Chad is the fifth largest African country, with a population of about 11 million people, 73% of them living in rural areas and 27% in urban areas. The country is rich in oil resources and in recent years it experienced an increase of revenues thanks to the oil production. However, Chad remains one of the poorest countries in Africa.
Three laws (Law Nos. 23, 24 and 25 of 1967) predominantly regulate land tenure in Chad following the principles of freehold tenure introduced during the colonial period. More recent regulations include Law No.7 of 2002, which gives more powers and rights to rural communities for the management of natural resources and Decree No. 215 2001, which provides for a National Land Observatory with the aim of resolving land related issues and develop new policies and legislation for improving the national land tenure system. The problem with these institutional regulations is that they are not widely disseminated among, which is one of the reasons why customary and Islamic laws regulates land access and use both in rural and urban areas
Access to scarce natural resources has generated fierce competition and conflict in Chad. Conflicts between ethnic groups are common, and often concern fight for control of wild plantations of gum arabic, which have been traditionally inherited and used for generations, which local sedentary groups have recently discovered. Land disputes between rural users are often settled at the local level by traditional leaders who apply customary law and use traditional conciliatory methods of dispute resolution.