News / Africa

UN Says Chad on Path of Reform

In this November 2012 photo, children gather under a sole shade tree as they take a break from class outside their schoolhouse made of reeds in the village of Louri, in the Mao region of Chad.In this November 2012 photo, children gather under a sole shade tree as they take a break from class outside their schoolhouse made of reeds in the village of Louri, in the Mao region of Chad.
x
In this November 2012 photo, children gather under a sole shade tree as they take a break from class outside their schoolhouse made of reeds in the village of Louri, in the Mao region of Chad.
In this November 2012 photo, children gather under a sole shade tree as they take a break from class outside their schoolhouse made of reeds in the village of Louri, in the Mao region of Chad.
Lisa Schlein
A senior United Nations official says the Chadian government is making progress in addressing the country’s critical political, humanitarian and social issues.  The official says the process of reform is long, but there appears to be a strong political will to come to terms with the country’s many underlying problems. 

Chad is one of the poorest countries on earth.  It is just emerging from decades of internal strife and conflict.  It has to contend with the persistent volatility that affects central Africa.  

Crises in Sudan, the Central African Republic, Libya, Niger and Nigeria have forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.  As a result, Chad currently is hosting more than 550,000 refugees, internally displaced people and Chadian migrants forced to flee Libya’s civil war in 2011.  

At the same time, the United Nations reports more than 3.5 million people suffer chronic food insecurity and lack of clean water.  

Despite these and many other problems, the U.N. resident humanitarian coordinator in Chad, Thomas Gurtner, says the country is moving forward.

He says the government of President Idriss Deby has completed a gradual democratization process that led to the country’s first local elections in 2012 - an election which saw the opposition party take power.  

“The government has been able to gradually start addressing critical vulnerabilities," said Gurtner. "We have increased expenditures on the social services being provided.  As an example, five percent of the annual budget was used in 2011 to cover the health needs.  In 2013, 20 percent of the national budget is being allocated to this very critical element.”   

By the same token, Gurtner says the government also is increasing investment into primary education.   It is bringing essential services back to remote areas of the country, notably in the east where more than 300,000 Sudanese refugees from Darfur and over 100,000 internally displaced people are living.

The U.N. coordinator says the government is starting to make an effort to divert some of the revenue from its oil resources to social needs, to improving the lives of the Chadian people.  

But, he does acknowledge a need for greater transparency in the budget and in the running of the government.  He says more scrutiny is needed to ensure better use of the resources the government is generating.   

“Now, this cannot happen from day one within a short period of time," said Gurtner. "When you have had 30 years of strife, you obviously need to get at it gradually.  But, everything is pointing in the right direction.  Better oversight, better transparency are key for the success.”  

The system of aid to Chad is primarily based on immediate needs.  Gurtner says this has to change to a system that is more focused on long-term development.  

He says international support should be focused on helping Chad strengthen its institutional and community resilience.  He sees this as the best way to respond to acute socio-economic needs and to reduce long-term vulnerabilities.

Gurtner says reversing an ongoing brain drain would provide the government with the technical support it so badly needs.  He says efforts must be made to woo back professionals from abroad, to repatriate the doctors, lawyers and economists who could help the country move ahead.

You May Like

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid