N’Djamena— In a context of perpetual change, facing serious conflicts and crises, growing terrorist threat, the increasingly recurrent economic recession, the perverse effects of climate change, underdevelopment, unprecedented migratory movements, Chad has organized its first ambassadors conference after 19 years to embark on new directions in its foreign policy in order to stand up to various challenges. The conference of Ambassadors and Heads of Diplomatic Representatives of Chad was held in N’Djamena from 19 to 21 November. The event allowed the participants to discuss role of modern Chad on the international scene, and define the priorities and strategic objectives in Chad’s foreign policy.
Security, stability, governance, environment, economy, social and international cooperation are points that were discussed during the conference. These elements all have, in one way or another, imputations on the foreign policy of Chad; particularly on the role and place of the country in the global dynamics of peace and sub-regional stability, as well as in various processes of economic and political integration.
This unusual meeting offers the opportunity to the highest authorities of the State and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to give the annual guidelines that will guide the work of Chadian diplomats. The event thus makes it possible to put in coherence all parts of the foreign action of Chad that the ambassadors are charged with; from coordinating to overseas collaboration. It was also an opportunity for the diplomats to exchange with each other, debate with national and international experts or representatives of civil society or the private sector.
The official opening of the Ambassadors’ Conference was under the chairmanship of the Chadian president Idriss Déby — “reinforcement of the diplomatic tool in the face of security and sustainable development challenges” was the theme chosen for 2019 edition.
Perhaps you may wonder what this conference will change in a country that mired in the most severe financial and economic crisis, which continues to threaten the ability of the country to confront issues such as poverty, hunger and disease. As the crisis deepened, the impact on rural areas became rapidly worse, particularly in terms of rising unemployment and a widening external financing gap.
At the economic level, Chadian president Idriss Déby said that the diplomatic tool must absolutely be in line with the “Vision 2030: the Chad we want”, so that the vital interests and priorities are realized to the best of the real possibilities of our country.” In the same vein, the president also told the diplomats that they are also responsible for making Chad’s voice heard, defending its interests and positions on complex international issues such as the fight against poverty and terrorism. International organized crime, cross-border conflicts, perverse effects of global warming and migration issues, etc.’’ Déby stressed
On the other hand, Chadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Integration, International Cooperation and the Diaspora, Mr. Chérif Mahamat Zène, expressed on behalf of his ministry and the organizing committee his heartfelt thanks to the President of the Republic for his personal involvement in holding these meetings. While welcoming all participants from outside Chad, Mr. Chérif said that diplomacy is an effective way to make the country’s voice heard internationally. For him, Chad has considerably strengthened its diplomatic image in recent years.
The conference work was divided into four panels. The first two, devoted to sustainable development and economic and trade issues were open to all participants, including foreign experts. The other two panels were reserved solely for the heads of diplomatic and consular missions, as well as main officials of the Foreign Affairs Ministry and other invited resource persons.
This conference seemed to be a central moment for the Chadian diplomacy punctuated by moments such as the opening speech of the President of the Republic, the speech of the Foreign Minister, centered on the economic diplomacy or the closing speech by the Chadian president. It was indeed a great opportunity for the highest Chadian authorities to present the essential orientations and priorities that will guide the work of the Chadian diplomats throughout the coming years.
The closing ceremony of the Conference of Ambassadors took place on Thursday morning and was chaired by the President of the Republic, Head of State, Idriss Déby. A thank-you motion and a summary of the work as recommendations were read during the ceremony.
This conference, held 19 years after its last meeting, will now be more regular. The speakers recommended a frequency of two years. At the end of the proceedings, Chadian President reported positive progress while noting that additional efforts remain to be made to consolidate the achievements. “I would like to remind you that righteousness, rigor, exemplarity, professionalism, the obligation of result and performances remain in the evaluation of the effort of everyone,” concluded President Déby.
It is worth mentioning that the Ambassadors Conference is the most important meeting of the year between Chadian diplomats and foreign experts and discusses national economic and political developments and future opportunities in foreign policy.
By Idriss Zackaria