Economic and Political Overview

flag Chad Chad: Economic and Political Overview

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline | COVID-19 Country Response

 

Economic Indicators

Having been an oil-producing nation since 2003, Chad had grown highly reliant on this resource, shifting away from its previous agricultural-based economy. Despite the ongoing humanitarian crisis sparked by the war in Sudan, Chad's economy had been poised to achieve its strongest performance since 2014, with GDP growth projected at 4.1% in 2023. This growth had been driven by a 4.4% increase in oil production. Non-oil GDP had been expected to expand by 4.1% (compared to 2% in 2022), largely due to substantial public investment. Following the floods of 2022, the recovery of the agricultural sector had been anticipated to significantly contribute to growth, amounting to 1.6 percentage points (World Bank). In 2024, growth is projected to slow down to 2.7%, with non-oil GDP forecasted at 3.4%. This deceleration is attributed to an anticipated nearly 2% decrease in global oil prices and a decrease in public investment. Over the 2025-2026 timeframe, growth is expected to average 3.1% (0.1% per capita), with non-oil GDP growth estimated at 3.5% during the same period, according to the World Bank.

The significant budget surplus observed over the past two years, largely fueled by substantial oil revenues, is expected to persist in 2024. Public revenues should remain bolstered by the uptrend in global oil prices, alongside efforts to enhance revenue collection through tax legislation simplification and expanding the tax base. These measures align with the government's commitments to the IMF program, essential for disbursements under the Extended Credit Facility. However, the surplus is projected to decrease compared to 2023, attributed to elevated defense expenditures and continued substantial spending to address food insecurity (Coface). With the signing of a debt restructuring agreement in November 2022, public debt as a proportion of GDP is expected to continue declining (from 43.2% in 2023 to 34.9% by 2025, as per the IMF). The agreement facilitated the implementation of the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). Covering USD 3 billion of external debt, over a third of which is commercial debt owed predominantly to Glencore, a British-Swiss mining and commodities trading company, the agreement was secured despite challenges stemming from the diverse creditor base. Coupled with ECF disbursements, this agreement will mitigate the risk of over-indebtedness in 2024. Meanwhile, inflation was projected at 7% in 2023, but should halve in 2024 amid improved agricultural production.

Chad grapples with widespread poverty and vulnerability, with 42.3% of its population residing below the national poverty threshold. Extreme poverty, defined as living on less than USD 2.15 per day per capita, has also surged, increasing from 31.2% in 2018 to 34.9% in 2021 and 35.4% in 2023 (World Bank). Moreover, the formal unemployment rate in Chad has increased, adding to the predominantly informal and often underutilized workforce.

 
Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 12.1012.6013.1913.7914.44
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 3.44.03.73.02.9
GDP per Capita (USD) 695703716727741
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 48.843.238.734.932.7
Inflation Rate (%) n/a7.03.53.03.0
Current Account (billions USD) 0.750.03-0.44-0.64-0.74
Current Account (in % of GDP) 6.20.2-3.3-4.7-5.1

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

Agriculture and livestock breeding are important economic activities that employ 62.9% of the population - most of them are engaged in subsistence farming. Overall, the primary sector accounts for 22.6% of Chad’s GDP (World Bank). Main crops grown are sorghum, millet, and berebere, with minor production of cotton, sugarcane and peanut. A vast part of Chad’s landscape is desert, and the country’s most fertile croplands (the areas with an average annual rainfall of 800 millimetres or more) are in the Soudanian, which accounts for about 10% of the total land area. The effects of the extraordinary flood occurred in 2022 negatively impacted the agricultural production of 2022/2023, which amounted to 2,798,642 tonnes, representing a decrease of 1.2% compared to the five-year average production.

The industrial sector contributes half of GDP and employs 10% of the active workforce. The petroleum sector dominates the economic activity – accounting for about 60% of export revenues - and attracts the bulk of foreign direct investments. Processing of cotton and cottonseed oil are other major industries. In an effort to diversify the economy and make it less dependent on global oil prices, the government of Chad has launched its national development plan (PND). However, high costs of energy and transport prevents the emergence of a robust industrial sector in the country. Overall, the manufacturing sector is estimated to contribute a mere 3% of GDP.

The services sector is estimated to account for 26.2% of Chad’s GDP and for 21% of total employment. While Chad has great potential for tourism, insecurity and infrastructure deficit have been hampering the sector’s growth. Chad's banking sector, characterized by limited size and service offerings, is currently comprised of ten operational commercial banks.

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 68.9 9.7 21.4
Value Added (in % of GDP) 22.6 49.5 26.2
Value Added (Annual % Change) 2.0 4.1 0.7

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

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Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
CFA Franc BEAC (XAF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 MUR 16.6816.8816.3816.5014.63

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 
 

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Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
50,4/100
World Rank:
158
Regional Rank:
38

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

 
 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

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Foreign Trade in Figures

The country is relatively open to foreign trade, which accounts for 91% of GDP (World Bank, latest available). Chad has adopted the common external tariffs of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) and the Community of Sahel and Sahara States (CEN-SAD). It has also been a member of the WTO since 1996. Despite free trade between CEMAC countries, trade within the area is low due to non-tariff barriers, and frequent border closures hinder trade. According to data by OEC, in 2022, the country mainly exported crude petroleum (USD 3.33B), gold (USD 876M), other oily seeds (USD 106M), insect resins (USD 30.6M), and raw cotton (USD 29.6M), whereas imports were led by vaccines, blood, antisera, toxins, and cultures (USD 71.2M), jewellery (USD 63.6M), electric generating sets (USD 61.4M), broadcasting equipment (USD 52M), and packaged medicaments (USD 47.5M).

In terms of exports, the main partners in 2022 were Germany (USD 1.1B), China (USD 933M), the United Arab Emirates (USD 883M), Chinese Taipei (USD 512M), and France (USD 419M); with imports coming chiefly from China (USD 281M), the United Arab Emirates (USD 226M), France (USD 82.3M), United States (USD 78.9M), and Belgium (USD 75.3M – data OEC).

The trade balance is heavily dependent on oil, which accounts for around three-quarters of exports. According to the WTO, imports of goods amounted to USD 2.1 billion in 2022, while exports reached USD 3.5, supported by higher oil prices. The country is a net service importer (USD 3 billion in imports in 2022, vs. USD 271 million in exports). As per the World Bank, the country’s trade balance was estimated to be positive by 11.6% of GDP in 2022 (from a deficit of 5.5% one year earlier).

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 1,9711,9241,5371,9272,100
Exports of Goods (million USD) 2,6702,5881,7132,6943,500
Imports of Services (million USD) 1,6701,7521,8652,0543,090
Exports of Services (million USD) 308305213223271
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 1.44.01.85.12.0
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 4.66.01.1-0.45.0
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 38.037.842.044.239.6
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 36.236.726.738.851.2
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 74.274.668.783.090.8

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank , Latest Available Data

 
 
 
 
 

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministries
Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization
Ministry of Finance and Budget
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chadians Abroad and International Cooperation
Statistical Office
National Institute for Statistics, Economical Studies and Demography
Central Bank
Bank of Central African States
Stock Exchange
Central African Stock Exchange - BVMAC
Search Engines
Google Chad
Economic Portals
Fortune of Africa Chad
Journal du Tchad
Le Pays
Alwihda

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Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Mahamat Déby (since 20 April 2021)
Prime Minister: Succès Masra (since 1 January 2024)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: May 2024
Legislative: to be confirmed
Main Political Parties
Chad is a one-party dominant state, with the nationalistic Patriotic Salvation Movement holding power. Although opposition parties are allowed, they are widely considered to have no real chance of gaining power. There are around 60 political parties in the country (of which around 15 were represented in the National Assembly), including:

- Rally for Democracy and Progress
- National Rally for Development and Progress
- Federation, Action for the Republic (radical and federalist)
- Chadian Action for Unity and Socialism (Marxist)
- National Union for Democracy and Renewal (socialist)
- Union for Renewal and Democracy
- Action for Renewal of Chad
- People's Movement for Democracy in Chad
- National Democratic and Federal Convention
- National Democratic and Social Convention
- Rally for the Republic - Lingui
- National Rally for Democracy in Chad
- National Union
- Rally of Democratic Forces in Chad.

Type of State
Chad is a presidential republic.
Executive Power
The president of Chad is the head of state and is elected directly by the people for a renewable five-year term (the constitutional provision which limited the president's term to a maximum of two mandates was removed in 2005). The president appoints the prime minister and the cabinet (known as the Council of State). The president has a strong influence on the legislative power, as he can dissolve the National Assembly in the situation of persistent conflicts between the executive and the legislative branches or if twice within a year the National Assembly rejects the government’s program.
Legislative Power
The legislative power in Chad is vested both in the parliament and the government. The parliament is unicameral, with the 188 deputies of the National Assembly elected by universal suffrage every four years (while the president of the assembly is elected by the deputies every two years). The deputies, as well as the members of the executive, may propose legislation, and once it is approved by the Assembly, the president can decide to either sign or reject the law within 15 days. However, on 20 April 2021, when President Idriss Déby was killed, the National Assembly was dissolved and its functions were assumed by the Transitional Military Council, which was led by Deby’s son. On 10 October 2022, however, the Council was also dissolved and replaced by a transitional administration appointed by Mahamat Déby.
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
123/180
 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Not Free
Political Freedom:
7/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

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COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) undertaken by the government of Chad please consult the country's dedicated section in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.

 

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Latest Update: April 2024