The former French colony of Chad is entirely landlocked, situated in north-central Africa. The country is predominantly Muslim, but it’s home to over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups, with a variety of traditions and heritages. Unfortunately, Chad is also one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world.
Let’s have a look at the top 14 interesting facts about the Republic of Chad.
1. Chadians are some of the best camel racers in the world
The Toubou tribe, who live in the Tibesti Mountains, are known as the world’s best camel racers. Tibesti means “the place where mountain people live” and the area has a long tradition of racing camels – a tradition of morning races having taken place for centuries.
2. Its national symbols are the goat and the lion
The national animals for Chad are split according to its geography: in the north, the mountain goat is the area’s symbol, while in the south, it’s the lion. The country’s coat of arms includes both, and it was created in 1970.
3. The country is named after Lake Chad
Lake Chad is a massive body of water, the second largest in Africa. A freshwater lake, it’s shrunk by 95% since 1963! It still remains the world’s 17th largest lake and a major tourist attraction, situated at the border with Nigeria, Cameroon, and Niger.
4. Crude oil is Chad’s main export
Chad’s economy relies heavily on exporting crude oil for most of its trade, this being the primary source of their economy since 2003, having overtaken cotton. The importance of crude oil has had some benefits for Chad as it’s pushed through the development in infrastructure, especially roads and some construction projects, a fun fact about Chad.
Chad’s most used pipeline runs through neighboring Cameroon and connects the Doba Basin to the port of Kribi on the coast, transporting around 94,000 barrels of oil every day.
5. Gold and uranium reserves are the other riches of Chad
There are great reserves of gold and uranium in Chad, but these resources haven’t been tapped into adequately. This is partly because of the discovery of oil which then took precedence, but partly also because of the difficulty of setting up businesses and dealing with the corruption in Chad. The International Finance Corporation considers Chad the worst country in the world for doing business, which has significantly affected its chances of attracting investment.
6. Grains are the staple food of this country
An interesting fact about Chad is that multiple types of grains are farmed for the day-to-day diet of the majority of the population. These include varieties less used in the Western world such as millet and sorghum. One of the main dishes of Chad is Boule, a thick grain porridge. Again, there’s a north-south divide: in the northern area, the major crop is maize, while in the south, it’s millet.
7. There’s a severe shortage of doctors there
One of the main areas where Chad is lacking is the medical profession. For every 23,600 people there is one doctor available. Somewhat linked to this fact, Chad has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the word: 1,100 mothers die per 100,000 births.
This is one of Chad’s biggest challenges in terms of overall development.
8. Information sources are quite reduced in this country
To this day, Chad has only one television station (Tele-Tchad) which is owned by the state. Radio is the main source of media coverage in the country.
9. Chad has three different climatic regions
A third of Chad is covered by the Sahara Desert, in the north, with extremely hot temperatures and low population density. The Sahel belt covers the Central region of Chad, and it marks the transition between desert and tropical climate. In the south, Chad is mainly tropical, allowing farmers to grow their crops and the population to settle.
10. The kakaki is the traditional musical instrument of Chad
A long metal trumpet, the kakaki is one of the symbols of this country, a fun fact about Chad. Only men are allowed to play it and it symbolises power. The kakaki is used in lots of traditional ceremonies all over the country, but it can also be found in other countries where the Hausa people are encountered: Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, and Benin.
11. Chad is not a great place for women’s rights
Society is very old-fashioned when it comes to women’s roles and rights in Chad. Most young women are married before the age of 18, and arranged marriages are common. Moreover, there are lots of roles not available to women. Finally, men can have multiple wives here.
12. It is a melting pot of cultures
There are so many cultures, languages and religions represented in Chad, that it can be considered a true melting pot. In fact, the government has been trying to promote this rich heritage in Chad by building a Chad National Museum as well as the Chad Cultural Centre.
13. Football is the most popular sport here
A fun Chad fact is that its national team regularly do well in men’s football internationally. They have a massive following and lots of the best players have historically been recruited in French teams.
Other popular sports in Chad are basketball and freestyle wrestling. For the latter, the wrestlers wear animal hides and cover themselves with dust.
14. Chad is home to some of the most important archaeological sites in Africa
The Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti Region of Chad has some archaeological sites dating back to 2,000 BC. Human settlement started in Chad as far back as the 7th millennium BC, thanks to favourable ecological conditions in the northern half. This is when the population boomed, continuing to be represented primarily by farmers and sedentary people.
As one of the poorest and more corrupt countries in Africa, there is no doubt that Chad is faced with many unfortunate challenges which shadow its natural and cultural beauty. Although it’s a rich melting pot of people, Chad suffers from power struggles and poverty.
I hope that this article on Chad facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!