Chad's primarily agricultural economy will continue to be boosted by major foreign direct investment projects in the oil sector that began in 2000. Economic conditions have been positive in recent years, with real GDP growth reaching 13% in 2010 because of high international prices for oil and a strong local harvest. GDP growth for 2012 is estimated at 7.3%. However, Chad's investment climate remains challenging due to limited infrastructure, a lack of trained workers, extensive government bureaucracy, and corruption. At least 80% of Chad's population relies on subsistence farming and livestock raising for its livelihood.
The government of Chad is determined to improve agricultural production through modernization and mechanization over the next three years, and hosted a national Rural Development Forum in 2012 to promote investment in agriculture.
Chad's economy has long been handicapped by its landlocked position, high energy costs, and a history of instability. The Libyan conflict disrupted inflows of remittances to Chad's impoverished western region that relies on income from Chadians living in Libya.
A consortium led by two US companies has been investing $3.7 billion to develop oil reserves - estimated at 1.5 billion barrels - in southern Chad. Chinese companies are also expanding exploration efforts and have completed a 311-km pipeline and the country's first refinery.
The nation's total oil reserves are estimated at 1.5 billion barrels. Oil production came on stream in late 2003. Chad began to export oil in 2004. Cotton, cattle, and gum arabic provide the bulk of Chad's non-oil export earnings.