Chad officially known as the Republic of Chad is a landlocked country in central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the northwest, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west. Due to its distance from the sea and its largely desert climate, the country is sometimes referred to as the "Dead Heart of Africa".

Background History

Chad, part of France's African holdings until 1960, endured three decades of civil warfare as well as invasions by Libya before a semblance of peace was finally restored in 1990. 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. 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 from 2006 to early 2008, but have since fallen off, in part due to Chad's 2010 rapprochement with Sudan, which previously used Chadian rebels as proxies. Deby in 2011 was reelected to his fourth term in an election that international observers described as proceeding without incident. Power remains in the hands of an ethnic minority.


Country Name:

  • conventional long form: Republic of Chad
  • conventional short form: Chad
  • local long form: Republique du Tchad/Jumhuriyat Tshad
  • local short form: Tchad/Tshad


  • name: N'Djamena
  • population: 808,000
  • geographic coordinates: 12 06 N, 15 02 E
  • time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)


  • 11 August 1960 (from France)

Government Type:

  • Republic

Executive Branch:

  • chief of state: President Lt. Gen. Idriss Deby Itno (since 4 December 1990)
  • head of government: Prime Minister Emmanuel Nadingar (since 5 March 2010)
  • cabinet: Council of State; members are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister

Legislative Branch:

  • structure: unicameral National Assembly

Judicial Branch:

  • structure: Supreme Court; Constitutional Council; High Court of Justice; Court of Appeal; Criminal Courts; Magistrate Courts

People & Society


  • 10,975,648 (global rank: 75)
  • growth rate: 1.98% (global rank: 52)


  • noun: Chadian(s)
  • adjective: Chadian

Major Cities:

  • N'Djamena (capital): 808,000

Ethnic Groups:

  • 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%


  • Muslim 53.1%, Catholic 20.1%, Protestant 14.2%, animist 7.3%, other 0.5%, unknown 1.7%, atheist 3.1%


  • Arabic (official and national), Pulaar, Soninke, Wolof (all national languages), French, Hassaniya

Life Expectancy at Birth:

  • total population: 48.69 years (global rank: 221)
  • male: 47.61 years
  • female: 49.82 years

Infant Mortality:

  • total population: 93.61 deaths/1,000 live births (global rank: 7)
  • male: 99.39 deaths/1,000 live births
  • female: 87.6 deaths/1,000 live births


  • adult prevalence rate: 3.4% (2009 est.) (global rank: 19)
  • people living with AIDS: 210,000 (2009 est.) (global rank: 26)


  • definition: age 15 and over can read and write
  • total population: 25.7%
  • male: 40.8%
  • female: 12.8%


Chad's primarily agricultural economy will continue to be boosted by major foreign direct investment projects in the oil sector that began in 2000. At least 80% of Chad's population relies on subsistence farming and livestock raising 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. The Libyan conflict disrupted inflows of remittances to Chad's impoverished western region which relies on income from Chadians living in Libya. A consortium led by two US companies has been investing $3.7 billion to develop oil reserves - estimated at 1.5 billion barrels - in southern Chad. Chinese companies are also expanding exploration efforts and have completed a 311-km pipeline and the country's first refinery. The nation's total oil reserves are estimated at 1.5 billion barrels. Oil production came on stream in late 2003. Chad began to export oil in 2004. Cotton, cattle, and gum arabic provide the bulk of Chad's non-oil export earnings.

Gross Domestic Product:

  • GDP (PPP): $19.69 billion (global rank: 127)
  • GDP per capita (PPP): $1,900 (global rank: 190)
  • real growth rate: 2.5% (global rank: 133)
  • composition by sector: agriculture: 52.7%, industry: 6.7%, services: 40.6%


  • currency: Cooperation Financiere en Afrique Centrale Franc (XAF)
  • exchange rate (per US Dollar): 473.7


  • population below poverty line: 80%
  • unemployment rate: NA

Agricultural Products:

  • cotton, sorghum, millet, peanuts, rice, potatoes, manioc (tapioca); cattle, sheep, goats, camels


  • oil, cotton textiles, meatpacking, brewing, natron (sodium carbonate), soap, cigarettes, construction materials

Exports Commodities:

  • oil, cattle, cotton, gum arabic

Imports Commodities:

  • machinery and transportation equipment, industrial goods, foodstuffs, textiles



  • Central Africa, south of Libya


  • total: 1.284 million sq km (global rank: 21)
  • land: 1,259,200 sq km
  • water: 24,800 sq km
  • comparative: slightly more than three times the size of California


  • tropical in south, desert in north

Land Use:

  • arable land: 2.8%
  • permanent crops: 0.02%
  • other: 97.18%

Natural Resources:

  • petroleum, uranium, natron, kaolin, fish (Lake Chad), gold, limestone, sand and gravel, salt

Current Environmental Issues:

  • inadequate supplies of potable water; improper waste disposal in rural areas contributes to soil and water pollusion; desertification

Transnational Issues

  • international disputes: since 2003, ad hoc armed militia groups and the Sudanese military have driven hundreds of thousands of Darfur residents into Chad; Chad wishes to be a helpful mediator in resolving the Darfur conflict, and in 2010 established a joint border monitoring force with Suda, which has helped to reduce cross-border banditry and violence; only Nigeria and Cameroon have heeded the Lake Chad Commission's admonition to ratify the delimitation treaty, which also includes the Chad-Niger and Niger-Nigeria boundaries
  • refugees (country of origin): 234,000 (Sudan); 54,200 (Central African Republic)
  • human trafficking: Chad is a source, transit, and destination country for children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation; the majority of children are trafficked within Chad for involuntary domestic servitude, forced cattle herding, forced begging, involuntary agricultural labor, or for commercial sexual exploitation; to a lesser extent, Chadian children are also trafficked to Cameroon, the Central African Republic, and Nigeria for cattle herding

Published: Thursday, September 04, 2008