Back to cover

The World Bank Group in Chad, 2010 to 2020

Chapter 1 | Introduction and Country Context

The purpose of this Country Program Evaluation (CPE) is to assess the World Bank Group’s development effectiveness in Chad over the past decade within a context of high fragility and extreme poverty. The report covers the implementation of the Interim Strategy Note (ISN, fiscal years [FY]10–FY12) and the Bank Group’s Country Partnership Framework (CPF, FY16–20) with Chad and the Bank Group’s 2019 Performance and Learning Review. This CPE reviews the relevance and effectiveness of Bank Group assistance between FY10 and FY20 and identifies lessons to inform the design and implementation of the next Bank Group–supported partnership strategy with Chad.

This CPE responds to the following evaluation questions.

  1. To what extent did the Bank Group–supported strategy address Chad’s most binding development constraints, including its drivers of fragility?
  2. How effective was Bank Group support in responding to, implementing, and adapting to evolving development needs in the country?
  3. How effectively did the Bank Group coordinate with other development partners and stakeholders during the design and implementation of its partnership strategies in Chad to enhance program relevance, coherence, and impact?

This CPE is structured as follows: Chapter 1 discusses the country context. Chapter 2 assesses the Bank Group–supported strategy and its alignment to government priorities. Chapter 3 describes the Bank Group portfolio of interventions in Chad and assesses the effectiveness of these interventions in addressing the country’s main development constraints and fragility drivers. Chapter 4 evaluates Bank Group coordination with development partners and stakeholders in the design and implementation of its support. Chapter 5 provides findings and lessons for future Bank Group engagement in Chad.

Chad is one of the world’s lowest-income countries.1 The country ranks 187th out of 189 countries and territories in the Human Development Index (UNDP 2019a). Between 2010 and 2018, Chad’s Human Development Index score increased from 0.374 to 0.401, reflecting an increase of seven years for life expectancy and 1.1 years in mean years of schooling, but a 7.2 percent decrease in gross national income per capita. The income share held by the poorest half of the population remained relatively unchanged between 2010 and 2019 (UNDP 2019a, 311).2 The level of inequality reflects disparities in income and wealth, weak social cohesion, and weaknesses in the functioning of markets and the role of government.

Chad has been considered a fragile state since the World Bank introduced this classification in 2006. This reflects its weak institutional and policy environment; weak governance, including weak public financial management; inequitable management of public resources; and inadequate provision of basic services. Part of Chad’s fragility is due to regional insecurity, resulting in a large inflow of refugees (who make up 3 to 4 percent of the population).

Over the evaluation period, conflict and terrorism rose across the Sahel, culminating in the death in battle of Chad’s president in 2021. Figure 1.1 shows a deterioration of the security situation in Chad between 2010 and 2020. Of 2,518 conflict casualties recorded between 2010 and 2020, about 74 percent occurred after 2016. Chad’s army is increasingly combating a range of rebel groups who also target the civilian population. On April 19, 2021, President Idriss Déby was killed while leading his troops in an offensive against rebels in northern Chad. After his death, his son, General Mahamat Idriss Déby, dissolved parliament and took control as head of a transitional military council. The African Union has since called on the council to share power with civilians until elections can be organized. Protests against the military council have taken place across the country. World Bank operations and disbursements were paused while a review of the situation under Operational Policy 7.30 was conducted; they resumed in July 2021.

Figure 1.1. Yearly Conflict Casualties in Chad, 2010–20

Line chart showing the increase in staff numbers at headquarters and in the field, recruited locally or internationally.

Figure 1.1. Yearly Conflict Casualties in Chad, 2010–20

Source: Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project,

Chad is at high risk of external and public debt distress. Chad remains at high risk of external and public debt distress in large part because of commercial borrowing in 2013 from a private company (Glencore) to cover revenue shortfalls and in 2014 to purchase a share in the Doba Oil Consortium (IMF 2019a). Although the risk of external debt distress was moderate in 2010, by 2014 it had risen to high, and it has remained there since. Total debt rose from 24 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008 to 34 percent in 2010 and 43.7 percent in 2019. The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has put additional pressure on Chad’s finances. Efforts to reduce Chad’s dependence on oil revenue, raise non-oil revenue, and free up resources for domestic investment have been largely unsuccessful.

Chad has suffered multiple waves of COVID-19 infection. The majority of the 5,000 cases reported to date (likely an underestimate given weak testing capacity) were in the capital of N’Djamena. Economic growth, which was 3.2 percent in 2019, declined sharply to an estimated −0.9 percent in 2020, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The country’s limited health structures and capacity, together with difficulties in procuring the needed protective equipment and vaccines, make it likely that localized outbreaks will continue. These outbreaks are expected to further strain resources that are already insufficient for delivering essential health programs. In 2020, the World Bank approved a $17 million Chad COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Project to help prevent, detect, and respond to COVID-19.

Main Development Constraints and Drivers of Conflict

From a review of diagnostics and analysis prepared by the World Bank and other sources,3 the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) has distilled seven main development constraints affecting Chad over the evaluation period, the first four of which have also been identified as drivers of conflict and fragility. These constraints include (i) a legacy of domestic and regional conflict; (ii) weak governance, including weak public financial management; (iii) inadequate provision of basic services; (iv) overreliance on oil for fiscal resources; (v) gender inequality (including implications for high fertility); (vi) climate change; and (vii) inadequate physical infrastructure.

Legacy of Domestic and Regional Conflict

Security threats are closely linked to the Boko Haram insurgency and other terrorist groups that remain the main cause of displacement in the Lake Chad region and the inflow of refugees to Chad (UNHCR and World Bank 2016; World Bank 2018f). The regional security environment disrupts imports through the Douala-N’Djamena corridor (through which 90 percent of Chad’s imports travel), Doba-Douala pipeline oil exports, and Chad’s livestock exports to Nigeria.

Reflecting the domestic and regional context, security expenditures are a large share of the government’s budget. In 2018, resources allocated to the Ministry of Defense accounted for 7.8 percent of total expenditures, and allocations to the Ministries of Public Health and Social Protection represented only 4.8 and 0.5 percent, respectively (Kitzmuller and Kassim, 2019). The public investment budget (estimated at 75 percent of the social sector budget) relies heavily on external funding.

Chad has for decades been affected by the inflow of displaced persons and refugees because of conflicts across its borders with the Central African Republic, Libya, Nigeria, and Sudan. In 2015, it was estimated that more than 700,000 displaced people lived in Chad. Of these, 463,000 were refugees (including 366,000 from Sudan, 93,000 from the Central African Republic, and 2,000 from Nigeria). There were also 230,000 returnees from the Central African Republic and Libya and 70,000 long-term internally displaced people from the 2007 conflict and subsequent cross-border attacks from Darfur. In 2015, Chad joined a regional coalition to confront Boko Haram, which has contributed to reprisals on Chadian territory.

Weak Governance, Including Weak Public Financial Management

Governance challenges are characterized by corruption, lack of public sector transparency, weak enforcement of laws, and lack of accountability (World Bank 2012b; IMF 2019b). Weak governance also manifests itself in the frequent shuffling of ministers and senior government officials, which directly affects the implementation of reforms and projects. For example, during the implementation of the World Bank−supported public financial management capacity-building project (2007–16), Chad had eight different prime ministers (World Bank 2017c). The absence of a consistent high-level counterpart hindered monitoring of program results and raised doubts about government ownership (World Bank 2018a). Corruption is considered one of the most problematic factors for doing business in Chad, according to the 2018 Enterprise Survey (World Bank 2018c). The incidence and depth of bribes for firms in Chad is higher than the average for Sub-Saharan Africa (IMF 2019b). This has contributed to low confidence in public institutions, which are characterized by lengthy procurement procedures, weak project implementation units, weak technical capacity to undertake fiduciary activities, weak technical capacity of civil servants to execute reforms, slow processing of documents, and a high turnover of trained senior staff.

Inadequate Provision of Basic Services

After the 2008 financial crisis, oil prices fell sharply, forcing the Chadian government to significantly reduce the already thin budget for education, health, and other public services. Chad relies heavily on often-unpredictable donor funding to finance basic public services. Social assistance programs remain limited and often fail to reach the poorest people. Rapid population growth also increases pressure on the provision of basic services, employment, housing, and urban infrastructure. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted supply chains, employment, and income, particularly for rural households, jeopardizing the already weak social protection systems that have little capacity to offset these impacts.

Inadequate public resources allocated to improving livelihoods leave the already poor population with limited access to basic health and education services and social safety nets. The arrival of refugees and returnees from neighboring countries has increased the burden on already overstretched basic service delivery (World Bank 2015b). In 2019, there were on average five doctors per 100,000 people in Chad, of which more than half were based in the capital city, N’Djamena (World Bank 2021). Almost half of the national health care labor force is made up of unskilled workers. The distance to the nearest health care facility remains large (on average 3 kilometers in urban areas and 5 kilometers in rural areas; World Bank 2021), and high out-of-pocket costs prevent people in all wealth quantiles from seeking care. In 2017, the World Health Organization noted that only 20 percent of Chadian women reported having given birth at a health facility (World Bank 2021).

Public spending on education is approximately 2.5 percent of GDP, the lowest in the region (World Bank 2021). Small budgets for education have resulted in inadequate compensation and provision of training for teachers, contributing to the high rate of absent teacher and low education quality. Community schools are largely deprived of teaching supplies and equipment. Long distances and a lack of schools are leading factors preventing boys and girls from attending school.

Fiscal Sustainability and Overreliance on Oil Revenue

The government relies heavily on oil revenue to maintain fiscal stability and meet recurrent spending needs. Declining and variable oil revenues (which constituted 70 percent of government revenues in 2013) and the absence of mechanisms to hedge against oil price fluctuations make public expenditures volatile and highly procyclical (IMF 2013). The inability to predict revenue inflows over the medium term brings significant planning challenges and makes it difficult for policy makers to balance current and capital spending. This leaves the government unable to meet the basic needs of the population and invest in diversifying the economy, as was especially the case during oil shocks in 2014–15. Since the mid-2010s, the challenging fiscal outlook has been compounded by increased demand for security expenditures in the midst of the military campaign against Boko Haram and other armed groups. Fragility could thus be exacerbated by oil price volatility. Alternatively, a relaxation of the fiscal stance through the accumulation of arrears or excessive domestic and external borrowing could disrupt private and financial sector activities and contribute to debt distress.

Gender Inequality

Chad experiences significant gender inequality (Ngatia et al. 2020). Approximately 50 percent of women in Chad participate in the labor force, compared with the Sub-Saharan Africa average of 62 percent in 2019 and in contrast to 73 percent of men.4 Gender disparities in primary and secondary education are exacerbated by inadequate school sanitation facilities for girls, which resulted in high dropout rates for girls. Women do not have the same opportunities to join the formal labor force due to gender norms that assign women most of the unpaid work and limit their movement, free use of their time, and access to resources.

Only one-quarter of married women ages 15–49 participate in decisions on their own care.5 Underpinning this phenomenon are widespread child marriage, female genital mutilation or excision, and early childbearing; 30 percent of women are married before the age of 15 and 70 percent by the age of 18.6 Child marriage reduces girls’ education levels and contributes to low literacy, low wages, low agriculture productivity among girls and women, and higher fertility. Chad’s average fertility rate of 5.6 (total births per woman) in 2019 is higher than the Sub-Saharan Africa average of 4.6, although it has declined from 5.2 in 2009.7 The high fertility rate intensifies pressure on the government to provide basic services, including those in health and education. Women in Chad also face significant rates of gender-based violence.8

Climate Change and Competition for Resources

The effects of climate change and increasing natural resource scarcity exacerbate intercommunal tensions. Chad has been rated among the five countries most vulnerable to climate change.9 Chad’s Sahelian ecosystem is naturally prone to irregular agroclimatic conditions. Desertification during the 1970s caused climatic disturbances throughout the country, including droughts, floods, and erratic rainfall (SFCG 2014). These have been difficult to overcome because of a lack of agriculture technology, weak institutions, limited access to markets, and a lack of financing. Climatic variations destroyed grazing lands, forcing people to permanently move from the north to the south and east and disrupting transhumance routes and patterns (Guiryanan, Kohomta, and Nandoumabé 2018). Along with increasing population and livestock numbers, resource competition between farmers and pastoralists has increased. Agropastoral conflict has been on the rise since the 1980s (Médard and Ozias 2007).

The rising temperature and declining rainfall pose threats to Chad’s already low agricultural productivity. In Chad, only 4.1 percent of land is arable, of which only 6 percent has been cultivated (World Bank 2021). Only 9 percent of available water resources is used for irrigation, which covers only 1 percent of agricultural land. Low agricultural productivity limits diversification of cash crops, especially during the off-season. Furthermore, recurring droughts have heightened tensions between farmers and herders. Among these climate challenges, the agriculture sector is also plagued by (i) security risks near the Lake Chad Basin; (ii) the lack of public investment in the sector (including limited road connectivity); (iii) limited access to capital and modern farming technologies; (iv) high transport and distributional service costs; and (v) inadequate land and water management.

Inadequate Infrastructure

Large transport and telecom infrastructure gaps impede economic growth, integration, and access to external markets (Kitzmuller and Kassim, 2019). The 2016 World Economic Forum’s Enabling Trade Index ranked Chad 124th out of 136 countries on the availability and quality of transport infrastructure. Transport underdevelopment is exacerbated by insecurity (armed groups pose threats to goods in transit); inadequate road networks; lack of professionalism among carriers; levies, both legal and illegal, imposed on road transport; and soil instability (a significant challenge to the construction of dirt roads in the busiest regions). In addition, high transportation costs prevent nearly half of Chadians from traveling to seek medical attention (World Bank 2010a).

In 2010, Chad had limited access to telecommunications and faced high costs for information and communication technology services (World Bank 2010a). Isolation of many communities, incomplete market liberalization, and the absence of fiber-optic backbone infrastructure at the national level adversely affected regional and international trade and private sector development. In 2016, the Enabling Trade Index ranked Chad last out of 136 countries on the availability and use of information and communication technology services.

  1. The World Bank reported gross national income per capita in purchasing power parity (current international dollars) of $1,620 for Chad.
  2. See also the World Inequality Database,
  3. Constraints to development identified by the World Bank Group are consistent with those identified by development partners. The African Development Bank’s strategy (2015–20) noted that Chad was plagued by a difficult climatic environment, economic and financial vulnerabilities, infrastructural constraints, and an unattractive business environment. The World Food Programme (2019–23) identified the high prevalence of food insecurity and malnutrition, gender inequalities, climate and weather-related crises, and conflicts and insecurity-driven displacements as major development constraints. Similar constraints were identified by the United Nations Children’s Fund and United Nations Population Fund.
  4. See labor force participation data at
  5. According to the most recent Demographic and Health Survey (2014–15); see
  6. See fertility data at
  7. World Development Indicators database,
  8. According to Ngatia et al. (2020), 3 in 10 women report experiencing physical violence at home since the age of 15.
  9. See the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative Country Index at (accessed March 2022).