PARIS Dec 6 Chad's President Idriss Deby
slammed the World Bank on Thursday, saying it was treating the
central African nation unfairly by not providing it with the
support other impoverished nations were receiving.
The former French colony, one of the poorest nations in the
world, has been rocked by humanitarian crises over the last
decade including conflicts in the east and south, drought in the
arid Sahel region, and flooding.
Relations with the World Bank have been strained since the
multilateral lender pulled the plug on an oil pipeline agreement
in 2008 after a dispute with the government over its failed
promises to spend oil revenues on anti-poverty programmes.
"We have a difficult relationship with the World Bank. We
are the only African country that has not had access to
programmes for extremely poor and indebted nations," Deby told
reporters in Paris. "It's an injustice that is imposed on Chad."
The International Monetary Fund and World Bank set up the
Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) programme in 1996 to help
those nations reduce poverty through reforms. Chad has never
been included in the initiative.
Speaking after meeting leaders of more than 50 French firms
to try to drum up investment interest, Deby said the World Bank
was punishing his country because it did not approve of the way
he was handling its development.
The World Bank withdrew from a loan accord in 2008 backing
the Chad-Cameroon pipeline, one of its biggest investments in
Africa and billed as a test of how the continent's oil wealth
could benefit the poor if spent properly.
It said at the time Deby's government had failed to comply
with agreed commitments to set aside a chunk of its oil revenues
for local communities, health and education.
"I am happy to cooperate, but I don't want anything imposed
on us," he said accusing certain institutions of wasting 90
percent of project resources on studies and forums before
leaving the country even more indebted and with nothing.
"When you oppose that, you are branded as bad," he said.
The pipeline project was heavily criticized by aid agencies
which warned that Chad was marred by corruption, political
instability and human rights abuses.
Deby seized power in a 1990 military coup and has since won
a series of elections whose fairness has been questioned by
He defended his track record on development, saying that
despite constraints he had built roads, schools, hospitals and
increased the number of children going to school from 7 percent
to 90 percent.
"The World Bank can't say we haven't done anything," he
said. "They say President Deby speaks too much, is too direct
and he needs to be punished, but its the Chadian people that are