Chad: Refugees in Chad – the road forward

Background and Context

Over the past decade, Chad has been significantly affected by forced displacement. As of now, Chad hosts nearly 480,000 refugees and asylum seekers from Sudan, Central African Republic (CAR), and more recently, from Nigeria[1], a majority of whom have remained in Chad for more than fifteen years. In addition, there are an estimated 240,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and more than 30,000 Chadian returnees, adding pressure to the already fragile economy[2]. Most refugees are hosted along Chad’s borders, in isolated and lagging regions. The impact of COVID-19 has further increased the vulnerability of the refugee population especially women, girls and children. Looking ahead, Chad is likely to receive more inflows of refugees given the risk of political instability in all its neighboring countries.

Chad’s hosting of refugees is taking place against the backdrop of a difficult country context. It is one of the poorest countries in the world with very poor human development indicators. In addition, the country has faced several fragility and institutional challenges, in a region rife with conflict. Moreover, a macroeconomic crisis, mainly due to the fall of oil exports and increased security expenditure, exacerbates these difficulties. There is an urgent need, not only to deal with the existing situation, but also to develop a capacity to manage such repeated inflows of refugees in the longer term. The transition from managing the refugee situation through a humanitarian aid approach to a development and integration approach requires a strong understanding of the wellbeing and livelihood of not only refugees but also local communities and the Chadian population.

The proposed analytical work contributes to policy dialogue by providing rigorous evidence drawn from a unique data source that was specifically designed to allow welfare comparison among refugees, host villages, and the Chadian population. To date, there has been no survey which focuses on refugees and deals with the major issues and challenges facing refugees and host communities in Chad. With funding from the World Bank (WB) Fragility Conflict and Violence (FCV) group, this data gap was filled by expanding the 2018/19 Enquête sur la Consommation des ménages et le Secteur Informel au Tchad (ECOSIT4) to include a representative sample of refugees while collecting nationally representative data of the Chadian population.

Activity Description

The proposed analytical work will build on data from the 2018/2019 ECOSIT4 survey and the 2018/19 Refugees and Host Communities Household Survey in Chad (RHCHS). The 2018/19 ECOSIT4 was implemented by the Institut National de la Statistique, des Etudes Economiques et Demographiques (INSEED), the Chad National Statistical Office, and is used for official poverty estimates as well as other official statistics. The 2018/19 RHCHS was conducted jointly by the World Bank and INSEED with support from UNHCR in Chad and expanded ECOSIT4 to include a representative sample of refugees and host communities, along with specific questions to refugees.  The sample for the refugee survey is representative of the two main refugee groups in the country (Sudanese in the East, and CAR refugees in the South), as well as host villages in the East. The booster sample comprises 600 CAR refugee households in the South, 600 Sudanese refugee households in the East, and 600 host households in the East. The data has been collected during two waves of three months each (from June 18 to September 18, 2018 for the first wave and from January 15 to April 15, 2019). Drawing from this unique set of data, the proposed analytical work aims to:

  • Review the government’s current approach to refugee management in Chad.
  • Understand the profile of Sudanese and CAR refugee groups to highlight the need for assistance programs tailored to different socio-demographic groups.
  • Explore the heterogeneity of monetary welfare within each refugee group – how wide is the consumption distribution, why certain groups are doing better while others are falling behind.
  • Understand the refugee situation in the welfare context of the Chadian population by comparing monetary and non-monetary welfare measure of refugees to host communities and to the general Chadian population.

Overall objectives

The overall objective is to inform policy makers (the Government of Chad and international development communities including the World Bank and UNHCR) about suitable policies and programs toward the management of the refugee situation in Chad. The findings are expected to be presented to the government as evidence-based input to the policy-making process, and to be disseminated among the World Bank country team, UNHCR team, and other donors in Chad to support project design and coordination.

Contact

For further details on this activity, please contact:

[1] UNHCR, 2020

[2] OCHA, 2019

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