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Russia’s 2024 Trade & Development With Chad

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov is expected in Chad this week as part of a 2024 African diplomatic tour. Lavrov is scheduled to meet with Mahamat Idriss Deby, the new President, who was sworn in on May 23 following his victory in the May 6 elections. This moment marked the country’s formal return to constitutional rule after three years of transitional military government. He is also expected to meet with Prime Minister Allamaye Halina.

Chad sits at the crossroads of North and Central Africa. The landlocked country is bordered by Libya to the north, with Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon to the southwest, Nigeria to the southwest (at Lake Chad), and Niger to the west.

The country is a former French colony and has undergone problems with terrorism in its recent past, including Muslim insurgency under the Boko Haram militants. Lavrov’s visit will be to discuss military and security support, as Russia is doing with several African states as Russia inherits a region now distrustful of its previous colonial masters. 

North Africa Map

Russia’s foreign trade with Chad is small and only about US$3 million. However, Chad has a population of 16 million, of which 1.6 million live in the capital and largest city of N’Djamena. With a total area of around 1,284,000 km2, Chad is the fifth-largest country in Africa and the twentieth largest nation by area in the world.

With Chad being landlocked, Lavrov will be looking for opportunities not just in security and military support, but also to look at reviving Chad’s oil industry, with its proven reserves of 1.5 billion barrels. That energy and potential income will be needed to develop Chad’s agricultural industry, which has been decimated by poor management, war, and desertification. Russian fertilizer and grain exports are also likely to be discussed.

Chad also has a significant cotton industry although again this will need infrastructural development. Cattle farming and gum arabic production are also significant industries. Mobile phone and internet usage are also well below normal African penetration rates and there are likely to be opportunities in communications infrastructure. 

However – getting much needed development into the country is highly dependent on maintaining domestic security.

Chad is a member of the African Union, the Bank of Central African States, the Customs and Economic Union of Central Africa (UDEAC) and the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA).

Further Reading

Russia-Africa 2024 Trade & Development

Russia’s trade and investments in Africa are extensively discussed in our 2024 Russia’s Pivot To Asia guide. This is a complimentary download and can be accessed in English here and Russian here

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