Interview with the minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Chad
The minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Chad, Moussa Faki Mahamat, was recently here in Addis Ababa to attend a meeting at the African Union. Chad became an independent nation under its first president, François Tombalbaye, on August 11, 1960. This process took place after a referendum on territorial autonomy was conducted on September 28, 1958. Under this referendum French Equatorial Africa was dissolved, and its four constituent states – Gabon, Congo, the Central African Republic and Chad became autonomous members of the French Community. Capital’s Elias Gebreselassie spoke with Moussa Faki Mahamat about the relations between Chad and Ethiopia and the significance of the new embassy opened in Addis Ababa.
Q: Tell us about relations between Ethiopia and Chad.
Moussa Faki Mahamat: The Ethiopia-Chad relationship began long before Chad gained its independence from France in 1960. Since then our relationship has remained excellent. We have worked strongly together on a regional and continental basis. Since Ethiopia is the seat of the African Union working closely with Ethiopia is a priority for us.
Q: Could you tell us about Chad’s economy?
Moussa Faki Mahamat: First of all Chad’s economy is based on agriculture and it will remain so. The recent unearthing of fuel in Chad is a good addition to develop this agricultural based economy. Using the income generated through oil we have a plan to expand the agricultural and livestock sectors and the infrastructure of the country. I know that Ethiopia is also an agricultural country. I also know that Ethiopia is exploring to find out if oil is in different parts of the country. We succeeded after years of trial to find oil. I am hopeful that Ethiopia will also obtain oil from its soil. I think production of oil in Chad as well as Ethiopia will help develop both nations. If African countries can use their oil resources wisely and with good governance, they will alleviate poverty. As I see the commitment of African nations to do this is strong.
Q: Concerning oil, there is an arrangement with the World Bank and the international community for the benefit of oil revenues to be shared with the population.
Moussa Faki Mahamat: Oil exploitation in the southern Doba region began in 2000, with World Bank Board approval to finance a small portion of a project, aimed at the transporting of Chadian crude through a 1000Km buried pipeline through Cameroon to the Gulf of Guinea.
The project established a unique mechanisms for World Bank, private sector, government, and civil society collaboration to guarantee that future oil revenues benefit local populations and result in poverty alleviation. We properly managed the income generated from the oil. The local populations are beneficiaries.
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