After emerging from a period of social and political unrest, the government of Chad is inviting prospective foreign and local investors to take advantage of a wide range of incentives the country is poised to offer. Strategically positioned in the very heart of Africa where east, west, north and central Africa meet, the nation’s leaders have resolved to diversify its economy in the face of deepening socio-economic challenges.
During a press briefing for African finance ministers in Washington, DC, Chad’s Finance Minister Mr. Mahamat Alamine Bourma Treye described his nation as a virgin country that is willing to work with key players in the private sector from all over the world to accomplish its goals:
“The government has focused on diversification of the economy of the country right now. This diversification is going to require the support from everyone, including our partners. Thus far, assistance by the international community is very significant, but nonetheless, insufficient given the tremendous challenges Chad faces,” he added.
Chad’s location in the Sahel region exposes it to economic, security and environmental shocks that will surely be on potential investors’ minds.
According to Treye, the worldwide drop in prices of raw materials and oil has in turn caused a reduction in over 60 percent of the country’s budget revenue. In addition, widespread political instability has forced Chad to pursue important stabilization efforts in the sub region.
“You might recall that Chad has had interventions with Mali, Cameroon, Nigeria, in Central Africa, in the fight against Boko Haram, and Chad presently with a border of over 1,000 kilometers with Libya is facing Daesh. This is not just a threat to Africa or to the sub region. In fact, it is a global threat.
Related to the security issues is what Treye labels the “humanitarian shock” – over 1.5 million refugees and displaced persons who have fled into Chad from all directions: Sudan in the east, Nigeria and Niger to the west, and even the Democratic Republic of Congo in the south.
If that is not enough, countries in the Sahel region are also vulnerable to devastating natural occurrences such as drought, which further exacerbate poverty in the affected country. The minister added that over 2 million Chadians are exposed to such potential disasters.
Signs of New Life
Before war plunged the nation into instability around 2008, Chad was able to exploit a modest supply of oil to support its development goals, Treye explained.
“The small amount that was produced was managed by a law that devotes more than 50 percent for social sectors, national education, health, rural development, in other words, agriculture and livestock, as well as environment.
“A substantial portion also is being used to give more dynamics to the private sector. So, partners coming into Chad, especially from the private sector, will be very welcomed,” he added.
Other signs of progress include a reformed Chamber of Commerce and Industry as well as an economic and financial program with the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Despite all the constraints it entails, Treye identified positive outcomes expected to flow from such partnerships:
“We want to benefit from the expertise of the IMF, its advice, and its support. We value the impact of the IMF, the World Bank, and other technical and financial partners, such as the African Development Bank (ADB) and the European Union (EU) in order to achieve macroeconomic stability and be able to confront the difficult situation the country is currently going through.”