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Quick Facts
CurrencyCommunaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States
Areatotal: 1.284 million sq km
water: 24,800 sq km
land: 1,259,200 sq km
Population8,997,237 (July 2002 est.)
LanguageFrench (official), Arabic (official), Sara (in south), more than 120 different languages and dialects
ReligionMuslim 51%, Christian 35%, animist 7%, other 7%

Chad, part of France's African holdings until 1960, endured three decades of ethnic warfare as well as invasions by Libya before a semblance of peace was finally restored in 1990. The government eventually suppressed or came to terms with most political-military groups, settled a territorial dispute with Libya on terms favorable to Chad, drafted a democratic constitution, and held multiparty presidential and National Assembly elections in 1996 and 1997 respectively. In 1998 a new rebellion broke out in northern Chad, which continued to escalate throughout 2000. A peace agreement, signed in January 2002 between the government and the rebels, provides for the demobilization of the rebels and their reintegration into the political system. Despite movement toward democratic reform, power remains in the hands of a northern ethnic oligarchy.


Central Africa, south of Libya
Geographic coordinates 
15 00 N, 19 00 E
Map references 
total: 1.284 million sq km
water: 24,800 sq km
land: 1,259,200 sq km
Area - comparative 
slightly more than three times the size of California
Land boundaries 
total: 5,968 km
border countries: Cameroon 1,094 km, Central African Republic 1,197 km, Libya 1,055 km, Niger 1,175 km, Nigeria 87 km, Sudan 1,360 km
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims 
none (landlocked)
tropical in south, desert in north
broad, arid plains in center, desert in north, mountains in northwest, lowlands in south
Elevation extremes 
lowest point: Djourab Depression 160 m
highest point: Emi Koussi 3,415 m
Natural resources 
petroleum (unexploited but exploration under way), uranium, natron, kaolin, fish (Lake Chad)
Land use 
arable land: 2.78%
permanent crops: 0.02%
other: 97.2% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land 
200 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards 
hot, dry, dusty harmattan winds occur in north; periodic droughts; locust plagues
Environment - current issues 
inadequate supplies of potable water; improper waste disposal in rural areas contributes to soil and water pollution; desertification
Environment - international agreements 
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping
Geography - note 
landlocked; Lake Chad is the most significant water body in the Sahel


8,997,237 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure 
0-14 years: 47.8% (male 2,162,732; female 2,135,354)
15-64 years: 49.4% (male 2,108,134; female 2,340,189)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 103,683; female 147,145) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate 
3.27% (2002 est.)
Birth rate 
47.74 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate 
15.06 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate 
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio 
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate 
93.46 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth 
total population: 51.27 years
female: 53.4 years (2002 est.)
male: 49.22 years
Total fertility rate 
6.5 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 
5%-7% (2001)
noun: Chadian(s)
adjective: Chadian
Ethnic groups 
200 distinct groups; in the north and center: Arabs, Gorane (Toubou, Daza, Kreda), Zaghawa, Kanembou, Ouaddai, Baguirmi, Hadjerai, Fulbe, Kotoko, Hausa, Boulala, and Maba, most of whom are Muslim; in the south: Sara (Ngambaye, Mbaye, Goulaye), Moundang, Moussei, Massa, most of whom are Christian or animist; about 1,000 French citizens live in Chad
Muslim 51%, Christian 35%, animist 7%, other 7%
French (official), Arabic (official), Sara (in south), more than 120 different languages and dialects
definition: age 15 and over can read and write French or Arabic
total population: 40%
male: 49%
female: 31% (1998)


Country name 
conventional long form: Republic of Chad
conventional short form: Chad
local long form: Republique du Tchad
local short form: Tchad
Government type 
Administrative divisions 
14 prefectures (prefectures, singular - prefecture); Batha, Biltine, Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti, Chari-Baguirmi, Guera, Kanem, Lac, Logone Occidental, Logone Oriental, Mayo-Kebbi, Moyen-Chari, Ouaddai, Salamat, Tandjile
note: instead of 14 prefectures, there may be a new administrative structure of 28 departments (departments, singular - department), and 1 city*; Assongha, Baguirmi, Bahr El Gazal, Bahr Koh, Batha Oriental, Batha Occidental, Biltine, Borkou, Dababa, Ennedi, Guera, Hadjer Lamis, Kabia, Kanem, Lac, Lac Iro, Logone Occidental, Logone Oriental, Mandoul, Mayo-Boneye, Mayo-Dallah, Monts de Lam, N'djamena*, Ouaddai, Salamat, Sila, Tandjile Oriental, Tandjile Occidental, Tibesti
11 August 1960 (from France)
National holiday 
Independence Day, 11 August (1960)
passed by referendum 31 March 1996
Legal system 
based on French civil law system and Chadian customary law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
Flag description 
three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), yellow, and red; similar to the flag of Romania; also similar to the flags of Andorra and Moldova, both of which have a national coat of arms centered in the yellow band; design was based on the flag of France


Economy - overview 
Chad's primarily agricultural economy will be boosted by major oilfield and pipeline projects that began in 2000. Over 80% of Chad's population relies on subsistence farming and stock raising for their livelihood. Cotton, cattle, and gum arabic provide the bulk of Chad's export earnings, but Chad will begin to export oil in 2004. Chad's economy has long been handicapped by its land-locked position, high energy costs, and a history of instability. Chad relies on foreign assistance and foreign capital for most public and private sector investment projects. A consortium led by two US companies is investing $3.7 billion to develop oil reserves estimated at 1 billion barrels in southern Chad.
Population below poverty line 
80% (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation 
agriculture more than 80% (subsistence farming, herding, and fishing)
Unemployment rate 
cotton textiles, meatpacking, beer brewing, natron (sodium carbonate), soap, cigarettes, construction materials
Industrial production growth rate 
5% (1995)
Electricity - production 
92 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source 
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption 
85.56 million kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products 
cotton, sorghum, millet, peanuts, rice, potatoes, manioc (tapioca); cattle, sheep, goats, camels
Exports - commodities 
cotton, cattle, gum arabic
Imports - commodities 
machinery and transportation equipment, industrial goods, petroleum products, foodstuffs, textiles
Communaute Financiere Africaine franc (XAF); note - responsible authority is the Bank of the Central African States
Currency code 
Exchange rates 
Communaute Financiere Africaine francs (XAF) per US dollar - 742.79 (January 2002), 733.04 (2001), 711.98 (2000), 615.70 (1999), 589.95 (1998), 583.67 (1997); note - from 1 January 1999, the XAF is pegged to the euro at a rate of 655.957 XAF per euro
Fiscal year 
calendar year


Telephones - main lines in use 
9,700 (1999)
Telephones - mobile cellular 
5,500 (2000)
Telephone system 
general assessment: primitive system
domestic: fair system of radiotelephone communication stations
international: satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations 
AM 2, FM 4, shortwave 5 (2002)
1.67 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations 
1 (2002)
10,000 (1997)
Internet country code 
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 
1 (2002)
Internet users 
4,000 (2002)


0 km
total: 33,400 km
paved: 450 km
note: probably no more than 8,000 km of the total receive maintenance, the remainder being desert tracks (2000)
unpaved: 32,950 km
2,000 km
Ports and harbors 
49 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways 
total: 7
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways 
total: 43
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 20
under 914 m: 10 (2002)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international 
Lake Chad Commission urges signatories Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria to ratify delimitation treaty over lake region, the site of continuing armed clashes; Nigeria requests and Chad rejects redemarcation of boundary, which lacks clear demarcation in sections and has caused several cross-border incidents; Chadian rebels from Aozou reside in Libya