Welcome to Chad
Chad is the fifth-largest country on the African continent.
The climate varies from the vast deserts and dry regions of the north and middle, to the wetter conditions of the south. Here many Chadians farm smallholdings, while in the drier areas farmers raise livestock such as sheep, goats and camels.
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Significant oil reserves have been discovered in Chad and oil began pumping in 2003. Chad has other natural resources, including gold and uranium. However the mining sector has yet to receive the same level of investment as the oil industry.
For export, cotton is a major crop. It was introduced on a large scale by the French in the twentieth century.
Chad suffers from a severe shortage of teachers. Some left the country during the long years of civil war. This means classrooms are often crowded, sometimes holding between 50 to 100 pupils for lessons.
Chad is one of the poorest countries in the world and many people barely manage to produce enough food for their families from year to year.
Over 200 ethnic groups live within the borders of this vast country, some of whom can trace their ancestry back hundreds of years.
Across the north, Islam is widely practised, while in the south, people mainly follow Christianity or traditional animist religions.
In the past, Chad was promoted as a destination for hunters. But recently, there has been more emphasis on wildlife protection.
The French arrived in the region at the end of the 19th century. Southern groups such as the Sara welcomed them, since the French brought an end to the slave raids from the north.
Across the northern third of the country, in the Saharan zone, crops such as dates, beans and some fruits can be grown in the oases scattered across the region.