Driving in Chad this past November, one thing that stood out to me was the road from the capital to where we lived in Mongo. That is a distance of around 500 kilometers, a little over 300 miles.
When we first arrived in Chad in 2001, this trip took us almost 9 hours on very rough roads that were best suited to off-road trucks. Over time, Chad and outside entities invested in infrastructure and built roads between the two cities. The trip is now down to around 6-1/2 hours.
While this is an amazing change, what is still needed in this landlocked country is a cost-effective way to import goods and a way of transporting these goods across a country that is over twice the size of Texas.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that discussions were already underway to build a railroad line in Chad. This rail line would connect to the neighboring country of Cameroon, which already has a track that extends to the Atlantic Ocean. A vote was taken in June, and the World Bank is providing funds to research the feasibility. A private firm has also committed to funding the project.
Just 4 short months after this vote, Sudan reached an agreement with two Chinese companies to do a feasibility study on constructing a railroad from the Red Sea to the Chad border. This railway would connect with the proposed Chad railway and result in a transport system that goes from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.
These proposed railways would be fantastic for Chad’s economy and reduce the price of goods for the people of Chad. It looks like it won’t be too long before Chad has its own railroad, and with it, a means to improve a standard of living that remains one of the very worst in the world.