AskDefine | Define Chad

Dictionary Definition

chad

Noun

1 a small piece of paper that is supposed to be removed when a hole is punched in a card or paper tape
2 a lake in north central Africa; fed by the Shari river [syn: Lake Chad]
3 a landlocked desert republic in north-central Africa; was under French control until 1960 [syn: Republic of Chad, Tchad]
4 a family of Afroasiatic tonal languages (mostly two tones) spoken in the regions west and south of Lake Chad in north central Africa [syn: Chadic, Chadic language]

User Contributed Dictionary

see chad

English

Pronunciation

  • /tʃæd/
    Rhymes: -æd

Proper noun

  1. A country in Central Africa. Official name: Republic of Chad.
  2. A given name from Old English Ceadda, a seventh century saint.
  3. The British version of the Kilroy was here graffiti

Translations

country in central Africa
  • Bosnian: Čad
  • Breton: Tchad
  • Chinese: 乍得 (Zhàdé)
  • Croatian: Čad
  • Czech: Čad
  • Danish: Tchad
  • Dutch: Tsjaad
  • Esperanto: Ĉado
  • Estonian: Tšaad
  • Finnish: Tšad
  • French: Tchad
  • German: Tschad
  • Greek: Τσαντ
  • Hebrew: צ'אד (chad)
  • Hungarian: Csád
  • Interlingua: Chad
  • Italian: Ciad
  • Japanese: チャド
  • Maltese: iċ-Ċadd
  • Norwegian: Tsjad
  • Polish: Czad
  • Portuguese: Chade
  • Romanian: Ciad
  • Russian: Чад
  • Serbian:
  • Sicilian: Ciad
  • Slovene: Čad
  • Spanish: Chad
  • Swedish: Tchad
  • Turkish: Çad

Extensive Definition

Chad (lang-fr Tchad; ), officially the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west. Due to its distance from the sea and its largely desert climate, the country is sometimes referred to as the "Dead Heart of Africa". Chad is divided into three major geographical regions: a desert zone in the north, an arid Sahelian belt in the centre and a more fertile Sudanese savanna zone in the south. Lake Chad, after which the country is named, is the largest wetland in Chad and the second largest in Africa. Chad's highest peak is the Emi Koussi in the Sahara, and N'Djamena, the capital, is the largest city. Chad is home to over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups. Arabic and French are the official languages. Islam is the most widely practiced religion.
Beginning in the 7th millennium BC, human populations moved into the Chadian basin in great numbers. By the end of the 1st millennium BC, a series of states and empires rose and fell in Chad's Sahelian strip, each focused on controlling the trans-Saharan trade routes that passed through the region. France conquered the territory by 1920 and incorporated it as part of French Equatorial Africa. In 1960 Chad obtained independence under the leadership of François Tombalbaye. Resentment towards his policies in the Muslim north culminated in the eruption of a long-lasting civil war in 1965. In 1979 the rebels conquered the capital and put an end to the south's hegemony. However, the rebel commanders fought amongst themselves until Hissène Habré defeated his rivals. He was overthrown in 1990 by his general Idriss Déby. Recently, the Darfur crisis in Sudan has spilt over the border and destabilised the nation, with hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees living in and around camps in eastern Chad.
While many political parties are active, power lies firmly in the hands of President Déby and his political party, the Patriotic Salvation Movement. Chad remains plagued by political violence and recurrent attempted coups d'état (see Battle of N'Djamena (2006) and Battle of N'Djamena (2008)).
The country is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world; most Chadians live in poverty as subsistence herders and farmers. Since 2003 crude oil has become the country's primary source of export earnings, superseding the traditional cotton industry.

History

In the 7th millennium BC, ecological conditions in the northern half of Chadian territory favored human settlement, and the region experienced a strong population increase. Some of the most important African archaeological sites are found in Chad, mainly in the Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti Region; some date to earlier than 2,000 BC. For more than 2000 years, the Chadian Basin has been inhabited by agricultural and sedentary peoples. The region became a crossroads of civilizations. The earliest of these were the legendary Sao, known from artifacts and oral histories. The Sao fell to the Kanem Empire, the first and longest-lasting of the empires that developed in Chad's Sahelian strip by the end of the 1st millennium AD. The power of Kanem and its successors was based on control of the trans-Saharan trade routes that passed through the region.
French colonial expansion led to the creation of the in 1900. By 1920, France had secured full control of the colony and incorporated it as part of French Equatorial Africa. French rule in Chad was characterised by an absence of policies to unify the territory and sluggish modernisation. The French primarily viewed the colony as an unimportant source of untrained labour and raw cotton; France introduced large-scale cotton production in 1929. The colonial administration in Chad was critically understaffed and had to rely on the dregs of the French civil service. Only the south was governed effectively; French presence in the north and east was nominal. The educational system suffered from this neglect. After World War II, France granted Chad the status of overseas territory and its inhabitants the right to elect representatives to the French National Assembly and a Chadian assembly. The largest political party was the Chadian Progressive Party (PPT), based in the southern half of the colony. Chad was granted independence on August 11 1960 with the PPT's leader, François Tombalbaye, as its first president.
Two years later, Tombalbaye banned opposition parties and established a one-party system. Tombalbaye's autocratic rule and insensitive mismanagement exacerbated interethnic tensions. In 1965 Muslims began a civil war. Tombalbaye was overthrown and killed in 1975, but the insurgency continued. In 1979 the rebel factions conquered the capital, and all central authority in the country collapsed. Armed factions, many from the north's rebellion, contended for power. The disintegration of Chad caused the collapse of France's position in the country. Libya moved to fill the power vacuum and became involved in Chad's civil war. Libya's adventure ended in disaster in 1987; the French-supported president, Hissène Habré, evoked a united response from Chadians of a kind never seen before and forced the Libyan army off Chadian soil.
Habré consolidated his dictatorship through a power system that relied on corruption and violence; an estimated 40,000 people were killed under his rule. The president favoured his own Daza ethnic group and discriminated against his former allies, the Zaghawa. His general, Idriss Déby, overthrew him in 1990.
Déby attempted to reconcile the rebel groups and reintroduced multiparty politics. Chadians approved a new constitution by referendum, and in 1996, Déby easily won a competitive presidential election. He won a second term five years later. Oil exploitation began in Chad in 2003, bringing with it hopes that Chad would at last have some chances of peace and prosperity. Instead, internal dissent worsened, and a new civil war broke out. Déby unilaterally modified the constitution to remove the two-term limit on the presidency; this caused an uproar among the civil society and opposition parties. In 2006 Déby won a third mandate in elections that the opposition boycotted. Ethnic violence in eastern Chad has increased; the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has warned that a genocide like that in Darfur may yet occur in Chad.
In 2006 and in 2008 rebel forces have attempted to take the capital by force, but have on both circumstances failed.

Politics and government

seealso Foreign relations of Chad Chad's constitution provides for a strong executive branch headed by a president who dominates the political system. The president has the power to appoint the prime minister and the cabinet, and exercises considerable influence over appointments of judges, generals, provincial officials and heads of Chad's para-statal firms. In cases of grave and immediate threat, the president, in consultation with the National Assembly, may declare a state of emergency. The president is directly elected by popular vote for a five-year term; in 2005 constitutional term limits were removed. This removal allows a president to remain in power beyond the previous two-term limit. Corruption is rife at all levels; Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2005 named Chad the most corrupt country in the world, and it has fared only slightly better in the following years. In 2007, it scored 1.8 out of 10 on the Corruption Perceptions Index (with 10 being the least corrupt). Only Tonga, Uzbekistan, Haiti, Iraq, Myanmar, and Somalia scored lower. Critics of President Déby have accused him of cronyism and tribalism.
Chad's legal system is based on French civil law and Chadian customary law where the latter does not interfere with public order or constitutional guarantees of equality. Despite the constitution's guarantee of judicial independence, the president names most key judicial officials. The legal system's highest jurisdictions, the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Council, have become fully operational since 2000. The Supreme Court is made up of a chief justice, named by the president, and 15 councillors, appointed for life by the president and the National Assembly. The Constitutional Court is headed by nine judges elected to nine-year terms. It has the power to review legislation, treaties and international agreements prior to their adoption. In 2005, opposition parties and human rights organisations supported the boycott of the constitutional referendum that allowed Déby to stand for re-election for a third term amid reports of widespread irregularities in voter registration and government censorship of independent media outlets during the campaign. Correspondents judged the 2006 presidential elections a mere formality, as the opposition deemed the polls a farce and boycotted.
Déby faces armed opposition from groups who are deeply divided by leadership clashes but united in their intention to overthrow him. These forces stormed the capital on April 13 2006, but were ultimately repelled. Chad's greatest foreign influence is France, which maintains 1,000 troops in the country. Déby relies on the French to help repel the rebels, and France gives the Chadian army logistical and intelligence support for fear of a complete collapse of regional stability. Nevertheless, Franco-Chadian relations were soured by the granting of oil drilling rights to the American Exxon company in 1999.
Educators face considerable challenges due to the nation's dispersed population and a certain degree of reluctance on the part of parents to send their children to school. Although attendance is compulsory, only 68% of boys continue past primary school, and more than half of the population is illiterate. Higher education is provided at the University of N'Djamena.
In February 2008 in the aftermath of the battle of N'Djamena, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes expressed "extreme concern" that the crisis would have a negative effect on the ability of humanitarians to deliver life-saving assistance to half a million beneficiaries, most of whom - according to him - heavily rely on humanitarian aid for their survival. UN spokesperson Maurizio Giuliano stated to The Washington Post: "If we do not manage to provide aid at sufficient levels, the humanitarian crisis might become a humanitarian catastrophe".
The UN, under the leadership of Holmes, boosted the humanitarian response in 2007, with the arrival of a field office of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Senior UN official Eliane Duthoit was deployed as head of the OCHA office in the capital N'Djamena, while former World Food Programme official Fatma Samoura became Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in the eastern town of Abéché.

Regions, departments, and sub-prefectures

Chad is divided into 18 regions. This system came about in 2003 as part of the decentralisation process, when the government abolished the previous 14 prefectures. Each region is headed by a presidentially appointed governor. Prefects administer the 50 departments within the regions. The departments are divided into 200 sub-prefectures, which are in turn composed of 446 cantons. The cantons are scheduled to be replaced by communautés rurales, but the legal and regulatory framework has not yet been completed. The constitution provides for decentralised government to compel local populations to play an active role in their own development. To this end, the constitution declares that each administrative subdivisions be governed by elected local assemblies, but no local elections have taken place, and communal elections scheduled for 2005 have been repeatedly postponed.

Geography

At , Chad is the world's 21st-largest country. It is slightly smaller than Peru and slightly larger than South Africa. Chad is in north central Africa, lying between 8° and 24° north and between 14° and 24° east. Chad is bounded to the north by Libya, to the east by Sudan, to the west by Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon, and to the south by the Central African Republic. The country's capital is from the nearest seaport. Due to this distance from the sea and the country's largely desert climate, Chad is sometimes referred to as the "Dead Heart of Africa".
A heritage of the colonial era, Chad's borders do not coincide wholly with natural boundaries. The dominant physical structure is a wide basin bounded to the north, east and south by mountain ranges. Lake Chad, after which the country is named, is the remains of an immense lake that occupied of the Chadian Basin 7,000 years ago. the lake is Africa's second largest wetland. The Emi Koussi, a dormant volcano in the Tibesti Mountains that reaches 3,414 metres (13,435 ft) above sea level, is the highest point in Chad and the Sahara.
Each year a tropical weather system known as the intertropical front crosses Chad from south to north, bringing a wet season that lasts from May to October in the south, and from June to September in the Sahel. Variations in local rainfall create three major geographical zones. The Sahara lies in the country's northern third. Yearly precipitations there are under ; in fact, Borkou in Chad is the most arid area of the Sahara. Vegetation throughout this belt is scarce; only the occasional spontaneous palm grove survives, the only ones to do so south of the Tropic of Cancer. The Sahara gives way to a Sahelian belt in Chad's centre; precipitation there varies from 300 mm to 600 mm (12–24 in) per year. In the Sahel a steppe of thorny bushes (mostly acacias) gradually gives way to a savanna in Chad's Sudanese zone to the south. Yearly rainfall in this belt is over .

Economy and infrastructure

The United Nations' Human Development Index ranks Chad as the fifth poorest country in the world, with 80% of the population living below the poverty line. The GDP (PPP) per capita was estimated as US$1,500 in 2005. Chad is part of the Bank of Central African States and the Customs and Economic Union of Central Africa (UDEAC). Its currency is the CFA franc. Years of civil war have scared away foreign investors; those who left Chad between 1979 and 1982 have only recently begun to regain confidence in the country's future. In 2000 major direct foreign investment in the oil sector began, boosting the country's economic prospects. Cotton remains a primary export, although exact figures are not available. Rehabilitation of Cotontchad, a major cotton company that suffered from a decline in world cotton prices, has been financed by France, the Netherlands, the European Union, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). The parastatal is now expected to be privatised.
Civil war crippled the development of transport infrastructure; in 1987, Chad had only of paved roads. Successive road rehabilitation projects improved the network to by 2004. Nevertheless, the road network is limited; roads are often unusable for several months of the year. With no railways of its own, Chad depends heavily on Cameroon's rail system for the transport of Chadian exports and imports to and from the seaport of Douala. An international airport serves the capital and provides regular direct flights to Paris and several African cities. The telecommunication system is basic and expensive, with fixed telephone services provided by the state telephone company SotelTchad. Only 14,000 fixed telephone lines serve all of Chad, one of the lowest telephone density rates in the world. Chad's energy sector has suffered from years of mismanagement by the parastatal Chad Water and Electric Society (STEE), which provides power for 15% of the capital's citizens and covers only 1.5% of the national population. Most Chadians burn biomass fuels such as wood and animal manure for power. Chad's cities face serious difficulties of municipal infrastructure; only 48% of urban residents have access to potable water and only 2% to basic sanitation.
The country's television audience is limited to N'Djamena. The only television station is the state-owned TeleTchad. Radio has a far greater reach, with 13 private radio stations. Newspapers are limited in quantity and distribution, and circulation figures are small due to transportation costs, low literacy rates, and poverty.

Demographics

2005 estimates place Chad's population at 10,146,000; 25.8% live in urban areas and 74.8% in rural ones. The country's population is young: an estimated 47.3% is under 15. The birth rate is estimated at 42.35 births per 1,000 people, the mortality rate at 16.69. The life expectancy is 47.2 years. Urban life is virtually restricted to the capital, whose population is mostly engaged in commerce. The other major towns are Sarh, Moundou, Abéché and Doba, which are less urbanised but are growing rapidly and joining the capital as decisive factors in economic growth. displaced by the civil war in the east, this has generated increased tensions among the region's communities.
Polygamy is common, with 39% of women living in such unions. This is sanctioned by law, which automatically permits polygamy unless spouses specify that this is unacceptable upon marriage. Although violence against women is prohibited, domestic violence is common. Female genital mutilation is prohibited, but the practice is widespread and deeply rooted in tradition; 45% of Chadian women undergo the procedure, with the highest rates among Arabs, Hadjarai, and Ouaddaians (90% or more). Lower percentages were reported among the Sara (38%) and the Toubou (2%). Women lack equal opportunities in education and training, making it difficult for them to compete for the relatively few formal-sector jobs. Although property and inheritance laws based on the French code do not discriminate against women, local leaders adjudicate most inheritance cases in favour of men, according to traditional practice.

Culture

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