Country Listing

Chad Table of Contents



Tombalbaye faced a task of considerable magnitude when Chad became a sovereign state. His challenge was to build a nation out of a vast and diverse territory that had poor communications, few known resources, a tiny market, and a collection of impoverished people with sharply differing political traditions, ethnic and regional loyalties, and sociocultural patterns. The colonial powers that had created the country's boundaries had done little to promote economic interdependence, political cooperation, or crosscultural understanding. Chadians who had hoped that the country's first president might turn out to be a state builder like the thirteenth century's Dabbalemi or the sixteenth century's Aluma were soon disappointed. During its first fifteen years, Chad under Tombalbaye experienced worsening economic conditions, eventual alienation of the most patient of foreign allies, exacerbation of ethnic and regional conflict, and grave weakening of the state as an instrument of governance.

Data as of December 1988