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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Arkansas, North Carolina have approved similar laws that gay-marriage opponents say help maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More