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Fostering consensus for change: trade and development in Chad

Chad is showing just how far trade can be used as a lever to help a country achieve its development goals in support of poor rural communities. As a landlocked and largely semi-desert country, Chad is confronted with high trading costs to link to international markets, a dependence on a volatile oil sector, the climate change impact and the need for investments in infrastructure, training and access to finance and technology. The EIF programme has been instrumental in building a spirit of consensus among different stakeholders from the public and private sectors, accompanied by development partners' support to identify cross-cutting national priorities that would help Chad achieve its Development Vision 2030 and become an emerging economy. 

 

Through the EIF, a national trade exchange platform has been set up to support the use of trade as a growth and poverty reduction tool, which has enabled stakeholders to acquire a better understanding of national priorities and institutional responsibilities, as well as the ability to identify partners to achieve these priorities. Since 2004, the EIF has supported Chad to carry out analytical trade studies to realize its full national trading potential. Chad's 2006 Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) was integrated into the Second Poverty Reduction Strategy (2008-2010). The DTIS was updated in 2013 with implementation support from UNDP and has provided input for the formulation of both the Medium-term Programme (MTP) 2016-2020 and the National Trade Strategy (NTS), taking into account the different needs and priorities identified by stakeholders including the private sector.

 

Trade now features prominently in various national programmes, including the National Food Security Programme and the Programme to support the development of Chadian Livestock Industries, as well as private sector support development and budgets for agriculture. Moreover, trade has been mainstreamed into sector strategies for livestock breeding, food security, transport, tourism and rural development. Plans are underway to revive the Public-Private Sector Dialogue Forum, and the EIF National Steering Committee has been reconstituted by Government Order to operate as a public‑private consultative platform with equal representation from the private sector and civil society's umbrella organizations in N'Djamena and the provinces. 

 

Robust structures, strategies and policies spearheaded by high-level political champions including Chad's Prime Minister have been put in place, with the NTS and the MTP, commissioned by the Prime Minister's Office. The EIF has been presented as part of the donor dialogue in the Technical and Financial Partners (TFPs) Thematic Group and through the EIF coordination framework, the Ministry of Trade more frequently engages with donors on trade matters, including with the European Union, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Development Bank of Central African States (Banque de Développement des États de l'Afrique Centrale – BDEAC).

 

The EIF-supported MTP and the NTS were developed concurrently. The MTP sets out the trade sector's medium- and long-term financing needs, with a view to framing the first Five-Year Development Plan (2016-2020) of the 2030 Development Vision under preparation. The MTP maps out a set of 37 project plans according to national priorities and identifies potential partners to fund and roll out these projects. Plans are also underway to organize in 2016 a roundtable for the financing of the 2030 Vision to translate the trade analytics and policies into action.

 

With EIF support, the NTS was developed and validated as part of reforms undertaken to foster private sector development and measures introduced in 2015 to streamline the procedures and formalities for setting up businesses in Chad. Measures including the operationalization of the National Investment and Export Agency single window and the reduction from nine to four of the procedures required to create a company show the Government's strong commitment to support a growing private sector. The NTS identifies various actions geared to resource mobilization, utilizing national, regional and international opportunities and the development of an attractive business sector that will contribute to the growth and promote the welfare of the Chadian people, including the promotion of female entrepreneurship.

 

Two Committees (Inter-Ministerial and Technical) have been set up to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the MTP and the DTIS Update (DTISU). The Inter-Ministerial Committee comprises line Ministries, including Planning and International Co-operation; Finance and Budget; Agriculture and Environment; Livestock; Oil, Mining and Energy; Transport, Infrastructure and Civil Aviation; Urban Planning; Telecommunications; and Justice. It monitors the multi-annual programming and implementation of the MTP and the DTISU, including facilitating the mobilization of technical and financial resources and coordinating activities of the different actors, reporting directly to the Prime Minister.

 

The Technical Committee, which meets quarterly, is chaired by the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Trade, Economy and Tourism and is comprised of Secretary-Generals from the different line Ministries, private sector representatives, including the National Council of Chadian Employers; the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture, Mines and Handicrafts (CCIAMA); and the Association of Women Traders and Business Leaders; and development partners, such as UNDP as the EIF Donor Facilitator and the AfDB as the country donor coordinator. It prepares the MTP and DTISU implementation monitoring report as well as maintains a regular dialogue with donors on trade, investment and employment.

 

In line with Chad's 2030 Vision focusing on rural development and inclusive growth, the EIF has supported capacity development of the Ministry of Trade to formulate and implement pro‑poor trade policies. The EIF institutional capacity‑building project has equally been matched by the Government's unwavering commitment to the national trade agenda, committing over US$640,000 to develop national trade capacities during the EIF Phase Two programme (2015-2016). The Government has so far disbursed CFAF 150 million (equivalent to US$300,000), half of its commitment made to boost Chad's institutional trading capacities.

 

The EIF is also funding the implementation of a number of activities identified in the DTISU and the MTP. Alongside the Government's contribution of US$1,500,680, the EIF is providing US$2,999,994 to strengthen Chad's gum arabic sector through a value chain development approach. The overall objective is to reduce poverty through income and employment creation, particularly in rural areas where gum arabic plays an important role for the livelihoods of many families and communities. In addition, the EIF has assisted Chad to leverage additional resources from bilateral donors in the leather sector, which has enabled to start the production of a range of standardized leather products at the Training Unit of N'Djamena Crafts Centre. A feasibility study based on a value chain development approach on three products – dates, natron and sesame – was also funded through the EIF with UNIDO as the Main Implementing Entity. The finalized study will help the Government of Chad to identify products that can better contribute to economic diversification, income generation and poverty reduction through the formulation of profitable projects.

 

Through capacity building, the EIF has also supported the Food Quality Control Centre in harmonizing quality control procedures. Other projects under development and coordinated through the EIF framework to be funded by TFPs include: strengthening quality infrastructure and developing a quality control system; the private sector; tourism; and handicraft sector development.

 

Future plans for EIF assistance include strengthening private sector capacities by implementing the capacity‑building plan in collaboration with private sector organizations, such as the CCIAMA and the Association of Women Heads of Enterprise and Traders of Chad.

 

To advance the key coordination role played by the EIF National Implementation Unit (NIU), plans are underway to integrate the NIU into the Ministry's organizational structure as the Trade Partnerships and Programmes Monitoring Unit (Cellule de Suivi des Partenariats et Programmes du Commerce). This is part of the NTS action points and aims to set up a competent structure to assist with mobilization, coordination and monitoring of Aid for Trade.

 

Chad's national trade canvass is at a pivotal point, tipping over to bring on board grassroots participation, the private sector and women's groups together with the public sector in a spirit of consensus to advance the national trade priorities and ultimately national economic growth and to contribute to foster resilience and change for the poorest communities on the ground.