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Chad Table of Contents


Foreign Assistance


A tailor plies his trade on a street in N'Djamena
Courtesy Joseph Krull

Since independence, all of Chad's several governments have relied on foreign assistance to meet current expenses, to finance government and trade deficits, to combat drought and famine, to wage war, and to rebuild from the ravages of war. France provided the most aid, with some also from multinational organizations, such as the EC, the United Nations, and the World Bank, and from bilateral donors, such as the United States, Italy, and West Germany. Donor assistance has fluctuated. It fell during the conflicts of the late 1970s and early 1980s, particularly from 1979 through 1982. Some donors, such as the United States, halted all aid between 1980 and 1982, when Goukouni Oueddei, who was supported by Libya, held power (see Transition to Northern Rule , ch. 4). France, however, continued to provide some form of nonmilitary aid to Chad throughout the period, but it was channeled to the south and not to the central government. As other donors pulled out, the share of French aid relative to all official aid to Chad rose from 23.6 percent in 1978 to 42.2 percent in 1980. In 1982, as other donors returned, the proportion of French aid to all official aid to Chad began to decline, amounting to only 18 percent by 1985. Despite this relative decline and the increased aid from other donors, especially UN organizations and the United States, France remained Chad's most important donor, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of total official aid, for all years except 1985. In that year, the World Food Programme (WFP) was Chad's single largest donor because of drought; that aid, therefore, consisted of food aid and not development assistance.

Because of drought between 1983 and 1985 and because of the needs of recovery from the dislocations of war, foreign aid in these years focused on emergency assistance. Famine relief, health, and sanitation formed the base of this assistance, with funds also directed to correcting the most basic logistics problems of food delivery to the country. As the rains improved in 1985, resulting in good harvests, a shift away from emergency operations toward longer-range development planning began. Budget support also increased after 1985 in response to lost government operating revenues because of the cotton crisis. By 1987 about 85 percent of estimated aid flows provided for development assistance, and 12 percent supported the budget. Disbursements of food aid fell from the high of 176,000 tons in 1985, when the international community responded to drought across Africa, to an estimated 1987 shipment of 30,000 tons, used as food security reserves to relieve chronic pockets of malnutrition. The shift in emphasis accompanied a rise in overall disbursements, which were expected to reach US$250 million in 1987.

Almost all of Chad's external assistance during the ten years before 1986 was on concessional terms. After 1986, however, the proportion of loans compared with grants increased significantly. In the 1983-85 period, with emphasis on emergency aid in health and nutrition, loans represented only 9 percent of aid disbursements. In 1986, with the shift to project development assistance, renewed World Bank lending, and the need to target money to the cotton sector, loans increased to 14 percent of total aid disbursements. In 1987 donors were expected to increase the proportion of loans in overall aid to as much as 33 percent, all on a concessional basis.

In the mid-1980s, foreign donors financed all public investment in Chad. Recurrent costs also were financed by donors, in large part for programs and projects to rehabilitate the economy and to provide basic social services in health care and education. Roughly half of the projected aid disbursements in 1987 supported public investment to rebuild and expand the nation's social economic infrastructure; about 19 percent supported recurrent costs of the government, and about 21 percent supported operating costs of the parastatals.

A sectoral analysis of projected aid in 1987 showed about 32 percent of donor assistance targeted to infrastructure, 26 percent to rural development, 22 percent to industry and energy, and 16 percent to social services, including health and education. Regional distribution of aid for the same year proposed about 16 percent of project assistance to the capital and its environs, 21 percent to the sahelian zone, 26 percent to the soudanian zone, and 37 percent to projects cutting across regions. For ethnic and humanitarian reasons, several large donors concentrated their efforts in particular regions of the nation. Italy focused its aid in the Kanem and Lac prefectures, the EDF on Chari-Baguirmi Prefecture, and West Germany on Mayo-Kebbi and Ouaddaï prefectures.

The terms of aid disbursements projected for 1987 were consistent with past trends and took into consideration the financial constraints on the Chadian government and economy. Approximately two-thirds of donor aid consisted of grants. The remaining one-third of loans came almost entirely from multilateral organizations on concessional terms. Overall, 40 percent of the disbursements in 1987 came from bilateral donors, with France the largest (24 percent), followed by Italy (11 percent), the United States (6 percent), and West Germany (4 percent). The multilateral organizations accounted for 55 percent of disbursements, of which the IDA was the largest contributor, providing 15 percent. Other UN organizations provided 11 percent, and EC agencies gave 12 percent.

By 1986 the international donor community, led by the World Bank and the IMF, recognized the need for concerted action in Chad. Once the drought ended and essential reconstruction from war damage had begun, the widespread economic dislocation caused by Cotontchad's difficulties forced the government and its donors to consider long-term structural adjustments for the whole economy. The adoption of the Emergency Cotton Program in 1986 could only stave off short-term collapse and enable Cotontchad to position itself better until world prices improved. Diversification away from dependence on the cotton complex in agriculture, industry, and finance was essential. For the longterm, incentives had to be found to stimulate other sectors of the economy.

In 1987 the government agreed to medium-term adjustment targets through 1990. As a result, the IMF began providing budget support to Chad, and the World Bank provided project assistance, as a part of a comprehensive package which included support from other donors. These coordinated efforts at adjustment focused on defining and implementing sectoral strategies for cotton, noncotton agriculture, livestock production and marketing, rural credit, reforestation, transportation, and human resources and training. Studies to implement comprehensive programs to rehabilitate government fiscal policies and management, to develop priorities for government investment programs, and to address questions relative to the operations of parastatals and public institutions, along with the management of public domestic and foreign debt, were all part of the package. On the one hand, fiscal and management practices would be tightened. On the other hand, the private sector would be encouraged by the loosening of monopoly operations by public institutions.

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As of late 1987, there were few sources that addressed Chad's economy, and no single book dealt comprehensively with the topic. Economic information, however, could be found in general sources, the focus of which was most often political. The best books were in French and included Jean Cabot and Christian Bouquet's Le Tchad: Que Sais-je, Christian Bouquet's Tchad: La genèse d'un conflit, as well as Gali Ngothé Gatta's Tchad: Guerre civile and désagrégation de l'etat. Among the few English-language sources was Michael P. Kelle's A State in Disarray, which contains a good section on the impact of foreign assistance on economic development.

Several periodicals provided valuable data on the Chadian economy in the 1980s. These periodicals include Marchés tropicaux et méditerranéens; Bulletin de l'Afrique noire, Africa Economic Digest, and the Economist Intelligence Unit's quarterly reports. Occasional articles in Revue tiers-monde and Courier were also helpful.

Publications of international organizations and government agencies provided much of the detail lacking in general narratives; however, figures often conflicted because of differing methods of compilation. These publications were produced by the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, United States Agency for International Development, and a number of French government agencies. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of December 1988

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