Thinking Aloud: The Darius Index, Chad

Apr. 20, 2014 by Darius 

[A month ago I introduced the Darius Index, which aims to measure the discrepancy between a country’s wealth – as measured by GDP per capita – and what that country does with the money – as measured by the UN’s Human Development Index.  See]

This week we’ll check out the #6 country on the list, Chad.

Many of the dynamics of Chad’s place on the list are similar to those of other countries previously discussed.  But while Botswana and South Africa, for instance, have good per capita GDP but only decent human development, Chad has a very low per capita GDP and atrocious human development.

Most of Chad’s economy comes from oil, but Chad’s oil is relatively recent: exploitation only began in 2003.  Like Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, most of Chad’s oil money never reaches the people.  Instead, it is siphoned off by government corruption.  Chad’s ranks a rather miserable 163 out of 177 countries on Transparency International’s corruption index.

Chad has an additional hobble to human development not shared by other countries on the Darius Index, though: geography.  Chad is a landlocked country in the middle of the Sahara Desert.  Even with appropriate governance and funding, human development in Chad is going to be very difficult indeed.

It’s possible that oil money will make a difference to Chad’s people over time, but given Chad’s corruption, authoritarianism, and geography, don’t expect a big change any time soon.

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