With an area 3.5 times the size of Germany and an estimated population of 16 million, Chad is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. The only metropolis is the capital, N’Djamena, with a population of over 1 million. The three next largest cities, Moundou, Abéché and Sarh, each have an average population of about 100,000. Nearly 80 % of the population lives in rural areas. At the same time, there is a very large population growth. In 2009, the last census showed just over 11 million people. Today, the population is estimated at 16 million, and 34 million inhabitants are predicted for 2050.
These figures show the particular challenges of the country. For Africa GreenTec, these structures offer special opportunities. The demand for off-grid solutions for the electrification of the population living in rural areas and the need for basic infrastructure are immense. With holistic ImpactSites and open space systems, Africa GreenTec wants to promote new perspectives for the people in Chad, thus enabling more self-determination and growth.
About 90% of the people in Chad live off agriculture and a large percentage of them grow what their families need for self-sufficiency. This is called subsistence farming or demand farming.
Climate change and conflicts in and around the country have meant that often there is not enough to grow and harvest to export goods and generate revenue. People in the village communities trade and barter their goods only among each other, and as a result, no income for the village can be generated. This in turn leads to economic poverty and a lack of perspective. Around 80% of the population lives below the subsistence level, and this figure is even higher in rural areas. On the Human Development Index (HDI), Chad ranks 187th out of 189.
Africa GreenTec’s sustainable energy solutions and services address this in several ways. Electricity opens up new economic opportunities for people to improve their lives. Expanded irrigation and cooling options enable farmers to grow their produce more effectively, keep it fresh longer, and sell it to generate an income above self-sustainability. At the same time, the carbon neutrality of our products ensures that progress does not further damage the climate and even replaces old, polluting technologies, such as diesel generators.
In the past, Chad was not considered rich in mineral resources. Rock salt and soda ash were the most common mining products. Then, in the late 1990s, an oil field was discovered from which resources have been extracted since 2003. An agreement between the World Bank and the country’s government is intended to ensure that 80% of the revenue from this source is used for social and infrastructure projects.
Other exports include cotton, peanuts, sugar, grain and textiles. France and the neighboring countries of Cameroon and Nigeria are Chad’s main trading partners.
Mainly due to the production of oil, the gross domestic product of $2,245 per capita (2016) is slightly higher than that of neighboring countries. Based on the rating in the Human Development Index, it can be seen that only a very small portion of the population benefits from this, however. One of the biggest infrastructure problems is the supply of drinking water. According to WHO and UNICEF, only 51% of the population had access to clean drinking water in 2014.
Access to clean drinking water has been a fundamental right established by the UN since 2010. Africa GreenTec, with its water treatment plants that can be integrated into ImpactSites, is committed to ensuring that all people – including those in rural regions – have access to clean drinking water.
By providing productive electricity, local people are empowered to build an economic livelihood independent of oil.
Throughout its modern history, Chad has been divided in two, both culturally and religiously. The north of the country is characterized by a Muslim nomadic and semi-nomadic culture. Until colonial times, this population group guided Chad’s fortunes, with the south of the country being oppressed and considered a source of slave trade. To this day, there are conflicts between sedentary and nomadic communities over land and access to water.
The party landscape in Chad emerged in the mid-20th century. After World War II, the first party to form was the conservative Democratic Union of Chad (UDT), representing mainly French commercial interests. It consisted of a bloc of traditional indigenous leaders, predominantly Muslims and the Waddai upper class. The Chadian Progressive Party (PPT), a group that advocated Chadian independence and was led by future president François Tombalbaye, emerged shortly thereafter. The Progress Party won its first elections, still under the colonial power of France. The differences in the goals of the UDT and PPT were not only ideological, but also reflected regional differences within the country.
The official languages, Arabic and French, are spoken by only about one-third of the population. Two-thirds of the people in Chad speak Sudanese and Chadian languages.
Chad offers several geographic and climatic features. The country spans three distinct climatic zones. The north is characterized by the dry deserts of the Sahara. In the south, Chad passes over the thorn bush and dry savannahs typical of the Sahel into dry forests, which are particularly suitable for agricultural use and which is why this region was also called “Tchad utile” (usable Chad) during colonial times.
Above all, the annual rainfall and humidity differ greatly in the individual zones. While in the dry north just 20 to 40 mm of precipitation fall per year, in the tropical south it is often more than 1100 mm (for comparison: about 750 mm in Germany).
The highest mountain of the country extends in the north of the country. The Emi Koussi (3415 m) in the volcanic mountains of Tibesti is also the highest elevation in the Sahara.
A unique geographical and especially hydrological feature is the huge basin of Lake Chad. The Lake Chad basin occupies a total of 90% of the country’s area, and almost all of the region’s precipitation ends up flowing into Lake Chad.
With nearly all of the country’s rainfall and rivers flowing into Lake Chad, it is Chad’s main water reservoir and fishing ground. This makes changes to Lake Chad all the more drastic in their impact on life and the environment throughout the region and across Chad’s borders.
The lake, which has no outlet, has become sadly famous in recent decades due to the dramatic decline in its water resources. The surface of Lake Chad has shrunk by more than 90% since 1963 until today. Climate scientists and the general public agree that climate change and global warming are the cause. Due to its shallow depth and dependence on inflows from surrounding areas, the effects of lack of precipitation and increased evaporation due to increased temperatures make this very clear.
Humanitarian disasters throughout the region are also most evident in the tri-border area (Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria) of Lake Chad. Boko Haram and other terrorist groups drove thousands of people to flee. The United Nations and especially the Chadian army have successfully fought and pushed back numerous terrorist groups in recent years. Nevertheless, around 350,000 of the 650,000 people living around Lake Chad are still on the run. Some 30,000 of them alone have been living for years in the UNHCR’s largest refugee camp in the region.
The dramatic effects of climate change and the humanitarian situation in the Lake Chad region left a lasting impression on Africa GreenTec founder Torsten Schreiber during his visits in 2020 and 2021. For this reason, Africa GreenTec will also actively support the people there through sustainable energy solutions. Numerous ImpactSites for the villages in the region and the conversion of the UNHCR administrative buildings to 100% renewable energy are on the agenda. In this way, Africa GreenTec empowers entire village communities to
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