N'djamena - Chad's president, Idriss Deby, said on Monday he would ensure that future oil revenue would be well managed and urged people not to abandon farming and livestock rearing, the mainstay of the economy.
Deby, referring to the World Bank's approval of a $222-million (about R1,55-billion) loan for a controversial project to pump oil in Chad and send it by pipeline to Cameroon, told a rally in his support in the capital that the oil revenue would be used to develop farming and livestock rearing.
"I will personally watch things to ensure the good management of oil revenue," he told a large crowd which included his own supporters, professional groups and organisations and students and schoolchildren.
The World Bank approved the loan on June 6. The Doba project, led by Exxon Mobil and Chevron, involves the development of fields in the south of the landlocked African country, one of the world's poorest.
The oil will be transported through a $3,5-billion (R24,5-billion) pipeline to the Cameroonian port of Kribi, 650km away.
Environmentalists and human rights groups have opposed the project amid concern about potential water pollution, the uprooting of villages and fears that the revenue would not reach ordinary people.
The World Bank delayed approval for months until studies were conducted and those concerns addressed.
The government of Chad, which has a per person income of $160 dollars (about R1 120) per year, has pledged to transfer all the money earned to the national budget and ensure that it is spent on priority sectors such as education, health, infrastructure, agriculture and the raising of livestock.
A government source said the project would be worth $2-billion (about R14-billion) to Chad and $500-million (about R3,5-billion) to Cameroon over its 25-year lifetime. - Reuters