Chad has a highly fragmented social structure. There are around 200 ethnic groups, which speak a variety of languages. Informal networks and clan and family structures play a significant role in all regions of the country, not least because the state is largely invisible and has very limited governance capacity, particularly in rural areas. Relations between ethnic groups are characterised by a fragile peace.
More than 40 per cent of Chad’s approximately 16.4 million people live below the national poverty line; around one third of the population is undernourished. Life expectancy is 55 years and the child mortality rate is one of the highest in the world. Only around half the population has access to basic water services, just 10 per cent has access to properly managed sanitation and only 11 per cent has access to electricity.
Chad’s population is growing at a rate of 3 per cent a year. Almost half the population is under 15 years of age. There is a lack of education and employment prospects for young people.
Significant gaps exist in the education system. Around one primary school-age child in four is not in school; while this affects 17 per cent of boys, the figure for girls is 35 per cent. Only around 40 per cent of children who are enrolled in school finish primary education. Illiteracy affects approximately three quarters of the adult population.
Discrimination against women
Chad is committed to gender equality, which is enshrined in the current transitional constitution. However, women are still severely disadvantaged in all spheres of life. Violence against women and children is widespread but rarely sanctioned. Effective mechanisms to deal with complaints about human rights violations do not exist.