
uprisings that have hampered long-term investments. The war
in Darfur, in neighboring Sudan, also placed burdens on Chad
from the early 2000s, especially in the form of refugees.
None of the post-colonial Chad presidents has practiced
democratic politics. The governance is characterized by
nepotism and unpredictability.
In 2003, Chad began exporting oil through a 1900 km long
pipeline that runs through Cameroon to the port city of
Kribi. A prerequisite from the World Bank, for loans for the
construction of the pipeline, was that a significant part of
the proceeds should be used for social purposes. Oil
revenues had an enormous impact on Chad's economy, and from
2001 to 2014, GDP per capita in the country doubled from
less than 500 dollar for around $ 1000. When oil prices were
high, Chad made big money on the oil, but the fall in oil
prices in 2014 had major negative consequences. Oil
production revenues account for about 60 percent of the
state's revenues. After 2018, oil prices have again been
high. The profits benefit the population to a very small
extent, but are used to pay international creditors and pay
the president's own family.
Mining and energy
Chad has deposits of several minerals, especially gold,
bauxite, tin, tungsten, titanium, iron, baking soda and oil.
However, these are recovered to a small extent, mainly due
to poor communication and lack of investment. Until the
export of oil started in 2003, the extraction was limited to
baking soda, as well as some gold mining, which is
considered to have significant potential, especially in
Mayo-Kebbi. The country's first gold mine was opened in 2001
in Ganboké. Sodium is found at the northern end of Lake Chad
and is exported especially to Nigeria.
Exploration for oil started in the north of the country
in 1977, and modest quantities of oil were first mined in
1979, then stopped because of the security situation. In
1993, mapping in the Doba basin in southern Chad began. It
is estimated here that there are approximately 900 million
barrels, sufficient for recovery in 25-30 years.
Doba's oil production started in 2003. Exports started in
2004 and are done by a consortium of companies ExxonMobil,
Petronas and ChevronTexaco. Full capacity was estimated at
225,000 barrels per day. In the peak year 2005, 173,000
barrels of oil per day were produced, but this fell to
78,000 barrels per day in 2015, following the global fall in
oil prices. Since then it has again increased to between
120,000 and 150,000 barrels per day. Rehabilitation of the
old oil field in Sédigui in the north began in 2000, but
Electricity is produced at oil-fired power stations, with
installed capacity of 29 MW at the beginning of the 2000s.
The rest of the power consumption is covered by imports from
Agriculture and fishing
Agriculture is the most important trade route for most of
Chad's inhabitants, but agriculture is poorly developed. For
many, it's about feeding yourself and your family.
Agriculture is the dominant industry in Chad, and employs
about three-quarters of the working population, the vast
majority at a self-sustaining level. Agriculture accounted
for 40-50 per cent of GNP until the recovery of oil changed
the economic picture.
Agriculture is essentially twofold. In the south,
intensive agriculture is partly run, including cotton
cultivation, while extensive animal husbandry is run in
central parts of the country, partly by nomads. All the way
to the north, camels and sheep are kept and dates are grown.
In central Chad a lot of cattle are kept, which is the
country's most important sector economically. About 40 per
cent of the country's workforce is employed in animal
husbandry. Despite low rational operation, it normally
generates a surplus for exports of livestock and meat. A
large part of meat production is exported illegally, mostly
to Nigeria, and is not reflected in economic statistics.
Only 2.5 per cent of the total area is cultivated, and
arable farming is mostly run by traditional methods. In
addition to cattle, the cultivation of cotton is of the
utmost economic importance, and is an important prerequisite
for the country's industry. Other important crops are wheat,
millet, peanuts, cassava, corn, rice, rubber and dates. Chad
lies in the dry Sahel belt, and is often affected by
rainfall and drought, and crops vary greatly. War actions
over many years have also been a major burden on
Fishing in the Chad Sea has been significant, but in
recent decades it has become noticeably smaller as a result
of the drying of the lake and Boko Haram's ravages.
Chad's industry is little developed and is insignificant
to the country's economy. In 2002, it accounted for just
over 8 per cent of GNI. After 2003, when oil exports
started, the country saw a beginning of industrial
development. The sector is concentrated on the processing of
agricultural products. Most important is the production of
textiles, followed by foodstuffs. Almost all industry is
concentrated in and around N'Djamena and Moundou.
Chad has a significant deficit in the trade balance with
other countries, both because of the large import and costly
transport, and the country receives substantial financial
support, particularly from France. Exports mainly consist of
oil, while also to a certain extent cotton and animals. Due
to both drought and war, the volume of exports has varied
greatly from year to year. Main trading partners are France,
China, Cameroon, Nigeria and the United States.
Transport and Communications
Chad's isolated location far from the sea poses major
problems for outward transport, and a lack of transport
infrastructure, for example, is an obstacle to economic
development. There are no railways, and the road network of
about 40,000 km is partly of poor quality. There is an
international airport in the capital N'Djamena. Smaller
airports can be found in Abeche, Moundou and Sarh.