Information about the Chad Country

Facts


Population: 14,9 million(2017)
Area: 1,284 million km²
Capital City: N’Djamena


About Chad
Chad, officially the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in north-central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west. It is the fifth largest country in Africa and the second-largest in Central Africa in terms of area. Chad has several regions: a desert zone in the north, an arid Sahelian belt in the centre and a more fertile Sudanian Savanna zone in the south. Lake Chad, after which the country is named, is the largest wetland in Chad and the second-largest in Africa. The capital N’Djamena is the largest city. Chad’s official languages are Arabic and French. Chad is home to over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups. The most popular religion of Chad is Islam (at 55%), followed by Christianity (at 40%).


Currency

The official currency of Chad is the Central African franc. It is denoted by the ISO 4217 code XAF. The franc is nominally subdivided into hundred centimes. It is also the currency of five other states in central Africa: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
The use of credit cards is very limited and ATM cash machines are only available in main cities and generally will accept only Visa cards.
Visa Credit Cards can usually be used in the international hotels and the more internationally inclined restaurants of the main cities. However, it is always advisable to have cash because frequently these credit card machines do not work or are down without connection. You will not be able to use Travellers Cheques.


Climate


Each year a tropical weather system known as the intertropical front crosses Chad from south to north, bringing a wet season that lasts from May to October in the south, and from June to September in the Sahel. Variations in local rainfall create three major geographical zones. The Sahara lies in the country’s northern third. Yearly precipitations throughout this belt are under 50 millimetres (2.0 in); only the occasional spontaneous palm grove survives, and the only ones to do so are south of the Tropic of Cancer.
The Sahara gives way to a Sahelian belt in Chad’s centre; precipitation there varies from 300 to 600 mm (11.8 to 23.6 in) per year. In the Sahel, a steppe of thorny bushes (mostly acacias) gradually gives way to the south to East Sudanian savanna in Chad’s Sudanese zone. Yearly rainfall in this belt is over 900 mm (35.4 in).


Languages


Chad’s official languages are Arabic and French, but over 100 languages and dialects are spoken. Due to the important role played by itinerant Arab traders and settled merchants in local communities, Chadian Arabic has become a lingua franca.


Economy


The United Nations’ Human Development Index ranks Chad as the seventh poorest country in the world, with 80% of the population living below the poverty line. The GDP (Purchasing power parity) per capita was estimated as US$1,651 in 2009. Chad is part of the Bank of Central African States, the Customs and Economic Union of Central Africa (UDEAC) and the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).
Chad’s currency is the CFA franc. In the 1960s, the Mining industry of Chad produced sodium carbonate, or natron. There have also been reports of gold-bearing quartz in the Biltine Prefecture. However, years of civil war have scared away foreign investors; those who left Chad between 1979 and 1982 have only recently begun to regain confidence in the country’s future. In 2000 major direct foreign investment in the oil sector began, boosting the country’s economic prospects.


Over 80% of Chad’s population relies on subsistence farming and livestock raising for its livelihood. The crops grown and the locations of herds are determined by the local climate. In the southernmost 10% of the territory lies the nation’s most fertile cropland, with rich yields of sorghum and millet. In the Sahel only the hardier varieties of millet grow, and these with much lower yields than in the south. On the other hand, the Sahel is ideal pastureland for large herds of commercial cattle and for goats, sheep, donkeys and horses. The Sahara’s scattered oases support only some dates and legumes. Chad’s cities face serious difficulties of municipal infrastructure; only 48% of urban residents have access to potable water and only 2% to basic sanitation.
Before the development of oil industry, cotton dominated industry and the labour market had accounted for approximately 80% of export earnings. Cotton remains a primary export, although exact figures are not available. Rehabilitation of Cotontchad, a major cotton company weakened by a decline in world cotton prices, has been financed by France, the Netherlands, the European Union, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). The parastatal is now expected to be privatised. Other than Cotton, Cattle and Gum Arabic are dominant.
If Chad can maintain a semblance of stability foreign investments will eventually return, but even 24 years after the last successful coup that brought President Idris Deby to power, investors are still wary of investing in Chad.


Education


Educators face considerable challenges 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 percent of boys attend primary school, and more than half of the population is illiterate. Higher education is provided at the University of N’Djamena. At 33 percent, Chad has one of the lowest literacy rates of Sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor in Chad reported that school attendance of children aged 5 to 14 was as low as 39%. This can also be related to the issue of child labor as the report also stated that 53% of children aged 5 to 14 were working children, and that 30% of children aged 7 to 14 combined work and school. A more recent DOL report listed cattle herding as a major agricultural activity that employed underage children.


Government and politics


Chad’s constitution provides for a strong executive branch headed by a president who dominates the political system. The president has the power to appoint the prime minister and the cabinet, and exercises considerable influence over appointments of judges, generals, provincial officials and heads of Chad’s para-statal firms. In cases of grave and immediate threat, the president, in consultation with the National Assembly, may declare a state of emergency. The president is directly elected by popular vote for a five-year term; in 2005 constitutional term limits were removed, allowing a president to remain in power beyond the previous two-term limit. Most of Déby’s key advisers are members of the Zaghawa ethnic group, although southern and opposition personalities are represented in government.


Culture


Because of its great variety of peoples and languages, Chad possesses a rich cultural heritage. The Chadian government has actively promoted Chadian culture and national traditions by opening the Chad National Museum and the Chad Cultural Centre. Six national holidays are observed throughout the year, and movable holidays include the Christian holiday of Easter Monday and the Muslim holidays of Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha, and Eid Milad Nnabi.


Cuisine


Millet is the staple food throughout Chad. It is used to make balls of paste that are dipped in sauces. In the north this dish is known as alysh; in the south, as biya. Fish is popular, which is generally prepared and sold either as salanga (sun-dried and lightly smoked Alestes and Hydrocynus) or as banda (smoked large fish). Carcaje is a popular sweet red tea extracted from hibiscus leaves. Alcoholic beverages, though absent in the north, are popular in the south, where people drink millet beer, known as billi-billi when brewed from red millet, and as coshate when from white millet.


Religion


Chad is a religiously diverse country. Estimates from Pew Research Center in 2010 found that 55.7% of the population was Muslim, while 22.5% was Catholic and a further 17.6% was Protestant. Among Muslims, 48% professed to be Sunni, 21% Shia, 4% Ahmadi and 23% just Muslim. A small proportion of the population continues to practice indigenous religions. Animism includes a variety of ancestor and place-oriented religions whose expression is highly specific. Islam is expressed in diverse ways; for example, 55% of Muslim Chadians belong to Sufi orders. Christianity arrived in Chad with the French and American missionaries; as with Chadian Islam, it syncretises aspects of pre-Christian religious beliefs. Muslims are largely concentrated in northern and eastern Chad, and animists and Christians live primarily in southern Chad and Guéra. The constitution provides for a secular state and guarantees religious freedom; different religious communities generally co-exist without problems.
The majority of Muslims in the country are adherents of a moderate branch of mystical Islam (Sufism). Its most common expression is the Tijaniyah, an order followed by the 35% of Chadian Muslims which incorporates some local African religious elements. A small minority of the country’s Muslims hold more fundamentalist practices, which, in some cases, may be associated with Saudi-oriented Salafi movements.


Roman Catholics represent the largest Christian denomination in the country. Most Protestants, including the Nigeria-based “Winners’ Chapel”, are affiliated with various evangelical Christian groups. Members of the Bahá’í and Jehovah’s Witnesses religious communities also are present in the country. Both faiths were introduced after independence in 1960 and therefore are considered to be “new” religions in the country.
Chad is home to foreign missionaries representing both Christian and Islamic groups. Itinerant Muslim preachers, primarily from Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, also visit. Saudi Arabian funding generally supports social and educational projects and extensive mosque construction.


Get around


To leave the Capital you will need written permission from the government. This can be obtained by visiting Chad with a locally recognized entity (either tourist or work-related). You cannot simply enter Chad and drive where you wish. You will probably get lost very quickly and soldiers at the numerous checkpoints (who tend to be very polite and professional) will stop you and report you.
Within the Capital, there are at several public transport options. Taxis fares in the city are generally fixed at 3,000 francs (cfa) during the day and 5,000 francs (cfa) at night. There are also moto-taxis (motorcyle taxis) in most neighborhoods. Their fares range from 250 francs (cfa) to 1,000 francs (cfa).


Safety


Chad is consistently engulfed in political turmoil and attacks from rebels will probably not happen, but are certainly a reality. The situation has stagnated, but it remains a threat. Violence from the Darfur conflict is pouring into Eastern Chad from Sudan, a country which shares hostilities with Chad. Any activity outside of N’Djamena is done with difficulty at best. Northern Chad is barren, scorching desert and guides (good luck) and meticulous planning are required.
N’Djamena is RELATIVELY safe, although one should be wary of petty street crime and corrupt police/officials. Most border crossings are extremely difficult (Sudan and Libya not being a viable option) although the border crossings with Niger and Cameroon are relatively painless.


Health


Drink water brands you recognize. Eat food that you buy in grocery stores or from places recommended by people you trust.

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