Chad – Country Profile (September 2019)

Situation Report
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15.8 million total population (more than half of them under 18)

4.3 million people affected by humanitarian crises and in need of assistance

46.7 per cent percentage of the population living below the poverty line

53.2 years average life expectancy

2.1 million people without access to primary healthcare

3.3 million food insecure people

952,000 malnourished children

43 per cent percentage of the population having access to safe drinking water

6 th most-at-risk country for humanitarian crises and natural disasters (INFORM)

157th** and last country on the Human Capital Index

476.6 million US dollars required in 2019 to save and improve the lives of 2 million people


Chad is a landlocked country in the Sahel belt with a population of some 15.8 million people. This population grows at the rapid pace of 3 per cent per year, as Chad has one of the highest fertility rates in the world: 6.4 children per woman. The Chadian population is culturally diverse, with many different ethnic communities, languages, and religions – although Islam is practiced by the majority of people (52 per cent1 ).

Chad is the fourth least-developed country in the world, after South Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Niger (ranking 186th out of 189 countries in the 2018 Human Development Index). The population is among the lowest-educated in Africa (the adult literacy rate is at 22.3 per cent). Access to all basic social services is poor.

Chad is the most vulnerable country to climate change, according to the 2016 Climate Change Vulnerability Index. The country faces recurring extreme weather conditions such as droughts and floods, while lacking sufficient institutional and community capacities to adapt and mitigate consequences. In 2019, severe flooding has affected multiple provinces in Chad, with a major impact in the North and East. The size of Lake Chad, on which 30 million people depend to survive, has decreased from 25,000 km2 in 1963 to a tenth of its size, due to severely depleted rainfall or rain failure linked to climate change, as well as through human water use and activities.
After discovering oil in 2003, the country experienced an average annual growth rate exceeding 7 per cent between 2004 and 2014. However, this has not translated into a reduction of inequalities, as the Gini index, which measures income inequality, increased from 0.49 to 0.51. From 2016, Chad faced a severe economic crisis related to the global fall in oil prices and poor investments. Austerity measures adopted by the Government since late 2016 to address the situation led to rising social tensions, with civil servants’ strikes disrupting the functioning of basic social services, including school closures, and growing impoverishment of Chadian society. As a result, social indicators continued to deteriorate, with a negative impact on health, education, food security and nutrition. The chronic vulnerability of the population, further exacerbated by this situation, results in significant humanitarian need.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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