Chad -- Geography --
Official Name: Republic of Chad
Capital City: N'Djamena
Official languages: French, Arabic
Official Currency: CFA franc
Religions: Islam and Christianity
Land Area: 1,284,000 sq km
Relief: Desert predominates in the north, although in the Northwest parts there are mountain ranges. In the central parts there are dry plains and the south parts are occupied by relatively fertile lowlands.
Climate: tropical in the south and desert in the north
Land Divisions: 22 regions
Chad -- History --
The first settlers appeared on the territory of northern Chad between the eighth and seventh millennium BC, when those parts of the Sahara were fertile enough for normal human development.Therefore the country is extremely rich in archaeological sites dating from antiquity. Some findings were aged over 4 000 years. One of the first nations that established a country on these lands were probably Sao, about whose history and culture is known weakly. In 1900 France establishes protectorate of Chad, which turns into a full-fledged colony in 1920, part of French Equatorial Africa. The French government is characterized by total lack of concern for the colony in every aspect. There was no policy for integration of the extremely diverse ethnic groups. Chad received its independence on August 11, 1960. The first president is Francois Tombalbaye. He banned all opposition parties and became a leader of an authoritarian country. In 1965 the civil war broke out. Ten years later Tombalbaye was overthrown and killed, but the tension and hostilities in Chad continued. In 1979 rebel groups occupied the capital N'Djamena, causing full decentralization and collapse of the government system, which in turn reduced French influence. Libya sent troops in that period, but was defeated until 1987 and was completely repulsed. The new president - Hissene Habre was supported by France. He established a dictatorship characterized by the massacre of different tribes. During his government between 30 000 and 40 000 people were killed.
Hissene Habre was overthrown in 1990 by a military coup d’etat, led by General Idriss Deby, who is still a president. A multiparty system was created, but the power outside presidency is limited.
Lately, oil revenues give hope for a peaceful future. However, attacks by rebel groups in northern and eastern Chad are still a problem.
Chad -- Economy --
According to the Human Development Index of the UN, Chad is the fifth poorest country in the world. About 80% of the population lives below the poverty line. High corruption impedes the development of a stable market economy. Oil production industry brings the largest profit. In recent years there is seen growth of foreign investments due to the relative stabilization and end the civil war. The largest investment so far is estimated at $ 3.7 billion - the development of the Doba oil fields near two large American corporations. Chinese companies are also interested in the same sector. In 2006, Chad signed a memorandum of the World Bank, according to which 70 percent of oil revenues must be spent on infrastructure projects and development of the country.
The nominal GDP is estimated at about $ 9 106 000 000 for the 2008. Annual GDP growth was 1.7 percent at the end of 2008. The workforce, which is around 3.75 million people, is almost entirely occupied in the agricultural sector. Its main products are cotton, sorghum, peanuts, tobacco, rice, cattle, sheep, goats and camels. Industrial activities include oil, cotton fabric, beer, soap, cigarettes, construction materials and meat packaging.Chad is the country with the highest worldwide deflation (-8.8%).
Exports of goods in 2007 are estimated at $ 4.219 billion and imports at $ 1.149 billion. Major trading partners are the United States , China, France, Germany and Cameroon. Currency and gold reserves amount to $ 997.3 million. External debt is relatively small compared to overall GDP and is estimated at approximately $ 1.6 billion for 2005. The energy sector is among the most underdeveloped ones. There is only one energy company in Chad - STEE, which is a quasi-official. It provides electricity to 15 percent of the residents of the capital and only 1.5% of the total population. Perhaps in the future the country will be able to produce solar and nuclear energy respectively because of its geographical location and deposits of uranium ore in the north. Water scarcity is one of the biggest problems in Chad. Access to drinking water have only 48% of the population, and to sewerage - just 2%.
Chad -- Culture --
The official and also the most common languages in Chad are Arabic and French. Due to the exceptional diversity of ethnic groups, the country has a very rich cultural heritage. The government makes great efforts to preserve this heritage and to promote it abroad.
During the year there are six national holidays and many Islamic and Christian holidays.
In Chad there is a rich variety of musical instruments and the large ethnic groups have their own traditional instruments. The most common of the strings are kinde (a type of harp) and hu hu (instrument similar to a guitar). Also popular are kodjo drums and many other types of flutes, harps and percussion instruments. The traditional musical styles dominate in Chad. Piracy remains a problem for the development of the music industry.
Food and drinks
Millet is the main crop grown in the country. Dozens of dishes and drinks are made from it.
One of them is Alish - millet balls, dipped in different sauces, like a soup. Lake Chad is a major source of fish. Traditional beverages include sweet drink (carcaje) whose sugar is extracted from the leaves of hibiscus, and beer made from millet. Red millet beer is known as billi-billi and that of white millet is called coshate. These drinks, however, dominate mainly in southern regions.
Due to the economic and political difficulties of the country very few writers from Chad managed to obtain recognition. From 1960 there have been written about a hundred books of Chadian authors. More popular writers are Joseph Brahim Seid, Antoine Bangui and Koulsy Lamko. In 2003 Chad's sole literary critic, Ahmat Taboye, published his "Anthologie de la litterature tchadienne".
Football is Chad's most popular sport. The national football team is not among the strongest in Africa, but there is progress in recent years. Other popular sports are wrestling, basketball, boxing. Chadian athletes have participated in many summer Olympic games, although they have failed to win a medal.
Chad -- Political system, law and government --
Chad is a presidential republic. The president is head of state and has considerable power. He chooses the prime minister and government and has great influence over the selection of judges, prosecutors, generals, etc. When a new law is passed he shall approve or reject it within 15 days.
Chad's president is elected directly by the people for five years. The legal system is based on the French one. The legislative power is in the hands of the National Assembly. It has 155 members, each with a 4-year term. In Chad, there are about 80 political parties.
Many studies show that Chad is the most corrupt country in the world.