In December 2019, Chad’s secretary of state for finance, Ahmed Alkhoudar Ali Fadel, announced that the government had retaken control of the economy after experiencing an unprecedented financial crisis.
The country’s economy grew by 3.4 percent in 2019, briefly allaying fears that Chad was about to tip over the proverbial cliff. However, Chad’s economy remains mired in uncertainty following a global dip in the oil price back in 2014.
Chad’s oil economy makes up 20 percent of the country’s GDP and 80 percent of its total exports. Although the past two years were strong for Chadian oil production, helping to offset the losses, heavy borrowing during the lean period has put the country in significant debt, which now accounts for 15 percent of GDP.
Still, this country linking the Maghreb to sub-Saharan Africa ranks as one of the poorest countries in the world, with more than half its population below the global poverty line, felt more harshly in the country’s rural areas, where 87 percent of residents are impoverished. The United Nations Development Programme places Chad at one of the lowest ranks for human development, just above South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Niger.
The government has moved toward austerity measures, which have halved the national health budget and significantly curtailed education spending, causing a spate of strikes by trade unions incensed by these measures.
Dismal as this may seem, Chad does boast an impressive level of fishery resources, which are expected to expand in the coming years. The country also sits on a literal goldmine, which is also laden with rare gems, construction materials, industrial minerals, and precious metals valued in the tens of billions of dollars. Ongoing regional instability, particularly with Islamist insurgencies in neighboring Sahelian states and in the Lake Chad region constrain the government’s national budget, making exploitation of these resources more costly and difficult to implement.