European Union External Action

Chad and the EU

Chad suffered political instability until 2009, but a dialogue between the presidential majority and the opposition began from 2006. In 2007, this finally led to an agreement with a view to strengthening the democratic process. This agreement, for which the EU played an important role as a facilitator, was the basis for the legislative reform and the establishment of an electoral administration, which allowed elections to be held in 2011.           On 2 April 2013, a political agreement protocol was signed by the political players (majority and opposition) and the representatives of civil society to create the National Framework for Political Dialogue; his agreement led to the launch of the new electoral cycle. The electoral process began with the enrolment of Chadians abroad, then those inside the country, by the Independent National Electoral Commission in 2015. The presidential election other was held on 10 April 2016 and the opposition contested the result of the vote. President Déby Itno was re-appointed for a 5th term at an investiture ceremony on 8 August 2016. No date has been given for the legislative elections.

However, in terms of respecting human rights, the confrontations have had harmful consequences. A committee of inquiry, particularly supported by the European Union, worked to uncover the exactions which accompanied these events, and to determine accountability. Today, Chad has signed the main international and regional agreements on human rights, but they have yet to be fully and properly applied.

Two kamikaze attacks on 15 June and 11 July 2015 in the capital, N'Djamena, killed dozens of people and injured around a hundred others. To suppress the perpetrators, backers and accomplices of the kamikaze attacks (which are considered acts of terrorism), the government submitted a bill for a law to combat acts of terrorism for examination by the National Assembly on 30 July 2015, which was subsequently adopted. The law for the suppression of acts of terrorism is characterised by backward steps, particularly the questioning of the abolition of the death penalty and very long custody periods. To apply this law, presumed backers and accomplices of the N'Djamena attacks were sentenced to death by the Chadian courts and shot.

Following the presidential election of 10 April 2016, around 60 soldiers disappeared because they did not vote according to the instructions of their superiors. Others were arrested and tortured and some presumed disappeared soldiers were presented on national television. Nevertheless, a certain number of families remain without news of their lost members. The public prosecutor at the N'Djamena High Court announced the abandonment of the judiciary inquiry concerning the presumed disappeared persons.

The EU has also supported projects for the professionalisation of the media and their consolidation in the public debate, particularly through the thematic European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) programme and the Instrument for Stability - Rapid Reaction Mechanism (IFS-RRM).

Despite a relatively stable internal situation since 2009, Chad remains a fragile country, in addition to being exposed on almost all of its borders to conflict zones and/or hotbeds of insecurity. The forces of order have implemented many security measures around the country, and a state of emergency was declared in November 2015 in the Lake Chad region. The improvement of the security context in Chad still requires progress.

The oil economy is an important source of income for Chad. In 2011, the oil sector accounted for 23 % of GDP and provided 53 % of the State's budgetary revenues. However, the country remains one of the poorest in the world, and over half of its population lives on less than a dollar a day.

Chad's economy is characterised by a large primary sector dominated by the oil sector, an embryonic secondary sector and a tertiary sector, which employs around 20 % of the active population.

In this context, the EU supports the focuses of Chad's government via a set of projects, at both regional and national level. These focuses aim to improve:

  • public finances (support for the modernisation of public finances);
  • the business environment (support for trade);
  • the quality and competitiveness of Chadian products (support for key sectors: livestock, acacia gum, etc.);
  • transparency in the management of oil resources (support for Chad's adhesion to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative).

Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) will take over from the old system, and regional programmes have been set up.

As a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Chad is also involved in a regional integration as a member of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community. However, the development of regional trade is still hindered by major delays and costs due to the country being landlocked.

Chad primarily exports oil (98 % of its exports in 2008) and agricultural products (livestock, cotton, peanuts, cereals). The country's main customers are the United States, China and the United Kingdom.

The country primarily imports fuels and capital goods. Its five main suppliers are (in descending order): Cameroon, the United States, France, Nigeria and China.

In the context of its trade relationships with the European Union, Chad benefits from the Everything But Arms initiative granted to the least developed countries, allowing access to the European market without customs duties or quantitative restrictions. However, this framework is being modified: the Cotonou Agreement signed in 2000 brought an end to the Generalized System of Preferences, in order to reform the partnership for development on the basis of rules better aligned with international law.

Chad is one of the poorest countries in the world and the economic growth rate is insufficient to improve living conditions to for its people. This economic and social stagnation can essentially be explained by the fragility of the institutions and the great insufficiency of the rule of law: two elements which dissuade private initiatives.

In this context, the EU strategy is to contribute to the management of public affairs and security in the country, in order to encourage a sustainable economic growth cycle and a reduction in poverty. This generates three areas of action:

  • The cooperation between Chad and the EU in the domain of good governance focuses particularly on internal security forces, justice, public finance, development of the private sector and local governance.
  • In the domain of infrastructures, cooperation between the EU and Chad concerns two main sectors: access to drinking water and the improvement of transport conditions. The energy sector has also received support in recent years.

Programmes connected to rural development, food security and sustainable management of the environment intervene in the domains of agriculture, livestock, environment and food security.

Dialogue with civil society is one of the EU's constant concerns when implementing its projects in Chad.

The thematic programmes allow dialogue with civil society during information and training meetings. They also help to strengthen it through the construction of premises, equipment, training or funding for actions within their domains of activity.

The challenges connected to civil society organisations concern the strengthening of their capacities, the improvement of their representativeness and legitimacy and their dynamism.

The Civil Society Support Programme mainly aims to broaden the spectrum of beneficiaries of European aid, particularly by favouring support for emerging actors in the rural world and urban centres. Particular attention is paid to young people's and women's associations. The programme also works to increase citizen participation in political, economic and social life. The structuring of the organisms involved in governance initiatives is promoted, as well as initiatives for intercultural and inter-religious dialogue.

Chad still faces multiple humanitarian crises on a large scale: food and nutritional crises; population movements (connected with conflicts in neighbouring countries and military operations in the Lake Chad region) including refugees, returning refugees and internally displaced persons, directly affecting almost 600 000 people (mainly women and children); health emergencies (with epidemic potential: cholera, measles and other diseases, malaria); and natural disasters (floods, drought, pests). These disasters are recurrent and increasingly frequent, with a negative impact on agricultural production and means of subsistence. They increase the vulnerability of disaster-stricken communities by limiting access to basic social services such as education.

Since 2003, the European Union has been providing humanitarian aid to Chad essentially in three regions:

  • the east of Chad, where, on the border of Darfur, in the Sudan, it primarily provides assistance to refugees and the most vulnerable local populations.
  • the Sahelian strip, where, in a semi-desert region, the main objectives are to prevent and respond to food crises, reduce malnutrition and provide help for households in difficulty affected by the Libya crisis.
  • in the south where returning refugees and Central African refugees live.

The EU also provides aid in the fight against epidemics, particularly cholera, which in 2010 and 2011 caused several hundred deaths in Chad. The repatriation operation for Chadian workers in Libya is also supported by the EU.

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