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GDP (2002): $1.8 billion.
Per capita income (2002): $237.
Natural resources: Petroleum, natron (sodium carbonate), kaolin, gold, bauxite, tin, tungsten, titanium, iron ore.
Agriculture (2000, 38% of GDP): Products--cotton, gum arabic, livestock, fish, peanuts, millet, sorghum, rice, sweet potatoes, cassava, dates, manioc. Arable land-- 30%.
Industry (2002, 13% of GDP): Types--meat packing, beer brewing, soap, cigarettes, construction materials, natron mining, soft-drink bottling.
Services (2000): 49% of GDP.
Trade: Exports--$198 million (f.o.b., 2002 est.): cotton, livestock, gum arabic. Major markets (1999)--Portugal, Germany, Thailand, Costa Rica, South Africa, France, Nigeria, Cameroon. Imports--$798 million (f.o.b., 2002 est.): petroleum products, machinery and transportation equipment, foodstuffs, industrial goods, textiles. Major suppliers (1999)--France, Cameroon, Nigeria, India.
Central government budget (2002): Revenues--$161 million. Expenditures--$611 million.
Defense (2002): $31 million.
National holiday: Independence Day, August 11.
Fiscal year: Calendar year.
U.S. aid received (2001): Economic, food relief--$238 million from all sources, (including $30 million committed by African Development Bank.
In 2002, Chad's nominal GDP was estimated at just over $1.84 billion with per capita income at about $237. Cotton, cattle, and gum arabic are Chadís major exports. More than 80% of the work force is involved in agriculture (subsistence farming, herding, and fishing). Like many other developing countries, Chad has a small formal sector and a large, thriving informal sector. Government statistics indicate the following distribution: Agriculture--38%(farming, livestock, fishing); industry--13%; and services--49%. Chad is highly dependent on foreign assistance. Its principal donors include the European Union, France, and the multilateral lending agencies.
Primary markets for Chadian exports include neighboring Cameroon and Nigeria and France, Germany, and Portugal. At present, cotton plays the dominant role, although exact figures are not available. Rehabilitation of CotonTchad, the major cotton company that suffered from a decline in world cotton prices, has been financed by France, the Netherlands, the European Economic Community (EC), and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). The parastatal is now being privatized.
The other major export is livestock, herded to neighboring countries. Herdsmen in the Sudanic and Sahelian zones raise cattle, sheep, goats, and, among the non-Muslims, a few pigs. In the Saharan region, only camels and a few hardy goats can survive. Chad also sells smoked and dried fish to its neighbors and exports several million dollars worth of gum arabic to Europe and the United States each year. Other food crops include millet, sorghum, peanuts, rice, sweet potatoes, manioc, cassava, and yams.
After averaging 0.8% in 1999-2000, Chadís real GDP growth jumped to 8.9% in 2001 and 10.6% in 2002 as the Doba oil project accelerated. Inflation rose from 3.7% in 2000 to 12.4% in 2001, then dropped to 5.2% in 2002. These fluctuations are due in large part to increasing demand from the Doba project but also to recent fluctuations in agricultural production. After a disappointing agricultural campaign in 2000, increased production during the 2001-02 timeframe helped reduce inflation in 2002. The disappointing harvest during the 2002-03 timeframe, however, may result in increased inflation in 2003. Chadís economic performance, at least until the onset of oil exports in late 2003, continues to depend on fluctuations in rainfall and in prices of its principal export commodities, especially cotton.
Since 1995, the Government of Chad has made incremental progress in implementing structural reforms and improving government finances under two successive structural adjustment programs. Most state enterprises have been partially or completely privatized, nonpriority public spending has been lessened and the government has gradually liberalized some key sectors of the economy. Liberalization of the telecommunications, cotton, and energy sectors is expected to proceed over the next several years. In May 2001, the IMF Chad qualified for the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief initiative.
The effects on foreign investment of years of civil war are still felt today, as investors who left Chad between 1979-82 have only recently begun to regain confidence in the country's future. By early 1983, the return of internal security and a successful Geneva donors' conference had prompted a number of international business representatives to make exploratory visits to Chad. By far the most important venture to date is the oil extraction project in southern Chad.
Beginning in late 2000, the Doba Basin oil project has stimulated major investments into Chad and it is expected to double government tax revenues by 2004. It is hoped that this project will serve as a catalyst for the entire economy by helping to reduce energy costs and attract additional trade and investment in other sectors. The question remains whether Chad will continue to consolidate its economic reforms and invest its oil revenues wisely in order to encourage a wider range of economic initiatives. Recent political controversy surrounding the contested 2001 presidential election have continued to dampen Chad's economic prospects by exposing the weaknesses in Chad's political institutions.
The IMF has projected high growth rates during the next 3 years, as the Doba basin oil project reaches full export capacity. The Exxon Mobil-led pumps oil from reserves in Chad through an underground pipeline to coastal Cameroon, where it is loaded onto tankers. Following a crucial World Bank financing decision in June 2000, the Doba project officially began its construction phase in October 2000. From 2000 until 2003, an American-led consortium invested $3.7 billion into the project, approximately $2 billion of which was invested in Chad. By 2004, the consortium plans to produce between 150,000 to 250,000 barrels of oil a day from three fields in southern Chad. The project is expected to provide between $80 and $100 million in annual government revenues during the 25-year production phase.