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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid