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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs