Chad has been plagued by poor development, human rights abuses and almost uninterrupted conflict since independence. As the 12th poorest country in the world, Chad is regularly placed among the most corrupt countries on Transparency International’s corruption perception index and is second only to Somalia on Foreign Policy’s Failed States Index. Further complicating its prospects for peace and stability, Chad has had to deal with the spillover from the Darfur crisis in neighboring Sudan, placing enormous pressure on its limited natural resources with the arrival of 220,000 refugees, and destabilizing the region with frequent incursions by Arab militia and Chadian rebels from Sudan. The most promising economic development for Chad is oil. This decade the country began pumping petroleum from its previously untapped underground supplies, thanks to help from friendly foreign oil companies, including ExxonMobil and Chevron. Oil is the primary trade connection between the United States and Chad. The US also has provided the Chadian government, which has been the focus of numerous coups and human rights complaints, with millions of dollars in military aid.
Lay of the Land: In north central Africa, Chad rises from an elevation of 750 feet at Lake Chad in the west to almost 12,000 feet in the northern Tibesti Mountains. The heavy rains of the southern and central regions drain into Lake Chad, but the northern region is a desert.
Currently, relations between the United States and Chad are described as “cordial.” The US has an embassy in N’Djamena, which was established in 1960. The US sent food and agricultural aid to remote areas of the country in the early 1970s, when drought threatened the population. The aid included grain, animal health services and technical assistance. Other agreements helped to build roads in the area of Lake Chad.
Chad’s government under Idriss Déby has recently been helpful to the US in fighting global terrorism, and the country has provided shelter for approximately 250,000 refugees from Darfur, along the country’s eastern border.
Oil exploitation in the southern Doba region of Chad began in June 2000, with ExxonMobil leading a consortium (that includes Chevron) in a $3.7 billion project to export oil via a 1,000-km pipeline through Cameroon to the Gulf of Guinea. Beginning in late 2000, development of Chad’s petroleum sector stimulated economic growth by attracting major investment and increased levels of US trade.
US Aids Chadian Government Despite Use of Child Soldiers
In May 2006 President Idriss Déby, leader of the Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS), was elected to a third term in what unofficial observers characterized as an “orderly, but seriously flawed election” boycotted by the opposition. Déby has ruled the country since taking power in a 1990 coup. Political power remained concentrated in the hands of a northern oligarchy composed of the president’s Zaghawa ethnic group and its allies. The executive branch effectively dominated the legislature and judiciary, thereby eliminating potential challenges to a culture of impunity for the ruling minority. Civilian authorities did not maintain effective control of the security forces.
W. Wendell Blancke
Appointment: Dec 12, 1960
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 9, 1961
Termination of Mission: Superseded, May 28, 1961
John A. Calhoun
Appointment: Apr 27, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: May 28, 1961
Termination of Mission: Left post, Apr 1, 1963
Chad’s Embassy in the United States
Mark M. Boulware was confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Chad on September 29, 2010.