Forgetting Chad

After years of civil wars, the most neglected French colony in Africa is seeking a way to start again. It’s not easy: Chad suffers infantile malnutrition, it is stricken by drought and desertification and it is invaded by hundreds of thousands refugees from Central Africa and Sudan. The international community which is always focusing on nearby Darfur, has forgotten Chad and in 2011 the United Nations military forces are going to abandon the country. “A premature move out – they say from the UNHCR – because the risk that Al-Qaida will infiltrate the country is real”. Chad nevertheless remains a politically stable country, with reinforced power coming from the proceeds of oil extraction. This wealth however does not get redistributed and, while 80% of the population lives under the poverty line, N’Djamena has become one of the most expensive capitals of the world. “We often feel abandoned in Chad” once said the Chadian film director Mahamat Saleh Haroun, award winner at the Cannes Festival in 2010, “and we don’t know why…”.