WHEN FRANCE GRANTED INDEPENDENCE to Chad in 1960, it left the new government with an essentially traditional economy, having a small industrial sector, an agricultural sector dominated by cotton, and an inadequate transportation sector. Moreover, the country had few trained technicians or capable administrators. In spite of wellintentioned efforts by a series of civilian and military governments, throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the combination of prolonged civil strife, chronic drought, and political uncertainty aborted most progress.
By the late 1980s, even though there had been a lull in the fighting, better rains, and a modicum of political stability, Chad was still one of the poorest countries on earth and one of the least endowed with resources. The economy had not improved appreciably since independence and, by some measurements, was probably worse than in 1960. Reliant on foreign aid and vulnerable to the uncontrollable forces of the international cotton market, Chad could hope to make only incremental gains in its quest to achieve a viable, self-sustaining economy.
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