K. Guérin - GEO212 - France

A. Boulay - GEO212 - France

Chad is a landlocked country and has a very small national economic market. Hence any time you think about development issues, the relationship with its neighbours is important. When Chad exports or imports goods, it has to rely on foreign countries, ports, roads and railroads. Oil exportation decisions will need pipeline creation across neighbouring countries. The building of a refinery or any large factory will be economically sound only if a neighbour country economic market adds to the local market.

The Republic of Chad is surrounded by Libya to the North, Sudan to the East, Central African Republic to the Southeast, Cameroon and Nigeria to the Southwest, and Niger to the Northwest. We will study all those countries. But if we add the Sudanese situation and its impact and the possibility to create new export routes for oil, we have to add two additional countries in the analysis: Kenya and Uganda. Those countries represent 32% of the continent, or of its population.





Sudan, Chad and Niger are most of the largest countries of Africa after Algeria. Nigeria is the most populated country of Africa.
Latest statistics (march 2013) : 


Cameroon C.A.R. Chad Kenya Libya
Area 475 440 km² 622 984 km² 1 284 000 km² 580 367 km² 1 759 540 km²
Population* 22 534 532
5 166 510
11 193 452
44 037 656
6 002 347
Density 47 inhab/km² 11 inhab/km² 1 inhab/km² 76 inhab/km² 3 inhab/km²
Creation date 1960 1960 1960 1963 1951
Administrative division* 10 regions 16 prefectures, 1 commune (Bangui) 22 regions 7 provinces 22 districts
Refugees and IDP (2013/12)** 101 560
420 340
539 590
625 250
75 010
Population below poverty line*** 39.9% (2007 est.) 62% (2008 est.)
55% (2003 est.) 45.9% (2005 est.) NA (> 30%)
Ibrahim Index (2013)**** 47 32.7 33 53.6 45.3
GDP (2013 est.)*** 25.3 billion $ 2.2 billion $ 12.9 billion $ 40.7 billion $ 62.4 billion $
GDP sectors (2013 est.)*** Primary 20.6% 56.6% 46.3% 29.3% 2%
Secondary 27.3% 14.5% 9.9% 17.4% 58.3%
Tertiary 52.3% 28.9% 43.8% 53.3% 39.7%
Resources Petroleum, Bauxite, Iron ore, Timber, Hydropower Diamonds, Uranium, Timber, Gold, Oil, Hydropower Petroleum, Uranium, Natron, Kaolin, Fish (Lake Chad), Gold, Limestone, Sand and gravel, Salt Limestone, Soda ash, Salt, Gemstones, Fluorspar, Zinc, Diatomite, Gypsum, Wildlife, Cattle, Hydropower Natural Gas, Petroleum, Gypsum
Land Use (2013)*** Arable land 13.1% 2.9% 3.8% 9.5% 1.0%
Crops 2.9% 0.1% 0.02% 1.1% 0.2%
Other 84.0% 97.0% 96.2% 89.4% 98.8%
Coastline 402 km 0 km 0 km 536 km 1 770 km
Climate Semiarid to equatorial Tropical to equatorial Desertic to tropical Semiarid to Tropical Mediterraneen to desertic
Elevation 4 095 m 1 420m 3 415m 5 199m 2 267m
Mt Cameroon Mt Ngaoui Emi Koussi Mt Kenya Bikku Bitti



Niger Nigeria South Sudan Sudan Uganda
Area 1 267 000 km² 923 768 km² 644 329 km² 1 867 484 km² 241 038 km²
Population* 16 899 327 inhab 174 507 539 inhab 11 090 104 inhab 34 847 910 inhab 34 758 809 inhab
Density 13 inhab/km² 189 inhab/km² 17 inhab/km² 19 inhab/km² 144 inhab/km²
Creation date 1961 1960 2011 1956 1962
Administrative division* 8 regions includes 1 capital district (Niamey) 36 states, 1 Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) 10 states 15 states 111 districts, 1 city (Kampala)
Refugees and IDP (2013/12)** 60 280
10 335
561 150
2 189 000 346 710
Population below poverty line*** 59.7 % (2007 est.) 70% (2010 est.) 50.6% (2009) 46.5% (2009 est.) 24.5% (2009 est.)
Ibrahim Index (2013)**** 50.4 43.4 NA 56
GDP (2013 est.)*** 6.7 billion $ 262.6 billion $ 10.2 billion $ 58.8 billion $ 19.9 billion $
GDP sectors (2013 est.)*** Primary 35.2% 30.9% NA 27.7% 23.9%
Secondary 14.2% 43% NA 30.6% 26.1%
Teriary 50.6% 26% NA 39% 49.9%
Resources Uranium, Coal, Iron ore, tin, Phosphates, Gold, Molybdenum, Gypsum, Salt Natural gas, Petroleum, Iron ore, Tin, Coal, Limestone, Niobium, Lead, Zinc, Arable land Petroleum, Iron ore, Copper, Chromium ore, Zinc, Tungsten, Mica, Silver, Gold, Diamons, Timber, Limestone, Arable land, Hydropower Petroleum, small reserves of Iron ore, Copper, Chromium ore, Zinc, Tungsten, Mica, Silver, Gold, Hydropower Copper, Cobalt, Hydropower, Limestone, Salt, Arable land, Wildlife, Gold
Land Use (2013)*** Arable land 11.8% 39% NA 6.8% 27.9%
Crops 0.05% 3.5% NA 0.7% 9.1%
Other 88.2% 57.5% NA 93.2 63%
Coastline 0 km 853 km 0 km 853 km² 0 km
Climate Desertic to tropical Semiarid to equatorial Tropical to equatorial Desrtic to semi-arid Tropical to equatorial
Elevation 2 022m 2 419m 3 187m 3 042m 5 110m
Mt Bagzane Chappal Waddi Kinyeti Djebel Marra Margherita Pk

* CIA World FactBook
** UNHCR, "Statistical Snapshot"
*** The World Bank
**** Mo Ibrahim Foundation



The climate is desert in north of the area (Libya, Niger, Chad, Sudan), and equatorial in the south (Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya). The rainy season stretches from May to October due to  the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) moving to the south of the area.

East Africa is defined by the Great Rift Valley which created mountains, such as Mount Kenya (5 199m, 6 highest point of the area), and lakes, such as Lake Victoria. In the western part, major rivers flow towards the Atlantic Ocean (Niger and Benoue in Nigeria, Oubangui in CAR, Sanaga in Cameroon. In the east, the Nile (White Nile and Blue Nile) is the dominant river. Chad is a peculiar case as its two main rivers, Logone and Chari, flow from the southeast into Lake Chad. Apart from those main rivers, following rains water may flow through depressions called wadis.


Regional trade is promoted by a lot of multilateral economic organizations. Since the 1960’s, organizations have multiplied, creating different influence areas, with different level of economic & monetary integration: customs union, common market, development plan, free trade area, common currency...

Subsistence agriculture is generally the major sector, or remains a large sector of those countries' economy (and certainly the activity for most of the people).

The extraction industry is very important: Uranium in Niger (Arlit), and soon in CAR (Bakouma), Oil & Gas in Nigeria, Libya, Sudan, South Sudan, Cameroon and Chad (and very soon in Uganda), diamonds and gold in CAR.

Cameroon, Libya and Nigeria have strong industrial sectors (Cameroon relies on its great hydroelectric power to process aluminium (Edea)). Only Nigeria, Libya and Kenya have very developed services (Kenya being an important touristic destination).

In terms of telecommunication, the fixed-line phone had never succeeded in penetrating in Africa, because it needs a lot of equipements and maintenance, as for internet. But the mobile developement is incredible: the lowest penetration rates in Africa (like in Chad or Niger) are around 30%; but a lot of countries goes over 50%.

The road network is quite heterogeneous. In Chad, Sudan, Niger, Uganda and C.A.R. it is not well developed, and only a small part is asphalted or paved (generally less than 10%). Libya, Sudanes, Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon have a well developed railroad system. Chad, Libya, Niger and C.A.R. have no railway. In Nigeria the road and railroad networks are deteriorated but the government has begun to rectify the situation by repairing the roads and privatizing the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
Chad, Uganda and C.A.R. have only one international airport. Sudan and Niger have 2 international airports, Libya, Kenya and Cameroon have 3, and Nigeria has 4.
Major rivers of each country are navigable. An inland port at Kimusu serves the Lake Victoria.

Road network



The area of interest has 320 million inhabitants in 10 countries. The major part of this population lives southern of the Sahel belt, which crosses Niger, Chad and Sudan. Urban population is concentrated in a few major cities. The largest city is Lagos (10 404 112 inhabitants) in Nigeria, the second largest is Nairobi (3 476 632 inhabitants) in Kenya and the third largest is Douala (2 446 945 inhabitants) in Cameroon.


Nairobi : city center and slums

There are more than 500 distinct ethnic groups present in the ten countries. English, Arabic and French are the official languages and Islamic, indigenous beliefs and Christian the dominant religions depending on the country.


Ethnic groups

The United Nations Human Development Index ranks Chad and its neighbours among the world least advanced countries. All these countries experiment low life expectancy at birth, literacy rate, GDP per capita and low life expectancy. In rural communities, most children do not attend school. In Niger, nearly three-quarters of the population cannot read or write, and in rural areas, 90 percent of women are illiterate.

HDI : Human Development Index 2013

 HDI 2013



CIA World Fact Book

World dataBank: World Development indicators

UNDP: Human development indicators

Mo Ibrahim Index: Governance quality of African countries

Transparency International: Corruption perception index 2013

Population Reference Bureau

FAO GIEWS: Country brief

Crop Explorer

WHO: World Health Organization: countries

IRIN News: Humanitarian news and analysis

ITCZ in Africa

HydroSHEDS (Global Database)

UN World Urbanization Prospects 2011 : urban agglomerations

Tageo: Main cities

AirCraft Charter Wolrd: airports

Tropical to arid

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 March 2014 )