With youth comprising 57% of its population, Chad—led by a network of ambitious, innovative young professionals—is set to become one of the hottest tech startup destinations in Central Africa. That said, unique opportunities bring novel challenges; tech entrepreneurs looking to startup or expand into the region would be well advised to familiarize themselves with the local business environment.
The following are 9 crucial facts you need to know about Chad’s tech startup environment, whether you’re looking to set up shop or expand the coverage of your digital product/service.
9. Lucrative opportunities exist for travel and tourism startups.
Chad is still a developing country—as such, many greenfield opportunities exist for ambitious entrepreneurs. For example, its rich cultural heritage and natural surroundings make the country ideal for travel and tourism-related startups.
8. Local entrepreneurs are challenged with high taxes.
Unfortunately, local entrepreneurs are challenged with a heavy tax burden—initiated by the Government of Chad to offset informal businesses and untaxed commercial activities.
7. Local startups have limited support from local banks and financial institutions.
Due to its fledgling economy and business environment, Chad’s banks and financial institutions are just getting off the ground; subsequently, local institutions have little to offer startups in terms of financing, as they lack the financial instruments to support emerging tech ventures.
6. Various media and grassroots efforts are focused on building up the country’s affinity for digital entrepreneurship.
For example, Chad-based Entrependre l’Afrique covers entrepreneurship across the African continent and diaspora. Non-profits such as RJDLT—short for Réseau des Jeunes pour le Développement et le Leadership au Tchad (Network of Young for Development and Leadership in Chad)—and Génération ABCD (Acting and Building the Chadian Dream or Anybody Can Dream) are focused on developing and promoting youth entrepreneurship and business leadership.
5. The Chadian government continues to face challenges with transparency and accountability.
Despite ongoing improvements, the Chadian government continues to face issues with corruption and lack of transparency—the country placed 165th out of 174 countries in Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index. However, anti-corruption laws implemented in the last two decades have made gradual improvements, resulting in a significant drop in local acceptance of corruption over the past few years.
4. Local entrepreneurs can access a range of events for tech founders and startups.
SITIC (Salon International de la Technologie de l’Information et de la Communication), the Creative Business Cup (part of Global Entrepreneurship Week), and Get In the Ring N’Djamena are just a few of the premier events accessible by Chadian entrepreneurs.
3. Chad is ideally situated for market expansion into greater Africa, Europe, and beyond.
Chad is ideally located in northern Central Africa, landlocked by the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Libya, Niger, Nigeria, and Sudan. Its capital city of N’Djamena is easily accessible by major African and European destinations via air/auto/rail.
2. Chad’s economy is stabilized by a booming oil sector.
Chad’s economy has been experiencing healthy growth as of late due to the booming oil sector. Projects such as the Chad-Cameroon pipeline—inaugurated in 2003—as well as the Doba Oil Basin continue to pump much-needed oil revenue into the local business environment.
1. The Chadian telecommunications sector is experiencing exponential growth.
Chad’s telecommunications sector has experienced hyper-growth over the course of the last decade—and though mobile and data access remain spotty in rural areas, internet access is for the most part ubiquitous. Projects such as the World Bank-funded Central African Backbone (CAB) and the Trans-Saharan Backbone are working to bring more reliable, high speed fibre links into the country.
In short, Chadian entrepreneurs are faced with unique challenges; prospective startups looking to set up shop should be aware of these potential roadblocks. That said, Chad holds a myriad of opportunities for ambitious tech entrepreneurs and founders looking to launch or expand into uncharted markets, especially when it comes to travel and oil/gas-related ventures.