Chad’s President Seeks Investors In France, Speaks Out Against World Bank

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VENTURES AFRICA – The relationship between the World Bank and Chad continues on its rocky road, as Chad’s President Idriss Deby publically criticises the bank for failing to help his country’s development.

According to the President, the World Bank has treated, and is still treating, the central African nation unfairly, perpetuating its on-going struggle against poverty, and hindering Chad’s ability to develop its economy.

Speaking on a trip to Paris on Thursday, Deby said: “We have a difficult relationship with the World Bank. We are the only African country that has not had access to programmes for extremely poor and indebted nations…It’s an injustice that is imposed on Chad,” reports Reuters.

The comments in particular allude to Chad’s exclusion from the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HDIC) programme – and International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank initiative – under the remit of which poor countries are provided with the financial and other assistance necessary to enable a steady path out of poverty. Launched in 1996, Chad was never included in the programme, contributing to its on-going poverty levels and slow development.

The President is currently on a trip to France where he is set to meet with over 50 private investor firms in the hope of raising funds for the country, to enable further economic development initiatives proposed by the government.

World Bank-Chad relations escalated in 2008, following the financing institution’s withdrawal of funds from the Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline, which was widely heralded as the test case of how oil could save Africa’s impoverished nations if properly managed and wealth distributed appropriately.

However, in response to criticism from aid agencies which argued that Chad should not receive financial backing due to the country’s corruption, human rights, and political record, the World Bank in 2008 pulled out from the project – which had been one of the biggest investments made by the bank in Africa.

The World Bank imposed a condition that portions of oil wealth should be set aside for community development projects, which the institution argues Chad has not complied with.

Meanwhile, President Defy insists that the institution’s requirements were overly onerous, siphoning as much as 90 per cent of funds into research studies, before any action could be taken, causing the country to amass even further debts and leaving it unable to take action.

“I am happy to cooperate, but I don’t want anything imposed on us…When you oppose that, you are branded as bad,” said Defy, according to Reuters.