Feed Chad’s Population and Sustain its Economy with Better Agricultural Value Chains is essential

N’DJAMENA  — Chad’s economy has contracted since 2015, preventing the country from reducing poverty and improving development outcomes, according to the new studies published by the World Bank as part of the second Knowledge Week held in N’Djamena June 6-8, 2022.  The authors stress the need to develop stronger agricultural and livestock value chains in order to diversify the economy, ensure greater food security, and promote sustainable growth.

These studies underscore the importance of bold reforms and reducing long-term vulnerabilities, while taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the political transition, higher oil prices, and debt restructuring.

The theme for this second Knowledge Week: Feeding the Chadian population: Toward the transformation of agricultural and livestock value chains will lead off discussions on the state of knowledge and provide new avenues to improve the living conditions and promote opportunities for the Chadian population.

The global food crisis and current widespread inflation should prompt reflection on appropriate responses, particularly in a context such as Chad’s, which is marked by fragility and austerity, says Rasit Pertev, the World Bank’s Country Manager for ChadThese studies provide in-depth analyses of the reality of Chad’s food crisis so that the government and our partners can identify the approaches needed to accelerate sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction while focusing on the sectors that offer strategic advantages.

During Knowledge Week, the World Bank will present a series of four new reports:

  • The Chad economic and poverty update indicates that the country’s GDP contracted by 1.2 percent in 2021, marking a second consecutive year of recession. The reasons identified are the two-month suspension of oil production at Esso plants, disruptions in economic activity owing to socio-political insecurity, and liquidity constraints associated with debt restructuring delays. Given the slow and fragile economic recovery, the negative effects of the pandemic on poor and vulnerable households are expected to continue in the short and medium term. Similarly, inflation triggered by the Russia-Ukraine crisis is having a negative impact on the poorest and most vulnerable households. Despite the buoyant oil market, which will lead to a resumption of growth in 2022 and continue in 2023-2024, per capita GDP growth will remain negative or relatively modest.
  • The report on the marketing opportunities for livestock and livestock products explores the opportunities open to Chad for livestock development and concludes that great potential exists in Chad for livestock export which, to date, has been virtually untapped, owing to security problems and various administrative marketing barriers. This situation is exacerbated by inadequate access to financing. Significant improvements in the areas of veterinary services, combating illicit slaughter, and market infrastructure will also be essential to improve the sale of livestock and the safety of products on the domestic market, and to gradually facilitate access to export markets with stricter standards. The study concludes that the Nigerian market is and will certainly remain for a long time to come, the preferred outlet for Chadian livestock.
  • The analysis of constraints and opportunities for the development of the agricultural subsector confirms that agriculture is a key sector of the Chadian economy, with close to 88 percent of Chadian households living on subsistence agriculture.  However, agricultural value chains remain underdeveloped despite comparative advantages, particularly in sesame and gum arabic. The study also highlights the importance of improving climate change resilience through targeted investments and the adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices and infrastructure. Producer organizations are key partners whose capacity must be developed o take advantage of the opportunities offered by the country’s promising value chains.
  • The Systematic Country Diagnostic – Boosting shared prosperity in a landlocked country beset by fragility and conflict validates the trends observed since 2015 with regard to the five constraints that continue to thwart economic growth and poverty reduction efforts, namely (i) lack of access to infrastructure owing to insufficient and inefficient public investments; (ii) low productivity and weak exports, which reduce the return on agricultural and livestock activities; (iii) lack of access to education and health care owing to insufficient and inefficient public financing; (iv) low rate of inclusion of women in the economy and slow demographic transition; and (v) weak public administration. It also identifies three constraints to inclusive and resilient growth, namely violence and political fragility, volatile oil revenue, and the impact of climate change.

Fulbert Tchana Tchana, World Bank Senior Economist for Chad, indicates that “analyses conclude that in order to create jobs and stimulate the economy, the government should focus on reforms and investments aimed at improving public service delivery, closing infrastructure gaps, and facilitating private sector development, including agricultural and livestock value chains. Chad will not be able to fully act on the priorities identified if it does not do a better job of addressing the underlying drivers of fragility, conflict, and violence in the country.