US DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
BACKGROUND NOTES:  Chad 
 
May 1992 
Official Name:  Republic of Chad 
 
PROFILE 
Geography 
Area:  1,284,634 sq. km. (496,000 sq. mi.); about the size of Texas, 
Oklahoma, and New Mexico combined.  Cities:  Capital--N'Djamena (pop. 
500,000 est.).  Other major cities--Moundou (pop. 120,000), Abeche, 
Sarh.  Terrain:  Desert, mountainous north, large arid central plain, 
fertile lowlands in extreme southern region.  Climate:  Northern desert-
-very dry throughout the year; central plain--hot and dry, with brief 
rainy season mid-June to mid-September; southern lowlands--warm and more 
humid with seasonal rains from late May to early October. 
 
People 
Nationality:  Noun and adjective--Chadian(s).  Population:  5.5 million.  
Annual growth rate:  2.5%.  Density:  4.2 per sq. km. (11 per sq. mi.).  
Life expectancy--46.  Infant mortality rate--132/1,000.  Ethnic groups:  
200 distinct groups--including Toubou (Gourane), Arabs, Fulbe, Kotoko, 
Hausa, Kanembou, Bagirmi, Boulala, Zaghawa, Hadjerai, and Maba--most of 
whom are Muslim, in the north and center. Non-Muslims, Sara (Ngambaye, 
Mbaye, Goulaye), Moudang, Moussei, Massa--in the south.  About 2,500 
French citizens live in Chad. Religions:  Muslim, Christian, 
traditional.  Languages:  French and Arabic (official); 200 indigenous 
Chadian languages. 
 
Government 
Type: Republic.  Independence:  August 11, 1960. 
Branches: Executive--president (head of state, president of the council 
of ministers), council of ministers.  Legislative--Provisional Council 
of the Republic.  Judicial--court of appeals, several lower courts. 
Political party: Six political parties as of May 18, 1992: Patriotic 
Salvation Movement (MPS), Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), 
Democratic Union for Progress in Chad (UDPT), National Rally for 
Democracy and Progress (VIVA-RNDP), Union for Democracy and the Republic 
(UDR), Chadian People's Assembly (RPT).  Suffrage:  None.  
Administrative subdivisions:  14 prefectures, 54 subprefectures, 27 
administrative posts, and 9 municipalities. 
Flag:  Blue, yellow, and red vertical bands from left to right. 
 
Economy 
GDP (est.):  $1 billion.  Per capita income (est.):  $200. 
Natural resources:  Petroleum (unexploited), natron (sodium carbonate), 
kaolin.  
Agriculture:  Products--cotton, gum arabic, livestock, fish, peanuts, 
millet, sorghum, rice, sweet potatoes, cassava, dates.  
Industry:  Types--agriculture and livestock processing plants, natron 
mining.
Trade:  Exports--$155 million:  cotton (46%), livestock, gum arabic.  
Imports--$250 million:  petroleum, machinery, cement, motor vehicles, 
used clothing.  Major trade partners--France and  countries of the 
Customs and Economic Union of Central Africa.  Chad enjoys preferential 
tariffs in France and other EC countries.   
Official exchange rate:  As of April 1992, the exchange rate was 255 CFA 
francs=US$1. 
Economic aid received (1990):  Economic, food relief--$312 million from 
all sources.  US aid--$10.9 million (fiscal year ending 1990).   
 
PEOPLE 
There are more than 200 ethnic groups in Chad.  Those in the north and 
east are generally Muslim; most southerners are animists and Christians.  
Through their long religious and commercial relationships with Sudan and 
Egypt, many of the peoples in Chad's eastern and central regions have 
become more or less Arabized, speaking Arabic and engaging in many other 
Arab cultural practices as well.  Chad's southern peoples took more 
readily to European culture during the French colonial period.  
  
HISTORY 
Chad has known human habitation since time immemorial.  The oldest 
humanoid skull yet found in Chad (Borkou) is more than 1 million years 
old.  Because in ancient times the Saharan area was not totally arid, 
Chad's population was more evenly distributed than it is today.  For 
example, 7,000 years ago,  the north central basin, now in the Sahara, 
was still filled with water, and people lived and farmed around its 
shores.  The cliff paintings in Borkou and Ennedi depict elephants, 
rhinoceri, giraffes, cattle, and camels;  only camels survive there 
today.  The region was known to traders and geographers from the late 
Middle Ages.  Since then, Chad has served as a crossroads for the Muslim 
peoples of the desert and savanna regions and the animist Bantu tribes 
of the tropical forests. 

Sao people lived along the Chari River for thousands of years, but their 
relatively weak chiefdoms were overtaken by the powerful chiefs of what 
were to become the Kanem-Bornu and Baguirmi kingdoms.  At their peak, 
these two kingdoms and the kingdom of Ouaddai controlled a good part of 
what is now Chad, as well as parts of Nigeria and Sudan.  From 1500 to 
1900, Arab slave raids were widespread. The French first penetrated Chad 
in 1891, establishing their authority through military expeditions 
primarily against the Muslim kingdoms.  The first major colonial battle 
for Chad was fought in 1900 between the French Major Lamy and the 
African leader Rabah, both of whom were killed in the battle.  Although 
the French won that battle, they did not declare the territory pacified 
until 1911; armed clashes between colonial troops and local bands 
continued for many years thereafter. 

In 1905, administrative responsibility for Chad was placed under a 
governor general stationed at Brazzaville in what is now Congo.  
Although Chad joined the French colonies of Gabon, Oubangui-Charo, and 
Moyen Congo to form the Federation of French Equatorial Africa (AEF) in 
1910, it did not have colonial status until 1920.  The northern region 
of Chad was occupied by the French in 1914. 

In 1959, the territory of French Equatorial Africa was dissolved, and 
four states--Gabon, the Central African Republic, Congo (Brazzaville), 
and Chad--became autonomous members of the French Community.  In 1960, 
Chad became an independent nation under its first president, Francois 
Tombalbaye. 

A long civil war began as a tax revolt in 1965 and soon set the Muslim 
north and east against the southern-led government.  Even with the help 
of French combat forces, the Tombalbaye Government was never able to 
quell the        insurgency.  Tombalbaye's rule became more irrational 
and brutal, leading the military to carry out a coup in 1975 and to 
install Gen. Felix Malloum, a southerner, as head of state. 

In 1978, Malloum's Government was broadened to include more northerners.  
Internal dissent within the government led the northern Prime Minister, 
Hissein Habre, to send his forces against the national army at N'Djamena 
in February 1979.  This act led to intense fighting among the 11 
factions that emerged.  At this point, the civil war had become so 
widespread that regional governments decided there was no effective 
central government and stepped in. 

A series of four international conferences held first under Nigerian and 
then Organization of African Unity (OAU) sponsorship attempted to bring 
the Chadian factions together.  At the fourth conference, held in Lagos, 
Nigeria, in August 1979, the Lagos accord was signed.  This accord 
established a transitional government pending national elections.  In 
November 1979, the National Union Transition Government (GUNT) was 
created with a mandate to govern for 18 months.  Goukouni Oueddei, a 
northerner, was named President; Col. Kamougue, a southerner, Vice 
President; and Habre, Minister of Defense. 

This coalition proved fragile; in March 1980, fighting broke out again 
between Goukouni's and Habre's forces.  The war dragged on 
inconclusively until Goukouni sought and obtained Libyan intervention.  
More than 7,000 Libyan troops entered Chad.  Although Goukouni requested 
complete withdrawal of external forces in October 1981, the Libyans 
pulled back only to the Aozou Strip in northern Chad. 

An OAU peacekeeping force of 3,500 troops replaced the Libyan forces in 
the remainder of Chad.  The force, consisting of troops from Nigeria, 
Senegal, and Zaire, received funding from the United States.  A special 
summit of the OAU ad hoc committee on the Chad/Libya dispute in February 
1982 called for reconciliation among all the factions, particularly 
those led by Goukouni and Habre, who had resumed fighting in eastern 
Chad.  Although Habre agreed to participate, Goukouni refused to 
negotiate with Habre on an equal basis.  In the series of battles that 
followed, Habre's forces defeated the GUNT, and Habre occupied N'Djamena 
on June 7, 1982.  The OAU force remained neutral during the conflict, 
and all of its elements were withdrawn from Chad at the end of June. 

In the summer of 1983, GUNT forces launched an offensive against 
government positions in northern and eastern Chad.  Following a series 
of initial defeats, government forces succeeded in stopping the rebels.  
At this point, Libyan forces directly intervened once again, bombing 
government forces at Faya Largeau.  Ground attacks followed the 
bombings, forcing government troops to abandon N'Djamena and withdraw to 
the south.  In response to Libya's direct intervention, French and 
Zairian forces were sent to Chad to assist in defending the government.  
With the deployment of French troops, the military situation stabilized, 
leaving the Libyans and rebels in control of all Chad north of the 16th 
parallel. 

In September 1984, the French and the Libyan Governments announced an 
agreement for the mutual withdrawal of their forces from Chad.  By the 
end of the year, all French and Zairian troops were withdrawn.  Libya 
did not honor the withdrawal accord, however, and its forces continued 
to occupy the northern third of Chad. 

President Habre's efforts to deal with his opposition were aided by a 
number of African leaders, especially Gabon's President, Omar Bongo. 
During accords held in Libreville, Gabon, in 1985, two of the chief 
exile opposition groups, the Chadian Democratic Front and the 
Coordinating Action Committee of the Democratic Revolutionary Council, 
made peace with the Habre Government.  By 1986, all of the rebel 
commando (CODO) groups in southern Chad came in from the forests, 
rallied to President Habre's side, and were re-integrated into the 
Forces Armees Nationales Chadiennes (FANT). 

In the fall of 1986, fighters loyal to Goukouni Oueddei, leader of the 
GUNT, began defecting to the FANT.  Although Libyan forces were more 
heavily equipped than were the Chadians, Habre's FANT, with considerable 
assistance from ex-GUNT forces, began attacks against the Libyan 
occupiers in November 1986 and won victories at all the important 
cities.  The Chadian offensive ended in August 1987, with the taking of 
Aozou Town, the principal village in the Aozou Strip.  Chad Government 
forces held the village for a month but lost it to a heavy Libyan 
counterattack. 

The OAU ad hoc committee continued to seek a peaceful solution to the 
Chad/Libya conflict, holding meetings over the years with heads of state 
or ministerial-level officials.  In October 1988, Chad resumed formal 
diplomatic relations with Libya, in accordance with recommendations made 
by the OAU.   
A month later, Habre's reconciliation efforts succeeded, and he took 
power in N'Djamena.  In April 1989, Idriss Deby, one of Habre's leading 
generals, defected and fled to Darfur in Sudan, from which he mounted a 
series of attacks on the eastern region of Chad.  In November 1990, he 
invaded; on December 2, 1990, his forces entered N'Djamena without a 
battle, President Habre and forces loyal to him having fled. After 3 
months of provisional government, a national charter was approved by the 
Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) on February 28, 1991, with Deby as 
President. 
 
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS 
The Fundamental Act of the Republic, proclaimed on October 18, 1982, 
served as the constitutional basis for government until December 10, 
1989, when it was replaced by a new constitution.  The latter was 
revoked by the MPS on December 4, 1990, after Habre's fall.  

Until the December 1990 takeover of the government by the MPS, Chad's 
political structure comprised an executive office, a national assembly, 
and the National Union for Independence and Revolution (UNIR), the sole 
political party.  The MPS embarked on an ambitious democratization 
program, which included authorization for multiple political parties in 
October 1991 and presidential, legislative, and local elections in 1993.  
The current government, self-described as a transitional or provisional 
government, is headed by President Idriss Deby.  Prime Minister Jean 
Bawoyeu Alingue is charged with administration of government.  A council 
of ministers, which the president heads, directs government policy.  
Authority for the current government structure comes from the national 
charter of March 1991.  Until March 1992, the MPS was the only political 
organization permitted.  Since then, the Rally for Democracy and 
Progress (headed by Lol Mahamat Choua), the Democratic Union for 
Progress in Chad (Elie Romba), the National Rally for Democracy and 
Progress (Kassire Joumakoye), the Union for Democracy and the Republic 
(Jean Bawoyeau Alingue), and the Chadian People's Assembly (Dangde 
Laobele Damaye), were authorized.  

The MPS is composed of a 28-member executive committee and a 155-member 
national committee.  Idriss Deby is the president of the MPS.  Chad's 
politics are dominated by the democratization agenda, established by the 
MPS as a priority.  Progress has been made in ameliorating Chad's human 
rights record and in liberalizing politics.  Currently, an outspoken 
press, two trade unions, and two human rights organizations function 
openly. 

Relations between Chad and Libya are important factors in Chad's 
political environment.  Idriss Deby and the MPS have advocated a good-
neighbor policy with all countries bordering Chad, including Libya.  
This has resulted in a lessening of the military tensions evident under 
the Habre regime, but concerns remain as to Libya's political intentions 
in Chad, and the dispute over the Aozou Strip remains unresolved.  The 
case was referred to the International Court of Justice for review. 
 
Principal Government Officials 
President, Head of State, President of the Council of Ministers--Idriss 
Deby  
Prime Minister--Jean Bawoyeu Alingue  
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Mahamat Saleh Ahmat 
Ambassador to the US and UN--Acheik ibn Oumar 
 
Chad maintains an embassy in the United States at 2002 R Street, NW, 
Washington, DC 20009 (tel: 202-462-4009). 
 
DEFENSE 
The Chadian military under former President Hissein Habre was dominated 
by members of Gourane, Zaghawa, Kanembou, Hadjerai, and Massa groups.  
Idriss Deby, a member of a minority Zaghawa clan and a top military 
commander, revolted and fled to the Sudan, taking with him many Zaghawa 
and Hadjerai soldiers in 1989. 

The forces Deby led into N'Djamena on December 1, 1990, and which 
overthrew Habre were mainly of Zaghawas, including a large number of 
Sudanese Zaghawa.  Many of these were recruited while Deby was in the 
bush. Deby's coalition also included a small number of Hadjerais and 
southerners. 

Chad's armed forces numbered about 35,000 at the end of the Habre regime 
but swelled to an estimated 50,000 in the early days of Idriss Deby.  
The growth was a result of recruiting tribal members loyal to Deby and 
his principal commanders and of combining Habre's and Deby's armies into 
the new national Chadian army, FANT. 

With French support, a reorganization of the armed forces was initiated 
early in 1991.  The reorganization goal is to reduce the armed forces 
from 50,000 to 25,000 and to restructure it into a ground army of 
approximately 20,000, consisting of a republican guard, infantry 
regiments, and support battalions.  Also included in the new structure 
is a gendarmerie of about 5,000 and an air force of about 400.  Ethnic 
composition of the regiments is to reflect that of the country as a 
whole. 

A key challenge for the national army of Chad is the reduction portion 
of the overall reorganization plan.  Limited funds to pay mustering out 
bonuses and pensions and a lack of employment opportunities in the 
economy have inhibited efforts.  However, a list of the initial 
reductions has been drafted and is being reviewed by government 
officials for implementation.  
 
ECONOMY 
About 85% of Chadians make their living from subsistence agriculture, 
fishing, and stock raising.  Cotton and livestock are the two major 
exports, accounting for 70% of Chad's export earnings.  In years of 
adequate rainfall, Chad is self-sufficient in food.  In years of 
drought, such as those that occurred in the mid-1970s, in 1984-85, and 
in 1990, large quantities of foodstuffs, primarily cereals, must be 
imported. 

Cotton alone accounts for 10% of agricultural GDP.  Primary markets 
include neighboring Cameroon and Nigeria and France, Germany, and 
Portugal.  In 1986, cotton prices on the world market declined by more 
than 50%, and CotonTchad did not show a profit again until 1991.  
Rehabilitation of CotonTchad, the major cotton company, has been 
financed by France, the Netherlands, the European Economic Community 
(EC), and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development 
(IBRD).  Because of cotton's importance to the economy, the government 
excused the collection of export taxes until the company returned to 
profitability.  CotonTchad is adhering to its agenda and is well on the 
road to recovery. 

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 each year.  Other food crops include millet, 
sorghum, peanuts, rice, sweet potatoes, manioc, cassava, and yams. 

In both the north and the south, industrial activity and minerals 
exploration peaked in 1978.  The civil war and the Libyan intervention 
in 1980 devastated N'Djamena and destroyed most of the economic 
infrastructure there.  Between the first outbreak of heavy fighting in 
N'Djamena in February 1979 and the withdrawal of Libyan forces from the 
capital in 1981, southern Chad became an autonomous area, not to be 
fully integrated into the country until 1983.  The south continued to 
export cotton, but none of the economic benefits of that trade reached 
the rest of the country. 

The effects of the war on foreign investment 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. 

An international consortium is conducting exploratory drilling for 
petroleum in the south.  By mid-1991, seismic studies by an American oil 
company in the north-central desert area were completed.  The World Bank 
has agreed to partially finance a pipeline/mini-refinery/power plant 
project in N'Djamena using small crude oil deposits found north of Lake 
Chad. 
 
FOREIGN RELATIONS 
Chad is officially non-aligned but has close relations with France, the 
former colonial power, and other members of the Western community.  It 
receives economic aid from countries of the European Community, the 
United States, and various international organizations.  Libya supplies 
aid and has an ambassador resident in N'Djamena. 

Other resident diplomatic missions in N'Djamena include the embassies of 
France, the United States, Egypt, Algeria, Iraq, Sudan, Germany, the 
Central African Republic, Zaire, Nigeria, China, Cameroon, and the 
European Economic Community.  A number of other countries have non-
resident ambassadors.  In 1988, Chad decided to  recognize the "State of 
Palestine," which maintains an "embassy" in N'Djamena.  Chad has not 
recognized the State of Israel. 

With the exception of Libya, whose expansionist policies have kept the 
two nations in conflict since 1980, Chad has generally good rapport with 
its neighbors.  Although relations with Libya improved with the advent 
of the Deby Government, strains persist. 

Chad has been an active champion of regional cooperation through the 
Central African Economic and Customs Union, the Lake Chad and Niger 
River Basin Commissions, and the Inter-state Commission for the Fight 
Against the Drought in the Sahel. 
 
US-CHAD RELATIONS 
Relations between the United States and Chad are good.  The American 
Embassy in N'Djamena, established at Chadian independence in 1960, was 
closed from the onset of the heavy fighting in the city in 1980 until 
the withdrawal of the Libyan forces at the end of 1981.  It was reopened 
in January 1982.  The US Agency for International Development  (AID) and 
the US Information Service (USIS) offices resumed activities in Chad in 
September 1983. 

The United States enjoyed close relations with the Habre regime, 
although strains over human rights abuses developed prior to Habre's 
fall.  Cordial relations with the Deby Government continue.  The USAID 
program is expanding, both in terms of project assistance and emergency 
aid.  Approximately $15 million in emergency assistance was granted to 
combat a cholera epidemic and to prevent famine in 1991. 

The US development program in Chad concentrates on the agricultural, 
health, and infrastructure sectors and includes projects in road repair 
and maintenance, maternal and child health, famine early warning 
systems, and agricultural marketing.  USAID works with several American 
voluntary agencies such as CARE, AFRICARE, and VITA on some of its 
projects.  The first Peace Corps volunteers of the post-war period 
arrived in Chad in September 1987, and about 40 are currently assigned. 

Development assistance had increased from $3.3 million in 1982 to $15 
million in 1991. Budget constraints have forced economic support funds 
cutbacks for FY 1992, however. 
 
Principal US Officials 
Ambassador--Richard Bogosian 
Deputy Chief of Mission--Steven R. Buckler 
Political/Consular Officer--Michael Bajek 
Administrative Officer--Thomas Bovaird 
Economic/Commercial Officer--Alexander Bolling 
Public Affairs Officer--Peter Piness 
Regional Security Officer--Jon Myers 
AID Representative--Anne Williams 
Peace Corps Director--Joseph Hindman 
Defense Attache--Ltc. Dale Flora,  USA 
 
The US Embassy in Chad is located on Avenue Felix Eboue, N'Djamena, 
(tel: 235-51-62-18 or 235-51-40-09).  

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