The country suffers rather low health standards and a severe shortage of medical supplies, such as vaccines and antibiotics, which sadly results in another record-high rate: Chad sadly reports one of the highest infant mortality rates worldwide as well. Statistics show that women living in low-income countries give birth on average to almost twice as many children as the global average; Chad is one of the most fertile countries, averaging 6.3 children per woman for the last 15 years - only Mali and Chad's direct neighbor, Niger, report higher birth rates. The lack of access to family planning and contraceptives also contributes to a high risk of contracting deadly diseases, and Chad is among the countries with the highest number of deaths caused by AIDS and malaria. Today, Chad is fighting a rampant HIV epidemic, supplying 63 percent of pregnant women with antiretroviral medicine to prevent HIV transmission to their children.
In 1960, Chad gained its independence from France, but in the years that followed the country faced violent conflicts resulting in one of Africa’s longest civil wars. It lasted for more than 24 years, and ended in 1990, with Idriss Déby, the incumbent president, taking power in a coup d’etat. Previously, a series of coups had taken place during the civil war, thus power changed hands three times: in 1975, in 1979, and in 1982. Since 1990, multiple coups have been attempted against the Chadian President, but all ended in failure. As a result of the ongoing political turmoil and attacks from rebels, wounding and killing civilians, the nation is considered one of the least safe countries worldwide, as well as one of the least democratic countries.
With gross domestic product amounting to almost 10 billion U.S. dollars and a 0.6 percent growth in real GDP in 2017, Chad’s economy continues to be hurt by the volatile political situation and humanitarian crises happening in the country. Petroleum is the main produced resource and exported commodity. Primary export partners are the United States and China. Falling oil prices from 2014 to 2016 had a lasting negative impact on Chad’s economy: Since 2014, Chad’s trade balance is structurally negative, a tendency that will probably last. Additionally, the country relies heavily on foreign investments and capital to support its private and public sectors. In order to reduce the heavy debt burden, fiscal reform programs are being implemented by the government. Relief is expected over the next few years, however, economic stability is still far from becoming reality at this point.
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