Chad Poverty

Most of the people of Chad, who number some eleven million, live in abject poverty with Chad considered the seventh poorest country in the world in the 2007 Global Human Development Report with poverty affecting 55% of the population with most of this poverty concentrated in rural areas, where 87% of the country's poor live.

Within its already poor boundaries there are an estimated 55000 refugees from the Central African Republic, 280,000 refugees from the Sudan and a further 170,000 internally displaced people. The conflicts over decades have so destroyed an already poor infrastructure that at one point (1987)

Chad had just nineteen miles of paved roads in a country of 495,753 square miles. This lack of decent infrastructure is seen as a major area of action to reduce poverty in Chad for four-fifths of the economically active population works in agriculture and improving the road network would reduce the transport cost of agricultural products. This would have the effect of improving prices that would directly benefit the poor majority and get the economy moving with additional funds to purchase other goods such as livestock and agricultural equipment to inflate a market economy.

Poverty in ChadIt is easy to see how such improvements would directly improve the economy as crop and livestock production contribute about one-half of Chad's national income. Such is the poverty in Chad that only an estimated 1-1.5% of the country's population has access to electricity, with most Chadians burning wood and animal manure for power and just 14,000 telephone lines serve the entire country.

Chad can be pretty much viewed as having two classes, the urban and rural classes. Many living in rural areas and stricken by poverty will try and send their children to live with urban relatives when possible and available and likewise those who do live in urban areas with a little money to spare will send it to their rural relatives for food. Underlying all of this is no social security program in Chad. If you are poor, disabled or elderly requiring care, unless you have family, you are very much on your own, although the community will rally round, but already have limited resources to share.

The future is similarly bleak. Only around 17% of the rural population having access to safe water, with all its ensuing health implications, and four out of every five people in Chad are illiterate, with those children who do go to school having around seventy children per teacher and classroom.

  N’Djaména Abéché/
Other cities Rural North Rural South All rural areas All urban areas Country as a whole
Poverty % 20.8% 34.4% 47.8% 50.6% 70.3% 58.6% 24.6% 55%
Share of total population % 7.6% 2.9% 9.6% 42.3% 37.5% 79.8% 20.2% 100%
Share of the poor population % 2.9% 1.8% 8.4% 38.9% 48% 86.9% 13.1% 100%


Chad Poverty

Chad Poverty

Chad Poverty

Chad Poverty


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Chad Poverty

Human Development Index for Chad 2000 - Present

The HDI (Human Development Index) is measured by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the World Bank and is based upon the life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and living standards of a country.

Chad is in 184th place out of 186 countries and territories in 2013 and the chart below shows how levels of poverty and living standards in Chad fall far short of even sub-Saharan standards.

The concerns about poverty in Chad are so severe that on July 14, 2006, the World Bank and Chad signed an agreement that the Chadian government would commit 70% of its entire spending to poverty reduction programmes. Ironically, Chad has an estimated 1.5 billion barrels of oil underground in the south of the country. Whilst the information in the chart above (top) is dated 2003/4 from the INSEED, ECOSIT/2003/2004 report it still widely reflects the location and distribution of poverty in Chad.


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