Stretching across vast swathes of desert, the landlocked country of Chad is situated at the heart of Africa. Because of its geographical position bridging East and West Africa, but also connecting sub-Saharan Africa with the Sahel and the Maghreb, the country has historically been an intersection for diverse migration dynamics, including transhumance, labour migration, trafficking in persons, forced migration linked to conflict and climate change, and more. Chad notably hosts more than one million forcibly displaced persons, including refugees, internally displaced persons, and returnees.

One might assume that the confluence of these dynamics leads to an abundance of data and information on migration dynamics in Chad. However, surprisingly, data and information remain limited, with the primary known sources of information on migration being the population censuses of 1991 and 2009. The country’s complex and multi-layered migration flows, coupled with the limited capacity of national actors to collect, analyse, and share data, have proven to be key challenges in gathering this evidence.

In line with Chad’s Priority Action Plan (2022–2024) for the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration, of which Chad is a Champion Country, IOM is aiming to reduce this gap in the availability and accessibility of migration data by supporting the development of Chad’s first ever Migration Profile.

The profile, supported by the IOM Development Fund, will provide a comprehensive overview of migration trends, motives, and intentions, as well as an in-depth analysis of migrants’ socio-economic characteristics, living conditions, access to services, sources of income, linkages with their countries of origin, governance mechanisms and perspectives in the country. It will notably feature the latest statistical data on migration flows and stocks from national and international sources, provide an analysis of the impact of migration on Chad’s socio-economic development, and outline key steps needed for the Government of Chad to strengthen migration governance across the country.

“The Migration Profile is essential to having a complete view of migration trends in Chad,” said Djanmon Waissala, Head of the Population Movements and Civil Status Department at the Chadian National Institution of Statistics. “This requires meticulousness and drawing from a range of sources.”

A woman internally displaced in Chad’s Lac province. Photo: IOM 2020/Andrea Ruffini

Beyond the development and publication of the Migration Profile, IOM is working with the National Statistics Institute and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chad to set up a robust migration data and information-sharing mechanism. This mechanism will help overcome challenges related to access to data and statistical information on migration, in addition to fostering evidence-based migration policy development. The new mechanism will include Standard Operating Procedures for the collection of administrative data pertaining to migration, which will also guide training for government agencies in the management of migration data. The training workshops will be organized in May 2023 in partnership with National Statistics Institute (INSEED) of Chad, targeting primarily ministerial statistics focal points who will form the future migration data management working group.

Ultimately, the Migration Profile and increased information and coordination will lead to a stronger evidence base for policy making, leading to significant potential improvements for the welfare of all migrants and migration-affected communities in the country.

A view of Lake Chad connecting Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria. Lake Chad is an important economic space providing livelihoods to over 30 million people across the four countries. It is also the theatre of multiple migration dynamics. Picture: IOM 2021

“Evidence-based policymaking on migration is essential to overcome the multiple challenges of migration management in Chad,” says Anne Kathrin Schafer, Chief of Mission, IOM Chad. “This is why we are thrilled to support the Government in this process which shows its commitment to the Global Compact on Migration, especially Objective 1 on data, and will further strengthen its efforts to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals in particular objectives 10 and 17.”