Chad | Oil Revenues to Be Used to Improve Quality of Life
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Oil Revenues to Be Used to Improve Quality of Life
In June 2000 the World Bank agreed to provide more than $200 million to build a $3.7-billion pipeline connecting the oil fields in Chad to those in Cameroon. Oil revenues are estimated to earn $2.5 billion over the next 30 years. Human rights groups were concerned that the project would only benefit the oil companies and the political elite in Cameroon and Chad. The World Bank, however, forced Chad to agree to spend 80% of the resulting oil revenues on education, health, infrastructure, and other social welfare projects desperately needed by this impoverished country. The deal was hailed as a novel approach to ensuring that developing countries with authoritarian governments manage to spend revenues to alleviate the poverty of their people rather than enrich its elite. (In 2005, Transparency International listed Chad as the world's most corrupt country.) Over the next 25 years, Chad is expected to make $80 million per year, increasing the government treasury by 50%. But in 2006, after the pipeline was completed, Déby reneged on the deal with the World Bank, saying he would spend the oil revenues to finance the military, to buttress his nearly insolvent government, and to shore up his fragile hold on power. In response, the World Bank suspended its loans and froze Chad's bank accounts. In May, the World Bank and Chad reached a compromise: Chad's government would receive 30% of the oil revenues, instead of the 10% originally agreed to, and the remaining 70% of revenues would be spent exclusively on programs to alleviate the country's poverty.
By 2006, about 250,000 Sudanese refugees had fled to Chad to escape the fighting in Sudan's Darfur region, where they face hunger and disease in desperately under supplied refugee camps.
In April 2006, a coup to oust Déby was averted with the help of French troops stationed in the country. Opposition parties boycotted the May presidential elections, and Déby retained the presidency.
Prime Minister Pascal Yoadimnadji died in February 2007. President Déby named Delwa Kassire Koumakoye as his successor.
Rebels from three groups stormed N'Djamena in February 2008 and demanded the resignation of President Déby. Chad's military, however, repulsed the rebels. About 100 people died in the fighting. Leaders in Chad have accused Sudan of fomenting the rebellion. Sudan, on the other hand, claims that Chad sponsors the Sudanese rebels that are fighting the government and its militias. Tension continued to flare throughout 2008, with Sudan severing diplomatic relations with Chad, and Chad responding by closing the border with Sudan.